My Road To Newborn Photography
Back when I had my first kid seven years ago, I knew pretty much nothing about newborn photography. I had a friend of a friend who was building her portfolio come over and take some posed images of my new babe. I remember being intrigued and thought she was a baby whisperer. And I adored those images and honestly had no idea what it took to create them and make them look perfect. After we had said kid for awhile I decided we needed a nice camera. I purchased a Sony mirrorless camera for $800 that I thought was pretty fantastic. I was still shooting on auto but it was good enough for me. Once we had kid #2, I decided to take newborn photos myself using an awful green fleece blanket and a snowman hat. I look at those now and cringe, but at the time I thought they were the bomb. (: I would share but I don’t want to embarrass myself. Fast forward to my third kid, which was early in my business and I did take her newborn photos. Much better but not to where I am today.
Newborn photography is an absolute art. When I started my business I knew I wanted to include newborn sessions in my offerings. And to complicate it more and give myself a real challenge, I wanted to tackle posed newborns. In those first couple years of my business, I was not that good at the posed stuff. I didn’t have much of a plan going into a session and I didn’t prepare the parents enough. In my first year I had one newborn session last 6 hours. 6 hours!!! That is insane. I didn’t improve until I committed to learning. Perfecting posing - investing in training videos from some of the best photographers and focusing on just a few at a time. Perfecting wrapping - this was huge for me because I discovered that my starting off sessions with a calm wrapped baby gave me confidence at the beginning of a session because I was able to capture several great images almost immediately. Perfecting editing - I learned Photoshop at the end of my second year in business and it’s a game-changer for newborn editing. Newborn editing is both time-consuming and tedious and any tools to make that easier, like Photoshop, are necessary. And perfecting….I use that term loosely…..there is always so much more I want to learn and improve on. But baby steps and with each year I’m getting better and better.
What is Newborn Photography?
Newborn photography is not all about the posed images. There are basically three different types of newborn sessions offered by photographers (and this does not include birth photography - but that is a thing too):
Fresh 48 Session -This session is held in the hospital after the baby is born, and typically happens with the first 48 hours of life. These sessions are documentary and focus on the emotions of those first few hours with your baby. Very unposed, very candid.
Lifestyle Session - This session is typically held in your home in the first couple weeks after you bring your baby home. This session is also a very documentary-styled shoot, focusing on emotions and connections while shooting in well-lit areas of your home. It’s a “this is how our life was at this point in time” type of session. Some photographers do offer a lifestyle set up in their studio with a bed and/or couch to mimic a home.
Posed Session - This is probably the type of session that comes to mind first when people think of newborn photography. Sleeping newborns in wraps and props, wearing hats and headbands, or sometimes naked on blankets in cute poses. Anne Geddes was one of the pioneers in posing newborns in different props. In this type of session, the photographer works with a (normally) sleepy newborn to position the baby in flattering and adorable poses that accentuate their tiny features - those tiny hands, fingers, toes, lips, etc. And some poses show off how curly they still are after being in mom’s womb for 9 months.
What does KMP offer?
KMP currently (this blog post is dated in early 2019 and these may change over time - for the most accurate info always check out my Investment page) offers four different types of newborn sessions:
Posed+lifestyle session - This session is held in your home and offers a mix of the traditional baby-only posed shots as well as some documentary lifestyle images for sibling, parent and family shots. I bring my “studio” to you and provide props, wraps, blankets, headbands, and hats for the posed portion. It typically lasts 3-4 hours including my set-up and tear down but the glorious thing about this session is not having to leave your home.
Lifestyle session - As mentioned above in the descriptions, this type of session is very unposed and candid. The focus is on capturing the emotions of those first couple weeks home with your new little one. I typically shoot these sessions with all natural light. We will spend some time touring your home and to find the best lighting. Then I guide you through some “poses” to make the best use of the light. We’ll get a variety of images - entire family, each parent with baby, sibing shots, if applicable and baby only. This session typically lasts 1.5 hours.
Studio mini session - This is a fully posed session held in my in-home studio. At the time of writing this, I only offer a mini wrapped session in studio BUT I do have plans in the future to offer a full session so please check my Investment page to see what my current offerings are. The studio mini is a session where baby stays wrapped the entire time, but I layer wraps to get a variety of looks. It includes 2-3 baby-only set ups as well as sibling, parent and family shots. This is a 60-75 minute session with limited images included with the session fee.
Fresh 48 - This session is usually included in a package along with one of the above newborn sessions. A Fresh 48 is done in the hospital following birth. It captures the newness and emotions following the arrival of your new babe.
What session is right for me?
Need help deciding what session is a good fit for you and your family? I think the most important question to ask first is what type of images are you drawn towards? If you absolutely love the baby-only posed shots, then you can narrow it down to the Posed+Lifestyle or the Studio Mini session. The baby-only shots will be almost identical with either session, except the Posed+Lifestyle session possibly will include some naked shots if that is priority for you and if baby will cooperate. Parent and family shots will be more posed and formal in the studio and will be more lifestyle in the in-home session.
If you are more into the documentary/candid images in your home and posed images don’t intrigue you, then the Lifestyle session is perfect for you.
The time in the hospital is a blur - trust me, I’ve had three kids. So maybe capturing that time is important to you - just so you remember, with clear, sharp, creative images. They probably aren’t the images you will hang on your wall but you will treasure looking back on them when your kids are older and giving birth is a speck of a memory.
I always ask my clients, “what do you envision on your wall?” What do you want to hang on your wall? Do you have plans to hang the adorable posed baby images in the nursery? Do you want a large family canvas for the living room? Or maybe a collage of B&W candid images from a lifestyle session? I think starting there will give you a good foundation on how to choose. And let me know exactly what you want and I can possibly create a session for you that checks all of your boxes.
Just know that with any session you choose, I will be there to help you prepare and guide you through it. I send out prep guides for each session so you know exactly what to expect. And I’m always here to answer any questions you may have. I’m a mother and I’ve been there before.