The newborn photo shoot, taken just days after baby is born, has become more and more common for families over the past decade. While most parents know that they’d like a photo shoot to celebrate the birth of their baby, they’re often a little unsure and anxious about what to expect during their session. In many cases, their last portrait session was on their wedding day. Now they not only have to get themselves camera ready, but they have a brand new baby to care for and quite possibly and older sibling as well! It’s a lot to juggle, but there’s not need to stress.
Luckily for my clients, I’ve been photographing newborns just about every week since 2014. I’ve learned a lot over the years, including what consistently works well for my babies and families and how to get the most variety with the time that we have. Information and prep go a long way when it comes to the newborn photo shoot, so I make sure my clients have all the information they need in well advance of their session. You just need to get yourself to the studio and I will take over from there. 😉
I’ve created a large canvas (60×40!) of my most common poses and set-ups for my newborn parent, sibling and family images. This canvas hangs in the studio, not just because it looks pretty, but because it helps parents visualize what they’ll be doing when it’s their turn to be photographed. You’ll likely have to hold baby a little differently for professional pictures than you would if you were sitting at home on your couch. The pictures help parents see exactly what I’m referring to as I explain what’s coming up next. It helps parents relax as they can see exactly what they’ll need to do.
It also shows some different options for sibling photos so we can talk through what’s best for your older child. Children over four are often able to hold baby (to some degree), but we have to be a little more creative with busy toddler older siblings. 😉
Here is a picture of the canvas I have hanging in the studio…
As you can see, I have a variety of ‘go-to’ options for parents, siblings and families. Younger toddlers tend to do well simply sitting next to baby. I try to get them looking at the camera, looking at the baby and giving the baby a kiss… all while baby is asleep in a nest, basket or little bed. Younger toddlers are typically happy to be held by dad for family pictures and/ or standing on a big stool (with mom or dad protecting them from falling, of course!). Another popular family picture is to have everyone snuggled up on the bed together.
The trick with the toddlers is to work quickly and efficiently! I try to do sibling pictures at the start of the the session, followed by family pictures so that we get all of those important shots in before the novelty of the situation wears off. 😉 I have a few quick little tricks and suggestions that we use during the session to get real smiles out of the older children. The family portion of my newborn sessions typically takes place at the start of the session and lasts 20-40 minutes depending on the age of the siblings and their cooperation. Once we finish their pictures, dad and older siblings are free to go home as we switch the focus to the newborn’s individual portraits for the rest of the photo shoot.