Photography

All about Newborn Photography | All about the Why?

Newborn Photography as a genre didn’t really take off until the Anne Geddes era in the 90s. While these images were new and garnered a lot of ‘oh look at that’, it didn’t translate to people getting their own sessions done.

Family sessions have been around for hundreds of years, since the first cameras, and wedding photography has been similarly just a ‘done thing’ - but newborn photography has only really taken off in the last 10 years or so.

It is curious that it has taken this long. Having a baby is the biggest life altering event that happens to most people. Marriages fail, families do break up, but you are always and forever a mum or dad after you’ve had a baby. Why would you not want to document

The first two weeks of becoming a parent are a blur of love, sleeplessness, fear, elation, confusion and pretty much every other adjective you can find. And it’s partly due to THIS that it is difficult to document the time yourself.


Reason #1 - You will forget a lot of it.

Yep you will. My son is 8 now and I now look back on the very minimal amount of photos I have from his newborn period with a strange kind of wonder and fervour. I don’t have many, but it’s like being able to look back on the birth of yourself as a mother and a different person and a different life. When I see the photos, the feelings come back so vividly and yet at the same time I can barely believe it is me!

Babies grow so quickly that the first month is a blur you won’t really remember to take photos of how tiny their feet were, how the slope of their nose was, the milk blister on their lip. And I’m telling you now, when they are at school and start to become gangly little primary school people, you will LAP THOSE PHOTOS UP.

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Reason 2 - Dads don’t always ‘get’ the value of photos.

I debated about putting this in, but for the most part it is true - unless prompted, many fathers generally won’t remember or think to take photos of you and your baby together.

So most of your photos with your life altering, magical new person will be selfies while you’re trying to wrangle a boob or a bottle and not fall asleep.

You will have even less chance of photos of the three of you together - because when the visits slow down from relatives meeting baby for the first time it IS just the three of you - so who is going to take the photo?

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Reason 3 - You’ll look better.

I know, not the deepest of reasons - but when I had my son it was 30 weeks of morning sickness, a 40 hour labour and 1 litre of blood lost. How do you think I looked!

Photographers know how to photograph you to make you look good - photoshop can smooth skin and good lighting and posing eliminates double chins and bags under eyes.

And here’s the main thing - you’ve probably seen a billion babies in your newsfeed, thought ‘oh how cute’ and moved on. But when it’s your baby, it’s a WHOLE other ball game. You get to see yourself looking at your new baby and falling in love, you get to see the connection with the other parent, you get to see your baby’s connection with them. It is so, so different, when it is your family. And yep, so much better than a snapchat filter with bunny ears.

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Reason 4 - Siblings, sibings, siblings

Every parent knows this annoying secret - kids generally behave better for other people than you.

So yep, the chances of us getting a beautiful newborn + sibling shot in the studio as opposed to you trying to wrangle your 2 year old to lay down on the bed - MUCH higher.

Enough said!

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Capturing Baby Smiles - 5 Ways to Take Better Photos of Your Baby

Although I strongly recommend getting a professional session when bubs is 2 weeks or under, this doesn’t mean you’re not going to want some sweet photos of your bubs during all the other weeks! Here are 5 tips to really do help!

RULE NUMBER ONE though - Do NOT attempt any of the ‘pinterest’ poses you may have seen online. This includes placing babies in buckets, bowls and more.

As a professional, I have spent over ten thousand dollars on learning newborn posing and SAFETY.

This was AFTER I became a mother - so please believe me - for the safety of your baby - do not pose them using poses you’ve seen on the internet. These poses are for professionally trained newborn photographers only.


HOW TO GET THE SMILES!

Here’s the thing, no - we don’t have some super secret way to get smiles out of your baby. What we DO know is when they are most likely to be smiling.

Babies smile in the first few weeks as a reflex and this reflex comes out during the first stage of sleep.

Almost all newborn baby smiles come out during this time, so be prepared as you are putting your baby down and they start to hit that very light sleepy stage, where their eyes roll back sometimes or they have funny little facial expressions.

This is when the smiles happen.


Most parents miss this because they put their baby down to sleep then walk out of the room - so if you want baby smiles, this is the time to get it!

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WRAP THAT BABY

One of the reasons we want babies asleep during a session is because they have tiny little flailing arms they cannot control! It doesn’t make for a relaxed, beautiful image, as cute as those chubby arms are.

So if you want to make it easy on yourself, wrap baby SNUGGLY - enough so that they don’t feel like they can get their arms out and spend all that time trying to wriggle their way out of it.

This helps with baby sleep too - a well wrapped baby is a content baby!

If they prefer arms up that’s fine - bring their little arms up just under their chin and then wrap twice tightly (and safely) over their arms and then the rest of them.

Once they are nicely wrapped and sleepy, it’s much easier to get a sweet little shot.

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RAISE THAT HEAD BABY!

One of the biggest tips I can give you if you’re posing bubs straight on your bed, is to put a little rolled up face washer or similar underneath the covers, just under their head.

Babies don’t look their best laying ‘flat’, and one of the reasons our photos look so different is that we understand the angles that make baby look his best.

Raising the head ever so slightly will make all the difference to your photo.

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ALL THE LIGHT!

As a professional I can see what light looks great and how to utilise it with my equipment.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t start to look around your home for the best spots either!

Light needs to be diffused, and that’s what helps babies look soft, sweet and with that deliciously creamy skin - so placing a baby right near a window isn’t going to get the same effect.

If you can, open up the blinds, hang a thin white sheet over the window and then place baby nearby on something safe. You’ll get a much softer appearance to your photo and baby won’t be squinting around staring out the window!

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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FLUFF

Anyone who has been to my studio knows that pretty much every thing I own for the babies has texture - soft fluff, wool, anything that is going to bring out the best for baby.

Don’t go out and spend a lot of money - even Kmart has some nice little scarfs you can use as wraps.

Faux mohair looks great, anything which is soft and matte. A nice plain doona cover is great too if you’re after more of a lifestyle shot.

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Those are my 5 tips! While nothing replaces the kind of session you can get with myself and other professionals, your baby is only small for the briefest of times, so make the most of it.

Newborn Safety & Newborn Photography | Geelong Newborn Photography

Newborn Safety in Newborn Photography - Why it matters

Wait what?  Newborn ‘safety’?  I thought you were just going to take photos of my baby?

I’m sure that’s what some of you are thinking right now right?  But safety in in the newborn photography industry is a valid concern, and something every mum and dad needs to consider when booking a photographer.  We are one of the first people you take your new baby to, and one of the first who will be positioning, holding, settling and being in physical control of your baby.

Newborn photography involves much more than just placing a baby down on a rug and taking some photos - it is hands on.     As a result, it’s absolutely essential that you place your trust into someone who is educated on baby safety within this context.

Is it unsafe?

Newborn photography is not an unsafe practice, however like anything involving a baby, safety is paramount.     Newborns are placed in bowls/baskets that were not made for newborns in mind.  They are posed into positions that while are totally comfortable for the newborn - are still essentially unnatural.

Some poses are only safe as ‘composite images’ (two images merged into one) as babies cannot support themselves in those positions.  Those images you see on pinterest of the baby with their hands holding up their chin?    Those are two images photoshopped together so that someone was always holding the baby's head in position.

Some setups do require babies to be closely spotted so they are always safe if they happen to move and change positions.

Setups with siblings also need to be monitored very closely by everyone in the room, just as they would be at home.

What to look for in a Newborn Photographer?

  • It is essential that the photographer you choose has insurance. Would you go to a midwife, or doctor or doula or any other person who will handle your baby, without insurance? If the answer is no, the same should apply to your newborn photographer, who will be handling your baby for up to 3 hours at only 7-10 days old.

  • Your photographer should have had some kind of training/education in newborn photography and safety. Many of us attend workshops, seminars, private one on one sessions or online courses.

  • Solid business systems including hygeine practices. Newborns do poop, vomit, spit up and pee on all our props. A system should be in place so that you know your baby is being placed in and on clean props.

  • Immunised against whooping cough and other childhood diseases - enough said!

What I have learned to keep your baby safe and comfortable -

  • Safe, correct posing. This means understanding if baby moves, where will their head go?

  • Are they supported enough so that there is no pressure on their limbs?

  • Are their heads positioned correctly so they can breath comfortably and without restriction?

  • What are the signs of an uncomfortable baby?

  • Is the PROP weighted correctly so that baby cannot tip forward?

  • Is the baby wrapped securely but not too tight?

  • Is the temperature of the studio warm enough to keep a naked baby comfortable and secure?

  • Have the wraps and blankets been washed in baby-friendly washing powder?

  • Is the baby showing any signs of reacting to the wool/material used?

  • Are the parents comfortable with how their baby is being posed?

While photography is a wonderful hobby - newborn photography is a specialist genre that needs to be taken seriously from a safety perspective.

Go to someone experienced, ask them questions - check it out as you would anyone else who is going to be responsible for your child.

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Choosing a Newborn photographer | Ocean Grove & Geelong Newborn Photographer

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CHOOSING A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

Although I consider myself a ‘family photographer’ and love all types of family related sessions, there is something about newborn photography that makes it special.

Much of a newborn session is about patience. Waiting through feeds, waiting for baby to sleep, and waiting for baby to settle. I love being able to spend time talking to the parents and  I love how all of us mums so freely talk about those first few weeks, how long the birth was and how strange it is to suddenly be a parent or to become a parent of more than one or two. And of course, the lack of sleep!

It *is* an honour to be able to capture such a fleeting, special time - and any one who is a parent knows just how quickly this time disappears. Even when a slightly older baby comes in, just 6 weeks old, they no longer fit into their mother’s arms in the same curly way that a brand new baby does. They grow and grow in a blink of an eye.

With a first baby, the sessions are usually so calm and quiet, all three of us focused on baby. It’s nice to work in the stillness, with new parents whose entire lives have changed forever in one day.

For me, newborn photography is one of the most important sessions you can book, as just like a wedding, this time only happens once. No do-overs here.

So here are my three biggest tips in what to consider when booking a newborn photographer for your baby’s images.

 

Family Photography Geelong_0246Style

There are a few different types of newborn photography but the most common are ‘posed’ versus ‘lifestyle'. Posed usually involves getting bubs asleep, and posing them on blankets or using props. These are the typical ‘newborn’ photos you have seen.

Lifestyle newborn is more of a ‘candid’ session, taking place in your own home, with mums and dads cuddling baby on the couch, giving baby a bath and other activities.

Style also means the look and feel of the images. Some photographers use bright colours and flowers. Others are light and airy. Choose a style that you can imagine on your wall.

For me? Nothing beats the simplicity of creams and neutrals, with just a splash of colour. I love to focus up close on baby.

 

 

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Newborn photography is hard. There is no easy way to say it, it is! You need to get their skin tone right, be able to edit baby acne and redness, have them posed nicely so they don’t look disproportioned or have their little ‘baby bits’ showing. You need to be able to settle them and have super human wrapping skills and trust me, getting Mr Two or Miss Three to cuddle their new baby sibling without having a tantrum is not always easy!

All in a 2-4 hour session.

Just remember, your baby is never going to be this small again. The newborn phase is precious and magical. I say this with love - have a budget, but no one great at this IS going to be ‘cheap’.

 

 

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Safety is a big one. Some poses that you may have seen in your pinterest travels are what we call ‘composites’. They are two photos merged into one via photoshop.

Some inexperienced photographers trying out poses do not know this, and have put babies in dangerous situations, not realising that the professional images have edited out a hand that has been supporting baby’s head.

Please make sure that whatever newborn photographer you choose has the experience to handle your baby safely!

 

 

 Personality

I strongly recommend chatting to your newborn photographer in person or on the phone or online before you book to make sure you are a good fit.

The reality is, you will be spending up to three hours together during the session together,  so  it is really important you feel comfortable!  Babies do pick up on mum's moods and tension, which is why it's imperative that mum feel relaxed with the photographer.

If you are someone who wants to bring a lot of props to the session, check that that's all good with your photographer.    If you are someone who wants to leave it all up to the photographer's choices, then choose someone experienced with a definitive style.

 

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I hope these tips have helped!

My natural light studio perfect for newborn photography is in Ocean Grove and I service Geelong, Torquay, and the Bellarine.

Email hello@nataliem.com.au to book!

Your Concerns | Booking a Family Photography Session

It wasn't too long ago that custom family photography sessions were not the 'done' thing.    I know when I was little, my family never had one! Now it has become very common for people to book maternity, newborn, first year packages, and yearly family photos!

This really is a *great* thing (and not just because I'm a photographer!).     In an age where it's so easy to only have photos on our phones,  it's important we DO have photos to pass down to our children.  Studies have also shown that kids who grow up with family portraits around them have higher self esteem!

But while it is now so common, there are a lot of misconceptions or unknowns about the industry.  Many people have no idea what the norm is,  are worried it just isn't 'them', worried about cost, whether their kids will behave and so on.

So I want to address your concerns on how I personally approach my business, and a little insight into the 'norm' as well!

 

"My kids won't behave or sit still or will crack it, what's the point?"

I think this is one of the MAIN things holding people back from booking a session.   I can tell you now - most kids do not in any way, behave perfectly for the session.

I have had plenty of sessions (particularly with two year olds!) where the child won't sit with the family, will run off, cries, you name it!

Believe it or not, I still manage to end up with at least 50 gorgeous images for my clients to choose from.  It only takes 1/500 of a second to get a child looking at me or interacting with a parent!  That's all I need !

And if we truly do have a meltdown of epic proportions on our hands, we can try again on another day at no cost to yourself!

Have a read of this session, it should help relieve some of these fears!

 

"I'm going to get pressured into buying more"

I hate pressure sales just as much as the next person.   I might be a natural born photographer, but I'm definitely not a sales person!

I leave it up to my clients.  I show samples of the products I sell, and I explain their benefits, but that's it.  There is never any pressure to buy anything beyond your inclusive session fee.  I provide the full pricing up front too!

No surprises, no hidden extra costs.

That said, I do want to point out that as photographers, we don't just take a normal print, mark it up x 100 and want you to buy it.  There is a genuine difference between a cheap $.50 print and professional prints.

My prints larger than A4 come mounted, which means they will last longer, won't bend and are easier to frame or store.  They come with a textured overlay that has a UV protection over the top!  And they do look amazing.

For the wall, I love it when people do opt for the professional print, but lets face it - maybe we just want a quick copy for a relative we hardly know, or we just want scrapbook it.  For those reasons, I provide digitals.

 

"I can't stand the whole matching outfit, posed look, ugh!"

Neither can I!  Which is why I provide a ton of advice to booked clients about what to wear, including a PDF What to Wear Guide.

It's also why my sessions are pretty laid back, natural, with a mix of posed and candid.

Outfits really ARE one of the most important aspects of the session, so I try as much as I can to help you get the best look for your family.

Even studio sessions these days do not have to look stuffy and posed.   Good photographers make it look effortless.

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"I can't afford it, why does it all cost so much?"

It's true, sometimes you can't afford it.  A few years ago, I couldn't, and it sucked but that's how it was.

As a single mother myself, I know how difficult it can be to save up enough and then outlay those few hundred dollars on something that is a want, not a need.

I try and make it as affordable as possible, while still respecting my own time and business.

I offer payment plans that are flexible, and this goes a long way in helping most people afford a session.  I even coordinate the pay days with your own pay day!

 

I hope these have helped clear up a few things.

Even better,   book today!  Just fill out the form below.

 

 

Why Family Photography always matters.

There's been an article recently doing the Facebook rounds about how important it is to have family photos around your house as a means of boosting your child's self esteem and their sense of importance and belonging.     As someone who grew up in a house with no family photos on the wall at all, I can only agree 100% with the ideas behind the article and similar findings.  The benefits are really inspiring, and it is such a simple way of creating a strong sense of identity and family around your children. But I wanted to take a quick look it from another side too, because while it is amazing and lovely to have a strong family unit - not everyone does.

A lot of kids these days, including my own - have parents that are no longer together.   And sometimes when I find myself posting the beautiful families who I've photographed or advertising for new families, I find myself wondering how many people are not getting 'family' photos done because they are now single or in a blended family or in any kind of family that isn't the 'norm'.

This is how I feel, as a mum and as a photographer - it still very much matters to most children to see their parents as their 'family', whether they are officially or not.   We can separate or divorce legally all we like - but we are always mummy and daddy to our kids.

While sometimes it's not possible to remain on good terms with your child's other parent - if you are, I strongly recommend at least considering having a session together if you didn't manage to get some family photos while together.

I can hear the cries of "no way!  How awkward!" coming from many of you - and sure it can be awkward, but it's also really lovely for a child to exist in photos of mummy and daddy and him/herself together.

I did this very thing in May last year.  I never quite managed to get around to it while we were all together - but the idea of my son never having some nice photos of his parents together made me sad but also motivated to organise it.

So I did!

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Single, together, not a perfect weight, busy - it doesn't matter!  Kids will LOVE these photos in years to come.    My little boy's bedroom will have photos of everyone who matters to him in his life, and that's a lot of love to be surrounded by when you're going to sleep.

If you can't organise it?  Just get in there yourself.  Photos of our child looking gorgeous are for us, but photos with mum or dad will be priceless to your kids.

Including Dad - 5 Tips to get "Dad" on board!

  Dads can sometimes be a bit difficult to convince on the merits of a professional family photo session.  Not because they don't adore their family, but they usually spend less time 'online' and being exposed to the idea of a custom photography session.  Many think it will be a matter of posing their child or family in a sterile studio and they simply can't get enthused about the whole experience.  So here are the most common objections Dads have and some ideas on how to talk to him about it.

 

"I don't have time".

It's true, who has time these days for things that don't sound fun?

Make the day fun!   It's a one off or yearly occasion that can be made into more - go out for an icecream afterwards with the kids, take them to the park, go out for lunch, just make the whole experience a day focused on your family. Even if he finds the prospect of the photo taking portion of the day pretty boring,  schedule it on weekend that isn't busy and where everyone can relax afterwards.

 

"We can do it ourselves"

If you try and do it yourself, one of you is going to be either out of the photo or seriously stressed!   If mum is going to try and attempt the family photos with a tripod and a timer, is she also going to be calming child number 2 as well as getting child number 1 to look a bit happier!?  And wait, child number 3 just got some snot on them!

If you can do it yourself, you would have done it by now.  Don't let it fall into the too hard basket, just hire a professional like you would any other service for your family.

"It costs too much"

Well it does cost, like any other service.  But these days most photographers have reasonable payment plans, or you can save up.  There are photographers to suit most budgets.

The photos aren't just for you.  They will be yours for now, and they will look beautiful on your walls and in albums, but as someone who lost her father over 10 years ago now, I can tell you that photos of you with your kids will be priceless one day.

 

"It's too awkward"

It doesn't have to be.   Yep,  men especially hate having to be affectionate on cue, but with my longer lens I am not in your face and forcing you to pose in certain ways.    I get families all the time who start off a little 'ummm, what do we do" and by the end of the session are laughing and joking with each other.

It's usually the dad who gets the kids laughing and smiling too, as they throw them up in the air and tickle them till they can't breathe!

Show him some modern family photography sessions and how natural and fun they can be these days.

 

"I don't get it"

Reality is, it's usually mum who is chatting to me, choosing me and booking me.  Get him involved, it should be a joint decision from the get-go.  No one likes to turn up not knowing all the details, so please share all the information I send out together.   If people have a 'say' in something, they are usually more invested in the whole process.

 

I've had plenty of dads tear up when they finally see the images.  Sometimes it's simply a matter of someone not being able to visualise their own family being captured.  It can feel a little raw too, there's not many occasions where you stand in  front of a relative stranger trying to show all the love you feel for each other!  But it is worth it, trust me.

 

 

 

 

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