One of the best tips I can give newborn photographers is to get into a flow of posing to make the most out of every session. New parents really don’t want to sit in a warm studio when they’d rather be at home relaxing (or catching up on some well needed sleep). Having a structure or flow to your poses – or at least a general idea of how to structure your sessions – can be a great help to make your sessions as time effective as possible.
Here’s a bit of an idea of how I tend to do my sessions (though knowing me this will change again in a few months!)
The Sibling Factor
The biggest factor for me when I’m thinking about how to structure my photo sessions is whether or not there are any older siblings who will be coming along. This is especially important when you have younger children (say 3 and under) who have a short attention span. I tend to have two different flows depending on whether there is an older sibling coming along or not.
Newborn Photo Sessions Without Older Siblings
Newborn photo sessions where there aren’t older siblings are definitely that little bit easier. You have more time to focus just on the newborn and the parents without the added complexity of a toddler or older child and their short attention span etc. For sessions where there is only one newborn this is the usual flow – the trick is to make the most out of each set up:
Baby undressed and wrapped in one of my textured wraps
Baby on the bean bag wrapped (and usually awake)
Potato sack pose
If still awake, parent shots (Mum/ Dad on their own with baby)
Family photos of both parents and baby
If baby is getting sleepy at this point then to the beanbag to attempt naked poses (I usually do “Tushie Up” first as it’s my favourite, then follow baby’s lead moving on to “Facing Forward” or “Huck Finn”)
If baby is still awake after the family photos then prop photos while still wrapped. They sometimes want a feed after this if they’re still awake/unsettled so we make time for this now. If they’re having a feed I undress them and pop a nappy cloth under them to keep Mum safe from explosive poos! This allows me to get straight to naked beanbag photos if/when they fall asleep while feeding.
Prop shots (if we haven’t already done these)
Newborn Photo Sessions With Older Siblings
Where there’s an older sibling I always do the sibling and family images first. This is because older siblings have a limited attention span and I want to capture them at their best before they lose interest in me/get bored sitting around in my studio. As sweet as they are, my aim is to get them photographed and out enjoying their day at the local park or I encourage families to arrange for Dad or another friend or family member to pick them up and take them home.
Photo sessions where there are older siblings usually go something like this:
Parent images (especially important if Dad is taking the sibling home/out so that Dad is no longer required at the session)
Then I tend to follow along from step 2 above (minus the family and parent shots of course).
I hope that this helps you along on your newborn photography journey! And remember that you should always be ready to be flexible during your session and just do what you can. Be ready to think on your feet to help make the most of each and every moment during the session.
If you found this helpful, you might also like to read my Blog post Top Tips for a Successful Baby Photo Session