Just a short post (I think?) about a couple tips and things to keep in mind to help you achieve a great newborn shoot with your photographer!
While I've only done a couple of newborn sessions so far, I'm already picking up on what sort of things can be really helpful and really hindering to making a great infant photoshoot. I want to touch on a few of these here, to help you prepare for your session and have it go as smoothly as possible!
First and foremost, I've found the number one goal should be to annoy Baby as little as we can. This may seem obvious, but it's easy to overlook if you have too many ideas and goals in mind for the photoshoot. While I love Pinterest and all the adorable little setups and costumes you'll find there, with newborn shoots it's important to not get too caught up in all of them – Less is more, especially when it comes to Baby's patience!
When we see all of these numerous ideas, something to keep in mind is that each photographer probably really only utilized about one setup and theme per shoot. Meaning, they likely didn't dress Baby like an elephant in a circus, and then change them into a fairy in the flower bed, and then place them in a hollowed out pumpkin in a barn scene. These are all individual photographers with separate photoshoots, and they're only really doing one at a time – Baby would be too stressed for all of those!
My main point here is that you may have to narrow down your options by quite a lot if you're looking to have complex outfit changes or staged sets. Remember, as cute as costumes are, that's not really what a newborn shoot is about. We don't want to jostle her around too much, and try to force too many ideas on her – Baby just got here, and mostly wants a nap and some peace and quiet!
Now, let's talk about what sort of props will be more agreeable to Baby. As cute as costumes are, they demand a lot of Baby's energy and patience. But that doesn't mean we're stuck to only one idea! A couple of things that are easy to utilize that don't require so much from our little guy are props. In the photo above, I'm so in love with this blanket Mom purchased ahead of time to lay him on. Blankets and spreads like this are so easy to utilize without interfering too much with Baby, and we can even do multiple. The name tag is such a simple touch too, and he doesn't even know it's there! Other easy props to use are fairy lights, mini pumpkins, faux flowers, and anything else that can be posed around Baby without disturbance.
Another easy thing to change are hats – usually, baby may not notice this too much as long as the transition is smooth. The same can go for swaddle wraps, but it's good to consider that you may not want to be committed to too many colors and patterns, as after a few changes Baby may notice that the temperature keeps switching from warm to cold, and may get sick of it!
And finally, let's talk about my favorite type of newborn scene – the one that doesn't require any staging at all.
As much as I love all the cute themes and outfits we see on Instagram, I don't think they capture what having a brand new baby is really about. I don't have anything against these costumes and stages, I'm sure I may even do more of them myself someday, but I feel that these intimate moments behind the scenes are what you're really going to want to hold onto.
This could be candid photos taken in Baby's nursery, or yes, even at the hospital the day after he's born! In short, the most memorable moments aren't going to be the aggravating minutes he spent struggling to free himself from an itchy monkey costume – but the first moments he spent interacting with you!
Final thoughts – comfy outfits, easy-to-use-props, a couple simple themes/colors, and most of all, lots of beautiful, intimate candids. Also, it doesn't hurt to have a full belly, and I recommend a week or less old for true newborn shots. The sleepier, the better! With that being said though, all babies are different; if you know your baby isn't much of a crier and has a high threshold for nonsense and shenanigans, then we may be able to be more flexible with outfit changes. What it comes down to is this: Keeping Baby comfortable for as long as possible, to get as many successful photos as possible, and especially capturing those special moments you'll want to cherish forever.
Morgan Ofsharick specializes in proposal, engagement, wedding, maternity, newborn, and family portrait photography, servicing New Haven, Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, Litchfield, and plenty of other regions around Connecticut! –MEO Photography