Once you’ve made the decision to hire a newborn photographer, you’re certain of two things: one, you’re ready to invest in a professional photographer to capture your new arrival’s newborn beauty. And two, you will be super sleep-deprived, in pain following the delivery and completely overwhelmed.
For some, the thought of leaving their house with a newborn and driving to a photographer’s studio is stressful. For others, having a reason to leave the house with a newborn is reason for celebration. I wanted to debunk some myths and offer pros and cons to both options, to help you make an educated decision.
Myth #1 – In-home sessions are much more relaxing than having an in-studio session.
From experience, in-home sessions are a mess. The photographer will usually bring along enough equipment, props, bags, floor drops, backdrops to fill a small car. Because they are on location, without access to their studio props and equipment, a seasoned photographer will usually bring along everything they will need and more. Photographing in unfamiliar surroundings and unfamiliar lighting can be an added challenge. To make space for the set-ups, furniture will need to be moved, carpets rolled-up, curtains taped and windows covered. Add to the mess a friendly pup or a couple of cats and you can imagine just how ‘relaxing’ the atmosphere is.
In comparison, when the session is held in the photographer’s studio; you leave the pets, overflowing diaper pail and sink full of dishes behind, for the morning at least. Once you arrive at the studio, you’re greeted with warm natural light and a sea of beautiful set-ups ready for your little one. There’s a comfy seating area for you to sit and watch your newborn’s session unfold. Fully stocked changing table. Scented candles spread the aroma of vanilla-lavender. Snacks, coffee, tea and refreshments. It will feel like a breath of fresh air and a mini-vacation from your home and sleepless nights.
Rivka Singer Photography Studio – Behind the Scenes
Myth #2 – My toddler will never cooperate.
Toddlers are unpredictable, head strong and not always willing to cooperate. This we know. What you may not know, is that most toddlers and older siblings will not only cooperate with a photographer, but some may actually enjoy the experience. For me, a portrait of your newborn being held and kissed by your older children is something of a priority during a newborn session. It will be an image you and your family will keep going back to as the years pass. That first spark of love between siblings is timeless.
Some parents believe their older children will feel more comfortable being photographed at home, during an in-home session. And they are probably right…..kids love being in familiar surroundings, in their home where they feel comfortable. Not to mention, it is HARD getting out of the house with a newborn and with your older kids in tow. That said, once you’ve made the effort of driving over to your in-studio session, you’ll be rewarded. The studio has lots of toys, snacks and TV programs all geared towards helping your little ones feel more comfortable. In fact, we will always start with the newborn portraits and let the siblings explore, play, eat and generally, get used to their new surroundings. Most will at some point come in to the studio out of curiosity and the rest are enticed to come in with the promise of silly games. When all else fails….lollipops!
The question that remains is ‘how to do we get that image?’ Having three young children myself, and years of experience photographing kids of all ages, I have lots of tricks and ways to help kids be more comfortable in front of the camera (as well as lots of lollipops). My goal is to have them forget they are being photographed and instead, react to what we’re doing to interact with them. I’ve sneezed, picked my nose, picked their mom’s nose, pretended to sleep, snored, made silly faces and played silly games….all from behind the camera. In the end, a real laugh or a real smile comes from human interaction, especially with kids.
Clockwise from top-left: 1) ‘Let’s pretend to sleep and then….’ 2) ‘WAKE-UP!’ 3) ‘Can you kiss your brother while I sleep up here?’ 4) ‘Stop snoring!! I can hear you and I’m trying to sleep.’
Myth #3 – My newborn is on a schedule, I don’t want to disrupt it.
Trying to build a schedule around your newborn’s eating and sleeping needs make a lot of sense. Once you can predict when your little one wants to eat, sleep and stay awake you start to get your sanity back. Being able to anticipate your newborn’s needs help you prepare in advance, and gives you a bit of time to yourself to shower, sleep and catch-up on laundry. That said, infants up to three months of age don’t really have a set schedule. They are learning to adjust to life outside the womb, and will generally eat and sleep when they need it, as compared to when you want them to.
This need to eat and sleep based on need, rather than a schedule, supports having your newborn session either in-home or in-studio. In other words, let the schedule you’ve started to develop with your newborn have no bearing on where the session takes place. On session day, your newborn may eat a little more than usual, may sleep longer than you usually want them to, and that’s ok. Your baby will go back to the habits you’ve started to develop immediately following your session. I try to help new parents prepare for their newborn session by explaining to them that their newborn may need to eat more and may sleep differently than usual…as our goal is capture beautiful images of your baby when they are satiated and calm. A little extra breastmilk/formula on session day will help your session go smoothly, regardless of where the session is taking place.
The session is tailored for your newborn, as every newborn is different. Generally, I like to make sure we snap some images of your little one awake. Their tiny faces, huge eyes and funny expressions are beautiful to capture on camera. That said, some newborns sleep through their entire session while others are fussy when awake and want to be held rather than photographed. Having photographed so many newborns, we can generally find that perfect little window when your newborn is awake and calm….the images below were captured within 5 minutes of starting and she then fell asleep for the rest of her session.