Are you into pictures? I am. Photography has been my hobby since high school when started out shooting for the student paper and year book. Those cameras still shot with film back then. (Am I dating myself? I digress.)
Anyway, I still consider photography to be my favorite hobby, but when it comes to the big events, I leave those up to the pros. So when our daughter came along, I knew right away that I wanted to have a newborn photo shoot. I haven’t regretted it. If you’re thinking about having newborn pictures done, here are some suggestions and tips I’d like to share.
- Find your style. Do you swoon over a swaddled baby in a basket, or is sunlight streaming through windows onto the new family more your style? Props or nursery, studio or your home? Browse through newborn photos until you’ve got an idea of what you like, then start the search for a local photographer who specializes in that style. I’d had my eye on the photographer we used before I was even pregnant!
- Talk to friends. Did they have newborn pictures taken? Did they like their photographer? Can they show you their pictures? Word of mouth is probably the best way to find a good newborn photographer.
- Be wary of the lowest price. These days, everyone is a photographer. It doesn’t take much for someone pick up a digital camera and call themselves a professional. Often, these photographers will not have a broad portfolio and will have amazingly low prices when compared to others in the business. That’s not to say that someone who is just starting out isn’t a good photographer. I simply mean that you want to choose someone who can show you more than one good shot per session they’ve completed. Your baby is a newborn for a very short period of time. You don’t want to receive your pictures only to be disappointed and without the chance to redo them.
Once you’ve made your choice, your photographer will typically schedule you for a time within the first week to week and a half after your due date (flexible, of course, to when you actually give birth). This is because that is the time when newborns are soft, floppy, and want to sleep a lot.
When the day of your shoot arrives, aim to nurse/feed baby just before your photographer arrives, or immediately upon arriving to the studio. A belly full of milk typically sends a new baby straight off to dreamland, which lets your photographer get those sweet, milk-drunk shots.
At the same time (as early as you dare, really), put baby’s diaper on loosely so as to avoid diaper lines if you’ll be getting any pictures with baby undressed. Be prepared to turn up the heat in your home, or to find yourself in a very warm studio. Newborn photographers use this trick to keep baby warm and asleep during the shoot. As a new, tired mom, the heat nearly put me to sleep as well!
Bring any personal items that you want included in the photos–dad’s fire helmet, your childhood teddy bear–and be sure to let your photographer know if there are particular shots you’d like them to take.
From that point on, it’s all up to baby and your photographer. Have fun, relax if you can, and enjoy recording those beautiful early moments with your new baby!
Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and their 2.5 year old daughter and dreams of someday becoming a travel photographer. Photos from Add to Heart Photography used with permission.