Penelope Jane arrived in time for Christmas this year. Her nursery looked like it was straight out of pottery barn. Her plush blankets and fuzzy white carpet made great backdrops for photos. Penelope was alert and merry the entire session. Newborn sessions like this warm my heart.
For me, newborn sessions are probably one of the most challenging portrait sessions that I offer, but also the most rewarding. As a photographer you never quite know what type of session you are going to have when you walk into your couple's home. There are so many emotions that your primary client can have on the day of the session.... a newborn (your primary client) is sometimes sleepy, awake and happy, hungry, or plain upset. I tell new parents that newborn sessions require a lot of patience. It truly is like a box of chocolates and you never know what you're going to get! There are a few things that I have found helpful when preparing for a newborn session I narrowed it down to 5...
1. Have your couple TURN UP the heat. Most of the time babies aren't dressed wamrly for newborn sessions. You would probably cry too if you were only wearing a diaper ;)
2. Ask your clients to prepare clean spaces for the session, and collect items they would like to use ahead of time. I LOVE fuzzy white blankets and primarily white swaddles. Most of the time when babies are in baskets there are secretly bath towels underneath to prop them up. Ask your couple to have towels handy. When the baby is happy you want to be shooting, not wasting time looking for items that you need to make a set work.
3. Tell your clients that it's okay if the session last a little longer than anticipated. Sometimes babies need to eat in the middle of the shoot. Remember you are creating art, there's really no need to be in a rush. However don't stay all day ;) Typically newborn sessions for me last one hour to two hours on the longer end.
4. Know when the baby is tired. At that point it's time to try a new setting. If a baby is starting to get fussy or uncomfortable while you're trying to get a certain picture of them, I always suggest getting the parents to pick up the baby. Try taking a few photos of the parents holding him or her until they relax.
5. Try to shoot near open window light, and schedule your session at a time when the most light is available.
There's a lot of beauty in this world, but for me capturing a new family is one of the most precious and beautiful sessions.
Please add any ideas or suggestions in the comments below about what you find helpful during newborn sessions.