Lately I've had a lot of questions about newborn photography and I thought it might be an interesting topic to blog out, so people could get their questions answered in one place and I could shed some light on why I think newborn photos are so vital!
Newborn photos are photos taken in the newborn stage of infanthood - generally within the first month - and are meant to capture the innocence and littleness of these new lives. These photos, unlike those with older babies and children are not of forced smiles and rather than spending my hours with them jumping upside down and making goofy faces I spend my hours with newborns trying to coax them to sleep.
With newborn photos I am always looking to do one thing, draw on their tiny features.
One thing people constantly as is how newborn photographers are able to get such cute poses and photos of them. That's a multifaceted answer. Newborn photos are about 10% photography, 50% planning and 40% luck.
Here's how I've come up with that breakdown.
I have gotten to the point with my photography where I know what I'm doing. I know my plan and how I like to set up. So it's pretty much the simple end of it. As long as I have prepped my bag well, charged all my batteries, restocked batteries, checked my lightbulbs and make sure I bring all my equipment I'm set on this end.
This is the most important part of the sessions. Here's why - if you try to manipulate a wide awake newborn in a cold loud room with no preplanning - your photos are going to suck. No matter what. No matter how good you are at composition or lighting or photoshop.
Here's how I plan my session - from day 1.
When I first get a newborn photography booking I request a $50 deposit and contract with questionnaire. This questionnaire asks everything from the babies gender and due date to the colors of the nursery and themes parents would like in photos. This helps me in planning the session out and gathering props to make it perfect!
I schedule in the *week* that the newborn is due and I wait. Parent's are given the direction to contact me as soon as the baby is born and I generally try to plan an official session between 4-7 days old.
The days before the session I send out a "dos and don'ts" list for parents to follow at home before the session.
For example -
Please turn the heat up in the brightest and emptiest room in your house.
Hold off on feeding baby until less than an hour before the shoot.
Avoid tight clothing or diapers the morning of the shoot, as they can leave red marks on babies skin that can be difficult to remove
This session is scheduled for 4 hours, generally about 10am-2pm and I do all my newborn photography in clients homes. I spend about 30 minutes setting up 2-3 sets and props and like to be able to plan out the order of sessions what I want them to look like.
As we approach the start of the session I usually ask that baby be fed, which helps them settle down for the session - i I usually expect to stop multiple times during the session but filling baby up before we try to soothe them to sleep usually helps.
I will turn on soothing white noise and a small space heater I bring with me and usually can get baby straight to sleep.
If there are sibling and parent photos happening I always attempt to do these right at the beginning of the session. The less people involved later in the sessions the better!
The way I do my sessions, I do a revolving posing style, using each pose and set up with multiple props and texture pieces to give us lots of options without moving baby too much.
These are tiny newborn humans we are talking about. So sometimes we just have to hope for luck and choose to love the outcome. I've had babies who hate having their photos taken and scream the whole time and newborns who literally slept the whole session, let me pose them and never even peeped.
It all depends on the baby. But no matter what I have never had an unhappy newborn client. It's your newborn. You'll love it no matter what.
Which brings me to WHY.
So many people have asked me why I love doing newborn photos. Why I think they're important. Why I don't mind getting puked and pooped on for hours for just a few photos. Why I take pictures of all their tiny features and really try to accentuate their littleness. And there is a pretty direct reason. It's not money. Or that I get paid to snuggle babies.
It's because it's fleeting.
Their littleness won't seem so little in a month.
Their tiny fingers won't be so tiny.
Their smiles won't seem as magical.
Their toes won't be so delicious.
They are precious. And their tininess is only momentary.
And I want to help you remember that.
I want you to smile when you remember how long that perfect shot took to get.
And laugh when you think about how much your little one hated that pose.
And remember when their 15 and calling you a jerk, that for one fleeting moment their were tiny, quiet and perfect (or at least that's how you'll remember them).