PITTSFIELD — It was an invention of necessity for a mother of five and a professional photographer.

Amanda Rachel Logiodice, 32, a Maine native who runs Amanda Rachel Photography, said shooting portraits of newborns was difficult, so she invented the Bella Bun poser to ease the process.

The Bella Bun is a soft, contoured pedestal that cradles newborns during portrait photography. The patent-pending device has proved successful among other photographers — both professional and amateur — and could be the cornerstone of a growing local business. More than 500 people have bought the Bella Bun during its first year, and its inventor hopes that an online fundraising effort could help tens of thousands of photographers discover it.

Logiodice and her husband Jediah Logiodice, 34, have begun a campaign to raise $8,850 on Kickstarter, a website that takes a democratic approach to raising money for creative projects.

The Logiodices’ campaign, started last month, challenges donors to chip in to the Bella Bun project during a 30-day period ending March 27. If the campaign reaches its goal, the Logiodices will use the money to create marketing materials and videos for their product. If the effort falls short of the goal, all donations will be canceled.

In the meantime, Amanda Logiodice, who has owned her Main Street studio for seven years, said word of her invention is spreading because it fills a need. Nearly 11,000 people are fans of the product on Facebook.

Bella Buns are available in two sizes at $125 and $165. They are lightweight and portable, which is good for on-location shoots, Logiodice said.

Portraiture of newborns is becoming more popular — it’s about 75 percent of Logiodice’s business during winter months — and it’s tricky to pull off.

“With newborns, it’s difficult to get them angled so you can focus on their faces without making them look like they’re laying flat. It’s really all about the angles with newborns, trying to see their faces when they haven’t developed head control to lift their heads and look at you,” she said.

Before inspiration struck, Logiodice used blankets, towels or nursing pillows to get the right shots, but the process was cumbersome and it would usually wake the subject.

“In newborn photography, you really want the baby sleeping,” she said. “They have a very strong startle reflex. Any noise from the camera, any flash, really startles them and then they look a little like deer in headlights. If you get them sleeping, you can really capture their beauty and innocence.”

Bernadette Puiia, owner of Bernadette Photography in Winslow, said she hadn’t been aware of the Bella Bun but agreed there’s a need for it.

“That sounds like a really good idea. It’s hard to figure out how to pose babies,” she said. “There’s all kinds of challenges.”

While the Bella Bun has been a valuable tool for photographers, it has also created a windfall for a local seamstress.

Becky Pennock of Palmyra is a family friend of the Logiodices. About a year ago, Amanda Logiodice asked Pennock if she would sew each Bella Bun.

It was good timing. Pennock said her husband’s job at a tannery was uncertain at the time, and she was looking for work after years of homeschooling her children.

“She needed a (seamstress), and I really needed a job,” Pennock said.

Initially, Pennock said she doubted the idea would succeed, but the work has become comparable to a full-time job.

“It has really taken off,” she said.

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

[email protected]

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