Newborn Photography – Tips for expecting parents
By Bronwyn Parsons Photography- Canberra Newborn Photography
Posed Newborn Photography – You’ve picked out a cot, bassinet, change table, pram, car capsule and have started clearing the spare room to make way for a nursery. You’re probably starting to notice images of adorable newborns coming up in every online search you do and you’re thinking I’d love some photos of my baby as a newborn.
If you’ve just had your 12-week scan and you’d like some beautiful photos of your baby sculpted into those adorable squishy positions, NOW is the time to browse the portfolios of local newborn photographers. Find a few styles you like and start making some calls.
It pays to be organized. I’ve lost count of how many new parents call me in desperation trying to find an available newborn photographer weeks after their baby has already arrived only to find out family’s book months ahead, you weren’t the only one due and everyone is fully booked. The disappointment continues when parents learn just how time-sensitive it actually is to pose a baby into those adorable fetal like positions.
What is posed newborn photography
Posed newborn photography differs from lifestyle photography or a styled prop session in that your baby is actually meticulously sculpted into posed positions. If you like this style of photography, It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and you’ll need to act soon to secure availability. You should absolutely do your research to find an experienced professional newborn photographer who specializes in posed newborn photography.
What should you consider besides the cost?
The first question I’m generally asked is how much? Sure, the cost is a determining factor to any purchase, I get that BUT this is your baby. I’ve been there, three times! and as an expected parent, I know how much time goes into researching all the safety recommendations for the essentials. Newborn photography is no different.
Here are some more pressing questions to ask when considering who’s the best fit for you.
- Is your newborn photographer safety trained and do they practice composite editing for safety purposes?
- Do they specialize in posed newborn photography and how experienced are they?
- What safety precautions do they practice?
- Does your photographer have a health and safety policy?
- Are there any reviews or ratings available to read?
- Have the photographers work been peer-reviewed? An indication of this will be awards and/or membership to professional bodies
- Has the photographer provided you with a pre-booking consultation?
- Is the photographer up to date with immunizations?
- Does the photographer operate a registered business?
- Does the photographer have a public liability certificate?
- What services are provided?
- Does the photographer have a portfolio available to view?
- Do you like their style of photography?
- Do you feel at ease and comfortable with the photographer?
Like an artist, photographers have a unique style to creating, capturing and retouching images. It’s therefore important that the style of photography in the photographer’s portfolio aligns to your taste. Just because they are a photographer it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to convince your baby to replicate images you found on Pinterest. The largest portion of newborn photography is spent post-processing images. Most photographic artists like to post-process there own work rather than outsourcing it. There is no one-click process that magically produces the finished product. Each image is meticulously re-touched by hand in a process that can take 12 hours or more per client.
DIY Newborn Photography – Expectation V’s Reality
While it may be tempting to save a few dollars by having a friend with a good camera do your photos for you, a good camera makes you no more of a newborn photographer than a stethoscope makes you a doctor. Firstly, there is the risk of causing your baby a serious injury by not being experienced in posing or knowledgeable of the safety precautions that happen behind the scenes. Secondly, you will inevitably feel a sense of loss after seeing the beautiful images mothers in your circle of friends have had professionally done. I am almost 100% certain you’ll be seeking the services of a newborn photographer for baby number two.
There’s a lot that happens before, during and in post-process after the session to produce the finished product. Professional newborn photographers invest time and personal funds into their own professional development. This ensures they are constantly updating their skills and have the necessary knowledge and experience to:
- safely handle, pose and support your baby
- create soft flattering light for tricky newborn skin
- produce images of a professional standard
- use composite editing to remove hands supporting your baby, to produce an illusion of a suspended baby and for sibling/newborn safety.
- use specialist skin re-touching methods to tackle tricky newborn skin
The investment in professional newborn photography
An investment in a newborn photographer doesn’t just include their time at the session or what you get at the end, it includes the whole experience. On average this is 16 hours or more. That experience starts well before you even pick up the phone and continues beyond the delivery of your images.
Pick up the phone and talk to the photographer
The best newborn photographers are only too happy to share their knowledge of best industry practice. They will go above and beyond to answer any questions or concerns you have before you even book. Potential clients who seek my services receive an obligation free pre-booking consultation. These conversations not only answer any questions you may have; they also establish if your needs fit the services a photographer provides. Canberra has a wonderful community of very talented professional newborn photographers. If I can’t squeeze you in at the last minute or my services are way off your needs, I’d much rather give you a referral with another photographer than give you something that doesn’t meet your expectations.
Best time to book
Returning clients and clients who missed the best timing with baby number one book with within the first few months. Booking early has the advantage also scheduling maternity photos which is a beautiful keepsake to display in your home alongside your baby’s newborn photos.
Best timing for posed newborn photos
I love a good challenge and accept newborns up to six weeks with the understanding that sessions are baby-led. Those curly posed positions are best achieved between 5 – 16 days with less posed positions and wrapped positions expected for babies over 16 days. It’s important to understand that your expectations mean nothing to a newborn and while you may desire a particular image not every baby is comfortable in every position and some just prefer the security of being snugly wrapped. This doesn’t mean the photographer won’t be able to capture beautiful images of your baby. It just means it’s best to come with an open mind and trust your photographer has a well-oiled contingency plan into place to cater for babies who are not having the best day. Your baby’s safety and needs are the first priority, cute pictures come second.
Why is posed newborn photography time-sensitive?
A newborn is technically a newborn for 28 days. Newborn’s cluster feed around day 2 and between day 14 – 21. For a breastfed baby this increases the amount of fore milk a baby receives. Fore milk is largely comprised of lactose (sugar). When a baby receives an increased amount of lactose the enzyme present in the stomach responsible for breaking it down cannot keep up. The lactose then ferments and causes gas. This can be very uncomfortable for baby’s during a newborn session and posing them into certain positions can cause further discomfort. The result is an unsettled baby that requires much more soothing than a younger newborn. This can be upsetting for new parents who are still learning what all those cry’s mean. It also prevents the photographer from being able to pose a very alert baby who is pushing their entire body forward by digging little feet into the posing surface (otherwise known as breast crawling).
Did you know that a newborn baby is born with 305 bones compared to our 206? Lots of this is cartilage. Cartilage provides the flexibility and softness to the body so that infants are able to curl up in the uterus and later pass through the birth canal easily. Around week two, the bones start to fuse together to provide more rigidity to the body and continue to fuse until adulthood. A newborn baby can hold its own legs into a curled position up to their chest for approximately 14 days after which time they discover stretching and become less flexible. Folding ridged legs into a curled fetal position to keep them modest whilst nude becomes much more challenging and the result is less of a newborn look to the final images.
Alertness and Safety
Newborns under 14 days are easily settled into poses and remain asleep for much of the session. Newborns will move to get comfortable after being placed into a posed position and the photographer must then make micro-adjustments to get them back into position. This happens several times for a single pose. Generally, infants over 14 days are much more aware of being transitioned through poses, have other discomforts happening and do require more settling.
Let’s reverse the roles for a minute. If you’re planning on breastfeeding you will likely experience cracked nipples and indescribable pain as your uterus contracts while you feed. Nothing and I mean nothing prepares you for sleep deprivation. You need to sleep, you want sleep and just when you finally get to sleep your baby wakes up and needs another feed. You tense and cringe at the thought of the pain your about to experience again. Unlike adults, babies can’t self-sooth and much more time during the session is dedicated to soothing infants over 14 days back to sleep.
Those lovely little spots on your baby’s skin become more prominent around day 14. Baby acne is the result of hormones transferred between the mother to the baby in the last few weeks of pregnancy. These hormones stimulate oil glands in the baby’s body causing acne. While this doesn’t seem to affect overall temperament Mum’s generally desire clear skin for their baby’s newborn photos.
The benefits of booking early
Booking early is essential to making sure the photographer has an availability set aside for when your little human arrives. It also has the added benefit of paying in instalments or even letting friends and family know you’d love the idea of them chipping in towards the cost of a session or something a bit swish to display in your home.
Contact us for a complimentary pre-booking consultation
If you’ve fallen in love with the beautiful images in my portfolio and are considering a Newborn Photography session in my Canberra newborn studio, I’d love to answer questions you may have before booking. Contact Us to request an obligation free pre-booking consultation.
To get you excited, I’m going to leave you with some gorgeous images of seven-day-old Lulu who was almost effortless to pose.