Let me walk you through exactly how one of my in-home newborn photography sessions works!
As mums-to-be, we are constantly bombarded with perfectly-posed newborn baby photos – whether that’s in baby magazines, maternity waiting rooms or on social media. You know the kind I mean – babies folded up in cute baskets, or lying with their sleepy face cradled in their hands, or wearing bunny ears while “holding” a carrot.
While I totally get that these can be cute, I also know for a fact that these type of baby photos do not float everyone’s boat. They are somewhat removed from reality, almost too perfect, and they all kinda look the same…there’s no sense of who this baby is, where this baby comes from, and what is important in this family’s lives.
This family got it. They didn’t want the hassle and stress of lugging their newborn (plus associated paraphernalia) to a studio when mum was just recovering from labour herself. They wanted photos that celebrated their new family of three, in the place where most of their baby’s memories will be created – at home. And they wanted to tell their family story with items that mean something to them.
Come and take a look at how it all worked!
Arriving at this family’s home, I took a few minutes to “have a good spoach”, as my Grandma would say – i.e. have a wander round the rooms, on the hunt for beautiful light.
The best light can be totally dependent on the weather, time of day and time of year, so it’s always a challenge that I love in each new home I visit.
Baby E had just finished a feed when I arrived, and was feeling pretty full and awake, so we made the decision to crack on with a quick sink bath while she was content.
It doesn’t matter to me where your baby is at when I arrive, whether you’re mid-feed, mid-sleep or mid-nappy change – everything is entirely baby-led, and I will get snapping whatever they’re up to!
Following on from her sink bath, Baby E was obvs feeling in need of some more milk reassurance, so I asked mum if we could head to the nursery for a feed, as I knew this was an area of the house we would want to capture, and by moving the nursing chair a little I knew we’d capture some delicious light here.
I’ll frequently move furniture around to help capture the best light in a room – some families have even left their sofas in the “new” position as they find it works better!!
Baby E was feeling pretty milk-drunk by this point, so I took the opportunity to snap some delightful sleepy shots with mum, before calling dad through to get in on the action too!
Dads – I totally get that this can feel awkward. I will tell you where to put your hands/where to look/crack awful jokes and tell you if you are not looking happy enough, and I promise it will be over soon.
Baby E was still happily dozing away, and I’d spotted some lovely light in the hall, so after removing a couple of potentially distracting items we took a couple of shots here on the way up to mum and dad’s room.
I fully expect there to be clutter in your home – babies are clutter magnets, let’s face it! I will move things out of the way if I feel they distracts from the story we are trying to tell, so you absolutely don’t need to have a show home.
Skylights make me happy, so we took a few shots on mum and dad’s bed while Baby E was still flat out! Mum was keen to include this hand-knitted shawl made by a family member – these are the details and stories that make your session so unique to you.
Next, with the luxury of a sleepy newborn, we got a quick couple of images in Baby E’s moses basket – I had to be quick as she was starting to stir!
Moses baskets make beautiful newborn images – it’s something to do with the textures, the cosiness, how teeny they look. I’ll often remove the side fabric to get a good view of the wicker basket itself, but will always make sure baby is snug as a bug. I’ll also often include one crying baby image in your gallery – we are trying to document reality here, and although you might not find it cute right now, I promise you will once they’re fully grown!
Baby E was in need of some cuddles now, so cuddles is what she got! We headed downstairs as we were keen to get some images by the piano – music is super important to this family, plus pianos are generally gorgeous, so it was a no-brainer. We left the new baby cards up to really highlight this family’s hazy newborn period, and I pulled down the blinds to soften the harsh sunlight which was by now streaming straight through the window.
I come prepared for bright sunny days as these generally don’t make the best images (think harsh shadows and shiny faces) – I come armed with a white sheer curtain plus bulldog clips to hang over particularly bright windows. In this case though, the window blinds did the job perfectly for me.
We also had a classic “smile-for-the-camera” shot here – personally I’m not a huge fan of these, but I know that family members (esp grandparents!!) adore them, so I’ll always try to include at least one in your gallery.
Baby E was feeling pretty settled again but now, and earlier in the session I’d spotted a beautiful chair that I really wanted to use (well, it was hidden under a blanket to protect it from cat hairs, but I sniffed it out!). I created a nest using one of Baby E’s stunning blankets, and to our delight she was quite happy nestled in there while I snapped away and captured some glorious baby details.
We were nearing the end of our session, and I realised I had a couple more shots to collect – firstly we hadn’t taken any nappy-changing shots (no poonamis had occurred!), and secondly I wanted to capture some more nursery shots, as so much of the details had been lovingly crafted by family and friends. Baby E was due a nappy change so dad cracked on with this while I snapped away, and I nipped back to the nursery for my final image of the session.
I do love to include at least one nappy-changing image in your gallery – again we are trying to document some of the reality of newborn days, and let’s face it, a large percentage of those days will be spent changing bums!
That was it! I collected my things, said goodbye and headed home to start the editing process. In total I was at this family’s home for just over two hours, and hopefully you can tell from how things proceeded that the session was entirely baby-led, and no folding into crazy poses was required! Baby E spent most of the time in mum or dad’s arms, which I generally find leads to a contented little squish…
So, if any of the following sounds like you, please – let’s chat!
- you are expecting (a baby!)
- the thought of going to a photography studio two weeks after giving birth fills you with DREAD
- you love your home, even if it isn’t perfect
- you’re worried that you’ll forget just how teeny they are when they arrive
- you love the little tribe you’re about to create
- you love taking photos but you’re never in them yourself
- you treasure reality over Insta-perfection
- you/your partner/your older kids feel super awkward smiling for the camera
Below are a few behind-the-scenes images, kindly taken by grandma, to give you an idea of what I get up to!
Thankyou to Baby E’s family for allowing me to share these images and the story of their session.
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