Newborn Photography Sessions
I LOVE what I do! My name is Shelly and I specialize in newborn photography sessions. Yes, I also offer maternity, child and occasionally family sessions but newborn photography is what I love the most! When you hire a professional newborn photographer you are doing so because you love and appreciate their art form as much as they do! I have tried to condense this information - but the reality is there is so much to be said about newborn photography it's hard to make it short and sweet :) Grab a cup of coffee or tea and have a little read through the information if you want to know what newborn photography is all about!
Newborn photography sessions are a beautiful way to capture those first few days in your baby's life that are over in flash. By the time you have come out of your 'just gave birth' haze (you know, that sleep deprived, emotional rollercoaster immediately following birth!) your newborn baby is not a newborn any more and many (especially moms) feel like they have missed out on something! By the time your baby reaches just a few short weeks old he is no longer that curled up, squishy, tiny baby you just gave birth to. Babies can easily gain 2 or more pounds in their first month...if your baby is 7 lbs at birth that's almost a 30% weight gain. After the first couple weeks they stretch out and become more alert. They tend to hit rapid growth spurts around 7-10 days and then again at 3 weeks. Once this itty bitty stage is gone...it's gone!
This is where custom newborn photography comes in. Please understand that newborn photography is a luxury, not a necessity. It is an investment to be sure. There is a lot of love, time, talent and work involved in each individual session. I have built wonderful emotional connections with each of my clients and I love being able to watch their families grow over the years! Is newborn photography the right investment for you? Only you can anwer that question. Everyone values different things in life from trips to the hair salon, dinners out, various forms of entertainment, vacations, fancy electronics etc...If photography is something that you value, it is my goal to preserve these special moments of your life forever - so that you can look at these photos with love and awe and remember how your beautiful child started out on his journey of life!
Newborn photography can be both documentary and artistic at the same time. It's such a beautiful thing to capture your little one from head to toe, hair, fingers, lips, ears, toes, belly buttons, during her first week as well as create amazing pieces of art to hang on your walls!
In order to achieve the best results your newborn baby should be photographed between 5-7 days of age. There are many reasons for this:
- Mom's milk has come in by now and baby is feeding well
- baby is still very sleepy, easily curls up as she was in the womb
- less likely to have developped baby acne yet
- hasn't had a rapid growth spurt yet
I give 110% committment to each and everyone of my newborn sessions. It is extremely important to me that you get and love the photos that you are hoping for. I won't lie, newborn sessions are not always easy. They are long and involved. I do not set a time limit for newborn sessions - I take as long as needed to create the images you are looking for. In rare cases this is as little as 2 hours, sometimes as long as 6 hours! The average is about 3-4 hours. Parents often fret at the beginning of their session worried that their baby won't fall asleep (when that's all they have been doing at home!). This is why there is no time limit...it may likely take an hour to feed your newborn when you arrive and that's ok. There is no reason to rush a feeding when you are here. Take your time, this will make your baby happy and you will feel better knowing your little one is comfortable. Once your baby is ready, mom and dad are welcome to 'hover' over and watch or sit back on the sofa and RELAX! I'd say about 98% of my clients sit back and rest, read, catch up on emails on their iPads, watch t.v. etc... I have quite literally had parents fall asleep! We are talking about the possibility of a few hours of time for YOU! Take advantage of it :)
What can you expect from a newborn session with me?
I have photographed hundreds of newborn babies and there are many samples to view in my portfolio. Please have a look through the photos and come prepared with a general idea of what you like. Do you like light and bright, lots of colour, dramatic black and white, neutral and earthy tones, simple and organic, the use of props, accessories such as hats, headbands and wraps etc...? Every photographer has their own style, and I would hope that if you have hired me that you love my style ;) but within that style there is room for variety and everybody has their favourites.
Now that you have decided what appeals to you - set your expectation dial to realistic :) Please remember that your newborn baby is a little person and he will have his own say in this experience! Babies like what they like and don't like what they don't like and are not afraid to make it known. I will NEVER put a baby in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. This means that as much as you might like a specific shot if it is not safe or comfortable for your baby I will not do it. It is my job to find out what works for your baby as each baby is different. This is one big reason why you are hiring a professional newborn photographer.
Let's now take a moment to talk about safety. Some of you may wonder how certain poses/shots are attained, for example the baby hanging from a branch, or a baby seemingly unsafely on the edge of a prop. These styles of images are more artistic than documentary and are achieved through the use of computer technology - art created in photoshop - for the most part. Yes, the prop is real, yes your baby will be in it/on it - BUT you or an assisstant will be HOLDING your baby the whole time. Your baby will never, ever be at risk - no fancy, artistic shot is ever worth that! This is why you hire a professional photographer - we know how to create a beautiful artistic illusion safely.
Not everyone loves the more 'artsy' style such as just mentionned. That's ok. I do many, many sessions where we don't do anything like that and for those that want this style of image it's usually done after the more natural poses are done. Most parents want to capture there newborn baby as is - no bells and whistles - just pure newborn goodness. We can do a whole session with your baby never leaving the comfy blanket on the oversized posing beanbag. Different angles, positions, closeups, macro shots of the details like feet, hands, feature etc can make for a beautiful gallery of images.
If you want to add an even more personal touch to your photos consider bringing meaningful items with you to use in some of the photos. I have had parents bring in blankets, accessories etc as well as personal items related to the parents. For example a fireman Dad brought in his fire helmet. Sports lovers like to bring in footballs, golf clubs, soccer balls, baseball gloves etc... Love to play guitar? Why not bring in your guitar? The same rules apply for all client props though, if it cannot be done safely we won't do it - but with a little imagination most things can be worked in!
So lets sum up one of my newborn sessions in a nutshell:
When you arrive expect to feed your baby. Babies sleep better on a full belly so please feel free to take the time to feed and settle your newborn. I generally start by getting to know your baby, his likes/dislikes in terms of handling and posing. Reading your baby's cues is an artform all in itself! I have years of experience and bucket loads of patience to take the time to find what works for each individual baby! Once we then have a game plan I get to work creating gorgeous images of your newborn baby! During the process, babies can pee, poop, wake up, get hungry again - and this is all ok. My stuff is washable (even my clothes! I've been known to be in the line of fire!), the afternoon is yours, so if need be we take a break and get back on track.
After your session is done, the rest of the magic continues :) Some people think it's all over once you snap the photo but that is not the case! I will spend as much time as necessary to hand edit the best images from your newborn photography session to present to you in your proofing gallery. I take the time to make sure that every little detail is perfect...that those little scratches, acne and dry skin are softened or removed. If your baby is quite jaundiced a little colour editing is in order. Remember those fancy artistic shots? It's now time to remove all the supporting hands and beanbag to create the final artpiece. The love, time, talent and hard work doesn't end when you walk out the door! Remember, you hired a professional for a reason - this final artistic rendering is a huge part of why you choose a specific photographer. It is very important, whether you hire me or someone else, that you love their style before beginning this entire process. Photography is an art just like any other, and there are many, many beautiful, yet very different artistic styles out there! Choose what you love!
If you have any questions at all please never hesitate to ask!