I am often asked; "why does a newborn session take so long?" or "why is a newborn shoot 4 hours?"
There is many reasons why we schedule out 4 hours for a newborn photo shoot, each session is bespoke and tailored to your requirements, from the styling and chosen colour schemes to the props and poses.
Newborn sessions are entirely baby lead, and some babies do get the sleepy memo before their photo shoot and the rest decide it's playtime and they don't want to sleep.
1. Settling your baby
Settling your baby can take time, some babies require lots of soothing and cuddles to relax them and fall into a deep sleep, some don't. Which ever category your baby falls into this part isn't rushed, your baby may require a feed to help settle or to be rocked to their favourite lullaby. I have had some baby's settle in a few minutes and other in an hour. Each baby is different and different methods work.
So we have your baby settled and posed on the beautiful cream backdrop which matches your home decor perfectly when bam...... a cascading waterfall of poop and pee happens, lucky for you if it is on the backdrop and unlucky if it is on me or you.
Accidents always happen in the studio when you have baby's with no nappies on - but we crave for those cutesy naked pictures of our baby, so with nappy free time - expect little accidents on the way.
3. Feeding Time
To keep your baby happy a full tummy is always best (even now I am the same - happy when fed). Once your baby has had a good feed and full tummy and all of the wind burped from them we are always good to go.
Often during their photo's I will sometimes re-position baby which may disturb them but it's nothing a quick suckle on a dummy or a top up milk can't sort. The newborn session is longer than regular sessions to allow plenty of time for baby feeds during their visit to the studio.
4. Family Pictures
Your newborn session has plenty of time for family pictures - your first professional portrait as a family of three, or even four or five! If older siblings are to have their pictures taken with their new baby brother or sister - these do take time. Prepping the baby so younger siblings can hold them safely to getting toddlers dressed into their photo outfits.
5. Props and Posing
You see all of the rustic props available in the studio? well some of these props (especially the swing) these have to be photographed in a special way to ensure baby safety whilst using this certain props. The photo's have to be capture in a way so I can safely composite them together in photo shop, or edit away hands or supporting fingers.
Some props require baby to be inside it in a certain way, sometimes baby wriggles out of that pose an we have to start again, or they startle and jump out of position as soon as I pick up the camera!
The studio is full of beautiful outfits, headbands and bonnets, and parents can select any of these to use during the session, so it takes time making these changes during their session too.
Relaxing your baby back into the previous position can take time, uncurling their little fingers again, and posing them. I have Netflix in the studio should you wish to watch a film or box set, or even bring along your favourite book, the time does pass rather quickly even if you sit there watching from start to finish - enjoy the experience of watching your baby have their pictures taken.
I only book in one newborn session per day. This is so we have plenty of time to settle your baby for their pictures and all of the above.
Please don't plan anything in on the day of your newborn photo shoot, appointments with the midwife, or registering your baby or even a nail appointment, having plenty of time helps for a relaxing environment.
Some babies might not settle 2 - 3 hours into your appointment (and believe me - this does happen), having plenty of time assures us we have enough time, and no pressure on making your baby 'perform' as like you and I, babies can have off days too, they are human and no matter how much time they have, sometimes that day may not be their day and in these instances we choose another date.
If you have any further questions about newborn sessions or you are looking to book yours please do get in touch with me Sarah, at email@example.com
Sarah McLean is a newborn portrait photographer providing her service to the Ribble Valley & Lancashire. She specialises in Newborns, Babies, Children, Families .