Newborn baby photos are so lovely and there's something to suit everyone's taste from highly styled with tutus and props to completely natural and simple.
However, the thought of a photo session with a baby who is just a few days old can sometimes be a daunting prospect. If you love the idea of a baby photo session but aren't quite sure what happens, read on...
When I was pregnant with my first child I knew I wanted a newborn photo session but following her traumatic birth and a stay in hospital I also knew I didn’t want to leave the house for anything longer than about half an hour and then only to walk around the village. To be honest, just getting dressed was a major achievement! Fortunately, our lovely photographer came to our house and I’m so grateful that she did, the photo session was bliss and on that day I decided that when I photographed babies, it would always be in their home.
I’ve been photographing babies in their homes for six years now because I genuinely believe it is best for your baby and you. Your baby is in a familiar environment with all its familiar sounds and smells, and you have everything you need for them at your fingertips so you can sit on the sofa, put your feet up and relax. It's a cliché but it's true; if you're relaxed, your baby will be relaxed, and a chilled-out baby can be photographed.
I bring everything I need to your home with me and set up a cosy area to take advantage of the best light – this is usually in front of a big window or patio doors. (I prefer to use natural light when it’s available but when it isn’t I use soft, gentle artificial light which is indistinguishable from natural light in the photos.) I might occasionally need to move a bit of furniture to make space but I’m pretty good at squeezing in.
I'll have a large bean bag and a frame that goes around it to clip the backdrop fabrics onto, plus a bag of hats/wraps/props (this is discussed before the session so I only bring the things I need) and my camera bag.
It only takes me 10-15 minutes to set up and be ready to start photographing. However, your baby won't be aware of the schedule and is unlikely to be ready, regardless of how meticulously you've followed my pre-session prep guide.
I can't emphasise enough how normal this is! I never expect to pop a soundly sleeping baby on the beanbag and start photographing as soon as I've set up.
I expect to be waiting while you feed, cuddle and change your baby and I don't expect you to do anything different just because I'm there - my plan is always to fit in with you and your baby and be ready and waiting for when they snooze.
My mums often feel like they should be able to make their baby 'perform' and feel apologetic and anxious if they think I'm sat around waiting. Please don't. The most important thing to me is that you are relaxed, because if you're relaxed, your baby will be relaxed, and I've photographed enough babies to know that they always fall asleep eventually. I just wait. In fact, most newborn sessions are 80% waiting and only 20% taking photos. I expect it and it's totally fine, I actually quite like it as it's a welcome change from the fast-paced wedding photography which I may have done at the weekend!
I also expect to be peed, pooed and chucked-up on. It happens so regularly that I keep a change of clothes in the car so don't worry about that either.
Once your baby is asleep, the actual photography can be quite quick. I have a routine of gentle, natural poses that I work through. Starting on their back, then side and finishing on their tummy. If your baby isn't a tummy-time baby I just skip that bit, I'll never try and make a baby do something that they aren't comfortable with, I'll just stick to the other poses and add in a bit more variety to them so you still have lots of lovely pictures to choose from.
Your baby's comfort and safety is my top priority. I'm a member of The Baby & Newborn Photography Association and always adhere to their strict safe-working guidelines. I'm happy for you to be right next to me while I'm working and be involved as much as you want to be. I'll always talk through what I'm doing so you know exactly what's going to happen next and you can ask as many questions as you want.
I'm frequently asked about older siblings and what should happen with them, and I'm happy for tame toddlers to hang around and play.
If your baby is used to a house with a toddler playing in it then they might think it's a bit odd if the usual background noise and babble has been replaced with silence, so don't feel you have to banish them unless you think they might be disruptive.
After the session, I pack up all my stuff and go home to start editing your pictures - taking my massive pile of washing with me!
Babies often need their skin editing which can take a bit of time, but I'll usually have your online gallery ready to view within three weeks. Then you just have the difficult job of choosing which photos you like best and how you want to present them.