I love shooting real, genuine portraits that celebrate your family's life in this moment with a newborn. So rather than studio style sessions, I do newborn sessions in my client's home - coming to you and documenting more candid, natural moments in your own environment.
The timing of your session
Because I offer lifestyle sessions, versus the more posed & styled studio setups, it doesn't matter so much about how old your newborn is when I come to create these portraits for you. Studio newborn photographers usually want babies under 2 weeks old so that they are really sleepy and easier to pose & curl into intricate positions for those fine-art newborn shots. Whereas I concentrate more on documenting family life; cuddles, nap time in the bassinet, feeding, siblings, close ups of tiny hands and feet, more cuddles and even bath time. Whether your newborn is awake or sleepy, my in-home sessions are designed to work around your newborn's routine (if they even have one yet!). This means these sessions work just as well for newborns under 2 weeks old and 12 week old babies!
If you want to capture those fleeting newborn features before your new baby grows then let's aim for 1-2 weeks old, once you're back home and settling in. If you want more awake shots then perhaps around the 4 week old mark you will get more alert and awake time. I've even done newborn portraits with 2-3 month old babies which just means more interaction and smiles. It is totally up to you and what you want captured.
Don't stress about the house
Sometimes clients will say they don't know if there's any good spots in their house for the photographs. Or that the house might be cluttered with baby gear everywhere. Don't stress about any of this - it's entirely my job to work all this out. I usually choose a room in your home that has plenty of soft window light - often a bedroom or the nursery, but again that's not anything you need to worry about organising.
I guess my experience as a wedding photographer has ensured I am able to use any lighting situation to my advantage. Whether your house has lots of natural light, or hardly any windows, this is not something you need to worry about for your portrait session.
What to wear
The easiest place to start wardrobe planning is with your colour palette. Think coordinated, not “matched”. Co-ordinated outfits provide a subtle cohesiveness to your final photographs. I suggest sticking to a couple of colours and pick out clothes for the family within this colour range. For example: tones of blue, with neutrals such as greys and creams. Or complimentary pastel colours of pink, cream, soft blues etc.
Light, neutral tones tend to work really well for newborn sessions. Perhaps just because they match the soft, tenderness of a newborn baby.
There’s no rules on how dressed up you need to be - tidy, casual works well for these in-home sessions. I realise new mums may be worried about what to wear and looking good, so my number one piece of advice is that it's really important that you feel comfortable & confident in what you choose to wear. Keep it simple - a blouse and jeans, or a long floaty dress. Do your hair and makeup as if you're going out (or better yet book in some professional pampering) and I guarantee you will feel like a goddess for your portrait session.
For the star of the photos; your newborn child - pick out a couple of favourite outfits. We can do a change in outfits during the session if you wish (we usually have a feeding & changing break anyway). Again I suggest keeping it simple, light and nothing too bold in pattern that will draw attention away.
Incorporate special elements
If you have a bassinet that's been in the family for generations, some hats or booties made by Gran or a gifted soft toy I'm always happy to incorporate any of these elements into your photographs. It's always special to recognise these mementos and heirlooms in your photographs years later and grandparents love seeing these special touches!
What to expect
I treat these newborn sessions very organically and let them unfold differently depending on the baby and the family. If I arrive and your baby is sleeping we might start with sleeping shots in the bassinet or cot. If you have other children we might go into doing family portraits all together on the bed first, so the siblings can then go play afterwards. If dad needs to head out on the farm by a certain time or go back to work, we get the family shots and father/child portraits done first.
There's no time limits with my portrait sessions, but to give you an indication I find that most newborn sessions take 60-90 minutes, including stops for feeding and changing etc. We keep the whole session very conversational and relaxed, ensuring that everyone has a good time and enjoys the experience.
If you have any questions whatsoever before your newborn session just get in touch with me, I'm always happy to help. x