Preparing for Your Newborn Photo Shoot

Hello Mums & Dads!

First off, thank you for choosing me to take your newborn photos! Newbie baby shoots are my absolute favourite photo sessions, as they combine the things I love most about photography with another passion of mine – little ones! Long before I dreamt of a career in photography, I worked at a Nursery School, where I focused on infant care & early childhood development. My years of experience in child care are definitely a huge advantage when it come to photographing newborns, as this is rather a specialised job. Just because someone is a great photographer, does not mean that they are qualified to do your newborn session. I’m my opinion, infant care experience is an absolute must for anyone who’s going to be handling your precious newborn.

That having been said, what happens at a newborn photo session? What should you wear? Where should you have it?

Everything you need to know, you will find below:

 

What types of newborn shoots do you offer?

There are three main styles of newborn photography:

Posed

Posed newborn photos generally involve props & careful posing of the baby, which can only be done once baby is in a deep sleep. Posed shoots don’t include family shots. 

Lifestyle

Lifestyle shoots are very relaxed & natural. The idea is to capture unposed moments & interactions between family members. Throughout such a shoot, I will however guide you, making suggestions on how to sit, stand, hold baby, etc.

Birth 

Birth and ‘first 48 hours’ photography is becoming increasingly popular. If you would like a professional photographer to capture the birth of your baby, first sight, sibling’s first reactions, and all those amazing moments that pass in an instant, this type of shoot is for you. If this interests you, contact me & we can discuss the possibilities. 

That having been said, I personally lean towards Lifestyle shoots. During the shoot, I do like to do a few of those cute poses with baby, but keeping it natural is always a priority for me. Before your shoot, let me know what kind of photos appeal to you, what you have in mind, if you have any ideas, and if there are any specific poses or props you wants to include. I always aim to mould a shoot around what you would like or feel comfortable with.

Where should I have my shoot?

Here too, the choice is yours, with two main options:

In your own home

This is a very convenient & comfortable option. If you decide to do the shoot in your home, your bedroom can be a great place to do the photos, provided that it is well-lit with natural light from windows. If it is not a very light space, another room may be best. Having plain, neutral coloured bedding is best, although not a must. Another good room in the house is the baby’s nursery.

You may feel dubious about having a shoot in your home, especially after you have just had a baby, life is upside down, and the house is a mess. Don’t worry! I understand! This is perfectly normal. All I need is one clutter-free area, the room where the shoot will be done. If I move anything, I’ll put it back in place. Your only job is to relax & enjoy yourself.

At an outdoor location

Location shoots are not only for older kids. In summer, when the weather is warm, at outdoor shoot in a pretty local setting can be adorable. Of course, in this case, the weather is a big factor, and we’ll need to reschedule if it is chilly or windy.

When should I do my newborn session?

The earlier the better. It is generally accepted that the newborn shoot is best done during the first seven – ten days of your baby’s life. Why is this so?

Sleep

First, and most important, your baby sleeps more of the time & more deeply during their first week. Being able to move your baby around while he remains soundly asleep is vital to the success of the photo session.

Flexibility 

For the first few days, baby is still very flexible, and can be easily & safely moulded into all those cute positions you see in newborn photos. After his first week, it becomes increasingly difficult to get him to stay put in a pose without him squirming about. 

Looks

Your baby will be changing so fast during his first two weeks that he will so quickly lose that ‘newborn’ look. Capture it while it lasts! In addition, the earlier your infant photos are done, the less likely he is to have developed baby acne or flakey skin, which is rather a challenge to smooth out during editing.

It is important to book your newborn shoot well in advance to make sure that you will get a spot during your baby’s first few days. If for some reason you are unable to do your baby’s newbie session during his first ten days, don’t stress, we can still have a beautiful session.

What should my baby & I wear?

Outfit choice can have quite an impact on your photos, so plan your outfits before baby is born. Trust me, the last thing you’ll have energy for with a new baby in the house is outfit planning! For some great ideas & inspiration, check out my Newborn Photography Pinterest Board.

Mummy & Daddy

Mum, wear something that makes you feel comfortable & beautiful. Neutral colours are always a good bet. Give yourself enough time before your shoot to do your makeup & pamper yourself. As for hubby, once mum has chosen her outfit, coordinate what you will wear with her, so as to have outfits that go well together.

Baby

Your newborn’s first photo session is a time to focus on him, not his outfit. So colourful, fancy outfits should be avoided, as these will distract from your perfect little newborn himself. Some great choices are a white or solid neutral coloured vest / onesie, just a nappy, or baby’s birthday suit. If you go for a onesie, be sure to leave baby’s feet, hands, and head uncovered, so that we can document those special little details. There are adorable headbands, crowns, hats, etc that you can purchase as props for the shoot.

How do I prepare for my newborn shoot?

There’s quite a bit you can do beforehand to make sure the session goes smoothly & that you & baby are comfortable.

Preparing Baby

The night before your baby’s photo session, make sure to give him an extra good feed. On the morning of the session, try to keep him awake as much as possible, so that when it comes time for the shoot he will sleep soundly. Give him a nice bath to relax him, and a good feed about half an hour before the session. And don’t stress, newborn sessions allow plenty of time for niggles, feedings, and changings. If you are going to have baby undressed for photos, remove his clothes & undo his nappy half an hour beforehand, so that he won’t have unsightly creases. You can keep his nappy on loosely with him wrapped in a blanket until his session.

Preparing the environment

Having the room warm for your baby is important. How warm? Enough to make you begin to perspire. On the South Coast, mid summer heat is severe enough to warrant a fan or open windows. But in winter, a heater may be needed. If you don’t have one, let me know beforehand so that I can make suitable arrangements. The space where we do photos also needs to be clear of clutter.

And there you have it! You are now 100% ready for your newbie baby shoot. I can’t wait to meet your adorable tot & capture all your beautiful earliest memories with him!

Preparing for Your Photo Shoot

Hello beautiful reader!

You are no doubt super excited about your upcoming photo shoot, and of course, want to look your best. Perhaps you’ve had a photo shoot before and feel comfortable in front of the camera. Or maybe, this is a new experience for you. Maybe you’re wondering, “What should I wear?” “Where should I have my photos taken?” “Will my photographer provide props?” “How do I pose so as to look my best?”

Well, those are excellent questions! Being well prepared for your shoot will ensure that you feel comfortable, look amazing, and capture the best possible moments. So, with this in mind, I’ve compiled a selection of images & articles on Pinterest specifically for giving you ideas, tips, and inspiration for whatever kind of shoot you have booked. Check it out here & hit follow!

For quick reference, here are my top tips & info:

Outfits:

    • When selecting what to wear, try to avoid white & other luminous colours, as they tend to become overexposed.
    • Coordinate outfits! For couple, family, or any sort of group photos, selecting a common colour scheme is very important. That does NOT mean that you all need to be matchy-matchy. Rather, just select outfits which go well together & compliment each other. For a super wide variety of examples, check here.
    • Plan your outfits well enough in advance. Thus you can avoid that last minute realisation that the dress you wanted to wear is in the laundry!

Props:

    • Props, while not necessary for the success of your shoot, are still awesome to include. Depending on the location of your shoot & how much space you have, the options are endless. A vintage chair, that quilt Ouma made, fresh flowers, matching sneakers, a picnic blanket. For babies, a mirror, finger pains, a basin full of bubble-bath, blowing bubbles, a cake, block letters to spell their name, and so many more ideas. For newborns, you can buy adorable little outfits designed specifically as newborn shoot props. Other fantastic options are scrabble letters, and baskets of all kinds.
    • At this time, it is up to each client to bring any props that you would like to use for your shoot, although as time goes on I will be acquiring a few fun pieces that can be an option to include in your shoot.

Location:

    • If you have a location in mind for your photos to be taken, please do not hesitate to suggest it.
    • Some wonderful options from which you could choose are, a quiet stretch of beach, a park, a local attraction (such as an amusement park), a wooded area, or even your own home.

Posing:

    • First off, just relax! Be natural, have fun, hug, kiss, get close, laugh.
    • Be prepared. If you have just a few ideas in mind for poses you’d like to do, you’re more likely to be at ease. For posing ideas, visit the Pinterest link above.

Extra suggestions:

    • If you are on holiday, book your shoot for early in your holiday, so that in the event of bad weather, you have time to reschedule. Also, be careful not to get sunburnt before your shoot! I wont be able to ‘photoshop’ that out! (hehe)
    • If you have little ones, bring along a few things to occupy them – favourite toys, beach ball, bikes, etc. Also it’s a great idea to bring a sweet treat or two – when it comes to posing & smiling for the camera, there’s no shame in offering a little incentive to the uncooperative toddler!

FAQs: Why Can’t I Get All the Photos from My Shoot?

So, since this question comes up from time to time, I thought I’d address it in a quick reference post here on my blog.

 

  • RAW files are not ready for use

Professional cameras shoot in a file format called RAW. This is basically the digital equivalent to film negatives – all the information is there, but it is ‘undeveloped’ so to speak. Once I transfer the RAW files to my computer, I then need to use specialised software to open, view, and process these files. Much more is involved than simply converting them to JPEG format. RAW images need to have a multitude of adjustments made to them, all of which need a trained eye. For this reason, I preview all the images from your shoot, and select only the best to edit.

‘But you took so many photos during my shoot, aren’t I missing out?’ you may ask. The answer is, most definitely not! A large part of what you are paying your photographer for, is to wade through the masses of duplicate shots, the blurry shots where you were moving inadvertently, the ones where your eyes were closed, the shots that have your hair flying madly in the wind, and the ones that are unflattering, and pick out the ones that make you look fabulous. For instance, I supply 20 photos for an hour long family session. The reason why I allocate an hour, is so that you have enough time to relax, try different poses, etc. Then, while I am processing the photos, I select the best shots from each pose.

My various packages make provision for the amount of time needed to capture a variety of beautiful shots, as well as the time & skills needed to edit the number of photos included.

  • A side note

A few more reasons exist as to why no self respecting photographer will ever part with unedited images. There is the matter of authenticity, since if I were to give out RAW files, the one who edits them can claim such as their own work. Obviously a big violation of copyright. Even if the images were rightly named as my work, much of how a photo looks has to do with how it is processed & edited – so any images taken by me, but subsequently edited by someone else, or left entirely unedited for that matter, would not reflect my  artistic touch, my personal stamp, and thus would not be a suitable reflection of my standard of work.

To illustrate, a novelist would never  give anyone the unfinished transcripts of their book. Neither would a painter give clients an incomplete portrait. Only the finished products would be available for sale, as their skills could only be properly judged on the basis of these.

 

I hope that you have found the above explanation to be helpful. Do you have a question that you’d like me to address in an upcoming post? Please drop me a line here.