I recently drove to Los Angeles, Santa Monica to be exact for a super sweet newborn session. This mama loves all the neutrals, just like me. We had so much fun planning her newborn session with her two sweet girls. Her older daughter has a teepee in her room, so of course we had to incorporate that as well. I love how the newborn session turned out. What they wore perfectly complimented all the grays and whites. Such a beautiful set of girls!
Photographing newborns is one of the best parts of my job, but also the hardest. I allow 2 hours to shoot a newborn session in my studio and I usually use up every moment.
Here’s how it all breaks down with shooting a newborn session in 2 hours:
1. The family arrives and I go over the plan with them. I ask about preferences and we talk about what shots are most important. Sometimes, they don’t have any ideas and I plan the session. Other families come in with lots of ideas.
2. I always start with the siblings together. I’m a fresh new face, but that only lasts for about 15 minutes! I find that older siblings will listen and cooperate right away, but after that I become familiar and it’s a little harder to get everyone on board. So, if the baby can arrive sleeping, that’s optimal.
3. If all is going well, the sibling shots will last about 10-15 minutes. I try to switch between looking-and-smiling and then give them cues to interact with the baby.
4. Next comes the family shots. I like to do all adults as soon as I can because the room is hot, so hair gets sweaty and make-up runs. I also want families to be able to relax and enjoy me photographing their baby. So, I like to put all the work at the beginning. I will vary up the family shots between traditional and then some more candid/interacting type shots. I also throw in some unique crops and photograph each parent with the baby if they are up for it. This can last 10-20 minutes.
5. After these shots are done, I check in with the parents and make sure they’re happy with everything we’ve gotten so far. Then, the can relax and just watch. I use a bean bag and layer the backdrops so I can quickly change from one to the other. If props are being used, I’ll make sure that the baby is sleeping soundly. So, I might be photographing the squirmy baby who’s not quite in a deep sleep on my bean bag and then once I realize they’re completely out, I’ll move to the prop. Then, I’ll move back to the bean bag to finish things up.
If you’re new to newborn photography, just don’t give up. You have to outlast the baby that just doesn’t want to sleep. So, be patient…it will pay off. If you’re a parent of a newborn, come in relaxed. Know that your photographer is a professional and will know how to handle any situation. A relaxed family = happy photos!
When is the best time to take newborn photos? Well, as a photographer, I would answer within the first two weeks. Why? Newborns under two weeks old tend to be very sleepy and easy-going. If they are fed and warm, babies don’t mind that they are not being held during the photo session. They also don’t mind being held by siblings. As newborns get older, they start to mind these things! They want to be held at all times- and preferably by an adult, thankyouverymuch. Another reason that babies are best photographed within the first two weeks is they look more like newborns. They curl up with their legs tucked under and their tiny little hands like to be up by their face. As newborns get older, they stretch out and don’t like being confined so much.
But, sometimes, for whatever the reason, newborns can’t be photographed within the first 2 weeks. And that’s totally okay. Of course newborns can be photographed at 4 weeks, 6 weeks even 8 weeks. I might have to work a little harder to get the baby to sleep, or into a curled up pose, but oh-is-it-worth-it. Older newborns have filled out a little more, so they have chubbier cheeks and baby rolls. Adorable!