Newborn photography is unique, fascinating and challenging but amazingly rewarding. To capture babies during their first days of life in all of their tininess is an honour and privilege. To be able to produce a timeless photograph for the parents to remember that moment when their baby was truly brand new and simply adorable. They grow so fast (I know, I have two!!!) so the first photos are the ones you will treasure forever.
I started writing this blog on Monday morning 5:30am knowing that in 4,5h hours I'll have a chance to photograph a little 14 day old baby girl and I cannot be more excited! So let's see what it takes to set up for a newborn session.
I mentioned in my previous blog that one of the first things I send to my client is a Welcome Guide. It's complete information pack of their newborn session, from how to prepare, what to wear, what to bring to the session, what happens during and after the photoshoot. It also covers the basic policies. It took a lot of research and time to write but importance of the Welcome Guide is to make the parents feel at ease before and during the photo session, to give them the reassurance that their brand new baby will be safe and in a clean and warm environment during the session.
Usually the mum and myself keep in contact leading up to the day of the photoshoot. We make the final plans and I'll check whether there are issues or questions the mum might have. This stage my shot list is complete so I'll be able to guide on clothing choices if needed.
Day before the shoot I'll do my setup. I use Neewer backdrop frame, which will support the fabric backdrops ( I love Sally Baby Props products ) and it covers the beanbag underneath. It is useful to clip few blankets/backdrops in different colours (depending on what you are using during the shoot) to make the bean bag smooth and firm enough for the baby not to sink into it.
I'll also set up another backdrop for the baby and the parents photos. In these delicately precious photos of father and daughter I used a black backdrop, which I haven't used for ages and I absolutely adore the outcome!
I use both natural light and artificial light (softbox with a speedlight). I want the artificial light to enhance the natural light rather than replace it. Baby is positioned in 45 degree angle from the light source to create beautiful shadows and not to have so much direct light on their tiny face.
I will get all the wraps and props needed and make everything easily accessible. There will be changing mat and wipes ready for nappy changes, hand sanitizer, which I use a lot during the shoot, space heater to keep the little one warm and white noise app playing during the session.
I want to make the photoshoot experience relaxed and enjoyable for everyone, we do not rush and there is plenty of time for tea, cookies and feeds.
I love hearing about mum's experience, her pregnancy, how the birth went and how are everyone coping with lack of sleep.
During newborn shoots it is safety first everytime! I cannot highlight this enough. I ask the parents to "spot" if I move away from the baby to photograph them from a different angle. Parent will stay next to the beanbag if the baby decides to move or roll. Also I want to mention, to anyone starting in newborn photography, please do not attempt any poses you do not feel comfortable with. I keep checking the temperature of the baby, making sure they do not overheat.
My photoshoot starts with family photos if there is a sibling to photograph as well. The older ones usually are happiest in the beginning, before tiredness hits. My Monday's baby girl came only with parents so we started with her session first and then did some family shots between newborn photos, while the little girl was awake.
You do want the little bundles to be a sleep to achieve the beautiful posed newborn shots, hence I would
recommended booking your newborn session when the baby is around 5-10 days young!
But that said - you will always capture sweet and special shots regardless of the age!!
It is truly an art form to handle these tiny creatures, regardless of having the experience of babies, posing them and wrapping them, is totally different ball game! The learning curve is huge!!
It is also a waiting game! You let them settle and fall asleep before you start. The moment the tiny one arrives to the set ,and if they happen to be fast asleep, you will start by undressing them (how unfair from their point of view!!!?) to be able to wrap them for the first shot. I want to start with wraps as it is easier to slowly unwrap them rather than go from clothed to totally butt naked.
It all is maneuvering between sleep and awake, feed and restlessness, wrapping and unwrapping. You really need to create the workflow to master this (I am still learning and researching the best methods!)
Achieving the serene and delicate shots take time and patience, a lot of learning, trial and error and amazing amounts of shushing to get them to fall asleep! But I love it!
My dream is becoming a reality every single time I have the privilege to photograph a newborn.
When the photoshoot comes to an end the tiny one is normally super tired (finally!!) and it is time for me to backup the photos, upload them and start the exciting job of post processing!
I have editing to do, sneak peak video to create and photo gallery to produce! Everything is hand edited to perfection.
My love affair with newborn photography is something I want to treasure, I want to master, I want to dedicate myself to. As mentioned before - it is an honour and a privilege!!!
Hope you enjoyed this little blog of mine!
Happy Weekend, my fellow dreamers!