Now is not the time to be starring dreamily into space – make sure you look at the camera (and remind everyone else in the photo to look into the camera too!). Try to get the “looking at the camera” shots out of the way first when everyone has enough attention. It can quickly get tough to get kids to cooperate, so aiming to get this shot first is key.
Please do whatever you can to keep the noise to a minimum during our session. Maintaining a calm environment is also a big key to a successful newborn shoot. I do have a white noise app that I will keep close to baby during the session to help soothe him or her. Babies love strong and rhythmic sound. Amazingly! that’s the sound the heard 24/7 in the uterus!
As the busy fall season for family photography approaches, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts on things you may want consider when choosing a family photographer! If you’re looking at hiring a photographer for the first time, I’m sure the options can be daunting. How does this all work? Why does it cost so much? How do you know you can trust them to do a good job? Whether you’re reading this here in Fort Collins or far away in another state, I want to share some thoughts that might be helpful as you make this decision. This isn’t meant to be a black and white list of dos and don’ts, just some food for thought! I want to start by talking a bit about some things that I think are important to look for when you’re checking out potential photographers’ websites.
This one is way more important then you might initially think. Portrait and family photography is a collaborative effort. In other words, it takes two to tango! Even a quiet introverted photographer has a communication style. If you’re choosing a family photographer it is important you understand them and they understand you. Essentially you need to vibe with them on a basic level. Simply taking the time to email or talk on the phone is usually enough to have a basic understanding of their ability to communicate with you. If you find yourself having to decode their communication style, or asking them to clarify what they mean multiple times – you might not be a good fit. If you get a photographer who is annoying to you for whatever reason, it will show in the photos. For years to come, you will look at the images you got from the photography session and all you will remember is how annoyed you were with the photographer. So take the time to communicate and get on the same page. It’s free to do, and can save you tons in frustration!
Swaddling a baby is the easiest way to pose her for newborn photos at home. Simple wrap her up tight and lay her down on a pretty blanket of piece of fabric. I usually save swaddled photos for the end of the photoshoot, when the baby has woken up. Newborns love to be swaddled and will usually stay pretty calm if they’re wrapped tight enough (check out this post on swaddling if you don’t know how).
Most couples will be a little awkward about having their photos taken. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As long as your couple is laughing about how awkward it is you will get some great reaction shots. The beauty of photography is that the photo doesn’t know it was an awkward moment all it will see is laughter. Just play on it a little bit and get some great laughing shots. Make it more awkward if you want and get up close with a 24mm lens.
Pro tip: Once you get the sign and the location nailed down, it's time to concentrate on wardrobe. "Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in," says Tempe, Ariz.-based photographer Melissa Young. "I like the way long dresses and skirts work for maternity. If you have any doubts on the outfits, you may choose to seek advice from your photographer in advance, as they can give tips as to what photographs best for your body type and the location you are shooting at."
6. Gather needed equipment and supplies. If photography is your hobby, you may already have much of the equipment you need; however, you’ll have to assess if the quality is high enough to charge for services. Along with a camera, you’ll also need lenses, flashes, batteries, photo editing software, quality photo paper and packaging used to deliver the photos to clients. You may also need lights and screens to control lighting.
These close-up “detail” shots are not only adorable but they are great accompanying images for albums and accordion books. Because of the sensitive focus on a macro lens, the best time to get these images is when the baby is very still (in their deepest sleep). As shown with the newborn workshop where you get to shadow me on an actual on-location shoot, when I notice the baby is deep in dreamland, I’ll just stop whatever I’m doing and I’ll pull out my macro for 10 minutes and get all the shots that I need.
In contrast, there is an alternative approach for your individual or family portrait that may be more appropriate for a special memory. Here, you would have your own photo or photographs and then have them professionally done as a canvas painting or an oil painting that could easily be done in in a 20 x 30 inch painting that could be framed. In some cases, a few individual photographs of family members or an individual can be provided separately and the artist can combine into one painting.
We thought ahead about location, poses, logistics, and timing. If you have a plan, it is easier to get in and out and end up with photos that you are happy with! Take the photos of the whole family first, then the children together and individually, and then couple photos if desired. You can realistically take great family photos in 30-60 minutes by yourself if you have a plan.
Excellent points, especially about using a tripod. The main benefit is that you'll need taking many nearly identical photos in order to get "the one" where everybody in the group is looking their best. Unless you've done this before, you'd be surprised how many shots it can take. Somebody's always looking away, blinking, has their head/hands etc. in a less than ideal position. Once everything is all set up as Darlene says, just shoot as many shots as you can in a very short amount of time.
We love photographing newborn babies, so when a twin photo session happens, it is twice as nice! Twice the snuggles, twice the piggies, and twice the love. It’s absolutely amazing to witness how a child’s personality develops right after birth and in the early days of life. Newborn twins are gifted with such distinctive personalities right away, and we love to capture those little differences. With newborn twins, we also make sure to take individual shots so that Mom and Dad can see all the tiny special details inherent in each baby.
Once you have the basics set up, you can drape a solid colored blanket over it all. Use clamps to attach the blanket to the backdrop boards and make sure the clamps also attach the board to the chairs so it will not fall over (if you don’t have a backdrop board just attach the blanket to the tops of the chairs). Let it drape down the board until it is level with the pillows, then lay it over the pillows. You want to minimize wrinkles as much as possible, because they will be very distracting in the final picture, so use more clamps on the sides if you need to. Additionally, you might want to clamp the background board to the chairs it’s resting against to be sure it won’t fall during the photoshoot. It should look like this:
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
#2 – it allows you to get your eye away from the camera so you can actually make eye contact with your subjects. They are very real people and they feel even more uncomfortable staring straight into your lens than they do looking at you. You can make gestures to get kids attention, or make faces. But you’ll get way better expressions by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder. Try it!
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
Laura Babb of Babb Photo is an award-winning photographer. She is based between Bath and London but photographs weddings all over the UK and abroad. Her approach is documentary but at the same time playful and profoundly real. She loves to shoot creatively in an attempt to make each shoot truly unique. Laura’s top wedding photography tips are all about light and this one stood out to us from her article ‘The Importance of Light and Planning Your Photography Around It’ she says –
Your beautiful blessing has arrived! While everyone anxiously waits to meet the newborn, it is impossible to make room for every family member or friend to pay a visit. Birth announcements are the perfect way to show off your little bundle of joy. However, having an idea and plan for photographs is the best way to go, especially since newborns don’t do well with impromptu activity!
If you have a location in mind, I'd love to hear about it! Many clients know precisely where they'd like to shoot, because they have a location that is important to them. Maybe it's your parents' backyard, maybe it's your childhood neighborhood, maybe it's the street that you live on now, and maybe it's the park you went to for your first date. Choosing a location that's meaningful to you will give your engagement pictures even more impact.
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"
When styling a photo session, I like to start out with a basic color palette and go from there. It can help to have one “rock star” in the photos who carries a pattern in their outfit that the rest of the group’s clothing or accessories pulls from, while keeping everyone else’s outfits more simple. You can do this with a neutral and a few colorful brights, or try a softer palette that has different tonal ranges of the same shades.