One of my favourite parts about being a birth and postpartum doula (other than..you know…all of it!) is going back to see my clients a few days or weeks after their little ones have been born. It’s absolutely mind boggling how much these little ones can change in such a short period of time!!
I love the moment when the proud new parents look at me and ask if their baby has changed much or if they look different than when I last saw them. Um…YES!!! The changes are remarkable!
Most babies are born with some swelling, a bit (or a lot!) of cone shaping to their heads, sometimes bits of bruising or scratches from making their way to the outside world. After a day or two most of these have settled out and a LOT of parents start taking their baby’s first photos!
Here is my little squish during his first two weeks (squee!!!).
He didn’t actually look much like this though. I wasn’t terribly good at taking pictures at the time and was a wee bit too tired to learn how. I know I’m not alone in this – quite a few families take their little ones to have (in focus, well lit, can actually see their baby’s face) photos professionally captured.
Mandi and Bri are the artists behind Focus Sisters , specializing in newborn and family photography in Calgary. I was lucky enough to have these two meet with me in their stunningly beautiful south west Calgary studio where I was able to ask all of the newborn photography questions my clients ask me.
Newborn photography..? What’s up with that?
Why would new parents book a newborn photography session? Aren’t the first weeks busy enough?
That’s exactly why some parents decide to book a professional session. The first weeks are very busy. Sometimes so busy that setting up that pintrest planned photo shoot in your home just doesn’t happen. Booking time with someone means setting aside the brain space and the physical means to ensure these mementoes are created! When you book with a professional photographer you don’t have to deal with the editing, setting up props, designing layouts… I remember googling my face off trying to learn how to get my camera to take a nice picture. And then I learned that it’s not about the equipment and that there is a real artistry to photography – an artistry I just didn’t have the desire (or capacity) to learn on 3 hours of sleep.
When is the best time to book? What if my baby is born early or late?
It’s a good idea to consider booking your newborn photos for 1 to 2 weeks after your estimated due date. Booking ahead (when you are 30 to 37 weeks pregnant – which is perfect for maternity photos!) can help to make sure you’re on your photographer’s mind. Babies RARELY come exactly on time – only about 5% of all babies will be born on their guess date! Not to worry – Mandi and Bri work very hard to be as accommodating and flexible as possible! If you need to bump your session up or down a few days just let them know!
What if we miss that perfect window?
Brand new babies tend to be very sleepy for longer periods of time which is helpful for getting those really squee-worthy images (like these!!!). They also fit better in to the teeny little props and popular poses – but if your baby is 5 or 6 weeks old and you’ve just decided to have photos done you’re not out of luck! Mandi and Bri work with babies and children of all ages and have a seemingly endless amount of creativity. They can design the perfect session based on what you’re looking for!
Do I have to be in the pictures?
It’s not only babies who change a lot from day to day – parents and older children do as well! New parents are often reluctant to have their images captured before they’re back ‘at their best’ and a little bit sleep deprived, but these images can be powerful reminders of your first weeks together as a family. Some parents opt out and that’s absolutely fine! That said I’ve never had a client tell me they wish they were in fewer pictures with their babies.
What if my baby didn’t sleep well/is having trouble settling during our session?
Hey – it happens! Babies are on their own hardwired, instinct based schedule and anyone who works with birth or newborns is accustomed to this fact! For this reason, sessions are always booked with a bit of time padding just in case your baby needs a little bit of help calming, or wakes between poses and outfit changes.
Mandi and Bri suggest coming to the session and offering a feed shortly before getting started so that your baby has a good chance to settle in for a good nap. Sometimes parents make the best ‘props’, letting your baby stay where he or she feels safest and making for some really amazing keepsakes.
I saw this (hands me a Pintrest picture) – online! Can you duplicate it?
Sometimes! Every photographer has their own style, approach, and prop collection. Pairing that with the size and sleeping habits of your individual baby makes for a lot of variation. If you have a specific list or shots that are on a ‘must have’ list it’s a good idea to talk to your photographers before the session so they can be prepared or discuss alternative ways to catch the same idea and feeling you’re going for!
What if my baby pees (or poops!) on your floor/equipment!?
Anyone who works with birth and newborns is accustomed to this too. Bring diapers and wipes and an extra change of clothes for you but otherwise don’t sweat it! Really.
Can I nurse my baby during sessions?
Absolutely!! First of all it’s against the law in Canada to tell anyone they can’t nurse. Second, feeding your baby (however you choose to do so) helps them to feel safe, calm, sleepy, and promotes bonding. I sure wouldn’t want my pictures taken while I’m hungry and upset! Feed your baby! There are chairs in the session space, but if you prefer some privacy there is an amazing room set up with couches, a tv, and some toys for older children right beside it!
I’d love to hear about your experiences with newborn photography! Do you have any tips for parents having photos done?
In the meantime, here are just a few photos from the gallery of Mandi and Bri at Focus Sisters!