When I first got started as a newborn photographer, I was OBSESSED with babies in baskets. I just thought it was THE cutest thing ever. I had an entire room in my house where I stored various photography props … most of which were for newborn sessions. I’d stuff my car FULL with baskets, strollers, blankets … you name it … in preparation for an at-home newborn session. It would take me three trips back and forth from my car to the client’s house to carry in all the stuff, lol.
And the result??
ADORABLE photos! And most importantly (to me), I delivered photos to my clients that they loved.
But I did notice something. Normally, I would have Mom and Dad snuggle with baby to help her fall asleep during the photo shoot and get relaxed so that we could safely let her curl up and snooze in a photography prop. My goal was a snoozy shot in a basket. But meanwhile, I’d photograph the “in-between” moments. Mom and Dad just relaxed and helping baby to relax. A calm and quiet feeding. Big brother singing to soothe baby. Real moments. And what I ended up finding over the years was that the photos that meant the most to my clients were the ones we were shooting while waiting to use the props! It was the real moments and real expressions that they REALLY, REALLY loved seeing in photos.
I also noticed that when we did a more staged look using “props” that were actually items in the client’s home, this also felt so much more meaningful than when we used the things I had brought along. After all, my props don’t have the same sort of sentimental value as my client’s own belongings.
And so … slowly but surely, over the years, I changed around my newborn photo sessions.
I still own maybe 2 baskets. And I do still bring them to a client’s house (although, I usually leave them in the car juuuuust in case we end up wanting to use them). But what I’ve found is that the snuggle shots, the sweet-moment shots, the every-day lifestyle shots … the REAL look of you and baby together, those are the photos I now want to give my clients. The added bonus is that the sessions (which were already usually pretty stress-free since they’re at home and we’re never in a rush) became even MORE stress-free.
I mean, you were going to snuggle up together on the sofa anyway, right? Mine as well just make that your photo session!
So what does the average newborn photo shoot with me consist of? Just a whole lot of snuggling : ) Seriously. I’m going to walk in, chat with you guys, and then tell you to pile up on the sofa or bed and snuggle with your baby. That’s it, really.
And along the way, as baby relaxes, we’ll use your baby’s own special blankets to take lovely newborn pictures that will melt your heart.
And if there are older siblings in the family, too, just a whole lot of playing. Maybe a snack. Maybe a game of hide-and-seek with big brother and then I pop back in to catch some really relaxed shots of mom and baby (since they suuuper relaxed once the camera was off them!).
My goal is to capture photos that show true personality and TONS of love. New parents have hearts that are just EXPLODING with love for their little one, and capturing that in a photo is priceless.
Interested in learning more about my at-home newborn sessions in the Hudson Valley region and Delaware? Here are a few helpful FAQs.
How long in advance should I book my session?
It’s best to contact me about 2-3 months before baby is due. Obviously, baby has his or her own agenda and we never have a guarantee of an arrival date! No worries : ) I keep my schedule flexible for newborn shoots.
What age is best for photos?
When I was trying to curl babies up in baskets, timing was critical! Babies are most “curled up” when they’re fresh out of the oven! But since I now only focus on natural shots, there is no right or wrong time. I find every stage for newborns to be really perfect for photos. So please don’t stress if baby arrives and you’re just not ready yet for photos. You may need a few weeks, and that’s ok! Anytime within the first 6 weeks of life is great. And if, by chance, something like an unexpected stay in the NICU pops up, don’t stress about doing your session after the 6 week mark. The goal is beautiful photos. Life happens … and we’ll work around that.
What are the pros and cons to “brand-new” newborn sessions versus “older” newborn sessions?
As I already mentioned … both stages are great! Some people really love having photos of their brand, brand new baby. Often babies that are 10 days or less are very snoozy (ha, not always!) and can breeze through a photo session in no time (again, ha, not always!). A potential con, on the other hand, is that Mom and Dad may still be adjusting to their new schedule and life and may not feel quite up to photos. Older newborns may have developed some acne by the time they’re being photographed (no biggie … that’s why we have photoshop) and may potentially be a bit more aware of the strange lady with the camera! But often, after the first two hectic weeks of life have passed, Mom and Dad feel a bit calmer and that can help make for a more relaxed session … and therefore beautiful photos. So really … the choice is yours. And the good news is … you can’t make a wrong decision!
Will you capture detail photos of my baby’s precious little feet, hands, lips, etc.?
Try and stop me!
How long will the session last?
Probably 2 hours. If we need a little more time, no worries. The honest truth is that we’re at baby’s mercy … I know that : )
What should I wear for my newborn photo shoot?
My number one rule is to be true to yourself. I don’t care how popular a “look” is on pinterest. If it’s not “you” … then it’s not the right choice for photos! Same goes for your husband. (Ha, photo shoots aren’t usually a guy’s favorite thing anyway … so definitely let him be him so he can HAPPY!) Neutral, solid colors can make for lovely, gentle photos. Buuuut … if that’s just not you guys … then DO YOU. The beautiful thing is that we’re at your home … so if you’re torn on what to wear, feel free to pull out some outfits and ask for my help. I’d be glad to help you put things together! Ultimately, I want you feeling beautiful. The first few months after baby is born can be a little rough on Moms when it comes to how they feel about their bodies. So you feeling beautiful is my goal : )
I have a toddler, too. And he NEVER sits still. How should I prepare?
The only thing I love more than a newborn session is a newborn session with older siblings! I love it despite the fact that it’s louder, stickier, sillier, and trickier. I come fully aware that I’m basically going to have to trick your toddler into cooperating : ) My typical method in doing this is just to become your child’s friend. Kids are AMAZING at knowing whether or not someone genuinely wants to be their friend. And once they know you really like them, suddenly, they want to be around you! So, to prepare, just let your toddler know that a new friend is coming to hang out with him and have fun. We’ll turn that fun into photos in a way that’s best for your toddler and family. I think this actually goes a long way, too because big brother or sister is already feeling like stuff is all about new baby these days. So if he knows that I’m excited to see him, too, that can really help. And then when things get loud, sticky, silly, or tricky … don’t panic. I’m never in a rush … and we’ll make things work … eventually ; )
Can the pets be included?
Yes, of course … but I do require that you let me snuggle with them when we’re all done : )
Do you photograph multiples?
Yes. yes. yes! Oh, it’s such a delight : )
Will my home work for photos?
Yes. I don’t even need to see it to know that it will work : ) Promise. Small, large, really bright, a little dark … whatever you’ve got going on, we can make it work. All I ask is that you leave the dishes in the sink, don’t stress about the pile of laundry in the corner, and totally NOT fret if I accidentally step on fruit loops on the kitchen floor. I’m pretty much expecting that … seeing as you just had a baby! With the right angles and maybe a shove or two of the laundry pile, your home will look beautiful in the photos. But most importantly, your family is RELAXED at home. And that’s important for your photos.
Check out my full newborn photo portfolio.
Questions? Email me anytime at email@example.com
Kate Callahan is an on-location photographer who LOVES to capture authentic memories for families. She’s available for weddings, senior photos, child photo sessions, and family photography. Kate works with clients throughout the Hudson Valley, NYC, Delaware (and the tri-state area), and beyond.