You may have herd the phrase "never work with children or animals" I know its a showbiz term, but it does apply to most of us photographers, personally I love working them as the unpredictability of it can be fun, but, to help make sure the session goes as well as it can, there is some pre-planning involved. I have put together some pointers to help you get the best out of your newborn photo session
Newborns and Babies
- Ideally you should schedule the session within 14 days of baby’s arrival. Putting us on the “Baby has arrived!” email list is a great help and we then know to contact you to arrange the session date and time with you.
- The most ideal time to do the session is when the baby is less than 14 days old. this is because they are still in the heavy sleep mode once they have been fed and we’ll be able to move, fold and swaddle them into all those poses. baby acne can flare up after 14 days too… yes, it can be edited out in post production afterwards, but, it looks better with as little editing as possible on the baby’s skin.
- When doing a home visit, if possible we try to select an area of your home with perfect window natural lighting (a conservatory or large window/glass door is the best) for the shoot. Before we arrive, be sure to open all the blinds and curtains so that we have an idea of where the best natural lighting is. we do have lighting equipment, as well, if this cannot be achieved.
- We may be doing a lot of naked shots of the baby. so we always recommend turning up the heat prior to our arrival. the rest of us may be really hot, but we want to make sure that the baby doesn't catch a chill.
- Hopefully for the majority of the session, the baby will be in a deep sleep, that’s when we can move and pose them. so try to book your shoot around your babies feeding/nap times, its best to work around the natural rhythm of your baby. The perfect time to shoot is right when the baby would be laying down for a nap. If your baby normally falls asleep after a feeding, it is advisable to wait to feed your baby until you’re at the shoot. your photographer should allow plenty of time for this.
- Your photographer will have props and accessories for your baby to use, but, by all means, if you have little accessories, or teddy's/blankets that your baby has already, maybe given from a grand parent or family member, then for a more personal image, use them instead/as well.
- Disposable nappies are not very photogenic, if you use them and prefer the baby to be wearing them, then it is advisable to have some shorts or decorative nappy covers (your photographer may have something if you don't) to go over them, Cloth nappies are also good to use for photo sessions too. As most of the shots the baby will be naked, it’s a good idea if the nappy is not put on too tightly to avoid those nappy imprints on the baby’s body.
- You may have googled a lot of professional baby photos to get an idea of what your after and you may also have noticed that in most cases, the baby photographed is in a little crocheted hat/headband and swaddled in a cloth or naked but positioned accordingly, but rarely fully clothed, the reason for this primarily is: no outfit fits a newborn well, and they often look swallowed in clothes.
- Before your session, try to make sure your baby is 'flaky skin and eye booger' free, with either a warm flannel or baby wipe.
- If you are able to, trim those tiny fingernails and toenails the day before the session.
- If your baby uses a dummy, have it to hand, also if they’re bottle fed, bring an extra bottle to help calm and put the baby to sleep.
- There will be breaks during the shoot to allow for feeding and calming as well as cleaning up the baby in case of “accidents" (toilet/sick) that may happen. we always say it best to allow 3-4 hours for a session (although it may not take that long)
- If you have other children or pets and you would like to include them in the session, then they are more than welcome but it’s advised to include them either at the beginning or at the end of the session. That way we will have a more calm and quiet environment when we are doing the baby part of the shoot.
- Get in on the picture yourself, some parents prefer not to, which is fine, but personally there is no greater image of a child than when looked on and held lovingly by his/her parents
- Clean and tidy is always a win (nails, hair, teeth) wipe away eye boogers and have tissues to hand to wipe snotty noses, The cleaner your child, the better their photos will turn out.
- If your child is still in nappy's or pull-ups, tuck them in or wear shorts.
- If your child is still of napping age, make sure they nap before the shoot for a calmer session.
- Play music!! have an album they like playing during the shoot, it will relax them and it wont make it feel like such a chore for them, again, you may get some great images of them dancing, with natural smiles. At the end of the day, we want them to have an enjoyable experience, a happy child with give you more images in the long run.
- It is perfectly okay to have bribes with you at your photo shoot, in fact id say its a necessity because given a stage and being the center of attention, its always going to be.. um.. fun. Sweets that won’t stain teeth or the promise of chocolate/favourite food/past time can help a photo shoot go by smoothly.
- Avoid colorful drinks or sweets within the 24 hours prior to your session, try not to let them eat or drink anything that will stain their face, teeth or mouths.
- When choosing your outfit(s) for girls, you can’t go wrong with cute dresses, rompers, with accessories. for boys, jeans and t-shirt or a button-up shirt, or a superhero outfit (because, everyone wants to be a superhero). if you have more than one child in the session, they don’t have to match perfectly, just coordinate. If you can, try to avoid loud prints or colours as you will notice these before your little darlings faces and smiles. If nothing else, pick a color that compliments your child’s eye colour.
- Children don't last long before they get bored, its a normal thing, so by all means have some images of them looking sensible and calm, but remember they are children, let them have some fun during the session, I always have a funny faces section of the shoot as not only can you get some funny images of them pulling faces, but the in between images of them laughing will be more natural to them than a forced smile.
I hope this has been of help to you and if you would like to book me for a portrait session, click on the services menu tab above and click on portraits. please remember also that I am a home visit photographer, please allow a 2.5m x 3m clear area for my equipment.
If you have any questions about the tips I have listed, feel free to ask by leaving a comment below.