Newborns are just the cutest little things to work with!
They are so tiny and so perfect. However, a newborn session is the most time consuming and need to know what you are doing and how to successfully prepare for it.
Here are 10 tips for preparing a newborn session that will help you create the best environment for your upcoming babes.
1. Pre-conference with parents. It is important to let parents know that every newborn session is different and every baby is not able to do every pose. Set clear expectations with parents for what to expect and the flow of the session. Get to know your client and their style so you can provide colors and setups that appeal to them.
2. Be prepared. It is helpful to have a plan and know what poses and props you want to use for the session. Have a poser and backdrop stand (not necessary but convenient), blankets and props that you are comfortable with using. Don't be afraid to try something new and make up your own unique setups. You can also use an iPhone or sound machine for white noise/nature sounds to provide external noise that babies are accustomed to hearing.
3. Shop thrifty. You don't have to spend a lot of money on blankets and props. There are plenty of vendors and stores to choose from. Shop around for the best prices and product. Some of my favorite vendors are: Hoo Loves You Baby, MeDomesticated...both on Etsy. Ross, Marshalls, Hobby Lobby and even Target have great prices for blankets and baskets as well. Use your creativity!
4. Practice good hygiene. Not only should you wash your hands before handling a baby (parents appreciate that!), but you should clean and sanitize your blankets and props after each session. Accidents happen...so make sure you have clean, fresh blankets and props for each newborn session.
5. Don't overdo it! Plan to bring no more than 3 backdrop blankets/sets and no more than 3 props per session. You want to provide your clients with a variety of pictures but you don't want to overwhelm them with bringing every single hat, blanket, headband, wrap, etc. with you.
6. Have a heating source. Since I travel to the homes of my newborn clients, I use small, portable space heaters to act as a heat source for my newborn sessions. It creates a warm, toasty area to work in (dress appropriately!). Use what you are comfortable with, but you need to either turn up the heat or have some sort of heat source to help create a warm, cozy environment.
7. Work with the light. I use natural light and try to avoid using an external flash when working with newborns. The less distractions the better. Natural light creates a soft, lit composition that is beautiful for pictures. Set up near a door or window for natural light if you are traveling to the homes of clients. You can also wear a white top (it acts as a natural light reflector). Have a circular light reflector on hand...just in case you need to manipulate the light in small spaces. Amazon.com sells them fairly inexpensively.
8. Know the limits! The most important thing you can do is to be patient, stay calm and don't force anything. If a baby is uncomfortable, you will know it! Don't force a baby into a pose or prop. Educate yourself on proper newborn safety and never leave a baby unattended. Common sense, I know, but always put the safety of a baby ahead of getting the shot.
9. Follow Up. Take the extra step and follow up with parents after the session. Thank them for letting you photograph their new baby, compliment them on something that went well. You can even send them sneak peeks of pictures to get them excited about the finished products. Taking extra steps to be courteous and thinking of others can go a long way.
10. Be Yourself Don't obsess over other photographer's work. Be inspired by other professionals in the field, but don't try to be someone you are not! After all, your clients like YOUR work and chose YOU for a reason. Find your style, try new things...but be yourself.
Guest Blog by Nikki Guevara with Magnolia James Photography