One thing I learned when I became a parent, was that the baby is the boss regardless of how much control I pretend I have. The same is true for newborn photography. If the baby doesn’t want to go to sleep for posing after you’ve tried everything, take some lifestyle shots & keep shooting. Swaddle tight and try to get some eye contact. Get images of mommy rocking the baby, be open and flexible – the session doesn’t always go as planned and that might just be the best thing that happens to you.
Jessica’s outdoor sessions are all done in beautiful spots around the Dallas area. Our Field location’s provide a fabulous backdrop and stunning lighting for her gorgeous sunset photography. Along with all the props, blankets and hats for newborn and baby photography, the studio offer maternity gowns for clients to use too. As a baby and newborn photographer, Jessica focuses on capturing the squishy goodness of your little bundle. While there are props, hats and blankets for the infant, they don’t distract from the details of your newborn like tiny, perfect toes and chubby, little cheeks.
Last summer, at my extended family reunion on the beach, I knew I was going to have to figure something out. My solution was to find a kind soul nearby on the beach and ask for a big favor. I set up the entire family, got the tripod/camera in place, then nervously looked around. There was a nice lady who was in her chair reading a book. I went up to her and asked if she’d mind snapping a few for us. The reason I didn’t do the running thing this time is because there were so many of us, I needed her to just snap 30 in a row to make sure we were all looking. I said that, too. Just take a bunch in one minute, then you’re done!
Also look for consistency in their work. This is a way to differentiate an amateur from a professional. An amateur photographer’s portfolio may show nice images, but those images are a compilation of one or two accidentally good images from many sessions. The professional will show quality images consistently in both their portfolio AND recent work on their blog. If you hire an amateur to shoot your session, you accept the risk that there may only be one or two good images from your session vs. the 20-30 great images that a professional will provide in your gallery. When you hire with quality in mind, you buy the assurance and the peace of mind that your special moment is captured perfectly before it is lost in time.
I volunteered my time at an event called Help Portrait last year that has photographers, make up artists and organizers giving their time to create portraits for people that otherwise couldn’t afford a professional one. They ended up sending most of the families to me, initially because I had the biggest area to do the group photo and later because the other photographers said I was the best with the kids. To see some of my photos from that event go to Help Portrait, Edmonton 2012.
Inspiration is everywhere – probably even in the form of Pinterest emails from your client. It is a great idea to have some poses in mind before you arrive at the session. However, like letting the love story of a wedding day unfold organically, I believe the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of each baby. Whether it is cute dimples, big beautiful eyes, full lips, or a great head of hair, try to highlight the beauty of the baby.
Select an outfit that is appropriate year round. One of the more popular times for families to take their portraits seems to be around the holidays (when the kids are home from school and everyone is in the same place). The holidays may seem like the perfect excuse to bring out the Santa hats and incorporate props into your family portraits. However, you’ll want these photos to be displayed all year round. Try to avoid purely seasonal accessories and items.
Weddings are in the air during this sunny season, but it's also an ideal time to shoot your engagement photos, especially if you want a beachy backdrop or cloudless, rustic setting. If you're opting for the great outdoors, flat shoes, breathable fabrics and shorter hemlines are a must. Whether you like to sport vibrant prints or breezy nautical looks, summer engagement photos are the perfect chance to show off your casual-chic style.
Creative props can be the difference between a professional photo and an amateur one. Newborn props don’t have to be expensive and you can find most of what you need at home or a local crafts stores. Other recommended locations are Beautiful Photo Props and Etsy. For ideas, consider incorporating the parents’ hobbies, their culture, their favorite colors, or their overall personalities. We came up with the concept below for Ellie because her mother used to live in Paris. For more inspiration and to see how this scene was shot, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop.
Start the same way you would for the first pose, with a naked baby in a blanket in your arms. Once he’s sleepy, gently lay him down on his back and remove the blanket. Cross his feet and bend his knees like you see in the photo below and just hold them there with your hand for a few minutes. If he relaxes in that position, you’ll be able to slowly remove your hand and his legs will stay crossed.