Over the years that I have been doing photography professionally, I have been asked loads of questions about what to bring to a photo shoot and what to expect etc, however newborn photo shoots are quite a bit different from your average studio portrait, and I thought it would be useful to do a blog covering all the most important aspects of a newborn photography session to help make sure that you and your baby have the best experience possible.

Firstly, I should say that I have undertaken a huge variety of photographic work, from music album covers and modelling portfolios, to wedding photography, real estate and corporate work amongst others, however I always look forward to a newborn photo shoot.  It can hardly be described as work, to sit looking at a wee wrinkly bundle of joy, sleeping soundly.   I actually find these shoots very calming and satisfying, and they always give us a good laugh!  With that said, though, there are a number of things to keep in mind, to get the best photos of your wee one, and I have tried to mention as many of these as I can think of.

When should I book?

Basically, as soon as possible!    I often advise clients to contact your photographer in advance of the birth, so that they can make sure they will be able to accommodate your session within the first 10 days of your baby being born.  This may seem like a big ask, particularly as you may not be feeling quite up to much at that time, but it makes a huge difference when it comes to positioning the baby and achieving those utterly, heart-meltingly adorable poses that you have seen on Instagram or Facebook.    Babies are surprisingly “manoeuvrable” within those first 10 days, like wee delicate bits of putty, but any parent will tell you that they grow and develop at an extraordinary rate in those first few weeks, and very quickly they begin to open their eyes, and wriggle around to explore the world – Great fun to watch…not so good for the photos!

How long will it take?

I always arrange newborn sessions around baby’s normal routine, and so I often advise that a good time to have your session, is just after a morning feed, when they are most likely to be sleeping.  Newborn sessions can take considerably longer than other portrait sessions, as it’s important to take our time, moving slowly, gently and quietly, allowing baby time to settle, and even stopping for feeds or nappy changes if we have any little incidents!   It’s not unusual to set aside a couple of hours for these types of shoot.

What should I bring with me?

It’s a good idea to bring anything that you would normally need for your baby, such as feed bottles, wipes, nappies, comforters and toys, as well as any outfits or props that you would like in the photos.  There is usually no need to bring blankets etc, however if there is something in particular that you would like in the photos, then feel free to bring anything you like along to the shoot.

What can I expect during my photo shoot?

Your newborn photo shoot will be great fun!   It’s always funny positioning your baby into cute poses!   The studio will be kept very warm to make sure that baby is cosy, and the shoot will be very relaxed and informal.  Your baby will be handled with the utmost care and hygiene, and time will be spent ensuring that your baby is comfortable and happy.   EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND BABY, so whenever you want to feed or change your baby, just let the photographer know, and you can take a break to do what you need to do.  You will be present at all times during the shoot, and expect to take an active part in positioning and comforting your baby (Mum always knows best).  The photographer will ensure first and foremost that your baby is kept safe and secure at all times whilst being moved or handled, and many of the phots you may have seen with babies hanging in a blanket from a tree branch, are actually a composite of two or more different photos merged together to make it look like the baby is hanging on its own, when the reality is that the baby is being held at all times!

Above all, you should enjoy the time spent with your baby during the shoot, relish the experience and take things at your own pace.

I hope you have found this helpful!

By David Walker