A few months back, I had the unique opportunity to see my friend in the hospital just hours after her baby was born. Needless to say, she and her husband were both exhausted, but glowing and as happy as could be. After two beautiful, energetic boys, they finally had their little girl. These are just a few quiet images of their new family:
Sometimes newborn photo session make me nervous because they are unpredictable. So when I arrived at Conrad’s parents house, I was relieved to hear that he had cried the whole morning so now he was tired and ready to be photographed. Parents out there, any way to plan for this for your next newborn photo session?
Conrad’s mom said she wanted a minimalist life-style shoot. In the past, I’ve depended heavily on props or unique locations to engage children or make interesting pictures. So this was a stretching moment for me, but in the end, I liked it! There is nothing to distract from family interactions and the sweet moments they shared.
We shifted him to different positions, held him, passed him around, and he still stayed asleep 90% of the time.
This next picture with baby and big sister was tricky. Big sister didn’t want to cuddle Conrad, and when I loomed over her with the camera, I became scary. So with the help of Mom and Dad, we laid her on the bed and held a laptop playing her favorite movie above her so she could watch while lying down. Then slowly we shifted Conrad closer to her, and like a sneaky hunter in the wild, I moved in – watching and waiting for the perfect moment. That’s what I call a parent-photographer team.
Some daddy-son moments:
Some mommy-son moments:
Mom has a beautiful, contemplative smile.
Some behind-the-scenes of what daddy-daughter were doing in the meantime. Even though it doesn’t seem like anything big, I can imagine this being a cool thing to remember: “Remember how “Sing” was your favorite movie? See! You made me watch it everyday!”
Mom was so good with engaging her daughter with Conrad. “Where are his feet?” she’d say. “Where is his nose?” Asking the parents on the best way to involve their children is something that I want to work on better in future shoots. The parents know best.
The love and closeness in their family is very apparent in their home.
The last few photos of the session, I tried to use some of the props I had brought because I have a secret love of photos where babies are lying in layers and layers of texture rich fabric. Don’t tell my daughter that I cut off the bow-tie from her favorite teddy bear to use in this photoshoot.
Then, I tried to turn Conrad over and balance his chin in his two hands (I’d seen infants posed like that on other blogs), but that was too ambitious. He got shag fluff in his mouth and he started to cry – the sort of cry that I could tell it was all over. I felt so bad! Lessons, lessons.
How lucky was I to capture Amelia when she was just 5 days old. As we worked to find a place in the house with enough light, I felt drawn to their front courtyard where the warm weather and soft morning light made for a perfect baby sleeping area.
It wasn’t all buttery smooth though. At first we put Amelia face-down in the basket, which encouraged her to flop forward and almost tumble out. Later, we went diaperless to get some cute baby bum shots. Feeling free and breezy, she pooped 3 times on her mom’s black dress. Afterwards, we were tired but laughing.
In the end, Amelia woke up enough to cuddle with her older brother. I love how natural and intimate this moment is, her brother still in his underwear, bouncing with energy and still just long enough to plant a kiss on his sister’s head.
Newborn photography is so priceless. Here are some tips for when you try it:
- As a general rule, 5-14 days is the best time to photograph a newborn because he/she has lost their umbilical cord but is still sleepy most of the time.
- Be flexible and plan plenty of time for your newborn photo session. The baby may cooperate, but he/she may need to spend half the time nursing.
- If you get the baby comfortable in one set-up, consider changing the background or the wardrobe/blanket without moving the baby.
- A baby’s expression can change from second to second, so you need to be ready for when they randomly give you a milk-smile.
Let me know if you have any other good ideas!