How Does a Newborn Session Flow
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.
When babies are born close together, sometimes it’s hard to realize you’re not the only baby in the family anymore. It can be a little bit of a transition for young toddlers to add a new baby to the mix. But, the flip side is that the transition tends to go quickly. Days and weeks later, the routine becomes normal and the siblings can hardly remember a time without each other. [ Newborn Photography Long Beach ]
I’ve been photographing newborns for 10 years and I notice this really unique bond formed between siblings that are close together. The older sibling wants to give all their love to the new baby. They shower the baby with kisses and hugs. Toddlers can also become little helpers and wanting to feed the baby and quiet her when she cries.
I think this bond is so special and I love being able to capture these sweet little moments.
Check out more newborn sibling photos here!
At the end of this at home Newport Beach newborn photography session, we headed out to the beach for a few additional shots. It was a little chilly, but I’m so glad we did. The baby was all snuggled and warm, so she was happy and content for this part of the shoot. She’ll most likely grow up by the beach, so I love that her first days of life are documented there.
**Photos taken by Kristin Eldridge, Newport Beach newborn photographer
I don’t think I need to tell you about how sweet it is when older siblings immediately fall in love with their brand new brother. The photos tell the story. It makes my job so easy when the love is just oozing out of your every pore. Whether it’s a brand new baby or a family that’s been a family for years, it doesn’t matter. You can’t fake love. And you can’t deny it either.
When I’m photographing families, I’ll ask them to do things like snuggle or get close or just hang out like you do at home. It’s so much fun to see them show love in their own unique way. And to see older siblings (and parents!) welcome a brand new life into the family, it’s like heart warming and tear-jerking and all the heart eye emojis.
Photos by Kristin Eldridge, Newborn Photographer Orange County.
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.
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!
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.
Photographing older toddler siblings and their new baby sister or brother can be a little tricky. I always try to get them close on the bed or sofa. If that doesn’t work, I use this stump (or any chair/bench) to get the baby all nice and comfy (and still!). Then I add in the toddler. We play games and point out the baby’s feature. Sometimes a kiss will happen. But, it allows the toddler to move around and not be required to hold or even touch the baby. It still creates a feeling of intimacy even though there may be no physical touch.
Of course adding parents in always helps, but if you’re trying to get those adorable sibling shots, this is a little trick I use!
Photos by Orange County Newborn Photographer, Kristin Eldridge.