Part of my newborn sessions always includes photographing tiny newborn hands and feet. I try to plan it in when the newborn isn’t quite asleep. That way, I’m not wasting any time. I’m waiting for baby to be soothed to sleep and getting some of the very important details. In fact, if babies are moving just a little it adds so much to the photo. Seeing toes curl up and hands grab on is just adorable.
There are times when it’s better for the baby to be asleep (like if you want fingers extended).
The other thing I like to do is photograph the series of details in the same color way. That way a parent could hang the detail shots together without worrying about contrasting colors.
Baby C was a chill as could be. Which is pretty great when you’re the little brother. You have to learn to go with the flow.
He slept like a champ and let everyone hold him, even his toddler-aged sister. Speaking of his big sister, it wasn’t too long ago that I was doing her newborn session. And she was also super easy-going. Maybe it runs in the family!
This tiny little bit is joining the ranks of girls in their home. I love photographing big sisters with their babies. They are such ‘little mommies.’ These two big sisters were the best, snuggling and cuddling little baby S.
You know that shy feeling you get when you meet someone for the first time? Kids get that too. When they come into my studio with their brand new baby brother or sister, they’re checking me out. Deciding if I’m likeable.
I usually start out by telling them what we’ll be doing. I tell them how we’ll be holding the baby and how important it is to hold up his head. Things like that. I’m kind of in teacher mode. (Side note: I used to be a first grade teacher!)
Once I get the shot set up, I want to surprise them. I want them to be giggly and add a little life to the photo. So, I do something like ask if they think that baby brother has a poopy diaper. That usually gets a laugh to start. Then we might go into scenarios of what would happen if he pooped on… Sometimes, they’ll offer up stories and the laughs don’t stop.
From there, I’ll try to get a soft and sweet shot, so something like kissing the baby will wrap things up. Toddlers can do something like count the babies toes or look at his hair if they are too young to kiss on command.
But, potty talk. It works every time. 🙂
Long Beach Newborn Photographer // Tips for Photographing Babies and Siblings
When photographing newborns with their older siblings, sometimes you have to try a few different things before you hit on what will work. In this session, I had tried a few different positions and wasn’t getting anything fantastic. It’s hard with a 2 year old. Their life has just been turned upside-down. Then I come in and I’m asking them to do things that aren’t their favorite. They’d rather be off and running around!
So, we took a break and I just photographed the baby by herself. I came up with a game plan that involved the baby being stationary on this chair (with a parent off to one side as a spotter). Then, we would bring in big brother and see if he could interact with her a bit.
Here’s what it looked like first. I asked him where the flower was…
Found the flower, check. Next we started being silly and saying funny things. He eventually looked up and smiled at us. Ka-ching.
Then, I asked him to give her a kiss. Or if he could kiss the flower on her head. This whole progression of images lasted about 30 seconds. It involved lots of enthusiasm and silly voices. The moral of the story is that these types of images don’t just happen. They are planned out and they happen QUICK. Two year olds move fast!
Newborn Photographers Orange County // Planning Out a Shot
When we are setting up the details for a newborn session, clients often ask what they should wear. My answer is usually- something soft and neutral so as not to compete with the softness of newborn skin. But, I want to answer GRAY all the time. I realize that not everyone loves gray. I just love the way it looks against a white wall. It’s not harsh like black or navy and you can vary up the shades, unlike white.
Of course, many clients wear colors other than gray for the newborn session, and they look amazing. But my personal favorite will always be gray. 🙂
Long Beach Newborn Photographer // My favorite color (is gray). Photos by Kristin Eldridge.
Babies can sense our energy. Have you noticed that calm people tend to have calm kids, in the same way high-energy people tend to have high-energy kids? When I’m doing a newborn session, I try to make sure that I create a soothing environment. Sometimes, babies are still settling in to this world. Most are under 14 days old when they see me in the studio. Isn’t that amazing! They’ve only been in this world, breathing the air, listening to the sounds and feeling the texture for a handful of days.
Here are a few things that I do to help create the right environment for a newborn photo session.
1. My studio is heated. The studio is a small guest house with central air/heating, so I’ll turn on the heat a moderate amount to create a comfortably warm space. If it’s a summer afternoon, I won’t need to turn on the heat, it’ll naturally be warm enough. If it’s a chilly day, I’ll use a space heater to direct more heat toward the baby. Why does it need to be so warm? Babies have been living in the womb for the last 9 months where the temperature was a cozy 98.7 degrees.
2. I use a white noise machine. This $20 device from Target is a life-saver. Sometimes older siblings with loud voices will be in the studio with the baby. Other times newborns are so sensitive that the sound of my shutter will startle them. The white noise machine is set on a soft heart beat sounds and it muffles all the noises to create an environment like they were used to in the womb.
3. The decor of my studio is very soft in color and pattern. I want parents to walk in and immediately feel comfortable. While I love color and pattern in my other photo sessions, a newborn session should be soft and sweet. Colors and patterns will compete with the sweet newborn baby instead of complimenting their skin tones and soft features.
4. Before the session, I make sure that I’m not running around trying to get things done. I like to come in with a calm demeanor. I’ll light a candle with a very soft scent. I like Voluspa candles in the studio. Just make sure to select a scent that’s not too over-powering. I want to make sure that I am personally in a space where I won’t get frazzled if a baby is fussy or a toddler sibling doesn’t want to cooperate. If I come from a calm place, I’ll be able to think clearly and problem solve to make sure to get the most out of every newborn photo session.
The following photos were taken by newborn photographer (long beach, ca), Kristin Eldridge.
Photographing newborns is such an intimate session. I love having a slow two hours to spend with each family. I’m not running around like I do at outdoor sessions with families. The pace is slow and patience is key. Especially when it comes to involving older siblings. I’ve written about how to photograph newborns with their siblings here and more newborn tricks of the trade here. But, sometimes, they just make it totally easy on me and do everything I nicely ask. 🙂 Either way, getting photographs of a new family is so rewarding and one of my favorite parts of my job.