I loved my time with Baby Charlotte and her mom and dad a few weeks ago. There was lots of snuggling and just enjoying this sweet little girl. She was easy as can be and slept through her whole session. She even gifted us with a few sleepy smiles!
Click here to see other newborn sessions! Kristin Eldridge is a newborn / baby photographer in Long Beach, Orange County and Los Angeles.
I absolutely loved spending the morning with these three girls and their parents. We basically had a pink explosion in the studio. All the soft baby pink was perfect for brand new Baby AJ. Her sisters told me all about their favorite princesses. It won’t be long before AJ will have her favorite princess too!
Anyone that’s new to newborn photography can tell you it’s harder than it looks. Babies sleep a lot, so it’s assumed that taking photos of them would be easy. All you have to do is search #pinterestfail on the subject to see how things can go wrong. Undressing a baby is a room that’s anything less than VERY WARM is the first thing that can make them mad. Not being held by an adult is a close second. Start moving them around and you’re asking for it!
So, how does a newborn session flow? How do we get the baby to cooperate and make it all happen in 90 minutes or less.
7 Tips for a Great Newborn Session
Warm the room. I can’t stress how important this is. In your clothing, you should be sweating a little. Remember the baby won’t be dressed (or minimally dressed) so make sure they are comfortable.
Use white noise. Even small things like talking or the sound of the shutter can stir them. So, make sure you have a good white noise machine.
I start with the baby wrapped. I instruct parents to dress the baby in front snap or zip outfit that’s easy to remove. As I’m removing clothing, I’m wrapping them, so they’re never left with arms and legs moving around.
Once I have the baby securely wrapped and soothed, I’ll take photos shooting straight down. I might move the wrap slightly to create different looks or add a hat. This is the point where I’ll shoot details of the hands, ears and hair.
If parents want any basket props, I transfer the baby in the wrap to the basket and take close up and pulled out shots there.
When I move the baby back to the bean bag, I’ll place them on their tummy start slowing removing the blanket and diaper. I’ll photograph the curled up on the tummy poses and do some slight variations in poses, plus adding hats/wraps.
Lastly, I put the diaper back on, add a wrap and do some additional photos looking down. The baby might be awake by this time. Since the baby is wrapped, I also use the blanket to wrap around the feet and do those close-ups.
Life changes in an instant when you become a parent. You go from birthing classes and prepping a nursery to going home from the hospital with a brand new baby. And there’s no class or book that can entirely prep you for that.
If you’re like many of my clients, you’ve thought about a newborn session in the months before your baby arrived. You looked at different photographer’s websites and decided on someone whose style you love. You picked someone you’d trust to hold your tiny little son or daughter. But, as much as you’ve prepared, you’re getting closer to the day of the photo session and want to make sure you get the most out of the investment.
Once a client arrives to my studio, I tell them the hard work is over. Now it’s my turn to do what I’m best at. I’ll soothe your baby. All the wraps, hats and headbands are available and I’ll even direct you with how to hold and pose with the baby.
I’ve put together a few tips to get ready for the newborn photo session that will make everything go as smoothly as possible.
How to Prepare for a Newborn Photo Session
Plan some awake time for your baby before the photo session. The easiest way to do this is give the baby a bath. It’s nearly impossible for a baby to sleep through a bath, so it’s an easy way to keep them awake. This will ensure, they’ll be ready for a nap when they arrive.
Feed the baby just before the session. You can arrive a little early to breast feed the baby. Or you could bring a bottle and feed the baby just before we start. This also helps in making sure the baby is ready to sleep right through the photo session.
Dress the baby is a snap front outfit. This will allow us to remove the clothing without disturbing the sleeping baby. If we have to pull clothing over the head, a baby will usually start to wake up.
Bring a pacifier. I know the doctor might tell you to hold off on giving your baby a pacifier. Of course, you need to do what you feel comfortable doing. But, there are times, when letting the baby soothe with a pacifier for a minute or two will make the difference in getting more photos. (And you never have to use it again if you don’t want to!)
If the photo session is at your home, make sure it’s very warm. I keep my studio very warm so that babies still feel like they are in the womb. When we do bare skin photos with the baby, this is extra important.
The worst call/email I can receive is someone asking if I can just meet them to take one or two photos. “All I need is one good shot of the family.” Makes sense. No one NEEDS 30 great images…you just need one or two photos. But, what people don’t understand until they’ve worked with a photographer is that the magic happens along the way. See, we’ve never met before. As we get to know each other, we find common ground. We start laughing and relaxing and things all naturally fall into place. So, I can’t meet you for one or two photos. I wish it was that simple.
Instead, we meet like new friends, cautiously at first. Guards are let down, reserved smiles turn into genuine ones and everyone walks away happy. So, as you’re thinking about hiring a photographer, invest into the person. You’ll feel and LOOK yourself and then, magic.
This sweet baby girl joins a family who loved her before she was even here on this earth. Her older siblings anticipated her arrival and now that she’s finally here everyone wants to hold her. It’s gotta be great to be the center of so much love.
She will have connections with each of her older sisters and her older brother in a unique way. One might want to rough and tumble with her and another might teach her to read before she starts kindergarten. I love seeing big families. They dynamic is so loving. That lucky baby will be adored times four..plus her parents.
Her newborn session went so smoothly as her older siblings doted over her and kissed her little head. She woke for a bit and then went right back to sleep for her photos alone. What a perfect baby model!
Photos by Long Beach Newborn Photographer, Kristin Eldridge.
Hello, nice to meet you. Newborn sessions are so sweet because really, this new little being has only been on this side of the womb for a week or so. They’ve heard your voice and felt your warmth, but they’re still getting accustomed to the sites and sounds of the world. And you’re still learning their coos and cries.
This sweet little newborn session took place in my studio in Long Beach. Just the soft, simple white wall, parents and their brand new baby girl.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of dogs coming to the newborn sessions. It’s actually a lot of fun and I’ll ask the family if this is their ‘first baby.’ So many married couples end up owning a dog before having children and the dog becomes the first baby. I love how they are protective over the new baby. Of course, safety is important, so I always ask families to keep their hands close by and photoshop them out if needed. That animal-baby bond is just adorable.
All the high-fives and heart eyes go to sweet toddlers that are willing to cuddle their newborn sibling. Did you know that transitioning a toddler from being an only child to being a big brother or sister is tough? I was reading a study that likened the transition to a husband bringing a mistress home to his wife. It’s a little dramatic, but the thought of going from the only star to having to share the spotlight must feel that way to a 2 or 3 year old.
Thank goodness for easy going siblings that slide into their role as big sister or brother with the greatest of ease.
Being a Older Sibling // Orange County Baby Photographer, Photos taken by Kristin Eldridge.
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!