Newborn Photography has been popular for a while now and we are all enchanted by those beautiful sleepy baby images. Your baby will never change as fast as they do in those first few days and weeks so it is truly a special time worth capturing and preserving.
If you're planning on booking a photo shoot for your new arrival, then here's some answers to questions I'm often asked plus a bit of helpful advice to help you get the very best from your sessions.
What's the Best Age for a Newborn Photo Shoot?
Ideally when your little one is between 5 - 10 days old although that period can be extended to 14 days (and a little longer if your baby was an early arrival). Past this age, your baby will begin to engage with the world around them and it gets more difficult to keep them asleep to move them between poses. They also naturally unfurl from the tucked position they adopted in the womb.
How Long does a Photo Shoot Take?
It really depends on how your baby feels, they're the boss! Generally, I schedule a session for two hours with a little extra time to play with so we don't need to rush if we need it.
What's Better - a Studio Session or a Home Session?
As a rule of thumb, a studio session will give you access to more backdrop, prop and accessory options as there's a limit to what a photographer will bring to your home. On the other hand, a home session means that you can relax and watch your shoot happen from the comfort of your sofa. A home session will require a certain amount of space and usually a degree of natural light (although I always take battery operated lights as supplement if required) but you have those things, you will still get great photos of your baby and you don't need to pack up and go out. If you've got your heart set on more prop based photos, such as those in tiny beds, bowls and drawers, then you probably want to take a studio session so your photographer has more to choose from to work with.
How do you Book a Session if your Baby isn't Born Yet?
Most photographers limit the amount of sessions that they take on so if there's someone you love, then it's worth booking early. I can't speak for everyone but I think my process is pretty standard. I book your appointment for your due date plus 7 days and then you simply let me know when your baby arrives so we can reschedule if required. If you've already had your baby and decided you want a session, then it's still worth getting in touch as I'll always do my best to make space for you in the studio wherever possible.
What if my Baby Cries or needs Feeding?
Well, they probably will. I can count on my hands the amount of babies in the last five years that have turned up asleep and stayed that way for the whole session. Sessions are always designed to accommodate plenty of settling and feeding time. Babies might be unpredictable but full tummies, a warm and cosy space and lots of soothing is pretty much guaranteed to get them into the land of nod in the end.
The Naked Photos are Sweet but what if my Baby Pees or Poos?
Everything in a newborn photography studio is designed to be washable, including the photographer. It's a 'when not if' situation really when a baby is naked for most of the session. Bed mats, wipes and towels are always on hand for a clean-up then we simply change the blanket or prop and carry on.
What to Bring to your Newborn Photo Shoot
Your Usual Change Bag - yeah, like you'd leave home without it but put in a few extra nappies as well just in case...
Anything You Might Like to Include in Your Photos - Examples might be first toys, favourite blankets, gifted / handmade items, sports scarves, personalised items.
Outfits You'd Like to be Photographed In - If you're planning to join in the photographs (and I'd definitely recommend that you do if only for a few - you might not feel camera ready but it will be lovely to look back on your first days as a family), then bring along something you would like to be photographed in.
Dummy - I'm not going to wade into the debate on this one but if you're using one, then bring it along as it can be a useful tool in soothing your baby to sleep.
Formula and Bottle Warmer - Obviously if you're breast feeding, you kind of already have everything you need with you but if you want to bring along a feeding pillow to get yourself comfy then by all means do.
iPad, Phone, Book, Kindle etc – You’re welcome to simply sit back and watch your images being created by if you want to catch up on emails, social media or just generally take some time out then this is good chance.
Snacks & Drinks for You - You might as well make the most of the break while your photos are being taken
Preparing for your Newborn Shoot
Here’s some tips for getting ready for your newborn shoot. Newborn babies will of course do whatever they feel on the day but following these simple bits of advice will give us the best chance possible of getting them fast asleep and camera ready.
Newborns are usually more settled in the mornings so try and schedule your shoot with a start time of 10 or 11am where possible.
Try to keep your baby awake for the hour before the session.
If you’re more than 15 minutes away from the studio, then try to time your feed for when you arrive at the studio (I do know that it’s not that easy to be precise with these things). If you’re less than 15 minutes journey from your shoot location, then it’s a great idea to feed them before you come.
Leave a bit of extra time to get yourselves all ready to come out, especially if you’ve not left the house before as a family. It’s nice not to have to rush or panic to make your appointment time.
Don’t dress your baby in lots of layers, especial in outfits that need to be removed over their heads as it’s hard to strip them down without disturbing them.
This is a really important one. Relax and much as you can and enjoy your session. Your baby is already really turned into your mood, and there’s not much that a newborn photographer hasn’t seen or dealt with before from crying fits to ‘poonamis’. Take some time to enjoy your images being captured.
Sarah Fisher is a professional and specialist newborn, maternity, baby and family photographer. You can find out more about her work and booking a photo shoot with her at her website www.SarahFisherPhotography.co.uk