Quite often people aren’t sure what to expect when they come to their newborn session. There’s already a lot going on in your life when you have a week old baby so here’s a bit of info on what happens.
When you arrive on the driveway, we’ll grab everything you need from the car (I recommend just bringing your baby up in their car seat so we don’t disturb them too much if they’re sleeping. We walk up a little pathway to the studio building.
When we get into the lobby, I’ll get you to sanitise your hands before we move into the heated part where we’ll be spending time creating your images. I’m still recommending masks for newborn photo shoots as we’re spending quite a lot of time together but the choice is yours of course. Once we’ve done the boring sanitiser bit, we go through the shooting area and you can get comfy on my giant chaise longue.
If your baby is happy and cosy in their car seat, we’ll just leave them be while we take care of some of the necessary little bits of admin before we start shooting and just quickly chat over the options that you put on your pre-session form and make sure you’re happy with everything that I have set up for you. Then once we’ve done that, I’ll get your little one out and the session will start. Of course if they’re unsettled or hungry when they arrive, we’ll get them out of the seat straight away and start to settle them down so we can begin.
The studio will be really quite warm when you arrive – it’s newborn temperature not adult temperature as having a warm room really helps them to settle (especially if we’re stripping them down to their birthday suit) so you might well want to dress in something light or layered so you don’t have to sit and swelter while I work!
When your baby is ready to go, I’ll settle them down onto the beanbag. It’s pretty much that, a giant beanbag that sits within a frame that allows me to stretch fabric over it to create a coloured background. I use mini beanbags as well underneath the fabric to help you baby settle into positions that look great when we photograph them as they’re super floppy especially when they’re fast asleep.
It’s the comfiest and easiest place to start the session so that’s where I always begin even if you’ve also requested to include props in your photo shoot. There we can nail the basics of your gallery – the beanbag is a surprisingly flexible space and I can add lots of props and accessories to make sure your photos are still nicely varied.
We start with your baby fully dressed although it’s really helpful to me if they aren’t wearing too many layers as I strip them down gently during the session and the less I have to remove, the better really. Once they’re down to their nappy, I’ll be adding in wraps, covers, swaddles and sometimes even little purpose designed newborn outfits to complete their look – they’ll stay warm and toasty even when they’re not dressed though, don’t worry.
When they’re really good and settled we’ll take a look at working with any props that you’ve requested – those transitions can be a little bit trickier but pretty much anything is possible when a newborn is good and sleepy. If only we could all sleep as well as a newborn when they’re deep in the Land of Nod!
Sibling and Family Photos
Once we’ve got all of the shots we want of your newborn on their own, we move onto the sibling and family photos if you’ve asked for them. Most of the session is focused on your new arrival as we have such a short window to capture those sleepy images but there’s always time for family photos too!
When it comes to sibling photos, a lot really depends on the age of your older children. When they’re under four years old, I recommend that they don’t stay for the first part of the session. Instead, get dropped off and then they go off for an hour or so with another parent or grandparent to have some fun while we work. The reason being for this is that it’s pretty boring for them to have to sit reasonably still and quietly while I work with a newborn – there’s nowhere for them to play and also it can be a bit annoying for them to witness the new arrival getting all the attention while they’re still getting used to them. By the time they’re fed up and bored, they’re much more likely to say no when it comes to being in the photos. We have a much better chance of them being keen to join in if they come in fresh at the end of the session. I mean, if they’re two or three, it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll do on the day but like I say, our chances are much better.
Older kids are of course welcome to hang out while we’re doing photos – we don’t have very good mobile reception at the studio though so if they are planning on amusing themselves with phones or tablets, then definitely make sure what they want is downloaded before they visit.
When they’re too small to safely support their little brother or sister without assistance, then we work with them lying down and looking up at the camera. First of all, I set up a little nest of cushions under a blanket on the floor for your newborn and get them settled and cosy. When we’ve got there, we add in their sibling so they are ‘working’ for the minimum amount of time. In terms of outfits, it’s only going to be the top half of your older child that’s in the picture as we’re really just looking at getting their heads nice and close together, so that’s the only bit you need to worry about. If they’re keen on keeping their favourite wellies on, it won’t show so they can do it.
With older children, of course they can hold their little brother or sister. We still work with them sitting down on the floor and we can position a parent just out of shot if we need to just to give us an extra layer of protection if they’re still getting used to it. We sit them down first and take a couple of photos so they know what to expect, and then we position the newborn into their arms but generally also partially supported on their lap and go from there.
Family photos are obviously much more straightforward. I tend to do these with you all standing up as it’s more comfortable for folk who’ve just had a baby than anything else. Generally the person who’s had the baby holds the newborn as they’re the lightest and the other parent is then free to pick up other small children so they’re included in the photo. There’s lot of other options we can look at though if you’d like something different so just feel free to chat over any ideas that you have.
What if they Cry / Pee / Poo?
Well yeah, they’re probably going to do at least one of those if not all three. None of it makes any difference to me or to their session really – if they’re crying, we’ll work to soothe them. If they pee or poo when they’re having their picture taken, then they will be in good company. We clean it up where we need to and everything is washable in the studio (including me). Nothing to stress about.
If I was going to give you one piece of advice about a newborn photo shoot, then it would be to relax and enjoy it. We’ll have most of the details of what you’d like nailed before you arrive and you’ll be there to tweak things on the day. It might be your first outing as a family and you’ll probably have had a stressful / sleep deprived week. So take the opportunity to relax on the sofa, find a little oasis of peace and enjoy watching your images being created.