Having been a newborn photographer in Houston – a major city with lots of different families – for over 11 years, I’ve successfully photographed over 1,000 babies. Occasionally, I see growing families with one or two children already, but most clients are first-time parents who are overwhelmed with the whole New Baby Process. Either way, there’s always a growing inventory on the checklist! Along with the needs like diapers, a crib, and a birth plan, there is a whole roster of wonderful extras like the trendy new Dock-A-Tot™ baby lounger and the perfect nursery artwork and accessories on Etsy. But one item always takes the lead: Pinterest-worthy photos.
If you’ve never done a newborn photography session, the idea of it may be equal parts daunting and exciting… a cross between, “Exactly how do they get babies to DO that?” and “That’s an amazing shot! I have to have it!”
Creating great images is a combination of preparation, skill, and patience, with a very small dash of luck. If you want to set yourself up for a successful squishy-baby session, you need to have a knowledgeable newborn photographer and a realistic set of expectations. (Seriously, the photos of quints all bundled up and sleeping together side-by-side is pure voodoo, y’all.)
First, what inspires you? Defining your style will help you get the images that your heart treasures. Our newborn sessions are achieved purely with natural light, which can mimic studio lighting. It can also create dynamic, storytelling highlights and shadows. I often blend together the soft, sleepy poses for baby’s individual portraits with sweet, candid moments with mom and dad so that you get the best of both. But whether you like bright, crisp light or more drama and detail, having a discussion with me about your style will set the stage for the meaningful moments.
If you could only get three shots, what would they be? The answer is different for everyone, but what this tells you is where to focus our attention. Some babies sleep very deeply for the whole session and all of our artistic dreams come true. But more often, others wake often or fight the process. After all, they are very new to the world and all its stimuli. Every baby comes with his or her own set of preferences, and I respect their wishes, so it’s helpful to know when to spend extra time on a certain pose or setting and when to move on. Efficiency allows for a less stressful session experience for everyone and leaves you feeling accomplished, not worried about the outcome.
We refuse sell you a set number of poses then stack on expensive extras, or accomplish a given task then call it a day. Our specialty is all aspects of newborn photography, taking into account baby’s comfort level, emotional connections that can’t be manufactured, and special details that give your images meaning. Your session should reflect all the nuances of our time together, not your choice of portrait package. I take the foundation of your important images and build you a truly custom session experience from that. So in the end, you have the freedom to choose what you love from a wide variety of poses, angles, and settings and tailor your purchase accordingly.
Allowing the session to unfold and not forcing your sweet little bundle to “cooperate” gives us the flexibility to change posing options or tactics, stop for a feeding, or spend time giving baby a break from the commotion. The number one reason I see newborn sessions cause stress for parents is that the expectation set online by gorgeous portfolios of slumbering infants doesn’t show you all the hard work that goes into the one perfect shot that ends up going viral. If you think it’ll be the first time I hear:
- Did you get the shot?
- Oh my gosh, I’m sorry, she usually sleeps!
- Does it always take this long?
- Do you need to go?
- We don’t have to get that pose…
I can promise, it’s not. The answers are:
- I always get the shot
- Because she’s fed, swaddled, and laid down instead of unwrapped, hungry, and being folded in half!
- If it takes more than 2 tries, I’ll move on
Just remember to breathe. This is a labor of love that I absolutely, unreservedly take joy in. It gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction to spend an afternoon loving on your family, creating lasting memories, and giving you photos that your family will treasure literally for generations. What’s two or three hours in the lifetime you will have together to distill into imagery those fleeting moments of the newness and anticipation of the life ahead? You are giving me an incredible gift, and one I never take for granted.
With over a decade of experience, I have learned a great deal about what works and doesn’t when it comes to portraits. Some things photograph better than others, so I can narrow the props, backgrounds, and color selections to keep you from being overwhelmed with too many options. I also understand the developmental stages of babies, and have worked with a full spectrum of challenges, so I can create a safe environment in which to work. Sometimes, a perfect image is a composite of two or three separate images, fused into one. This isn’t Photoshop trickery because I’m not a good artist or your baby is being stubborn, it’s just the best way to make sure baby stays comfortable and protected when being folded, propped up, and rested on certain objects. With siblings who aren’t emotionally or physically secure enough to hold baby brother or sister, I can utilize other posing techniques for a successful experience. Your newborn session should bring you joy, not stress. I have spent years developing the skill and confidence to handle your baby with care.
You should feel comfortable that your photography studio can provide you with the best experience, service, and imagery possible. We work very hard to always exceed these expectations. And we would love to work with your family! Whether you are welcoming your first or fifth, don’t let these tender moments slip away. Book now or learn more by sending us an email to get started with your custom newborn portrait session at Studio Ainsley!