Throughout my university degree I was told by numerous professors;
1. Never work with children.
2. Never work with animals.
Whenever there is even a whisper of someone bringing a dog along to a shoot I immediately yell "YES PLEASE!" But when Kellie contacted me to do a newborn shoot for her sister Renae, I was nervous to say the least. Newborns are teeny-tiny, delicate little beings and the whole "you break, it you buy it" notion doesn't really work here. I've been listening to a lot of motivational speakers lately and a reoccurring message is that you must do things that make you nervous. I bit the bullet, accepted the challenge and began my research. Here are some tips for your first newborn shoot and my journey along the way.
I forwarded the little bit of information below to Renae so everyone would be confident and ready to go before the shoot:
PREPPING THE BABY
About 30 minutes before the session, please loosen up your baby’s diaper. This allows the little imprint marks time to disappear. Your baby will be naked in some of the shots, so we want the red marks to go away.
Because we want the baby sleepy for the session. We recommend that you try to keep your baby awake for a while before the session. Trust us, it will be worth it!
We love “milk drunk” babies! Please feed and burp the baby right before the session to ensure baby is happy and sleepy. We may ask you to nurse (or feed) the baby during our session if they start to get cranky.
Gather all the props you would like to use during the session
To my luck, Renae brought her amazing entourage along with her; PJ, Kellie, Breanna and of course Gran (who I'll be shooting her wedding later this year 🎉). I told them that it's typical for a newborn shoot to go for 3 hours and we began our journey. I had the heater on, Pandora Radio at an appropriate level (classical station - which worked like a charm, almost too well when we all came close to falling asleep) and all my lighting setting up for the family shots as seen above.
DURING THE SESSION
Silence is Golden! During the session we need to have the house/location quiet to keep the baby asleep. If you have other children that might create noise, try to find a sitter that can take them from home for a few hours. If you have a pet, you may want to do the same.
Relax! The baby may get fussy, but we will get great shots; sometimes it just takes time to calm down the little bundle of joy. We let the baby take the lead. Sometimes the baby will need to eat, get a new diaper and just need to cuddle with mama. Babies know when the parents are stressed, so keeping the environment mellow and calm helps to keep the baby calm.
Shit happens! Literally! Because the baby will be naked we may see them use the blankets as a diaper. It is OK. We clean up and move on. There is no need to feel embarrassed. It would be helpful if you had a stack of old towels, extra wipes and blankets on hand just in case things get messy.
Safety Dance! If there is ever a point during the session where you become uncomfortable, please let us know. We will not put the baby in unsafe positions, even if the parent wants to get a specific pose! If we feel it is unsafe, we will not proceed. The baby’s safety comes first.
Within the first 10 images of Renae and Isla we encountered the 💩 happens point. It was cute, it was funny and we moved on in no time.
After getting some shots of mum and dad with Isla the next obstacle was getting her to sleep. As seen above, the baby takes the lead and sometimes being milk drunk doesn't always work. After about an hour and a half Isla fell asleep and the fun began! Once Isla was out it was fantastic how well everything progressed. It was all hands on deck throughout the shoot; everyone passing props to each other, holding up backdrops and reflectors. We finished up the shoot in about 2 and a half hours and I was incredibly happy with our achievements. I must give a HUGE thank you to Renae and her amazing family for trusting me and helping me experience my first newborn shoot. Now to end, here are some more adorable photos of Isla to melt everyone's hearts.