What to Expect from Professional Newborn Photography: So Much More Than a Quick Picture

What to Expect from Professional Newborn Photography: So Much More Than a Quick Picture

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If you’ve never experienced professional Newborn Photography you may have a hard time imagining what its like and what happens behind the scenes during a newborn session. You’ve seen all those gorgeous images and maybe you’ve wondered if you could do it at home….or maybe you’ve tried to do it at home! Confession: I tried to do it at home about 8 years ago! I would share that attempt here but honestly I wouldn’t want to embarrass my oldest son. It is TERRIBLE!

Based on my experience trying to DIY newborn pictures, I can tell you what professional newborn photography is NOT! It is not just placing a baby on a blanket and snapping a picture! Here are some of the things you can expect from professional newborn photography…

  1. Styling. Even professional newborn photographers who embrace a very simple style will tell you that there is an art to selecting the pieces that will elevate the images they capture from snap shot quality to portrait quality. A big part of that happens before your session even begins and starts with styling. Newborn photographers spend hours on end pouring over the latest fabrics, props, outfits, and accessories to make polished scenes that will not detract from their tiny, yet oh so perfect little subjects. Even once the style elements for the session are selected there is a lot more work that goes into arranging them all perfectly. Blankets must be layered meticulously, backgrounds stretched and smoothed to perfection, and baskets and bowls stuffed just so. It all comes together in an effortless look to make your baby shine.
  2. Lighting.  You may have seen newborn photography that did not impress you that clearly used artificial light but you may be surprised to know that most of the newborn photography you love the most was created with artificial light. Professional newborn photographers know how to use light to create natural, crisp, light filled images. Even newborn photographers who do not use artificial light have to have an in-depth understanding of ideal light/subject placement to create those soft, dreamy, gorgeous newborn images you drool over! A misplaced light can turn a gorgeous portrait into a snap shot quality portrait in a snap.
  3. Parent Preparation. Professional newborn photographers prepare parents in advance with lots of tips and tricks to ensure that baby arrives with a full belly and ready to sleep for a good portion of the session. While we often love to get some “awake” shots where we can see baby’s eyes and all his fun expressions, so many of those cuddly, squishy, sweet posed newborn shots are only possible when baby is asleep. Preparation makes a huge difference!
  4. Time to Comfort and Soothe.  Despite thorough preparation, we all know that babies have their own schedule and their own needs. If baby isn’t ready to sleep when he arrives or if baby wakes up halfway through the session, professional newborn photographers take the time to comfort and soothe and allow for necessary feedings and diaper changes. Professional newborn photographers always allow for several hours if needed. Baby is the boss!
  5. Gentle and Thorough Posing. Some newborn photographers embrace natural or “baby led” posing. I love this technique and offer it to any clients who are interested though I also offer more traditional posed newborn images.  Whether your photographer offers natural or posed images, a professional photographer will never just lay a baby down and snap a shot. Even “natural posing” photographers will take time to arrange baby “just so”, wrapping beautifully, gently moving baby’s hands and fingers in a sweet position, arranging stuffers under baby to make baby appear more snuggly and curled up, etc. These are all things that most parents do not notice when looking at a gorgeous newborn image but these are all things that are happening behind the scenes.
  6. Technical Expertise with Flattering angles and Composition. Once the session is styled to perfection and baby is posed just so, the professional newborn photographer does not simply snap a picture. They must rely on their expertise to choose the perfect camera settings to allow for the best light and depth of field while using the most interesting and flattering angles and composition.
  7. Ooohing-Ahhing and General Amazement at the Beauty that is Your New Little Miracle. All of the above sounds very professional and serious but as much as professional newborn photographers love photography, they also LOVE babies! You can expect to hear tons of “oohs” and “ahhhs” and things like “she’s so precious” and “I love his little lips”! Professional newborn photographers are in awe of your amazing little person and that awe is a huge part of what drives them to create their art!

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Phew…good thing I didn’t have to say that whole list out loud. Sounds like a lot right? It is but its a process I love because I have seen it produce gorgeous, forever portraits time and again. What I find incredibly interesting is that even professional newborn photographers often hire different professional newborn photographers to photograph their baby’s first days! Professional newborn photographers know that the process of capturing these kinds of images is something that would be physically and emotionally difficult for them in those early postpartum days. Newborn photography is so much more than clicking that shutter!

“even professional newborn photographers often hire different professional newborn photographers to photograph their baby’s first days”

Newborn photography is about creating beautiful images that capture everything tiny, snuggly, and beautiful about your baby and your connection with her. If you suspect that you might not be able to do justice to those once in a lifetime details and moments, start planning now and chat with a professional newborn photographer! You will never regret it!

If you’d like to find out more about a newborn session with Marisa McDonald Photography, email marisa@marisamcdonaldphotography.com for a copy of our Welcome Guide.

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