How can I prepare for a photo-shoot with my baby?
A photograph of your little one as a newborn, toddler or smashing a cake for their first birthday is a lovely way to remember that amazing time in their lives. For some parents the idea of a photoshoot can be overwhelming, wondering how it works, will baby be ok? Comfortable… smiley… etc.
As a mum myself, I understand some of uncertainties you may have. So.. what should you expect from a photoshoot? Yes, expect to be patient with your baby and the experience. It can be daunting for some babies, there are soft lights, flashes, and a new person trying to talk, play and distract them. However, please don’t think that you won’t be gaining any photos because baby seems too distracted or won’t sit still. Go with the mindset that it won’t be instant smiles as soon as you get there, and it will result in really lovely images at the pace the baby is comfortable with.
Expect at least an hour of photography, but please don’t worry, this always goes really fast. If you are worried that there won’t be enough time, because baby seems really “off” that day (and let’s face it this happens more often that not!) your photographer will either work with you to complete just a few images, or re-arrange when it will suit you both to come again. Your photographer will be organised and ready, props set, balloons blown and lights lit. Don’t think you need to lead the shoot by getting baby to smile, as well as caring for their needs (Us parents have a hard-enough time as it is!).
Sure, it helps to have Mummy or Daddy or even grandparent in eye line for sure, but the photographer is used to working with babies and children and will know how to put them at ease. If you feel comfortable to do so, take a hot drink whilst you can and sit nearby so baby can see you and the photographer will do the rest. So apart from remaining as patient as possible and trusting your photographer, how else can you prepare for a photo-shoot? Here are my top 3 parenting tips for photo-shoots:
1) Babies are like adults- we all love food! If you make sure baby has eaten/fed or snacked before the shoot, this will help to prevent your baby getting a little cranky. Feel free to bring any snacks with you and of course, if they are only tiny, stock up on milk if needed as the photographer will always be flexible to allow you to feed your baby when and if they need it.
2) Sleep always helps. As you already know, baby is much happier when they have had their nap time. So if you can, try and see if nap time can fall before the shoot. If they haven’t, please don’t worry, again the photographer has experience with many different babies. (including tired ones!) and it may mean a sleeping baby turns out to be your favourite photograph!
3) Changing bag prep- As always bring the changing bag with a spare outfit or two, nappies, wipes, changing mat, a favourite toy, snacks… we all know the list is endless. But the more prepared you are, the better. If baby is taking part in a cake smash then a change of clothes will be needed after the shoot, along with wipes and maybe even a small towel – depending how much they have eaten! Toys and comforters can be used for comfort or distraction. Check with your photographer if other changes of clothes are needed or available to use in the shoot too!
The main message to get across is -have fun! Your baby will, if you do. If you are able to relax as much as possible, grab a refreshment and sit alongside your baby, you will realise it is just like playing with them as you usually do, only a camera is capturing those precious smiles! If you still have questions, that is totally normal! You can pop me a message at Hayley Carter Photography, to find out more