Planning Your First Baby Photo Shoot? Here’s How

If you are planning on having a newborn photography session, well, congratulations because that means you will soon be having your own bundle of joy, and that’s wonderful! The gift of life is always worth celebrating. And what’s a more appropriate thing to do after you give birth than to have a newborn photography session? Well, it’s open for debate, but we say a photoshoot is on top of the list.

Well, there are two options to get your baby's first photoshoot started. You can either do it at home yourself or hire a professional photographer.

Planning Your First Baby Photo Shoot? Here’s How

If you are on a tight budget or want to give this shoot a try at home, then don't worry! I've already addressed your point. Here's a complete guide that illustrates the best photography methods using just a smartphone.

However, if you think booking a newborn photography session is a typical walk-in-the-park task, you might be overestimating yourself. First off, there are a lot of considerations that must be taken into account besides choosing the right photographer. And not everything will fall under your control. In today’s post, we will guide you through the ins and outs of booking a professional newborn photographer as well as needed preparation that goes with it. We will try to cover all the necessary facets of it so you won’t have to do individual research on each so read on.

When Is The Best Time To Book A Newborn Photography Session?

The best time to have your baby photographed is during the first 5 - 10 days. Beyond that, the baby will have grown considerably and will have less flexibility to them. It will be so much easier for the photographer to try on different poses when the baby’s body is flexible still.

I understand that many parents have this question in their minds, and that's why I have created a separate post on the topic "when should newborn pictures be taken?"

But good luck to you getting a photographer if your baby has been born already and you are only booking it now. By the time you book one and get to the actual session, your baby might be two months of age already.

You should also note that booking ahead of time saves you all the hassle along the way. Caring for a newly born baby is a massive task in itself as it requires your full attention. Most especially if you are a new parent without any idea of how it’s done, during that time, you will mostly be occupied with all things parenting. How do you expect to squeeze in the task of booking a photographer? So, do yourself a favor by trying to book the session while the baby is still in the belly.

Always try to book your professional newborn photographer months ahead of time. With so many clients inquiring about their services, they could only fit so many sessions in their hectic schedules. You should try to book during the last weeks of your second trimester or during the early weeks of the last one. That way, you’ll be able to come up with a photoshoot date that works for both of you.

Baby Already Here?

Baby already here?

Of course, not everybody will have the right opportunity to pre-book a newborn photography session. Let’s admit it; the reality is that we only think of doing something when a significant event has happened in our life. Case in point, having a baby.

Fret not, because you still could. It’s never too late to have your first baby photo session. In fact, every stage in a baby’s life is worth taking a picture because they are so adorable, just like that. A truly professional photographer can work his way to any challenges.

Just don’t expect to have the same feel to the photos as that of newborn posed-style images. You could try lifestyle theme (more on this later) for the shoot, which is more appropriate for older babies. Again, the more the baby has aged, the less flexible the body becomes, and the more active he will be. Trying to wrap them up with fabric and making them hold a pose for a sustained period will be quite a challenge.

Since it is the first time your baby is undergoing a photoshoot session, it is necessary to keep certain crucial factors in mind. Read these newborn photography tips for parents to make it a smooth and happy event.

Choosing the right Photographer for your shoot

I cannot stress enough the importance of choosing the right photographer. A truly professional photographer can make the photoshoot experience so much better and enjoyable. They know how to handle the newborn baby delicately and could prop the baby into picture-perfect poses without sacrificing safety.

 

Choosing the right Photographer for your shoot

You should check the online portfolio of photographers you have shortlisted. Check if they have substantial experience with newborns. As each artist has his/her own style and techniques, meticulously check the portfolio of each until you find the one whose photography style you love the most.

Beware of fraud photographers who pretend to be professionals. There are people out there who, equipped with powerful digital SLR cameras, dare to call themselves professional when, in fact, they are just beginners of the craft. You can tell from the amount of portfolio and client they have present on their website. If the photographer has a limited portfolio and only a few clients, you might want to stay away from them.

Once you’ve chosen, here are some other things to consider.

Baby’s Due Date:

Although most in-demand photographers have a pretty hectic schedule, they still maintain a level of flexibility when it comes to the agreed photoshoot date. That’s because nobody can accurately predict when the baby will be born. The baby could be born ahead of time or several days delayed.

It’s essential to have constant communication with your photographer to let him know of the current state of your pregnancy. That way, he/she will be able to adjust accordingly.

Photo Shoot Style:

Newborn photography generally has two styles - posed style and lifestyle. Choosing one over the other is a matter of preference. You can also opt to book both methods for variety’s sake.

Posed Style Photo:
baby boy photo ideas poses
Lifestyle Shoot Photo:
Planning Your First Baby Photo Shoot? Here’s How

Posed Style:

Posed style newborn photography is trendy nowadays. That’s because they are share-worthy on almost all social media platforms, and once you do, it will surely gather a lot of likes and comments. Who could resist the adorable charm of a baby?

That is a photography style where the newborn is the sole focus. Newborns of 6-10 days old are perfect for this style. Usually, the baby is placed on a bean bag, or some posing pods are layered with different fabrics- blankets, knits, velvet, etc. - to create a textured effect. Also, the baby is almost always asleep in this one.

The session for this photoshoot could take between 2 to 4 hours because the baby needs to stay asleep in between poses. Of course, as you go along the shoot, you need to feed the baby, change diapers or soiled cloth, put the baby to sleep again, adjust to new poses, and add props. There’s just so much attention required, both from the photographer and the parent, for the session to work. So you need to condition yourself for that.

More often than note, the photographer has a studio where all of the setup necessities are housed. You should consider this when booking because, as a new mom, you might not be ready yet to go out and about. If you are unable to go to the studio, check with your photographer if you can have the photo session in your home instead. Professional photographers are flexible enough to allow the requests of their clients.

Lifestyle Shoot:

Although not as popular as the posed style newborn photography session, lifestyle newborn photography is gaining some grounds. One advantage this style has over the other is that it usually takes less time to finish, wrapping up the session at two hours tops. For this style, your baby does not need to be less than 2 weeks of age because the images that will be taken are not necessarily that of a sleeping baby.

The main selling point of this photography style is that parents can be included in the images. Even the baby’s siblings can join in the fun; in fact, the whole family can be included as well. That is a perfect opportunity to have a great family portrait.

The session involves a lot of enjoyable family moments - mom and dad cuddling the baby, sibling innocently staring and smiling at him/her, the whole family casually lounging on the sofa on a lazy afternoon.

For a lifestyle photography session, you don’t have to go too far out of your way. Because the shoot usually takes place in the comfort of your home. Meaning, you will be utilizing most of the space around your house as the background of the images. It would be good to schedule a general cleaning before the date of the shoot because you wouldn’t want your clutters to end up photobombing your family portrait, right?

Newborn Photography Cost:

The cost of the newborn photography session is another critical factor to consider. Do not expect a professional photoshoot to come cheap. If you were able to strike a deal that you think is a steal, then it probably is too good to be true. The low fee should come as a red flag to you. You should not compromise quality when it comes to capturing precious moments. Trust me, the price you have to pay is worth it.

Besides, being a professional photographer entails a lot of costs. For one, photographers have to invest in their equipment - camera, artificial lighting, studio setup, supplies, etc. They will incur miscellaneous expenses such as travel costs going to your home and labor cost paid to their assistants if they have any. Also, they put in a lot of effort in post-processing the raw photos, and this service definitely doesn’t come free. Not to mention the pre-consultation meetings they offer to their clients.

Photography is art taken seriously by these individuals, so give them some respect by paying what’s rightfully due to them.

On average, you can book a newborn photography package starting at $250. This figure may increase or decrease depending on a variety of factors. If you are booking an especially well-experienced photographer, you may be charged a significantly higher fee. The length of the session and the number of edited photos are also variables to the overall cost. Also, opting for a package that delivers both print and digital images could be an additional cost.

Each photographer prices his/her services differently, so be sure to review all the available packages presented to you. Check the full price list for you to have an idea of what is included with each package. The last thing you want is for the photographer to charge you an additional fee for something that you didn’t know is not included in the package you chose in the first place.

Finally, keep in mind that most photography packages require an upfront payment, usually at half the total package cost. The rest of the amount will be paid once the photo package has been delivered to the client.

Preparing for the Photo Shoot

So, you’ve finally booked a newborn photography session. The next thing to do now is to prepare for the photoshoot. Here are the things that you need to prepare for the session.

Diapers and Baby Wipes:

Things are bound to get messy during the course of the photoshoot. With the session lasting for hours, it is expected that your baby will poop. So, bring a lot of diapers and a good pack of wet wipes. Better safe than sorry.

Diapers and Baby Wipes

Feeding Bottles:

Also, bring along some feeding bottles and milk to the photo session. A well-fed baby is easier to keep asleep than a hungry crying one. Bring enough to last for 5 hours. If you are breastfeeding, then that’s fine. Remember, it is critical to put the baby into a slumber to achieve the poses the photographer wants.

I suggest that you feed the baby right before you arrive at the studio. If the baby is already asleep, you can be busy with other pre-shoot preparations.

eeding Bottles

Pacifier:

There are a lot of things that will be going on around the studio that will disturb a sleeping baby. A pacifier can help the baby be comfortable.

Pacifier

Turn up the Heat:

If you decided to have the photoshoot at home, then you better turn on the heater. A warm ambient temperature aids in keeping the baby sleep. Also, most of the poses will require the baby to be naked so that a toasty room will work the best. The recommended temperature is 80 degrees F. Turn on the heater at least 30 minutes before the start of the session, so all is set when the photographer arrives.

Clothing for the Baby and Family:

Dress the baby in some comfortable fabric to avoid imprints on the skin. Also, remove the diaper 30 minutes before the shoot starts so that the diaper marks will subside by the time it starts.

For the parents, also bring spare clothing for you never know when an accident will happen. The shoot may involve holding the naked baby to achieve certain poses, and once in a while, the baby may drop the bomb right at you. Spare clothing will sure come in handy.

If you are in for a lifestyle photoshoot, bring appropriate clothing that fits the theme of the shoot. Also, don’t forget to bring clothing for the sibling if they are with you.

Clothing for the Baby and Family

Props and Outfit Changes:

Professional photographers usually have a set of accessories that they bring along with them or are present in their studio. That’s a good thing, but a few extra props from you would go a long way. If you have anything cute lying around in your house - a lovely stuffed figure, a cuddly small pillow, some baskets or buckets made of natural materials, beanies, headband, and bean bags - you might want to bring it along with you. If you have something special, perhaps a family heirloom, you may want to bring it too.

Do not forget to prepare a change of outfits for your little one as well. During the session, you might need 3 to 4 outfit changes. It would be nice to have a variety, so bring along clothes as varied as possible.

Props and Outfit Changes

Food:

For a four hour session, of course, you will get hungry. So bring light snacks such as granola bars, packed sandwiches, and some refreshments. Most studios are kind enough to give their client snacks and water, and that’s a plus. But if you are following a particular diet, better bring some food along.

Bring a Form of Entertainment for You and any Siblings:

If you have other kids, you brought along, be sure that you bring them a source of entertainment. Kids are known to have a short attention span so that they will get easily bored during waiting time. Bring books to read, portable toys, or perhaps gadgets that they can keep their focus.

For the parents, usually, a book is good enough to keep them from dozing off. Also, a full bar of phone battery goes a long way. You can immerse yourself in some social media activities while the photographer is doing his or her thing. If you feel like it, you can even document the session via Instagram posts and stories. Just don’t forget to bring the charger with you because it will definitely drain the battery.

How Long Does it Take to Get the Photos?

After the shoot, the photographer will have to do the necessary editing and post-processing to the images. On average, expect to receive the finished package within 3 to 5 weeks.

If you’re planning to use the photos for a birth announcement, you can ask your photographer to process one in advance for this purpose. This way, you won’t have to wait a full 3 weeks to get the photo.

Final Words:

Becoming a parent is a life-changing event, and as a parent, you will feel a strong urge to document every baby steps your little one will take. A newborn photography session is meant for that - to capture the first bonding moments of a parent and baby by putting it in an image that you will be able to cherish forever.

As is accurate with any other challenging task, preparation is key in successfully booking a newborn photography session. It is always better to book ahead of time so you won’t have to bother with the nitty-gritty of it later on. You can't always leave it to luck because lady luck is rarely there when you need her. So, do your do diligence and start looking for that right photographer now.

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