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  • Kerry Paradis

How to Plan for a Newborn Photo Shoot


Newborn picture of the froggy pose

Expectations:

Photographing newborns can be incredibly challenging. It takes a lot of patience for not only the parents, but the photographer as well. To set the expectation, plan for an average of around 4 hours for the shoot. There are times when it takes less, but that is a rarity in this business. There is a reason why you want to deal with someone who specializes in newborns. I have several photographer friends who stick to weddings and families because they are not patient enough to handle the length and events of the session. The reason why I am setting the expectations is because I don’t want the parents getting frustrated if things aren’t going well initially. I have had shoots begin at 10 and we don’t even get to a single picture until noon. This is to be expected sometimes. That is all factored into why the session lasts 4 hours. Just remain calm because believe it or not, the baby can sense the frustration in the room.

Where:

I used to photograph newborns out of my home. I had a window on one side of the room. That worked great for natural light for certain times of the year, but as the sun moves throughout the day and the year, it can be different every day. The problem with this is the shadows it creates. The benefit of having a studio is you can control the light. People want me to come to their home and photograph the baby there, but if you want the best pictures possible, it needs to take place in my studio.

Creating a Comfortable Environment:

No matter what time of year your baby is born, they will always like it warm. This is okay in the winter when we all like it warm, but when it is 80 degrees outside, not so much. In addition to keeping it as warm as possible, I also put a heating pad under the baby. Even though we may be sweating, it is all about the baby. The more comfortable we can make the baby, the faster and smoother things will go. I also like to play some white noise. It may sound annoying to us, but the babies love it!

Baby Needs to Sleep:

Almost all of the images we will take involve the baby sleeping. There are parents that show up exhausted because there baby didn’t sleep at all that night and are worried how that will impact the shoot. This is always music to my ears! In most cases, when the baby is up all night, that makes for a great shoot for the baby, but not for the parents. I have had plenty of parents fall asleep on the couch while I take my pictures and this is perfectly fine. I also have snacks and coffee for everyone because I know how exhausting and hungry people can get.

Baby Needs to Eat:

A well fed baby is a happy baby! I always encourage parents to feed their babies whenever they feel it is necessary. I’ve had shoots where the baby had to eat several times of the course of the few hours just to keep the little one happy and sleepy. The last thing I want to do is stand in the way of a hungry baby!

Poop Happens:

I wouldn’t say every shoot, but almost every shoot the baby will have an accident. Don’t worry, this is a common occurrence. When there are pictures that involve the baby covered up, we put a diaper on, but some of the cuter pictures involve the baby nude. The most important thing is that I get the shot. Everything can be cleaned so don’t feel bad or get upset if this happens. On more than one occasion I have seen the baby poop all over the father while they are holding them for a picture. It is normally funny to everyone in the room except for the father. Years from now when you look back at that beautiful picture, you will be glad we got it and can laugh about it.