Congratulations! You’re pregnant and due in the next 6-8 weeks. It’s time to select a newborn photographer. You may already have a favourite photographer picked out, but if you don’t, here’s some information to help you choose the right one for you. There are two types of styles when it comes to newborn photography, and I’m going to tell you about what is involved for each type of session (from my point of view).
First, there is the very well-known, posed newborn session. This session typically takes about 3-4 hours to conduct. The reason for this is because it is essential for the baby to be in a deep sleep in order for the photographer to pose the baby. The photographer, and the clients, need to allow time to get the baby to sleep, feedings, changing, soiled blanket removal, adjusting poses, adding props etc. All this must be done slowly and quietly so that the baby doesn’t wake up. Some photographers will do composite poses, like the “frog” pose, where the baby’s head appears to be held up by their arms. Please know that this is actually two images combined into one, and the photographer has an assistant hold the head in place. Other poses included more traditional, sleepy poses, and often hats, bows, bonnets, and even more recently, knit pants are used as props.
Another thing to note is that the photographer usually prefers the baby to be between 6-10 days old at the time of the session. The photographer may come to your home, but more often than not, the photographer has a studio and would like you to come to them. This is a big thing to consider because as a new mom, you may not feel up to leaving your home in the first 2 weeks after birth.
Please note that I no longer offer posed newborn photography. I gave it up in 2012 in favour of lifestyle sessions. It’s been a wonderful addition to my portfolio.
The second type of newborn photography that is re-gaining momentum is called lifestyle newborn photography. This session typically takes less time (usually 1.5-2.5 hours) and doesn’t NEED to be done when baby is between 6-10 days of age. The baby isn’t required to be asleep, and in fact, many parents love the awake shots, where those big, bright newborn eyes are staring into the camera as we try to discern what they may be thinking!
A lifestyle session involves a lot of cuddling with mom and dad (and siblings). They are usually done in the client’s home, and would involve using a number of different rooms in the home. I personally prefer to use the master bedroom, living room, and sometimes even the kitchen. A more journalistic approach is taken during the session, and while I will pose the family for a number of photographs, I’ll also capture those in-between moments during diaper changes, feedings and extra cuddles. I feel that these are important moments to capture. I’ve been thanked on several occasions for including those types of images because a few months down the road, those memories have begun to fade, and the client is thankful to have them to cherish.
Irregardless of which type of newborn session is right for you and your family, there are a few things to consider before booking a photographer:
- When viewing the photographer’s website, ask yourself: in 20 years from now, will you still love the image, or will you wonder why you choose that type of photography? Basically, will the image be timeless?
- Are there any photographs on the photographer’s website that include the parents. It is SO important to be photographed with your newborn. You and your partner are just as important as the baby, after all!
- If you decide to go for posed photography, ask if the photographer if you go to them, or if they come to you. Also, ask about their safe practices policy. Do they do composite images (for the froggy pose, for example). The photographer should be a specialist in their genre.
- If you decide to go for lifestyle photography, look for a photographer that specializes in this style also. View their website in detail and look at recent sessions on their blog. It’s very important that the photographer knows how to pose people correctly, so the baby’s face isn’t always hidden.
- Did the lifestyle photographer capture the emotion of the session? Do the parents seem genuinely happy or are the smiles forced?
You’ll also want to review my guide to choosing a photographer for more advice on how to ensure you’re hiring the right photographer for your family.
I hope that you have found this helpful. If you are interested in speaking to me about a lifestyle newborn session, please contact me, and I will be happy to arrange a telephone consultation.