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Baby love! The cutest way to photograph your newborn

Muddy met Laura from Perfect Shot Photography in St Ives to ask all your burning questions about newborn photography

Hospital bag? Check. Hundreds of nappies? Check. Muslins galore? Check. You’ve got everything ready for the arrival of your new baby and are eagerly waiting that first contraction. When baby makes their grand entrance though, you’ll be too sleep deprived to get any beautiful pictures of them in their teeny tiny newborn state. Seriously, take it from me, I could barely even open my eyes, let alone focus a camera on my son in those first few days and weeks. But what about when they’re all grown-up and you want to reminisce about how perfect they were?

I caught up with Cambridgeshire-based photographer, Laura from Perfect Shot Photography, to ask her all about the big trend for newborn photo shoots (just a little research, you know, just in case Mr Muddy Cambs freaks out that I’m broody. Although wait until you see these pictures…). Any burning questions I haven’t covered? Just comment below…

What’s the best age to photograph a baby?

Anywhere between four and 14 days. Around day 10 is when they start to hit a bit of a growth spurt, so sometimes that can disrupt them a little bit.

Why is it good to have a photoshoot so young?

New parents don’t realise how quickly their baby is going to change. A lot of people consider a baby a baby until they’re walking, but I don’t think you appreciate until you look back really just how tiny they were compared to the size they are at one. Even to the point that when I go back to do the photo viewings two weeks after the shoot, you can already see the baby has grown and changed since I took the pictures. One of my signature shots is the baby holding a 3 cm heart within their feet. When parents see that picture, they remember how little that heart was and then they register exactly how tiny their baby’s feet were at the beginning.

How long do the shoots take?

About three hours. Sometimes up to four if we’re doing group family shots.

When should expectant parents get in contact to book?

As soon as possible. It’s normally best around the 20 week scan, because we can only schedule so many in a month and I have to be really flexible to allow for early and late arrivals. Sometimes, if every baby that month comes early or late, I do have spaces now and then. But I do get fully booked in advance. A lot of people don’t think about a shoot until after the baby has arrived and think “oh we should have got one booked in” and that’s normally too late. I get quite a lot of second children having shoots because they remember thinking they wish they’d had one the first time round!

How do new parents schedule session?

When I know the due date, I block out one session in that month for them. Then, once baby arrives, they get in touch and we schedule a convenient time for both of us.

Who provides the clothes and props?

I provide everything, but if a couple has something special, if grandparents have knitted a blanket for example, we can use that as it makes the session much more personal. We’ll have a pre-session consultation to go through colour choices, particular images they’ve already seen and want to recreate etc. I’ve got a set of 14 colour palettes, which I send out when people book. So, it means the whole session, no matter what set-up we do, all of the images will complement each other and tie in. I’m not very prop-based. My only props are a bucket, bowl and basket, so nothing that will look too dated.

How much does it cost?

My signature newborn session is £200 and that includes a 10 x 8 art block with one of the images from the session. As an incentive however, if you book before 28 weeks of pregnancy it’s half price. Parents have got so many things to think about and plan in those last weeks that it’s good to get it ticked off early. I do older families and bump photos too as well as first year packages (newborn, 6 months and one year).

Where’s the best place for the shoot?

Having the shoot at a client’s home is best. If it’s a first baby, you don’t appreciate just how upside down your world is going to be and trying to get out of the house for a certain time is a nightmare. You can sit in your pyjamas and watch me and just take an hour off and enjoy it. If there are older siblings, for them to be stuck in a studio for two to three hours is going to be unbearable.

How do you get the babies to pose?

It’s all explained before I visit in a prep guide, but the main thing is that the room has to be really really warm – 28 degrees, otherwise they just don’t sleep. They’re used to being curled up warm for the last 9 months. There are wrapping techniques that we can use, but essentially as long as they are warm and feel safe and secure then they’ll drop off to sleep and then we can put them in position. I get quite a lot of invitations to come back at two in the morning – I get called a baby whisperer!

What if the baby cries the whole time?

I’ve never had a session where I haven’t been able to produce a full gallery. I have three workflows and I can assess the situation and choose the right one. Some sessions take a longer time and I only book one session a day so it allows me to spend as much time as the couple want to get the pictures.

What area do you cover? 

I cover the whole of Cambridgeshire. Although I will go further afield. You can find me at the Cambridge Baby show in September and the East of England Baby & Toddler Show in March.

Is it safe for a newborn?

You get what you pay for. Doing a newborn shoot is harder than a wedding, because of the safety side of it. I’m paediatric first trained and I’m never out of arms reach, my hand is always there. If I have to keep my hand on the baby I keep my hand there and edit it out. There’s a real knack to things like getting a newborn to straighten their fingers safely for example. And, when you’re wrapping, you can only do certain poses for a certain amout of time and it’s important to have a photographer who knows this. When people ask if family pets can be in the shoot, that’s absolutely fine, but it’ll be a composite image (two photos merged together). I’m not going to put a dog next to a brand new baby. Some poses like the froggy pose are two images merged together too.


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