Why are newborns photographed so young?

It’s a question that never really occurred to me as a photographer until a client emailed to ask if it was normal to schedule a newborn session when her baby was just a week old. She was a first time mom and I could tell she was nervous. My initial reaction was to rattle off a handful of reasons why newborns are photographed at a such a young age, but then I took a minute to put myself in her shoes. As a first time mom, I remember being overwhelmed with emotions – fear and anxiety being right at the top. I had no idea what I was doing! I can remember my pediatrician telling me to limit the amount of visitors that came by and to get plenty of rest. So as a client it makes total sense to be nervous and apprehensive before a newborn session. The day of our session is likely the first time that we will meet. I may have been referred to you by a friend or maybe you follow me on Facebook, but I am pretty much a stranger coming into your home. You’re tired, you’re stressed and you’re not sure what to expect. I totally get that! With more than 5 years of experience photographing newborns, I feel completely comfortable and confident handling your baby, but I still understand the hesitation. So I wanted to tell you the reasons why newborns are photographed so young.

Newborns are sleepier in the first two weeks. Why does it matter whether a newborn sleeps? Well, if you’ve spent any time with a newborn you know their movements can be a bit awkward when they are awake. Their arms and legs are usually moving all around. Their eyes tend to wander and even cross. They may be fussy or just want to feed all day. When a newborn is in a deep sleep or ‘milk drunk’ it is easier to position them for pictures and those sleepy shots are usually what clients are looking for.

Newborns are more easily posed when they are asleep. In the first two weeks, babies are naturally scrunched up so it makes it easier to curl them up into a pose. As they get older, they stretch out more and resist being put into certain positions.

Older newborns can develop baby acne. It can be a mild or more severe case and sometimes takes as long as 6 weeks to clear up.

Newborn photography is meant to capture babies while they are still fresh and new. A newborn at 4 weeks is already one month old. They have grown leaps and bounds in just a few short weeks. At a month old, they are beginning to raise their head and focus on objects other than your face. Their hands begin to unclench and before you know it, they’re grabbing toys. Setting up a newborn session in the first two weeks of life allows parents to freeze time forever. Your baby will never be that little again. Every day they are growing and changing.

So what happens if my baby will not sleep during a newborn session? First, I always send an email at least 24 to 48 hours before a session with tips on how you can prepare. Things like stimulating the baby an hour or so before the session or cranking up the heat in your house. I also wrote a blog post with do’s and don’ts for a newborn session that you can check out. If you do all these things and the baby is still awake, we’ll just do our best to capture those wide eyed moments. I will try to swaddle the baby to keep them calm. We’ll put on some music or white noise and just go with the flow. Having the session at your home allows for more lifestyle shots so this is a great opportunity for mom and dad to get in some shots too.

As a photographer, there are things I do to prepare for a newborn session as well. I always make sure my family and I are healthy before I will photograph a newborn. I wash my wraps and blankets before each session in case there were any accidents. I always ask to wash my hands before touching a baby and will use hand sanitizer throughout the session as well. I know how precious this new little person is to you so I make sure I make every effort to put parents at ease when I’m photographing newborns.

I hope this helps to ease some of the fears you may have about photographing your brand new baby. When it’s all said and done, you’ll end up with some amazing images!!

Why are newborns photographed so young? Stacy Mae PhotographyWhy are newborns photographed so young? Stacy Mae PhotographyWhy are newborns photographed so young? Stacy Mae Photography

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Photographer Interview series by Stacy Mae Photography

It’s time for another installment of Love it or Leave it. This week, I’m featuring Stefanie Politi Photography. Stefanie is an NJ photographer who does amazing newborn work! She also photographs children and families in the Hunterdon County area. We’ve become friends and I love chatting with her about her three boys and swapping business advice. Get to know her a little better and then go check out more of her work.

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Open, grassy fields for photo shoots – LOVE IT! (except of course when photographing my own three boys and the open field is synonymous with “open runway”)
The Voice- LEAVE IT; except of course if it’s Adam’s voice we’re talking about (or better yet, his pecs, or…..uh. forgot it, this is a public forum)
Superheroes (check out her most recent mini sessions here!) – LOVE IT! My childhood idol was Wonder Woman, and now my youngest is obsessed with HULK!
The beach- beyond LOVE IT!. It’s a part of me. I have spent summers at the beach all my life. Some of my best memories are here.
A cold beer- LOVE IT on a hot summer day. Otherwise leave it (much to the chagrin of all my college buddies) BUT I have generously “donated” a lot of my money to the breweries with the amount consumed just in the college years
Scandal- Never watch it. Should I?
Thanks so much Stefanie for playing along!
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I can’t believe it’s already been a week since the Heidi Hope Photography Workshop! I am still on a high from the most amazing 3 days. I met a bunch of really wonderful women and learned so much. You can check out my behind the scenes Instagrams here. If you’re a photographer just starting out or even if you’ve been in business for a few years, this workshop will change the way you view your business. For 5 years now, I’ve owned a business, but if I really think about it, the business owned me. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started out. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English for pete’s sake. I had ZERO business sense. I pretty much made things up as I went along. Heidi’s workshop focuses on how you can turn your passion into a dream job. I think that’s what has been missing from Stacy Mae Photography in the last year or so. Passion. The business side takes up so much more time and energy that there’s barely anything left for creativity. Do you know that I rarely take my big camera out any more unless it’s for a client? Isn’t that sad?

When I got home from the workshop, I felt so inspired and excited to begin the process of turning SMP into a boutique business. Being boutique isn’t about being super expensive or exclusive, it’s just a model of doing business. According to Heidi, a boutique business focuses on the client experience and is run by an expert in the field. And that’s me! I’ve built this business from the ground up. I’ve got more than 5 years of experience photographing families, babies, and children. My clients have come to trust me with their memories and I feel confident that I can deliver beautiful images. Heidi also says that boutique businesses are built on the relationships they have with their customers. I couldn’t agree more. My clients are the best! So many of them have turned into friends and I’m lucky to be able to watch their kids grow and be a part of their lives. I keep in touch through Facebook and Instagram. I care about their family and they care about mine.

So, how is Stacy Mae Photography going to become a boutique business? Well, I’ve got some big dreams for this business. My goal for 2015 is to build my dream studio. My husband and I are scrimping and saving and hoping to get a loan to help build a two car garage with a loft space above which would be my dream studio. If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I have a board called Studio Envy. Well, there’s a reason for that. I want to create the most beautiful, warm, welcoming studio for my clients. I want them to be able to come to my studio and feel like it’s a second home. I want it to be light and bright and airy (in the summer!). I want it to be a shabby chic space with lots of white and splashes of my favorite shade of blue. I want there to be vintage inspired props and furniture. I’ll still shoot mainly on location, but the studio will be a space to go during the cold winter months. Let’s face it, here in NJ, the winter’s are getting longer!

In my dream studio, I’ll be able to photograph children and babies, cake smash sessions, and even teach classes. I’ll also be able to start offering in person sales so you can come view your images on a big screen and then view all the fabulous products I offer. It’s so hard to sell amazing frames, canvases, and albums when you can’t see them.

That’s my biggest goal for 2015. The smaller ones I want to pass on to my clients. I want to build on the relationships that have meant so much to me over the years and also create new ones. I want to set Stacy Mae Photography apart from the masses of new photographers out there because I’ve been at this a while. I want to capitalize on my strengths and recognize where my weaknesses fall so that I can ask for help in those areas. I’d love to hire an assistant who can help keep me organized and take on those tasks that I’m not so good at. Heidi dedicates a whole section of her workshop workbook to this. I am also going to work on creating a better experience for my clients. One of the things I hope to implement soon is a customer rewards program. Since I do have so many families who come back to me year after year, I want to make them feel special. I also want them to help me spread the word about Stacy Mae Photography so it’ll benefit both of us!

I could go on and on about how many ideas are swirling around in my head, but I need to take it one step at a time. The first one is defining Stacy Mae Photography as a boutique business so that I can begin to make smart decisions that are in line with my brand. Heidi’s workshop has allowed me to do this. I have the workbook sitting on my desk now and I keep reading and re-reading it. I also can’t wait to finish the book she gave us, “Worth Every Penny,” by Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck. Who knew a book about business could be so juicy?!

We also did a lot of fun shooting at the workshop too! This little peanut was about 13 days old and I was lucky enough to catch a smile.

Newborn model at Heidi Hope Photography Baby Boutique Workshop

If you aren’t signed up for my newsletter, now is the time to hop on board. That’s there I’ll be rolling out a lot of the improvements to SMP. That’s also where you get dibs on special offers. One that’s coming up pretty soon too!!

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What an amazing week I had! I attended the Heidi Hope Workshop in Rhode Island and left feeling completely motivated and inspired! Heidi is such a good teacher and her and Shaun (her husband) were gracious hosts. Her studio is a dream and the workshop itself was exactly what I needed to help push me in the right direction. I can’t wait to tell you all about it, but first I wanted to share some behind the scenes Instagram shots. The first set of images are from the studio. It’s 4,000 square feet of fabulous! Tons of adorable props, a full kitchen, two bathrooms, a gorgeous seating area and lots and lots of yummy light.

Heidi Hope Photography studio in Rhode Island

This is a maternity session that was set up with two beautiful sisters. How amazing are the flowers? They are fresh flowers that were delivered and set up just for the shoot. Heidi uses fresh flowers a lot in her shoots and it always looks so dreamy.

Heidi Hope posing maternity models at the Heidi Hope Boutique Workshop 2015

The newborn portion of the workshop was so much fun. I love watching photographers work! Mary from Pebbles and Polka Dots Photography was there as well to show us some of those more advanced poses. I don’t know that I’d ever incorporate them into my work, but it sure was amazing to watch! They make it look so easy!

Newborn posing at the Heidi Hope Boutique Workshop

Not just one or two balloons, but a whole forest of balloons! A little kids dream! It all looked so beautiful.

Sibling posing at the Heidi Hope Boutique Workshop 2015

And finally, what Heidi is famous for, a cake smash. She customizes her cake smash sessions with such creativity it’s no wonder people from hours away to be photographed by her!

Behind the scenes cake smash at Heidi Hope Workshop 2015

I’ll be posting more about the workshop this week and I can’t wait to share with you some of the ideas I have for my business. For starters, I’ll be creating a Rewards Program for clients. You’re going to love it!

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, now is the time to do so. I’ll be announcing a special treat for all of my newsletter subscribers soon!

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Fun photographer interviews by Stacy Mae Photography

If you didn’t catch my first post, Love It or Leave It is a photographer interview series I recently introduced which asks the really important questions like … Coffee or Tea? No seriously, I wanted to have a little fun with some of my favorite photographers so I emailed them a bunch of topics and asked them their thoughts. See if any of the answers surprised you!

The next lovely lady is Shannon with Shannon Mulligan Photography. She’s just beginning her photography journey and I cannot wait to see where she’s headed. Shannon has a unique ability to capture details so perfectly, something I need to work on more!

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Love it or Leave it …

Grain – Love Them! Eat them often and luckily they do not upset my stomach! (I hope you meant the food grain HAHA) *I actually meant grain in photos, but I loved her answer too much! 
Food photography – LOVEEEEE! Food Photography is one of my absolute favorites and there may be something in the works for the near future!
Shooting at the beach – Leave it
Coffee – Love it. Obsessed
Spotify – Leave it (Pandora gal here!)
Cinderella – Leave it I <3 Mary Poppins and Belle!
I mentioned that Shannon is a master at capturing details. Check out these shots. Yum!!
Fun photographer interviews by Stacy Mae Photography
Fun photographer interviews by Stacy Mae Photography
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