Newborn baby photoshoot – why it can take 4 hours

You have probably come to my website and then gone straight to my pricing (hopefully you viewed my work at the same time) and wondered why Newborn shoots say ‘2-4 hour session’.

Let me explain why photographing your newborn baby can sometimes take 4 hours

We go at baby’s pace

When you visit me for your newborn photo shoot, your baby could be as young as 5 days old. 5 days out in the world, in contrast to the 9 MONTHS they have spent in your tummy. It may be your first outing as a family, and it’s all very, very new.

Imagine your baby in your tummy – curled up, kept at a constant cosy temperature, motion rocked, food on tap. No idea what it feels like to be hungry, cold, or be moved around so much.

When baby is born, the world is a strange and different place to what they knew. They need time to adjust, and I will be photographing them when they are still adjusting to that world. So we go at their pace. We allow plenty of time for them to have a feed, be soothed if need be, winded, and just to settle them into a nice deep sleep.

The first 30 minutes to an hour are usually spent giving them a good feed, then you give them to me to settle into the deep sleep we want. Once they are in the deep doze, it is easier to pose them as they are relaxed, and less likely to wake up between poses. I use a variety of props as well as a beanbag to pose on, so they will be moved about a lot. Generally they don’t wake up between shots, but if they do, I will stop and soothe them, or if I think they need a feed, they will go back to mum. This all takes time and there would not be any point in rushing this stage even if we wanted to. The better the sleep, the better the session. So it’s worth taking the time at the start of the session to ensure this.

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Baby will need feeding… and will make a mess

Babies poo and pee a LOT. Their bodies are new to the world and doing that adjusting I mentioned earlier. Of course they have no bladder or bowel control, and we are photographing them nude! Accidents on me, you and my props are inevitable. Please do not worry about this, it is expected and I will take care of it.

I would recommend you bring a spare set of clothes with you, especially if you are going anywhere after the session. It’s amazing how far that pee and poo can reach!

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I like to involve you and siblings…

It may be the last thing you want to do, step in front of the camera on zero sleep and not feeling your best. However I will do my best to encourage parent shots as they are so special, and even if you hide them in a drawer for now, you can show baby when they are older. They will appreciate the sentiment more than you could ever know at this stage.

It takes time to setup for parent shots, and if siblings are involved too it’s a whole different ball game. Depending on how old they are siblings are not usually the most co-operative of subjects! Confused and maybe a bit annoyed with the new baby themselves, they don’t see what the fuss is about and just want to go off and do their own thing. Of course, older sister may absolutely adore her new baby brother, and be an angel to photograph, smiling and close to baby. Realistically they mostly fall in the first category though, so this takes time and patience.

Siblings are best to come in at the end once we’ve had chance to photograph baby on their own and then your parent shots. Fidgety, hungry baby and bored sibling are not a good combination, so trust me on this one and get an adult to bring siblings in at the end!

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Baby may be unsettled

As mentioned, baby is now in a world where they feel hunger, so will let us know when they need a top up. This is fine, we stop, you feed (or I feed if you have brought bottles), we go again.

I have loads of tricks up my sleeve to settle your baby at their session, and will try my best at all times. However if baby has colic or any other type of issue we cannot solve by feeding/changing/soothing, then we may need to reschedule. Don’t worry, I can fit you in again at no extra charge. There is no point continuing a session when baby is clearly uncomfortable.

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It takes time to get those poses

I will spend a long time on each pose, getting it just right. I will probably mention I am going to take a ‘safe shot’ then attempt to tweak the pose to my liking. This will mean getting baby’s fingers out more/uncurled, face slightly more in the light or just raising them up slightly with my specially made newborn posing beans. I am a perfectionist so will try and get the shots as technically best that I can, but the ‘safe shots’ mean you still get a super cute photo, and you are unlikely to tell the difference anyway!

Moving baby between poses may cause them to become temporarily unsettled, so this then goes back to what I mentioned earlier. Your session will not be rushed. I only schedule one newborn session a day, so if it goes over the four hours it doesn’t matter. This time is not set in stone. For this reason I would advise you have a free or flexible diary for the rest of the day, just incase it does run over. You don’t want to miss any beautiful shots because you need to be somewhere.

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