In-home newborn shoots are all the rage...
In fact, I prefer them to a studio-based shoot! As a lifestyle photographer, my intention is always to capture the feeling of the moment. The human qualities that make us who we are. This is why a newborn session in the home with a growing family are among my most favorite to capture. Here are some things for you to consider before your in-home newborn shoot!
Poses will be different.
Have you seen those newborn photos where the little one is ever so sweetly resting their chin on their hands? Many of those newborn photos you may have seen online are posed using all-hands on deck, quite literally, there are hands holding the baby's head and hands where you want them for that shot, then the photographer edits out the hands in post-production. An in-home photoshoot likely won't be going for these poses, simply because they aren't natural! Lifestyle photography captures real and raw, so when scheduling a newborn shoot in your home, know that your photographer will likely want to be capturing your little just as they are.
Your photographer, however, should be skilled in handling newborns and positioning them safely. When it comes to posing your baby at home, a boppy, lounger, and other flat surfaces like a bed can work great!
A sleepy, warm, happy baby...
We want a sleepy baby! We have the best chance of capturing these shots within 14 days of baby's birth. So first of all, schedule them as soon as you can upon arriving home.
I always encourage my clients to get their baby as milk-drunk as possible just before the shoot. I know in theory it sounds super cute to have baby awake in the photos (and it is!!!), but generally, the awake baby is a fussy baby, so sleepy shots tend to work the best so we can position baby how we'd like.
It can also be a good idea to turn the heat up in your home a little bit prior to the shoot, because outfit changes can cause the baby to fuss a bit, especially if they're cold. Speaking of a warm baby, naked photos are seriously the CUTEST, but I recommend saving them for last (unless the baby is naked and happy when the photographer arrives). I've seen many-a-shoots go downhill because the diaper or naked shots happened too early and the coldness upset baby. And it's a good thing swaddle photos are so darn cute, they'll be your ticket to a happy baby! Sometimes if the shoot is feeling overwhelming, we can swaddle up that baby and let him or her warm up and calm down.
Don't be afraid to hold your baby, either! Nothing calms a baby like being hold or touched by mom or dad. And some of my FAVORITE shots are ones where the baby is being held by their parents.
What to wear
What's the perfect outfit for your newborn, you ask? In my opinion, less is more! Utilizing soft, neutral colors tend to work best. Prints are NOT off the table! They can be so cute, but I recommend small prints, ideally with just two colors (I.e. green and white stripes). Using softer, neutral colors, tend to work best because baby's skin is a bit darker and more red than ours, so keeping light colors on and around the baby tends to make better color tones for their skin.
I recommend having a couple of swaddles and a couple of neutral onesies, and you'll be good to go. Hats and bows are always cute, too! Also - yes, parents, you should be in them, too! Dress comfortably and in neutrals!
Do you need props or certain products?
Nope! I've done plenty of shoots using the floor and a blanket, but that doesn't mean you can't have more stuff to make the photos even better!! As mentioned above, boppies and loungers work great for positioning. I also love posing babies on a bed, ideally with a light bedspread (because like I said, lighter backgrounds help brighten up baby's skin!
I recommend having nice neutral blankets or big swaddles to cover the boppy or lounger with to make a seamless-looking background. If you want photos of your baby in a basket with flowers around them (see below), go for it! I just usually have to ask my clients for a step stool so that I can get high enough up to capture the entire image.
What part of the house is best for the photoshoot?
This is such an important thing to consider! When I show up at my client's homes, I ask them if I can look around for rooms with the most natural light. Often times, the owner's suite/bedroom has the best light and a bigger bed to utilize for photos. Baby's nursery can also be a great place, I just recommend opening up those blinds and letting in as much as light as possible.
Posing near or in front of a window tends to make some beautiful images and silhouettes.
Last but certainly not least...
BE PATIENT! Working with newborns requires patience. I pause for outfit changings, feedings, snuggles, diaper changes and all the rest. And with parent's permission, I love capturing photos of these "normal" moments! These photos are the ones you'll look back on forever and reminisce on what those first few days at home were like. Enjoy the moments. Remain calm. Babies cry and fuss. It's normal! Your baby isn't the "bad" baby. I hear all the time, "they've been sleeping all the time but now that you're here they're awake!" That's often how it goes - and that's okay. This is real life, after all.