When it comes to my business I probably get the most questions about newborn photography sessions; what equipment do I use, how much gear do I have, how do I get the babies to fall asleep/stay asleep, how do I pose babies.  Over the next few months I’ll share a series of posts about what goes on “behind the scenes” at a newborn session.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments if there’s something you’d like me to include in a future post!

Ottawa Newborn Photographer

Before any newborn session I either pack up all my accessories to take with me or I lay them out for parents to look through when they arrive in the studio.  Because newborn photography is always changing, what is popular one month may very well be out of style the next.  I keep a collection of hats and headbands for my clients and add to my collection when I see something that I think would appeal to a wide variety of people.  I also always encourage families to have their own accessories on hand, especially those that are meaningful to them.

Because I prefer to photograph newborns and their families in natural light, I try to avoid using my black backdrop.  However, the black can make for some stunning black/white processed images so I always have it on hand. Ottawa Newborn Photos

In my studio I have a large cabinet that is full of newborn supplies.  Fabric backdrops, hats, headbands, receiving blankets, and everything else I might need for a session.  If I’m heading out to do an on location session I will choose 4-5 fabric colours based on what I know about the family; if a family comes into the studio, they can choose what fabrics they like best for their session.  Unfortunately I have too much fabric to transport it with me to each on-location session.

For my in studio sessions I have a very willing 6 year old helper who likes to help me get ready 🙂

Ottawa Baby Photos

I always have my strobe lights on hand for on location sessions since I can’t guarantee how much light will be available in someone’s home.  I have them ready to use in my studio but because one entire wall of my studio is windows it has to be a pretty gloomy day before I’ll pull out my lights.  I prefer using natural light for newborns because of the soft quality it gives the photos.

I use the magic bag to warm up the surface of the beanbag and the hair dryer for white noise (and warmth).  No, I’m not trying to achieve the wind blown look 😉

Ottawa Newborn Photographer

On top of my flat bean bag, which is not ‘squishy’ making it easier to pose babies, I layer fabric and attach it with plastic c-clamps to my backdrop stand.  To make the background of the photos blurry I pull the fabric at a 45 degree angle.  It also helps to reduce wrinkles.

Ottawa Newborn Photography

Between each layer of fabric I lay a water proof change pad (they’re actually puppy training pads).  It means I can change fabric backdrops very quickly in between shots (one person lifts the baby 4-6 inches while someone else pulls the fabric back to reveal the next layer) and reduces the mess to clean up at the end.  I’ve only ever had two newborns who didn’t pee or poo on my fabric.  And yes, it’s usually on the lighter colours 😉

Ottawa Newborn Photography

I have a large pile of receiving blankets on hand to keep the baby warm while we change positions or to clean up messes.  I also use them, rolled up, underneath the fabric to help pose the baby.  I use cheese cloth wraps to help keep babies posed when they’re laying on their back (creating a ‘nest’) or to swaddle older babies.

What would you like to know about newborn photography?

Sara McConnell Photography ~

Ottawa Newborn Photographer / Ottawa Newborn Photographer

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