5 Things to Expect During Your Newborn Baby Photo Shoot with the Happy Film Company in Seattle - for Parents & Photographers

What to Expect During a Newborn Photo Shoot (for Parents)

  1. Baby's gonna spit, cry, poop, pee in the air and squirm around.
    This is normal, we're used to it, we're not awkward, squeamish or expecting perfection. We walk into your home fully prepared for chaos and craziness (you just had a baby after all). We've seen it all so please don't be self-conscious or hesitate to take the time you need to sort something out. Take your time and be comfortable. 
  2. Lighting Needs
    We take your newborn photos in natural light, coming in from your biggest brightest window. We may need to move furniture to get a couch, chair, basket, cushion etc...beside the window. It will be worth the effort because the natural light is what makes everyone's skin look most beautiful and clear in the photos. 
  3. Outfits 
    Your baby an wear anything you want - birthday suit, diapers, handknitted cute stuff from grandma, a onesie, a sports jersey. Families usually like dividing their newborn photo shoot into three parts: 1) naked photos first -- make sure your room is heated up, it helps the babies stay sleepy. 2) minimal clothing like a little hat and tutu or something and 3) a full outfit. Usually, we photograph your baby alone when he/she is naked, with parents when they are partially clothed and with the whole family when they are fully clothed. 
  4. Breastfeeding During Your Newborn Photo Shoot
    You'll probably need to nurse your baby 1-2 times during the shoot to help them stay calm and sleepy. This is normal and we're happy to wait or take photos of other things during that time. Some moms really cherish breastfeeding and want to have photographs to remember that bonding activity. We can take close up photos that actually show your breast(s) or we can take photos from farther back to give you a little bit of privacy while still capturing a special memory.
  5. It's Going to Come Crumbling Down
    Be prepared for your newborn shoot to go pretty smoothly right up until the end. We time shoots with children's attention spans in mind - usually not longer than 45 minutes BUT sometimes kids and little babies have their own agenda and decide it's time to stop suddenly and the crying fit begins and we're done a little early (maybe we just took photos for 30 minutes or so). We prepare for this by making sure we take LOTS of photos (and quickly), right from the beginning of the shoot - getting the most important images taken first. Obviously, it's amazing if we can wrap it up before a meltdown hits BUT this is just a warning that if it does happen, it's all part of the game and we grab our last shots and call it a day so everyone can get some rest.

    What to Expect (for Photographers)

    1. Baby's gonna spit, cry, poop, pee in the air and squirm around.
      You gotta be flexible, mellow and take pictures quickly so you catch all the pretty moments as well as the 'special memories' in between. Basically, just never stop shooting, even if his little willy is behaving like a fire hose (unless parents request you to NOT take nude photos or something).
    2. Lighting Needs
      Sometimes you're gonna show up at a shoot and the house only has a tiny window and the room is pretty dark. These photo shoots are rough and demand 100% of your skill. I set my ISO higher to capture more light but it will result in grainier aka noisier photos. As long as everyone knows what to expect, we're okay. If they aren't okay with it, find another solution -- maybe go outside on the deck or even in the car (if you need a heater) -- #makeitwork.
    3. Outfits
      Not everybody wants naked photos of their baby. Be sensitive, give them options and ask. If the room is cold, remind parents to warm it up, especially if the baby is going to be nakey-nakey. Don't let parents keep switching outfits (more than 2 times is too much) because it will eat into your photography time. When photographing babies naked or partially dressed, be cautious of which body parts are featured and whether parents want those "private areas" photographed. Often, they don't mind if they are photographed but they don't want them posted online. 
    4. Breastfeeding
      During the photo shoot, most new moms will need to breastfeed their baby at least 1-2 times. Ask if they want photos. Most say no and that's fine. While you wait for mom and baby to be ready again, just photograph other kids, dogs, cute things in their home or just sit and enjoy a little pause. Some moms do want to be photographed while they nurse their new babies. They find the experience is a special bonding moment that they want to remember. Give them the option of close up photos that really show off the suckling or photos from further away to give them a little body privacy (while still capturing the moment). You can reassure them that these breastfeeding photos can be private and won't be published online with the other family photos.
    5. Be an Extra Pair of Eyes
      You're going into a family's home in the weeks right after they have a new baby. It's probably going to be a little hectic and maybe messy. Moms are often embarrassed by how things look so encouragement them to just clear one corner of the house and forget about the rest. Just take pictures in that one area. Also, keep your eyes peeled for things they don't want in photos like bottles, diapers, remote controls etc... They have so much on their minds already so it makes a big difference when you're an extra set of eyes, searching for ways to make the space look beautiful.

    Jensen Family Newborn Photography Session at Home
    Photographer: Chamonix
    Location: Private Residence
    Activity: Newborn