When I did my very first newborn shoot, it was at the request of a friend. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to do it, actually. I’d started my business mainly to photograph couples, and taking pictures of newborns couldn’t have been farther outside of my comfort zone. However, I’ve done a number of shoots since then, and I find I enjoy working with the little ones! I always get a lot of questions from the parents prior to the shoot, so I thought this blog post would be helpful.
1. Book within the first 10 days of the baby’s life. Those sweet, sleepy photos you see are mainly achieved by booking within this time frame, when babies sleep the most. Going past that period means the baby will be more alert.
2. Feed the baby right before the shoot. A full baby is a happy, and sleepy, baby!
3. Plan for a couple of hours – and don’t stress! There is no such thing as rushing a newborn shoot! Inevitably, the baby will start fussing, and I find it’s best to hand him or her right over to mom to soothe or feed. I plan for this time in the shoot, since a content baby is so much easier to photograph. Additionally, sometimes the baby won’t sleep, and that’s fine! I typically photograph sessions like this in a more documentary fashion with mom and dad interacting with the baby.
4. Depend on your photographer for the best location. When I arrive on-site for photographs, I will take a look at the area to find some favorable light. I typically set up in an area with a north-facing large window or glass door, since that type of diffused light is really beautiful on babies. I arrive early since it can take awhile to get out all my props and get the area ready for a shoot!
5. Turn up the heat. I come to shoots with a space heater, heating pad, and blow-dryer…having a cozy, warm environment encourages the baby to keep sleeping!
6. Set aside any special mementos. I bring plenty of blankets, buckets, baskets, hats, etc., but it’s nice to have some of the baby’s own things to keep the shoot more personal. Also, dads seem to really like “the sports shot” when it comes to their sons :) If you have any type of equipment you’d like photographed with the baby, have it set aside and ready to go.
7. Your baby will poop and pee on my things. It’s inevitable and it’s no big deal. Really! :)
8. Prioritize any images you want. As I’ve said before, the baby is really in charge of the shoot. If there are certain poses or images you’d like, keep in mind sometimes we won’t be able to get them all depending on the baby’s mood.
9. Plan for family photos. When the baby is alert or a little fussy, I like to shoot family photos. Usually we’ll step into your backyard to get some shots of mom and dad individually with the baby, and if there are additional kids, include the whole family!
I hope this helps! Newborn shoots are unpredictable, but a lot of fun! It’s really cool looking back just a few months later and seeing how much has changed!
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