Monday, January 20, 2014

Our Winter Photo Session {Newborn and Family Photos, Tips and Tricks}

One of my favorite baby shower gifts was a gift certificate for a newborn/family photo session with a local photographer from my in-laws. We hadn't had professional family photos done since Michaela Byrd was about 6 months old (so, 5 and a half years!), and adding a new baby to the family seemed like the perfect time to update our pictures. I thought I'd share some of the best shots today, along with some of my best tips and tricks for a successful family and/or newborn photo session.
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now



Here are a few of my best tips for newborn and/or family photos:

1. Choose your outfits ahead of time.
Don't wait until the night before to decide what you and the fam will wear. Inevitably, that favorite sweater will need washing, or you can't find your daughter's boots. 

Go online for outfit inspiration. There are some great tutorials on blogs and photography sites for choosing color schemes, styles, etc. 

2. Classic or trendy?
I wanted something that would look current, but not too trendy. I planned to display our photos year round, so although our session was booked for December, after Harris' arrival, I wanted to go with a style, color scheme, and background that would look okay being out in our home in May.

I like pops of color (especially in my own wardrobe!), so we settled on gray and aqua. 

Grown-Ups:
I got so busy in those last few days of pregnancy that I had to shop for myself online, but I found a plain gray cardigan from Dress Barn (of all places!) that I knew I would wear again, and Old Navy had some great men's sweaters for a bargain. I already had a lace cami and found a button up on T's side of the closet that would work with his sweater. As much as I love my bubble necklace, I knew wearing the matching dangle earrings would be too much, so I settled on plain gold studs and a gold bracelet to go with the necklace.

Kids:
The girls' aqua sweater dresses are from Gymboree, and I ordered the gray ruffle leggings online from Best Dressed Tot. I had the hardest time finding ruffle leggings to fit an 8 year old. She is very thin, but has long legs, so when I found them online, I ordered them right away. I also had a tough time finding something "dressier" in gray for the baby. When I came across a simple gray and white striped pants and button-up top set in Target's baby section, I bought it. 

3. Arrive on time (or a few minutes early).
Being a newborn, I had no idea what kind of a schedule Harris would be on, so we just planned a 1 pm session with our photographer and arrived a couple of minutes early. This gave us time to change the baby, brush hair, reapply lipgloss, etc.

4. Extras
Don't forget extra bottles/pumped milk/formula, diapers, an extra outfit for baby, a brush/comb, make-up for touch-ups, and some books or small toys for the older kids. The girls had a lot of down-time while Harris was being photographed. I was lucky that there was a TV for them to watch. Next time, I'll know to bring some things to keep them occupied.

5. Know what you want.
The photographer gave us a questionnaire to fill out ahead of time to know what sort of photos we wanted (posed, outdoor, casual, candid, etc). We had hoped to do a couple of outdoor shots, but it was frigid and raining, so we stayed inside. I knew I wanted a laid-back look to the pics, so we opted to go barefoot. I didn't want anything too formal looking, and I decided to let our photographer have fun with the baby pics. I'm so glad I did, because we got some great ones!

6. Let the photographer do his/her job.
Yes, you should make your wants known, and have a reasonable idea of some fun poses, etc. But I also think it's important to remember that the photographer is an experienced (hopefully) artist. I hated the thought of squelching that creativity, so after telling her the general idea of what I was looking for, I let her take the lead.

7. Don't stress out.
Babies poop. Babies scream. Kids don't always cooperate. Michaela Byrd kept tilting her head at a weird angle. One of the best pics of the rest of us is hiding her pretty face because she was moving her head around. You can't stress stuff too much. A good photographer will go with the flow and let you take a break to feed the baby or have a "settle down" meeting with your kids.

If you've never had a newborn session before, it's really fun to watch. Our photographer had a big "pouf" set up with lots of padding and warm blankets. She used that to pose the baby. Nearby, a heat fan blew very warm air directly on Harris to keep him nice and toasty. He was perfectly warm and cozy in just his Pampers! She also had an amazing iPhone app that played white noise. This kept him nice and sleepy...perfect for posing. Between that and a full belly, we had no fussing or screaming. He was a great model.

Here are some of my faves (I have them watermarked with my blog name so they won't be credited to the wrong photographer):
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now
How to Plan for Your Newborn or Family Photo Session, from Serenity Now


We had such a great experience, and will absolutely be doing this again. If you're in the DC/Richmond area and are interested, you can message my page on Facebook and I would be happy to give you the information for the photographer we used. I did a lot of research, and her prices were flat-out, jaw-droppingly amazing for someone who does such great work. I highly recommend her!

Next time, I'm hoping for some fun outdoor shots in warmer weather!

What are your best tips for family photos? Your favorite spot to be photographed?
If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. And I always appreciate kind comments.


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