What are your newborn sessions like? Do you do posed newborn shots? After years and various approaches to newborn photography, I’ve decided to take things in a more casual and relaxed direction. While I think posed newborn photography can be beautiful when done right, I finally realized it’s just not for me for a number of reasons. Instead, I like to capture Mom, Dad and baby in a natural and story-telling way, in the comfort of your own home. This is a very special and fleeting time for a family, and my intent is to document what that looked like. I will take many shots of you interacting and holding your baby. This involves lots of of hugs, kisses, and cuddles. Of course, I will also capture some adorable, individual shots of your baby, but rather than attempting to pose them and mold them into various positions, I like to keep things simple and natural. If you really want those squishy, naked-baby, ultra-posed newborn portraits…then I’m not your girl…but there are many amazing photographers out there who do that type of work.
What should we wear for a newborn shoot? For newborn shoots, I recommend keeping your wardrobe very minimal and simple. Muted/neutral tones and solids (no busy patterns) tend to work best. Think cream, grey, tan, peach, brown, etc…really any solid color as long as it’s not too vibrant/bright. Many images will be taken of the newborn being held in your arms, and if you are wearing a vibrant color (like hot pink or red) it can reflect onto their skin creating an odd color cast. As for baby, I recommend a very simple onesie or diaper-only, along with a neutral blanket for swaddling. Overly busy or complicated newborn outfits tend to detract from our main subject…that precious, tiny baby.
How should we prepare for a newborn shoot? My newborn shoots are very laid back, so I don’t have a lot of “rules” when it comes to preparation. My best advice is to relax, pretend I’m not even there, and enjoy some snuggles with the newest member of your family. Yes, I will do some slight posing and guiding, but my main objective is to capture real, authentic images of this special time for your family. I typically like to focus in the nursery, parents’ bedroom and anywhere else there is abundant, natural light. Heat/warmth and a full tummy tend to help keep baby content, so set your house temperature accordingly (slightly/uncomfortably warm for us adults) and plan to feed just before/just after I arrive. While I typically plan about 2 hours for a newborn session, I never rush things, so we can take as many breaks as needed for feedings, diaper changes, and cuddles.
Should I schedule a half-year session on my baby’s 6-month birthday? I call it a “half-year” session because I don’t want clients to get locked into the idea that it has to be exactly at 6 months. This is such an adorable time when babies really start to develop their personalities, chubby cheeks and arm/leg rolls are in full effect, and smiles and laughs abound. But sometimes 6-monthers are not sitting up yet on their own, and I feel that is a really important milestone to capture. That’s why I typically recommend shooting closer to the 7 month mark, just to make sure they are sitting up without assistance. However, you’re the boss, and if you would rather document them exactly at 6-months…no problem! Just realize there may be a lot more shots of them laying down or doing tummy time (and of course in Mom & Dad’s arms!).
What should we wear for our family session? I think families look best when they are coordinated but not too "matchy" (i.e. avoid wearing identical outfits). When considering color, think about what you look and feel good in. If you plan to hang pictures in your home, it’s good to consider what colors would coordinate nicely with your décor. Pick a couple/few complementary colors and dress everyone in varying versions/hues of those colors. I also think it’s really fun to mix patterns!! (Plaid on one person and polka dots on someone else, for example). I also love accessories like scarves, statement jewelry or a cute hat. I am one of those people who rarely accessorizes, but for picture day, I at least make sure I have a fun necklace or a stack of bracelets. Consider fit as well. Choose children’s clothes that fit well right now…not something they are “growing into.” Shoes should be something you can walk in, as stilettos generally don't work out well at a park. :) Before a photo session is a great time to buy new shoes for the kids (we all know how hard kids are on their shoes, am I right?!). If we are shooting in-home, we are often barefoot! (my fave!!)
What if my kid(s) won’t listen, won’t sit still and won’t smile? It’s okay. Really. No, really. I try to make my child & family sessions lots of fun for the little ones. I go to great lengths and do all sorts of silly things to capture your child’s attention. I am not afraid to act like a complete idiot in hopes of getting even a tiny laugh. Also, I don’t expect kids to sit still for an hour straight. All I need is a few seconds here and there. Then we can take a play break (in which I will continue to snap pictures), then we’ll try for some more pictures, and so on. All I ask is that you try your hardest to refrain from yelling at your kids. I know it’s difficult. I am a mom, and I have been on the other side of the lens with my child. I realize how stressful and frustrating it is when you are thinking “OMG I paid all this money and my kid refuses to cooperate!” I have been there! Just try to keep your cool and keep smiling, Mom & Dad. I promise we will get some great shots.
What time of day do you shoot? I’m a natural light photographer, so it’s all about the light for me. I like to shoot when the natural light conditions are best. If we are shooting outdoors, that means one to two hours before sunset. Or, if you are a morning person :) we can start shortly after sunrise. If we are shooting in your home, timing is a lot more flexible, and I will usually shoot morning or afternoon.
Do you shoot high school seniors? When should I schedule a senior shoot? While it's not the main focus of my business, yes I do, and I can share samples of my work if you'd like. Generally, senior sessions take place the summer before senior year (or early fall of senior year). Book early as this is a very busy time for photography!
Do you shoot yearbook photos for seniors? No, I do not. Many schools have very strict requirements for their yearbook photos and often have an approved list of studios you can use.
Can we shoot at multiple locations? I prefer not to, as this takes away valuable shooting time (especially when shooting outdoors and trying to maximize the light before sunset). If we are shooting at your home, we can definitely do some outdoor shots in your yard, or a nearby park or other nature area if it’s within a few minutes walk/drive.