“The little things…the little moments…they aren’t little.”
Have you ever wondered what happens during a newborn session? How things….’flow’ as we say in photography talk! Some families that have come to newborn sessions with me have had sessions with other photographers before so they may have a little idea and other families are complete newborn photography session virgins! Obviously when we first get in touch I send you some general information about what to expect, what to do to prepare, and what we need to do to help create a session that exceeds all your expectations, that captures memories of your little love and your family at a time that you will never get back again.
Usually I have a standard flow that I stick to as I’ve found with experience it seems to work best for teeny tiny bubba’s. A flow that helps them stay snuggled and sleepy and calm, feel safe and secure and to capture those magic shots that your family will treasure for ever. BUT…the thing I always mention from beginning to end is that baby is always boss! Sessions are loosely timed over a 2-4hr period allowing time for baby to stop for settling and feeding etc. Sometimes we also mix up the session flow to suit certain family situations, sometimes siblings need to nap when we would usually be shooting the sibling component of the session so we do those images first and then siblings can head home. Sometimes, Papa’s need to be go back to work so we do family portraits first. No matter what we can always be flexible but here’s a quick sneak peak at what a run of the mill session looks like….
When a family first arrives we all make ourselves comfy in the lounge area…make coffee’s and get cookies. Make sure siblings know where all the good toys are and honestly make everyone feel at home and comfortable. We take a quick tour of the toasty warm studio to check Mumma and Papa are happy with what we’ve set up and add in any things the family may have brought to include in the session such as handmade wraps or blankets, special teddy bears and other sentimental keepsakes that will stay with these divine images for generations to come.
We unwrap bubba down to a nappy and feed them, best case scenario to milk drunk status! And then I head into the studio with a snuggly sleepy baby. I always tell families that I will work with baby as long as baby is willing and that if we have to stop at any time for feeds or settling then we will. Usually Mumma’s, Papa’s and siblings hang out in the living room or outside with the trampoline, scooters and swings while I work my magic. I’ve always been happy for families to pop in and out during the session to see their little ones at work modelling away but since Covid-19 we have made a few changes to practices in the studio and I have tried to go forward keeping the amount of people in the studio to a minimum as we move forward. I am still more than happy for families to pop in and out, then of course we have everyone in the studio at the end for the sibling and family component. Then after each session the studio will be cleaned and sterilized in between each family and there will be no back to back sessions.
I always start on the bean bag with the adorable ‘bum up’ pose which I can mix up with wraps, bonnets and tiebacks I adore this pose cause it begins with just plain old adorable baby goodness…all the rolls, smooshy lips, whirls of hair and cute little tooshies. Then we can transition this pose to side lying, taco or head on hands all while on the bean bag.
We can also use the bean bag to capture some gorgeous close up detail shots….
And some stunning angles… I usually do two different blanket drops on the bean bag then we move on to props on the floor.
I have several different props I use and what I use is shaped by what the parents talk about in the lead up to the session, what their style is…and sometimes if I have something gorgeous and new I want to try out. As I’ve mentioned before, not all babies will go in every prop or be comfortable in every position and EVERY baby is always in charge! So then we just meander our way through the props, outfit changes, wraps. I use waaaaaay more props during each session than most of my colleagues but I’ve always done that and I feel like it’s my point of difference.
We have baskets, bowls, beds and basically anything I’ve spotted that I think will be gorgeous with a sweet newborn snuggled in it! When I’m posing a baby in a prop my primary concern is and will always be safety but it’s also a time I really centre into myself. It’s a time I stop and let my mind imagine that just mere days before this teeny tiny baby was snuggled up under it’s Mumma’s heart, safely tucked inside her belly, hidden from the world. When I wrap and pose babies into positions I try to mimic that curled up position that were in just before they have come to the studio. It is part of the reason we schedule sessions in that early newborn period when they are at their smallest, curliest and newest…because these are moments you will never get back. I read somewhere once you have a newborn for literally two weeks. I want to immortalize that into images for families to hold on to for generations to come. When I look at a baby curled up in that foetal position my heart skips a beat a little. What privilege to witness life so new. There’s just something so sweet about a baby tucked up in a bed too…
Then once we’ve done the prop shots we move on to sibling shots. This can be different for every family. I always try and get two different set ups, one with a prop and one on a flokati on the floor but sibling shots are always dictated by the age of the children. I always do sibling shot’s at the end of the session as it’s given the children time to make themselves at home in my home. Usually by this stage they have pulled out every single toy my children own and when they come into the studio they are feeling comfortable, safe and excited about what’s about to happen. I find when we do sibling shot’s straight up….they’ve just entered a foreign place, there is some strange lady holding a big black box up to her face, their whole world has been turned upside down in the past two weeks with Mumma and Papa staying in hospital and them being sent to Nanny’s or a friends….and THEN this new baby has been brought home…they are noisy, the smell funny, they are taking up everyone’s time. This is the biggest time in their littlest world. So whilst always ensuring baby is safe, we work with the siblings as much as they are comfortable. Some kids don’t want a bar of the baby and we have lots of tricks up our sleeves to make it happen!
Then we move on to parent shots….Mumma first….
Then we add in Papa…
And then we do Papa on is own… And then of course the whole family… Now every now and then parents don’t want to get in photo’s…and I strongly try and encourage them, like I said, it’s not about what you look like, it’s about capturing this very brief moment in time, it’s about connection and love….
But I do have a few other tricks up my sleeve to at least capture that moment.
This moment needs to be frozen in time…I want families to look back for generations to come of that blink when your little love was at their newest.
So there you have it…a general session, sometimes it runs smoothly, sometimes bubba’s or even siblings have other idea’s but I’ve always been a go with the flow kind of person and let them lead the session. Some sessions fall on feeding frenzy days and then we end up doing lots of chatting while babies fill their little bellies, other days, babies like to be snuggled, lots, which I love, cause who doesn’t love snuggles but it does sometimes make for tricky newborn pics when it’s me they are snuggling! Sometimes we spend half an hour dancing around like clowns trying to get siblings to not drop the baby on the floor and look at the camera at the same time! Most importantly, we do whatever it takes to make sure your little one is safe, comfortable and happy, that we capture beautiful memories of your family during this special time during your lives and that you all have a special unique experience surrounded by my love and care.