Category Archives: Newborns
How to Prepare for Your In-Home Boston Newborn Photography Session
Tomorrow you are getting your newborn and family photographs taken and you aren’t sure how to prepare. You are asking yourself, “What do I wear.?”, “Do I have to clean my house?”, “What if the baby cries the whole time?”
Newborn photography sessions should be relaxed and about capturing your growing family, not stressful. The tips below will help you prepare for an amazing session with your baby.
1. Take care of yourself and the baby.
It might sounds ridiculous saying this but it is so important. Take a break. Get a glass of water. Comfort the baby. Just make sure you are comfortable. Bringing a new life into the world, whether through delivery or adoption, is joyful but stressful.
2. Don’t rush feeding the baby.
Getting a full feed is really important. I always tell parents not to rush the feeding otherwise the baby will be hungry again and we end up doing this dance of eating, crying, eating, crying. More importantly,we want to make sure the needs of the baby are met. The photos always take the same amount of time.
3. Turn up the heat.
Having your home be warm is essential to a successful photo session. The heat helps calm the baby who might not wearing the same type of clothes we are wearing. They are used to be warm and cozy in a belly. It also keeps the baby’s skin looking warm and not purple and cold. I’m sure you’ve noticed when your baby is cold the appearance of their skin changes.
If the heat bothers you, make sure to wear appropriate clothes. There is no need to layer or wear sweaters, otherwise you’ll overheat and be a sweaty mess.
4. Block off time.
I find that no matter what I do sessions always last about 90 minutes. It allows enough time for you to take care of the baby’s basic needs – feeding, changing and comforting – and for us to take photos. Some partners with more flexible schedules are on leave while others need to go back to work right away. We can work around their schedule to set an earlier meeting time or when there is space in his or her schedule. Generally, I find that mornings work well for everyone – the baby is calmer, the light is adequate in most homes, and we don’t have much stress from the day yet.
5. Don’t stress about how clean your house is.
Seriously, you just had a baby and no one is judging. No one will know if you didn’t vacuum or mop the floor. And, it won’t show up in the photos. If you have limited time, just clear the clutter (if it will bother you). At a session, we can take a minute to clear off a table if needed, or we can document life as it is.
6. Reflect on how you want to remember this period.
It is really important to reflect on how you want to remember this incredible time in your life. It goes by so fast and I found that I barely remember the period since a lot of it was worrying about sleep, the baby’s health, tracking eating and bodily movements, etc. Simple questions such as – Where are you spending your time? How do you hold your baby? Is there a gesture or movement your partner does that you’d like to document? – can help us document this time appropriately.
7. Are there items you’d like to include?
Since I am a lifestyle photographer, I don’t bring props with me but that doesn’t mean we can’t include items that are meaningful to you and your family. Maybe there is a special once you received as a present? Or, a blanket someone made for the baby? An heirloom item that has meaningful to your family? Or, something like a wall hanging you bought specifically for the nursery. These are all items that we can include.
8. Think about what you will wear.
For women who just gave birth this can be a hard decision. It takes awhile for our bodies to feel like themselves, plus there are all the issues that come with delivery a baby that I’ll spare you from here on the blog. I’m not the photographer that will plan your outfit but I think the following guidelines will help.
While some women can rock a tight dress after delivery, many of us can’t.
Tip #1: Pick something that you feel amazing in. Don’t overthink it.
Tip #2: I recommend wearing a loose top or dress, something not form fitting, if you are worried about your post-pregnancy body.
Tip #3: If you don’t like showing cleavage then opt for a top with a higher neck line.
Tip #4: Avoid really bright colors. They tend to leave color cast on your and the baby’s skin.
Tip #5: Think about the colors in your home so your outfit doesn’t clash. with the decor If your home is neutral wearing a colorful top would work well. If you have a lot of color in your home, then a more neutral grey, white, cream look will work best.
Tip#6: Avoid black tops. Many of us are trained to think that black slims us but I find it doesn’t work particularly well in newborn photos, especially black and white conversions at in-home sessions
Despite everything I wrote, I think it is important to be yourself. If you feel great and love your outfit choice, you’ll feel better at the session and love your photos more.
9. About 30 minutes before the session try to feed, change and wrap the baby up in a swaddle blanket.
This is pretty self-explanatory and it will help the newborn sleep and keep him or her calm for our session.
10. You know what is best.
Despite all the information that you read online or that I give you, you’ll have a better idea of what is best for your baby . Everything you read is a recommendation and not strictly something that has to happen.
When is the best time for newborn photos?
Have you read a bunch of blog posts that say newborn photos need to happen within the first week? Did you already have your baby and are now stressed that you missed the “window”? Were you sitting in the doctor’s office and imagining life going by in an instant? Did you adopt and you need to wait to come home. It is okay.
A lot has been written about this two week newborn window but a lot of it applies to used newborn photography. I’m in the camp that anytime is a good time. Posed newborn photographers need the baby’s to curl up and be sounds asleep. That is not the case with lifestyle or documentary photography. We capture life as it is at the movement. It is okay if the baby is awake.
When families book me for newborn photos there a few things that I bring up.
- How are you feeling? To me, this is one of the most important questions. Of course you might not be sleeping well but are you okay to take photos, or do you need more recovery time. A lot of emphasis is put on the newborn but the birth may have impacted you in a way you didn’t even fathom before it happened.. After my first delivery I did not feel like myself and was definitely not up for photographs while with my second delivery, I was up and walking around right away. Your mindset and health are important factors to consider.
- How is the baby’s health? Were there any complications? Does the baby have jaundice? Did you need to stay in the ICU? Unfortunately, this things can pop up and the baby’s health takes priority.
- If you have a partner/spouse, are they going back to work? If your partner only gets a few days off, it is important to reach out earlier. We have to work with your schedule, doctor’s appointments and availability. If work hours are more flexible or fluid then there isn’t a rush.
- Do you have visitors? Bringing home a baby is a bid deal for family and friends. Do you want to include the traveling grandparents or do you want a more intimate session? The timeline of your visitors may impact the schedule.
Babies change quickly but that doesn’t mean we can’t capture the magic of the first few months at home if we miss the first few days. Below are a few examples of photographs taken within the first few months.
How you can look natural in your newborn photos
Have you ever wondered why some people look so natural and comfortable in newborn photographs? I bet you think you are not one of those people. I always joke that is why I am behind the camera, however, with a little help you can feel at ease too.
1. Take care of yourself and the baby.
In my mind this is number one. If you are a mom that had a difficult delivery or a dad that was up a night changing a diaper, there might be something you need – to sit down, drink some water, eat a snack, etc. It is okay to take a break from photographs to address that need. The same thing with the baby. Sessions always seem to take the same amount of time no matter what so take your time feeding, comforting, or changing the baby.
2. Move. You have my permission.
At the start of any session, I give a little talk, and I always give families permission to move. When we think of photographs, a lot of time it is everyone standing looking at the camera. Being static like that does not make the photographs feel alive or give it personality. Caressing your baby’s head or leaning over to give your partner a kiss give the photographs life. These micro movements, as I call them, will make the photographs feel more like you.
3. Wear something you feel comfortable in.
This is a must. I always say that if you feel awkward in your clothes, you will look awkward. If you love your clothes you will feel and look beautiful. If you are self-conscious about your belly after birth, wear something loose fitting. If you don’t want your cleavage to show, think about a shirt or dress with a higher neck line.
4. Hold the baby in a way that is comfortable for you.
I’m always asking parents how they hold the baby – right arm, left arm, on their shoulder, etc. I think this really important. Sometimes I’ll have a pose in mind and I can tell right away if it isn’t going to work. To adjust, I’ll just have the parent hold the newborn in a way that is more natural to them and the everything falls into place.
5.Don’t look at me. Seriously, don’t.
There is plenty of time to get the image of everyone looking at the camera but if you want images the show the love and awe of this incredible moment in your life, look at the people that made it happen.
Beth Ann is a portrait photographer based in Belmont MA just outside of Boston. She is currently booking Boston NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY, Boston FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY, Boston BABY PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS AND SENIOR PORTRAIT SESSIONS IN THE BOSTON AREA.
What should I look for when hiring a Boston newborn photographer?
There are many different reasons that families hire newborn photographers. Some parents know right away while other decide after the delivery or adoption. You might get a referral from a friend or spend an evening on Google or Instagram to find a local Boston photographer. Giving birth is such an intimate personal experience you will want to make sure you find the right person to photograph your baby. Below are a few questions that come up frequently from other parents who are looking to hire a baby photographer.
What photography style do you gravitate towards?
In Boston, there are many different types of newborn photographers. They generally fall into three different categories. First, posed, which is usually in a studio and the baby is often put into different positions. Sometimes parents are included and sometimes not. Second is documentary photography where the photographer comes in for a set period of time and photographs your life and time as it is typically without any prompting. And, third is in-home lifestyle photography which is where the photographer comes to your home and uses loose posing techniques to capture life at your home.
It is important to figure out which style you are attracted to and search from there. It will make narrowing down your decision a little easier. I fall mainly into the lifestyle category but incorporate a few documentary elements throughout for a hybrid session. My goal is to capture natural looking photographs that capture the emotion of this beautiful moment.
2. Are parents, siblings, pets and other relatives included?
Every photographer does it a little differently so it is important to ask this question if including other people or pets is important to you. My newborn session are essentially family sessions so I want to include parents, pets and siblings. In the past, I’ve had grandparents who have traveled great distances to help out with the grandchild/ren and I am happy to include them in the photos. Usually, I take a few photographs at the beginning or the end of the session.
3.When do you schedule session?
Most families reserve a session before the baby is born. This saves you a spot in the calendar since I can only photograph a set amount of sessions in a month. Usually from the hospital, families then reach out to schedule the session. Many families want to capture the newborn details and small size so a session can take place a few days after birth while some moms need more time to recover and the session is scheduled around the 4-5 week mark. I don’t believe in rushing families into the photography session and because I don’t do “posed” newborn photography the session doesn’t have to happen in the first 2 weeks. My two postpartum experiences were completely different and with my first there is no way I could have had pictures taken 2 weeks after giving birth.
Many families don’t even think they want photos until the baby arrives and I fit in those families the best I can.
4. What are your safety processes, training and do you have insurance?
Honestly, these are questions that are never asked but I think it they are incredibly important. Anyone can pick up a camera and start a business. When I first started out I went to a workshop on posed newborn photography and I learned so much about the different positions of babies and how many things can go wrong that I quickly switched to lifestyle sessions, which was a more natural fit for me anyway. Making sure my vaccines are up-to-date is essential, and I do carry insurance.
At the beginning of every session I do my version of a safety talk which I find particularly important when young siblings or pets are involved. As a family, you probably don’t spend so much time so close to each other so watching toddlers feet and movements are really important. I feel confident in what skills I am good at so even when asked to pose a baby in a basket or on something else my usual response is no or I don’t feel comfortable. This is mainly because I believe the there is a lot of necessary training needed to do position babies correctly and safely and other photographers excel at it.
This is often the first question I am asked and while it is important and no one should buy something they can’t afford, I think safety and style should be at the top of the list. Professional photos is a wonderful thing to have especially when you look back on the images years later but no one should spend more then they can afford. At the same time, it is essential you find someone with the right style and safety procedures in place.
If you are mainly looking to purchase digital prints set aside part of your budget for printing photos either in an album or prints on the wall.