When booking a newborn session with me, or any other newborn photographer for that matter, you will receive detailed instructions as to what to expect from the session and how to prepare for it. One of the things you will be made aware of is the amount time you would need to set aside for the session: an average of 4-5 hours. Mums rarely question this, but when dads are involved in booking the sessions, I often get the question following the info e-mail: “Why does it take that long?!” Here’s what you can expect during this time.
1. Everything happens slowly
In their first weeks “out”, all your baby wants to do is sleep. They have been carried inside and rocked to sleep during the day for the last 9 months, so all they want to do in the daytime now is sleep (enjoy it, this won’t last long). Just like adults, they want to have a peaceful, undisturbed sleep, but we are about to put them in about five different positions, possibly whilst wearing various outfits and different head gear. Every time we change or adjust their position, get them dressed, undressed, changed or fed, it disturbs them and stops them from falling into a deep sleep. How would you feel, if someone kept moving you every time you were close to falling asleep? After disturbing them continuously for about two hours, they sometimes get frustrated. My aim is to make every single one of those transitions as smooth as possible in order for them to stay asleep. This takes time and patience. Sometimes it takes about 20-30 minutes of positioning baby, placing their little fingers and their feet in a predetermined pose in order to achieve a pleasing composition. Patience is required not only from me, but also from the parents. You are more than welcome to bring a book, magazines or a tablet to fill your time.
2. Your baby will most likely pee or poop all over someone
I always suggest to all my clients to bring a spare set of clothes to change into, especially if they are planning on going somewhere after the session.
3. You will have at least one photo with your baby, no arguments
Occasionally I get parents, who simply don’t feel their best. They have just spent a week, being up day and night. If it’s your first baby, this order of things always comes as a shock, no matter how many blog posts relating to sleep depravation you have read. Nothing can prepare you for it. Then you come to a photo shoot. You had no time to have a shower. The bags under your eyes could carry half of M&S’s pre-Christmas stock, and you hardly know what everyone is saying to you, as all you can think about is bed. I get it. This moment in your life cannot be rewound however. From now on, 95% of your iPhoto storage is going to be taken over by photos of your baby. Not with you, but by themselves, so take the opportunity to have photos with your little one. If need be, I will make you look a bit more rested with a touch of Photoshop. In the worst case scenario, you don’t have to look at those images of you ever again, after boxing them and burying them in the garden, but at least give yourself a chance to have those photos. Your baby will thank you for them, when they grow up.
4. Babies need to eat!
During those 4 hours, they will most likely feed twice. The first time, after you arrive, then again when they become unsettled.
Babies can sense your mood in seconds, and if you are trying to rush their feeding, they won’t be impressed. Imagine being at work and having your boss breathing down your neck, waiting for you to finish your sandwich. You wouldn’t be impressed, would you?
During the shoot I allow babies as much time as they want and need in order for them to get a solid feed, and a bit of cuddle time with their parents.
For those very reasons I only book a maximum of one session per day, to allow parents and babies to experience this session in the most relaxing way possible.
Four hours is only a benchmark, and I strongly suggest not planning anything important afterwards, as there are times, when babies decide to fall into deep sleep three hours into a session. I always make sure I have as much time as needed to capture beautiful images of your baby. Of course, they are a little human, and some days no matter how much time we give them, it’s just not their day. I will never put a pressure on your baby to “perform”, and in those instances we choose an alternative date to finish the session.
In order to get the best results from your session, I strongly suggest a day for your shoot, when you are not time restricted.
If you have any more questions about what constitutes a newborn session, or to book, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org