I love shooting newborns. In fact, it's one of my favorite things to do!
But just because I love it, does not mean it's easy breezy. If you've ever held a crying newborn than you know what I mean!! During those early weeks, newborns are still adjusting to life on the outside. While some are sleepy and cozy and ready to snuggle up for their pictures, other's quite simply are not.
Also, the sleep deprivation that comes with the newborn stage is really tough! I remember how I felt during those early weeks with my son. There's really nothing quite like it.
So while I could potentially shoot newborn pictures all day, I really try to respect my Family's time and their level of exhaustion. Having had a newborn, I know that two hours is about the limit of time you want someone in your home. I try to show up completely prepared and really stick to this timeframe.
Because of these reasons, I do my absolute best to fully prepare for newborn sessions before I arrive to my family's home. I want to make sure I am completely ready to go when it's time to shoot.
Here are five ways I prepare for Newborn Sessions:
1. Check my equipment and supplies.
I do this before every session regardless, but I believe it to be extra important for Newborn Sessions. This includes making sure my camera is fully charged and ready to go, as well as having extra memory cards and batteries ready incase they would be needed. I also have a backup camera, just incase!!
Aside from the actual camera equipment, I also bring many other necessary supplies for newborn sessions. I joke with my family's that I look like I am moving into their home when I arrive!! These include washed and ready blankets, wraps, and swaddles, as well as a heater, a backdrop setup, a newborn posing beanbag, a stool, and a reflector. It ends of being a lot of stuff when it's all said and done.
After I load everything into my car, I do one final check to make sure nothing is forgotten. I have a check list inside my camera bag. Knowing that I have everything I need to quickly begin a session helps me feel even more prepared to take great pictures!!
2. Have a game plan.
Prior to arriving at my client's house, I review the questionnaire I have them fill out when they book their session. This ask's if there are any particular images they want me to capture. For example sibling shots with an older sibling or pictures with a family heirloom blanket.
When I arrive at their home, I ask this again, just incase anything has changed! I want to make sure I am capturing what my client's hoped for!! I then look around their home for the very best light and make a game plan from there.
3. Get Inspiration
Before each and every session, I dedicate time to get inspired. I find this time so important!
I will look through some of my own newborn images, as well as images from Pinterest Boards and other newborn photographers who inspire me. I really find good inspiration to be key for helping me prepare!
As I look at the pictures, I think about the family I'm about to spend time with and how I'm going to capture their love for their new baby. This helps me try things that are new during each session, while still maintaining the same feel throughout.
With my own busy toddler that I need to get off to daycare, this time usually happens in my car before I arrive at my family's home. This is my designated quiet time to collect my thoughts and mentally prepare.
4. Be prepared to go with the flow.
I cannot stress this enough!! Even with a game plan and inspiration pictures, be prepared to go with the flow. Sometimes the game plan has to be what the baby wants it to be, and that's okay! After all, this is real life with a newborn.
Baby's want to eat on their own schedule and stay awake when they want, your efforts to help them fall asleep may simply not work. I have had sessions where everything I know to do to help calm a baby for their portrait's does not work. After rocking, and turning on the sound machine, and using a pacifier, and swaddling do not work, I then go with the flow and change the game plan.
This may involve taking awake pictures of the baby (even if they are crying!), or having the Momma hold the baby, or taking pictures from farther away. Either way, be prepared to leave room for what the baby needs and go with the flow.
5. Enjoy it.
At the end of the day, Newborn sessions are amazing! An amazing snap shot of a moment in time. Sometimes that snapshot does not go how you planned, but can end up even better!!
It's an honor to work with family's during this time. Doing my best to prepare for each and every session helps me show up even more ready and excited!
When I know I've done everything I can to have a great session, it helps me enjoy it that much more!!