Not long after I first began taking photos of people for money this past fall, I received an email from a buddy's wife asking if I'd be interested in capturing images of their son, who they were expecting in late December. Since I had never photographed infants, with the exception of my own kid, I was pretty surprised (not to mention a bit honored) by the request. Realizing this could be a good opportunity for me to expand my range, I accepted the challenge ...
... but, I knew it was going to be REALLY important to make sure their expectations were in line with my abilities to avoid a total disaster.
There are some incredible photographers, like our friend Rachel, who dedicate much of their work to newborn photography, and I immediately let my clients know that I just wasn't capable of delivering images of their little dude holding up his own head while sleeping. For one, I fully understand that newborn posing is an art that takes A LOT of practice (I had zero) as well as a capable assistant ... which I also lacked.
Thankfully, this was okay with them, and we agreed to approach it as a lifestyle session -- just them interacting naturally with their boy while I kept my finger firmly on the shutter-release.
When they brought their little man home from the hospital I met them at their house as they arrived (even after wrecking my jeep). They got settled, did their thing, which included a lot of nursing, and I did mine: taking photos while trying to be as invisible as possible. Ideally, we would have had a little more variety in the shoot, but we worked with what the kid was able to offer us and I think we're all pretty happy with the results.
If you're considering taking on a newborn session for the first time, please PLEASE, take the following words into consideration:
1. Be crystal clear with the parents about your lack of experience and comfort level, or you'll be risking a really awful session experience and angry/disappointed clients.
2. Do NOT attempt to pose the baby without any prior experience or training. Period.
3. Clear your schedule. Newborns really only care about two things: eating and sleeping. They will do these things when they want, regardless of your schedule. If you prevent them from doing these things when they want, the kid (and possibly the parents) will be very angry and your session will suck.
4. Be on the same page about posting images online. I initially jumped the gun on posting images from this session to my Facebook page, and had to quickly pull them back down. While you may technically own the images, you'll likely incur the wrath of your clients if you post images of their baby online before they're ready -- blowing any chances they'll be coming back to you for the six-month shots.
Ok, that's it. Thoughts, questions, or comments? Let me know :)