Newborn photography is our first love and passion. We love nothing more than to create timeless photos of what love has created. The newborn stage is such a precious and fleeting time in yours and your little one’s lives and to be a part of it is truly a privilege. Tiny details only stay tiny for a little while. That is why newborn photography requires a special kind of heart, one that can appreciate how special these moments are and understand the importance of treasuring them down to the last dimple.
The small details that a couple has spent hours upon hours planning deserve to be photographed. Moreover, these details make for great photographs that you can use to tell the complete story of the wedding. It can sometimes be easy to forget to photograph these or the schedule might not allow it. But there is no doubt the couple will appreciate photos of things like flowers, rings, dress details, table settings etc.
Most people recommend holding a newborn photo shoot within the first ten days of your baby’s life. When babies are this young they are generally very sleepy, which is a good thing for photos. Why? Because a sleeping baby isn’t crying, doesn’t have crossed eyes, doesn’t have a huge pacifier in her mouth, and isn’t flailing her arms about uncontrollably (all of which happen quite regularly when she’s awake). Sleeping newborns look sweet and peaceful, while awake newborns can look a little awkward. If you start your photoshoot while the baby is asleep you can get lots of sweet sleepy pictures, and then a few more when she wakes up.
First, you have to make the decision--and stick to it--that you'll download (or upload) all your photos and videos within a day or so of taking them. It's a good idea to get in the habit of at least copying your photos and videos off your device and it really takes no time; once you've got a system in place, you can do it while watching TV, eating dinner, or playing with the cat. Why bother? The last thing you want to do is run out of space on your card at a key moment or lose your media if you misplace or break your device. If you want to keep it portable to share, that's fine. But you also want to be able to hit "delete" or "format" if necessary. And you need to commit to the plan. If you don't, you'll end up more confused, having to remember whether you downloaded something or not before you can start looking for it.
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Few styles of portrait photography are as tricky as newborn photos — the unpredictable infant is always in charge! The best way to ensure a successful photo shoot is to work with a local newborn photographer within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. Some photographers even work with hospitals to offer newborn sessions within a day of the baby’s birth. But newborn photographers usually recommend scheduling a shoot during the baby’s first two weeks of life, while the baby is still sleepy and relatively cooperative, especially for posed or studio shots. During this time, babies are easier to swaddle in blankets and dress in hats or headbands, and, because they often nap or nurse, can be staged with various props or be cuddled by their parents. For casual photos, most newborn photographers recommend shooting within the first six weeks of a baby’s life. Lifestyle portrait photography is more flexible and doesn’t require the baby to cooperate with multiple poses or props.
Think about how personable the photographer is. You will use the interview in part to determine the technical skills and style of the photographer, but it is also an invaluable opportunity to assess her soft skills. Think about how personable the photographer is. If you take a disliking to her for whatever reason, this could create a negative dynamic or atmosphere on your big day. Keep in mind some basic questions, and discuss your response with your partner after the interview.
Think about it: Your photographer doesn't automatically know that your wedding photo list would include a shot of your mom with all her sisters, or that you want a photo with all the cousins. Consider this wedding photo list a family portrait checklist for your photographer. By providing this wedding photo list before the big day, your photographer will be able to plan out the portrait timing, and which family wedding photos to take when. Not sure who to include in your wedding family photo list? We've done the hard work for you!
Wedding package one: $1,000: Includes up to 4 hours of coverage on the wedding day, with most formal photos taken before ceremony, car service (black Mercedes) as needed from ceremony site to the reception, photos of reception highlights (until time runs out), and high-resolution images via digital download. Add-on options: Second (junior) photographer for $200, additional hour of coverage $100 per hour, engagement photo session (one hour and 10 edited pictures) for $200.
“My kids never sit still and they certainly don’t listen to me when I ask them to look at the camera. Somehow Kate was able to earn their trust right away and capture amazing photos. All I can remember is how happy the kids were and how much giggling was going on while they were in front of the camera. Kate had a warm personality and was the type of person that I would want to invite into my home and life.”
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.
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.
@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.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session. I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared. In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session. Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup. I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them. I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
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!
The beaches are a great location for family photo sessions. Families arrive to get away from the cold winters up north during the holidays. Grandparents who live on the beaches of Fort Myers, Marco Island and Sanibel Island are happy when the grandchildren arrive. I have photographed family photo sessions for over twenty five years in Florida. The beautiful beaches and abundant light in Florida provide for natural portrait photography.
Most of the time when I meet with potential clients, they say the same thing. They don’t want their parents’ wedding photos. They want natural, unposed documentation of their wedding from someone who isn’t going to interrupt the natural flow of the day. The good news is, many (and I’d argue most) wedding photographers have already moved towards this kind of wedding photography. With the exception of a few photographers who have built a reputation on the fact that they will pose and move you during the events of the day to create perfect images (and please do ask photographers about this. There is nothing worse than being poked and prodded and posed all day if what you really wanted was someone to hang back and blend in with the scenery), a good majority of photographers are going to capture your wedding as it happens. But if most wedding photographers are approaching their work from a similar logistical standpoint, well, the end results couldn’t be more different. So how do you know what makes a good photo? What should you be looking for when you look at a photographer’s portfolio?
Also, check if there's a second shooter included in the contract, and if there's not, ask about the possibility. It's likely the second shooter can be confirmed later on, but the main benefit to having two shooters is, of course, you get twice as much coverage. For example, during your formal photo session, one photographer can capture the formal photos, while the second one can get behind-the-scenes, photojournalistic photos, like your guests mingling. If you're having a larger wedding (250 guests or more), you might even want to ask about having three shooters so your photography team can be sure to capture the event from all angles.
2.) Plan for poo. If you are on a normal newborn shoot poo (and pee) it’s going to happen there is no doubt. How you set up is going to make all the difference. If you are using a posing beanbag you need to set up 4-5 sets at one time and layer hospital pads between. That way when baby kills one you literally just say next flip over to the next set and keep truckin.
“Search no more! After our first inquiry, we had a phone date with Amber so we could get to know each other. She is easy to talk to & sooo happy! We were excited to move ahead. Planning a destination wedding blind is tough but Amber helped us and we kept in touch A LOT! It felt like she really cared about our day as much as we did. We met Amber for the very first time the day before our wedding. She is absolutely the cutest thing, super smiley & having never had professional pictures taken of us before - she made that so very easy on us. While we did have a storm roll in on our day—a hiccup that could easily ruin any brides big moment—it was easily quickly tempered with Amber's calm & cool approach. She made my husband feel confident and her mood set the tone & we had the most epic wedding day. After the storm, we were blessed with DOUBLE rainbow. Looking at Amber as we were basking in the after wedding love glow was a highlight. She was smiling from ear to ear, so incredibly happy to be doing what she loves with people who are in love. I can't express how much that meant to us. Having flown across the country, sight unseen, hiring a complete stranger to capture our most precious event we couldn't have been more confident we made the right choice. We were lucky enough to work with Amber & she was a big part of making our elopement the best day of our lives—she's an absolute gem. She got our photos to us quicker than the projected timeline. They are ridiculous good! Do yourself a favor & just hire them, you'll die from happiness. You're welcome!”
Finding homes for unwanted photographs. Many people feel strongly that no old photo should ever be tossed. However, if you have tons of photos but have no connection to them (or if they’re just not your thing), what can you do with them? One option is to donate them. Historical societies worldwide often accept photos, especially if you can provide information about how they came to you. It can be a point of pride for small towns across the U.S., Europe and elsewhere to see how far and wide their native sons and daughters have traveled over the course of generations.