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WILMINGTON — For Katie Mathews, a photographer in Wilmingtom who specializes in newborn images, Carmen and Mike Matthews’ quintuplets were a challenge too big to miss.
“I heard about them when she first got pregnant,” Mathews said.
“People told me about them. They liked my work and thought I could do something good,” Mathews said. “So I thought, ‘I’ve got to get a hold of that family.’”
Mathews was Facebook friends with a friend of Carmen Matthews and passed along a message that she would love to do a photo session.
Carmen Matthews got in touch and agreed.
“I didn’t know if it was crazy to do it, but it (turned out) great,” Mathews said. “I try to find ways to give back—like donating sessions. This was one, as exhausted as I was, I still teared up when they pulled away.”
Mathews said the ideal time period to photograph newborns is five to 10 days after they are born.
“Before two weeks old they are bendy, and they sleep deeper,” she said.
The timing worked out for shooting the Matthews’ quintuplets. They were born Sept. 6, eight weeks before the photo session. But because they were premature by six weeks, they would’ve been two weeks old if they were born on a regular schedule.
Once Carmen Matthews and her quintuplets were on board, Katie began contacting vendors to provide the hats and sets used in the photographs.
The handmade items were also donated by vendors, including hats and wraps, bonnets and headbands.
“They came from all over the country,” Mathews said.
After collecting items, Mathews sat down to plan out her shots, which took about four to five hours.
Mathews’ photographed the Matthews quintuplets Saturday, Nov. 3.
She didn’t realize then the session would last more than seven hours, but said it was worthwhile.
“I had to let go of some of my perfectionism because there are five babies,” Mathews said.
Mathews started the day by turning up the heat in her studio.
“We heat it up so it’s really toasty,” she said.
The babies were fed and swaddled before shooting to keep them happy.
“We kept them warm with full tummies so they would not be too fussy or get worked up,” Mathews said. “The best way to get your shots is to keep them swaddled and cozy.”
Mathews had a team of seven volunteers to help care for and position the babies.
The only people she didn’t put to work were the mom and dad.
“While we were working, dad got to take a nap,” Mathews said. “Mom wanted to rest, but she said she was having too much fun watching.”
Mathews said the session took a lot of hard work and patience.
“There was a lot of rocking, feeding and changing diapers,” she said.
Mathews worked to take photos with each baby, with all five together and then she brought Carmen and Mike in to take a photo holding the quintuplets.
“That was a lot of fun,” Mathews said. “The (babies) would squirm, but all the assistants were right on them. Once we knew they were safe, we could just go for it.”
Mathews put her photos online Sunday, Nov. 4, and said her Facebook page exploded.
“People around the world saw those photos—Australia, Brazil, New Zealand,” Mathews said.
She has now photographed two sets of twins, two sets of triplets and the Matthews’ quintuplets.
“Now I just need quadruplets,” she said, but added she would love to photograph the quintuplets each year.
“I think we built a good relationship, so I hope to shoot (photos of) them again.”
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.