Learning to photograph a newborn

September 07, 2013  •  1 Comment

Thursday night...I anxiously pack up my SUV to prepare for a newborn photo session with baby Kayley. A vintage trunk (full of props), a small wooden cradle, 2 wash tubs, 2 baskets, backdrop stand, tripod, Vera bag full of blankets, Vera bag full of newborn outfits, and of course, my camera bag! I had spent weeks looking online at newborn photographs for ideas, reading articles about newborn photography, and shopping for outfits and props! You see, this wasn't just any newborn photo session, this was my 3rd time photographing a newborn. My first was baby Ashtyn, she turns a year old this month. When I did her session, it was just for fun as a favor for my best friend, I hadn't invested in the slr camera and the photoshop elements editing software, I was just taking pictures and editing with what I had because this is what I love to do! My second newborn was my son, just a few months ago too. Now, for all of you that have had a baby, can you imagine trying to be their photographer only 2 weeks after having them!! Needless to say, they didn't turn out how I had imagined, every time I got him to sleep, I wanted to sleep, so he was very awake for his session!

So...on to baby Kayley...now you can understand why my car was packed so full. I had a lot of ideas and her mommy was willing to let me try them! From everything I read, you want to photograph a newborn within 10 days of them being born, so they will sleep a lot. Keep them comfortable and warm...and safe, yes, very safe! Allow for up to 4 hours for the session since a baby can be very unpredictable. I blocked the whole day, I learned from my first newborn, Ashtyn, she took 4 hours to get a good 10 poses! The time was well worth it, mommy and daddy loved their pictures! Actually, I photographed Ashtyn again for her first birthday on Saturday!

Friday morning...I wake up, pack up my son, take my daughter to school, and make my way to baby Kayleys' house. Yes, my son, Avery has to come with me! Thank goodness he is a good baby and is easily entertained with toys. We arrive to their house and my friend meets me there to help bring everything in and to watch Avery for me during the session. We go inside, unpack everything, and I meet baby Kayley! She is beautiful! So precious! Mommy has her all dressed up and ready to go! I setup my back drop stand, layer the backdrop and blankets over the newborn beanbag. I show mommy all the outfits and props so we can pick out a few. I take a few pictures to test the lighting in their home. Now all we need is Kayley to fall asleep.... 45 minutes later, still awake! Ok, so we start taking pictures, I am remembering everything I read, focusing on her. Avery is peaking at me from around the couch where he is playing. An hour later....still awake! We have changed her outfit a few times, she is now fussy and has had it. Mommy takes her to feed her and get her to sleep. I'm looking at the pictures I have taken with her awake and the ideas are flowing, I am loving every picture...ok, yes, I am loving this session!

A little time goes by and mommy walks out with a SLEEPING baby! Yay! Now, to undress her...

I spend another hour and a half taking pictures, changing props, backdrops, outfits. At some point, Avery has made his way over to me and is laying behind me babbling to me, pulling my shirt, all smiles! I am taking pictures, then turning around to make silly faces at Avery! 

Four hours and 198 pictures later, we are finished! Kayley has woken up to feed again, Avery is ready for his nap, and all the mommy's are hungry! I pack up and 30 minutes later, am on my way home.

Kayley was wide awake when we started taking pictures!


What did I learn from this session.... 

  • Make sure baby is kept snuggly and warm.
  • Four hours is a must for photographing a newborn!
  • I love all my props and outfits!
  • Must have something to protect blankets from naked baby peeing on them! LOL!
  • I could use a few more blankets and back drops.

​I must say, I truly enjoyed spending the morning with Kayley and her mommy. I have so many beautiful pictures of her, how will they choose which ones to hang up?!?! I am looking forward to booking my next newborn session! 


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