How I plan a newborn session:
When I first started newborn photography, I didn’t have a studio. I did posed newborn photography in my clients home for 5 years…that’s right 5 years. While my SUV was always stuffed to the brim, I always made sure everything was planned out, so I could pack as “light” as possible.
Newborn Style Guide:
When I get an inquiry, I respond with my pricing guide and my style guide. The style guide is a pdf magazine that goes over what to expect at the session, how to prepare, and gives my clients examples of color combinations, background choices, and what special request might look like. It’s really helpful for the to go over this. It helps set expectations and prepare the client form things they might not think about, like how long the session will be or how to coordinate the family.
Once they tell me they would like to book, the process starts with my client questionnaire. I hope they’ve gone over the style guide, but even if they haven’t the questionnaire from covers everything I need to know. I send them the contract and the questionnaire at the same online via Adobe Sign. I try to keep the questions pretty simple, so I can get a sense of their style as well as color choices and if they have any specific request. I also ask about sibling sand their ages.
Once the questionnaire if filled out I can get planning. I know my session flow, and your’s may be different, but I always start with the baby wrapped (especially if siblings are involved). I do 2 props, usually one crate and one bucket. Then I move to blanket/bean bag poses. Now for the crate and the bucket I always make sure I have a wrap coordinated setup just incase the baby is being fussy and they need to stay wrapped. This way I don’t have to find things last minute. I also do a bear hat usually on the crate pose with adds some variety. I plan 2-3 blanket colors, usually 2 in the color theme of the session and 1 neutral and pull a few hats to go with them.
Having props that you can pose the baby in multiple ways is really important if you’re doing this in client’s homes. You can just run to a shelf and get something else if the baby refuses to sleep, and babies are on their own schedule. I’ve had it happen a bunch of time over the years. I would say a crate, or a trough is the easiest and most versatile. Baby can be on their back or side, and in a crate depending how deep it is you may also be able to pose them a bit upright which helps if they are gassy (same for the bucket).
I make a storyboard of the session and list what props I’ll need for each setup. This was super helpful when I was doing in-home sessions cause it made me plan everything out and I would pack everything I needed for that setup in jumbo ziplock backs. The ziplock bags would be in a huge duffle bag (it was actually a stroller bag) and it was fast and easy to set everything up.
Now in the studio I usually set everything up beforehand since I have the space to have different stations. I don’t know why but I’m always so surprised how much the layout of the storyboard look like the session- but I guess that means its working, haha.