Jackie Spivey is a Keller-based photographer crafting high-quality portraits of families and newborns for over 10 years. She offers in-studio and in-home photo sessions for newborns and babies, and also takes family, wedding, and maternity photos on location. Jackie Spivey was once voted by the WFAA as one of the Top 5 Wedding Photographers in Dallas/Fort Worth.
“The idea of walking down an isle and having a bunch of people kind of terrified us—It felt like it wouldn't have been a day for us, but instead for other people. I've heard many people talk about how they don't even remember their wedding day or they were too exhausted to even enjoy it and they spent the whole time trying to talk to everyone who attended it. Eloping takes a lot less planning, which took a lot of stress away”
Though newborn photography may seem daunting at first, it’s like any other form of photography in that the more you practice the better you become. Take your time, be patient, and don’t second guess yourself. With the proper planning and research, some creative and personalized props, in addition to careful and safety-first execution, you should come away with at least a few good images on which to build your foundation. For more newborn photography tips and tutorials, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop, a full guide to baby and newborn photography, teaching posing, lighting, planning, and post production for newborn photography.
I live in this dichotomous world in my head. I’ve always been a thrifty DIY gal who loves to shop garage sales. However, I’m also a professional photographer who charges according to my expertise, which aren’t necessarily garage sale prices. I think that every 2-3 years, investing in a professional photographer is ideal. There are many price ranges out there, and with a little researc, you can find someone in your area that meets your needs. I also know that taking Family Pictures just isn’t in the budget each year for most people, so I’m going to share some tips on How to Take your Own Family Pictures.
Full Frame sensor – When we started shooting full frame with the original 5D we saw a huge leap in the quality of our photography. Images just looked crisper, the depth of field was shallower, and the shooting experience (looking through the larger viewfinder) was much better. Check out this article for a look at different sensor sizes and how it affects the image
Most of my clients opt out of the above and go with adding their own personal touches to the engagement session. This is also a perfectly distracting maneuver. Often times, clients feel awkward in front of the camera and don’t know what to do. Accessorizing the shoot and adding some props will shift their attention from you to the objects around them. If the props hold sentimental value to your clients, it will be better for you.
Your newborn baby has his or her own schedule. When they get fussy, be sure to take your time and wait it out. Sometimes you’ll spend 3-4 hours on a shoot with the baby crying the entire time and finally, in the last 20 minutes, you’ll get everything you need. It’s not going to be easy and be sure to plan sufficient time or the shoot. Your shoot duration will vary depending on the number of wardrobe changes and scene setups, but in general be flexible. If you’re doing this professionally, consider charging per session, per image, or per scene rather than charging per hour.
6. A spotter. Anytime you are photographing a baby, you really need another person as a spotter. The other person’s only job is to make sure the baby doesn’t roll off the cushions onto the floor. If you are photographing a newborn it’s extremely unlikely they’ll be strong enough to roll anywhere, especially once they are nestled inside the boppy pillow or bean bag, but you can never be too safe. So make sure your “assistant” sits on the floor within arms length of the baby.
When most people think about hiring a professional photographer, they don’t consider their home as the backdrop they are looking for. But why not??? Beautiful portraits in the place you spend the most time as a family offers the most unique atmosphere. I would suggest this only if you love the decor in your home, and it is free of clutter. I often like to create activities such as hanging out on the couches, sitting around the piano, jumping on the trampoline, or even having a cookie making event in the kitchen. Possibilities are endless–what does your family love to do at home together?
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"
After receiving your initial questionnaire, I will call you to go over the portrait session and ask some basic questions regarding your expectations. We will discuss important items such as location, wardrobe, your photography style preference and most importantly, your desires for the final product. Each portrait session is completely customized for each individual/family.
This is the biggest question I get from almost all of my couples. While clothing is very subjective, your clients will seek assurance from you that their style is worth being photographed in. Regardless of what you say, your clients will probably end up wearing something they feel most comfortable in. However, from your experience, you can guide your clients into choosing to wear things that will look good in the camera.
No matter where you shoot, studio, home, outside, 7Eleven, you’ve got to simplify your surroundings. The beauty of a mother anticipating the arrival of her child should be captured in a way that allows the miracle to speak for itself. Pregnancy doesn’t require anything “else” to be present in a photograph to help tell it’s story. Everything in the frame that may not belong will simply serve to distract from the story that’s already being told, naturally. Pay attention to background.
Please do whatever you can to keep the noise to a minimum during our session. Maintaining a calm environment is also a big key to a successful newborn shoot. I do have a white noise app that I will keep close to baby during the session to help soothe him or her. Babies love strong and rhythmic sound. Amazingly! that’s the sound the heard 24/7 in the uterus!
Jeckyl Photo creates portraits of kids in all stages of childhood. The Fort Worth photo studio shoots maternity photos, newborn photos, and babies at their sitting, walking, and standing stages. The business also shoots senior portraits, engagement photos, and wedding day photos. Clients have praised the company for its beautiful pictures and knowledgeable photographer.
Sam helped us really figure out what we were wanting and how to achieve that feeling...and gave us the confidence to stick to our wishes, even if they were non-traditional! She honestly felt like working with a goofy friend. The pictures were more than we could have imagined...and for my husband who really is shy in front of the camera? You never would have known! Sam made it SO easy.
Once you’ve taken 10-15 shots of the scene, figure out how you can change the setting without disturbing the baby. This picture below is from the same pose as the first photo in this post, but it looks very different. I unclamped the blanket the baby is laying on from the backdrop board, letting it fall behind her. Then I clamped pretty pink fabric to the backdrop board. Finally, I pull the edge of the blanket the baby is lying on up over her back to make it look like she’s tucked in bed. While I was making these changes the baby was snoozing away, staying perfectly posed. I got two very different looking sets of photos from one pose. This is a great way to maximize the baby pictures you get from your DIY photoshoot.
“I cannot say enough great things about Maddie. I'm so ecstatic that we stumbled upon her site. Maddie is truly a genius in her craft and is a hell of an artist. She went above and beyond in every aspect of being a photographer - she helped us plan our day, recommended other vendors, had Skype interviews with us to answer any and all questions, even went as far as to write us out an itinerary for our wedding day. My husband and I had an adventurous elopement - we said our vows on top of a golden sand dune in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Maddie hiked with us all day and captured every magical moment. The pictures that she takes speak for themselves - they're amazing. She captures every intimate aspect of your day and invites you to be who you are as a couple. Not to mention that Maddie is so sweet and welcoming. She's such a people person and meshes so well with, I imagine, just about anyone. She really puts in the extra effort to make you feel comfortable and at ease throughout the entire process. I would recommend Maddie over and over again.”
[GIVEAWAY] I’m excited to announce that I’m collaborating with @cansoninfinity to give away a print of one of my newborn photos, as well as a pack of my favourite Canson® Infinity Rag Photographique! To enter, simply follow @cansoninfinity, like this post, and leave a comment below letting me know that you’ve completed all of the steps. Entries close June 21st at 23:59 AEST, with the winner being picked the following week a random draw 😃
If you are doing the session in the client’s home, posed newborn sessions require nearly the same amount of prep as a wedding. You need quite a bit of “stuff” and it is easy to forget something so I make sure to pack the night before and use a checklist so I don’t forget anything (I’m a mom with a very limited memory). To make your life a bit easier, I’ve made a print ready checklist you can use which is included in the newborn photography toolkit – one of the FREE limited time bonuses included in our online Newborn Photography Workshop.
Talk about the photographer’s style. The first thing to discuss is the style and ideas of the photographer. You will have seen some pictures, but you will be able to get better and more complete understanding by talking it through in person. Ask the photographer to describe the style they shoot in, and be sure to ask any further questions if anything is unclear to you.
Like most newborns, baby Maesie snoozed peacefully through her very first photo session, completely oblivious to the fact that she was the star of the show. Her soft, rosy cheeks and dark hair looked so beautiful with the floral headbands. What a little doll! As parents, we’re always a little nervous to see how older siblings will handle the new arrival, but Cole seemed so enamored with his baby sister already, fully ready to take on his new role as protective big brother. I love the photo of the two of them as he kissed the tip of her tiny button nose. He held her gently in his lap so he wouldn’t wake her.
@Leslie yes it is certainly easier to get people at ease outdoors without the studio lights and all the stuff that goes with it that can be intimidating. Try putting on some soft music that's relaxing, or some funky music to get people a bit more relaxed. The best way to get people to pose more easily is to talk to them! It's that simple. Stop focusing on the technical stuff, do that before they get in front of the camera. Then interact and talk to them. Ask them about them, their day, etc. It's also easier to show people how to pose by doing it first in their place, then have them repeat it. Hope that helps.
In addition to this tutorial, if you want all the info you need in one simple package with lifetime access, check out our Newborn Photography Workshop for the On-Location Photographer which Cole and I have spent months putting together all the necessary knowledge & tools to be adequately prepared for the lovely world of photographing newborns. On sale for a limited time and all workshop participants also will get Cole’s Essential Newborn Lightroom Collection Presets, the Pricing & Positioning Yourself for Success pricing handbook, exclusive discounts & a whole lot more. Click below to see the workshop details.
I don’t mind them most of the time – I think they show your baby as he or she is and there’s nothing wrong with that. However at times they can be a little distracting and for those special shots that you might like to give as gifts you might like to do a little photoshop retouching. Most post processing editing tools will have some sort of airbrush or retouching tool – learn to use it, even if it’s just to smooth over the main marks and you’ll be amazed by the results.
Wedding is very crucial part in human life that’s why people are more concern about it to remain its pleasure for whole in their life. There are so many moments happening during the wedding ceremony which won’t get back without clicking photo on time or keeping any documentary on it. As human nature, we can’t keep more things in our mind for long time because we are facing lots of things every day and that erase our backstory by gathering new story, after a certain period we can’t recall our best moments like the time it has happened. So the wedding photography is very essential for a newly couple to keep their eye wink for all the time in their good book.
Be prepared to edit your photos. I am not talking about crazy amounts of editing, I am talking merely tweaking. The photos we took were taken in the morning light, so the light was a little bit cool for my taste. So I quickly imported my photos into Lightroom and warmed them up just a little bit! I highly recommend using Lightroom to edit photos quickly and in bulk! You can purchase Lightroom HERE.
Choose coordinating colors, not matching. Knowing what colors to wear for family photos can be tricky. Start off with colors that coordinate well. You can accomplish a cohesive look without every family member wearing the exact same outfit. In fact, that can seem overly-matching. By selecting a color scheme and using hues that complement each other, you can achieve a more natural look across the board. Pick two main colors and then add softer tones to accent and complete your color scheme.
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
Spring is the perfect time to take your photo idea outdoors. Choose from beautiful pastel colors are more prominent in the springtime, along with white and blue hues. Other trendy springtime outfit ideas include floral patterns, which can be incorporated throughout accessories or clothing items. Dresses and skirts are also popular for spring family photos. These springtime trends paired with simple basics will give your family photos a polished and fresh look.
Newborn photography can come with many surprises, especially if you aren’t a parent. I’ve compiled a list of newborn photography tips that have helped me tremendously and I am sure will be helpful for anyone interested in learning more about newborn photography. Of course, every photographer will have a different way or style of doing things but these are just some of the top things I’ve learned through the years as a newborn photographer.
Oh wow!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’ve been looking for information like this for a while and here it is, in a 5 part series. I’ve been asked to take maternity and newborn pictures of my nephew that will be born in about 1 1/2 month…so excited…except I was a bit nervous as I had never done a newborn photoshoot before. Again thank you so much for the information…will be of great use. Great job!