I often get asked by people, “in all of your photos, baby looks so calm….but HOW do you do it?” There’s two things I say, firstly, baby is calm if the parents are calm, so my focus is to keep Mum and Dad at ease. Secondly, baby isn’t always calm, babies are babies, they cry, that’s how the communicate. I just don’t often share THOSE photos! Now how do I keep parents at ease? Well I thinks it’s all about how the experience is with me from start to end. So let’s talk about what a newborn portrait session with me is like!
Of course the very first step for a newborn portrait session is for you to reach out to me and tell me, “oh I love your work so very much, I simply cannot birth my child until you agree to come photograph my bundle of joy!” ….okay so that’s not always how my first enquiry goes with a client but you’ll be certain you can expect the same level of enthusiasm from me if you do message me like that!
Once you’ve reached out, they’ll be some back and forth messaging were I mostly gush about how excited I am for you because I am obsessed with pregnancy, birth and babies! When I’ve finished gushing I’ll be sure to send you a newborn portrait session guide. This will include TONS of information, from what to wear, how to prepare, pricing and how you receive your images.
Next we arrange a call, either on the phone or via zoom, up to you! This is a great chance for us to chat, get to know one another. The more I know about you the better I can serve you and the more you get to know me, the more comfortable you’ll feel about me taking your photos. During the call we will finalise all details about your session, if baby is already here we can sort a date. If you’re still pregnant, I’ll send you away with instructions to relax and drop me a message once baby is here and you feel ready for your newborn portrait session.
The day before the session you can expect an e-mail from me checking in if everything is still good to go ahead and if there’s anything else you need from me.
Then time for the newborn portrait session itself!
Usually a session will begin with us sharing a cup of tea whilst I coo over your baby. We sit for a while chatting about the joys of parenting and any surprises it has brought. I always find that this bit feels just like hanging out with a friend, you’d never know that this was the first time we’d met in person! I don’t even take my camera out of the bag until I sense you have all relaxed a little and taken a deep breath. I know that the idea of having your photo taken can feel a little nerve wracking. Honestly, I understand it but I promise that with me, it always feels relaxed and everyone tells me they actually forget I HAVE a camera after a bit!
Nine times out of ten I begin every newborn portrait session with the whole family cuddled up on the sofa. Nothing posey, the most likely instruction you will hear from me at this point is, “can you squeeze in closer”. There’s a reason I like to start with this group shot. For most people the first few photos feel a little scary and unknown. So just like a ripping off a plaster I like everyone to get the first shot done fast! And if you’re all in it together that helps ease the nerves too!
Once everyone has relaxed with me even more I will get shots of each individual parent with baby. Do not fear though I’m not expecting you to know how to stand, very few of my clients are ACTUAL models. But it’s okay, I have plenty ideas up my sleeve and with some light instruction such as, “hold baby belly to belly, hold them high and could you give a slow soft kiss on top of their head” we will get that breath taking shot.
That is the most I will do in terms of posing, just some gentle instruction and asking you to stand in certain spots were the light is good. I never place my hands on baby, I never pose babies. Mostly because I personally despise the idea of placing tiny babies in strange and forced positions. But also because baby is happiest when they are being held by their parents. You are their world, you are all they know and I will not get in the way of that. In fact, I’m here to document and celebrate that!
If during the session baby becomes unsettled that is FINE! I do not expect a whole newborn portrait session to be plain sailing, no interruptions, just solid shooting. That’s not in the job description of a newborn photographer!
So at any point during your newborn portrait session you are free to attend to baby however needed, feed them, change them, rock them, bathe them. Whatever baby needs from you, their comfort is priority always!
Your newborn portrait session will have us venturing around the house whilst I hunt for the best light, that could be up on your bed, the nursery (if you’ve been organised enough to get that sorted) it could even be sitting on your kitchen floor! And we will continue to shoot as long as baby is happy. Most sessions last between one and half to two hours.
One of my favourite spots to shoot during a newborn portrait session is on the bed! Shots of the whole family piled on for a cuddle, images of Mum laying down with baby staring lovingly at their perfect, tiny features. It's also the best spot for taking portraits of baby on their own. As I mentioned before I don’t post baby, so instead we simply place baby on the bed and I photograph them just as they are! I also use this moment to get all those close up dreamy detail shots, ears, feet, fingers, a twirl of wispy hair.
Once my camera is full of intimate and timeless portraits of your new family it’s time to finish your newborn portrait session. But before I head off I like to leave my couples with one of my favourite children book to read aloud with baby and continue the feeling of connection!
It usually takes around two weeks for me to deliver your completed album in which you can expect to find around 50 images. That being said, I’m usually so excited about your photos that I can’t resist sending you a little sneak peak before then!
I hope this has answered any questions or concerns you may have had around booking a newborn portrait session with me. You can see that it really is a relaxed and laid back experience from start to finish. And I hope you can feel that I am PASSIONATE about celebrating you, your baby and the love you share so that you can enjoy this incredible chapter forever!
If you want to chat or ask me more you can always reach me on Instagram.
To see a newborn portrait session from start to finish please check out this blog post.
And if you feel ready to chat with me about your newborn portrait session drop me a message!