Newborn photography is rewarding but also difficult, especially when studio style is involved. I belong to many Facebook closed groups for photographers and actively participate in all sorts of discussions. Almost everyone agrees newborn photography is one of the most challenging categories. Why? So many unknown factors: newborn behaviors, parents emotions, siblings (and very often they are at young ages)cooperation, safety, settings, posing, props, timing…it takes lots of practice to get it done right.
I am still pretty new to studio style newborn photography. I am not going to lie about it. Then why people want to choose me? Well…everyone needs to start somewhere. Your portfolio on other young children, your reputation, your personality, or perhaps even consider build your portfolio by gifting a few sessions followed by offering a nice trial discounts for the next few subsequent clients…can attract the ones that really have faith in you. Then…practice at home with a doll, take training classes, read books/blogs, participate in discussions…all these can help you better prepared for a studio style newborn session.
The best time to conduct a studio style newborn session is when babies are within 2 weeks old. Otherwise, babies tend to be more alert and therefore more difficult to be posed. My goal is to provide parents a completely stress-free session experience. Therefore, I conduct sessions on location at the comfort of the clients’ houses. I also provide all props. I never told parents to go all the way preparing for a newborn session because understanding how tired they already are and how unpredictable a newborn session might be, I do not want to make the parents feel more frustrated when they follow all instructions then things still don’t go quite right. However, it is important to make them understand newborn session does have a timing constraint so that they can confirm booking with you as soon as possible. Ask them to identify an area about 5ft x 5ft with plenty of sunlight available to set up the bean bag, etc. Do inform them about controlling the surrounding temperature to be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Plan workflow prior to the session is very important.
Newborn usually gives a smile-like reflex during a session. I love to capture that. Sometimes, Moms might have tricks to make them smile as well.
To add more varieties to the session, use different accessories.
Be very patient with your newborn session and also set the same expectations for the parents as well. On average a good newborn session will take about 3 to 4 hours. You should expect several feeding in between, plus time for burping, and diaper changes. Babies might get uncomfortable with gases and become fuzzy. Allow parents take time to soothe them. It is very likely babies will choose to release themselves or vomit on your props as well. Therefore plan wisely. For rugs that are difficult to clean, consider choose a prop that allows the baby to wear a diaper. Do let parents know all these are normal.
While parents are soothing the baby, why not take some candid/lifestyle moments?
If there are siblings, try to take some solo for them as well while baby is being fed or comforted.
And…don’t forget to capture a various combination of images such as siblings and baby, Mom and baby, Dad and baby, the whole family, etc.
What did I learn from this session? Be prepared, be patient, be communicative, make every single moment worthy, and safety first. Newborn session is about helping the family to document the very early moments of the baby’s life. It is not about trying to gain yourself personal fame as a photographer. Put your clients’ concern above yours. Show them that you care. Practice good hygiene – tie your hair up, trim your nails, wash your hands frequently throughout the session, and be sure to sanitize all equipment and props prior to the session. Understand your own limits, never force or push too far. When posing babies, allow them to fall into their favorite position. My philosophy is there is no need to attempt advanced posing in order to impress. Instead, fill it with loving candid moments. Gain your clients’ trust with your professionalism, high ethical standards, and a loving heart.
To book newborn session, visit Baby’s First Year Plan for more details.
Interested in finding out what the parents say about MuSen? Read their testimonial here.