At first it would seem that as an aspiring new born photographer having your own newborn would be a dream come true. Obviously because you’ve got a brand new child in your life, but also because it could give you endless opportunities to hone your skills, practice new techniques, experiment with new props, the list goes on.
Of course, anyone that has ever had a newborn will understand that the reality is sadly not so simple. As it turns out, when it’s your own baby you’re still responsible for all of the feeding, sleeping, cleaning and settling. That time is usually when you’d be able to get your equipment set up, settings sorted and props prepared, so despite baby being available 24 / 7 you’re still limited to how much time you can actually dedicate to taking photos.
With slightly more organisation then I’d anticipated I managed to get a time slot arranged that I could treat like a genuine photoshoot. I used the morning to clear as much space as I could and set up my beanbag and backdrop in the makeshift studio (our conservatory offered the best light on the day).
I’d spent the last couple of months collecting together everything in the house that I thought might come in handy for a photoshoot. This mainly consisted of a large selection of blankets and sheets, cute items of clothing, and a couple of purchases I’d made of hats and headbands.
Another reason for using the conservatory was the room temperature. As it’s essentially just a large glass box attached to the side of the house the conservatory offers two heat settings, ice cold or sauna. Thankfully on this day it was slightly sunny outside so the temperature was around 90 degrees. Whilst this meant I worked up a bit of a sweat getting everything ready, it also made for the perfect conditions for stripping a little baby down to just their birthday suit.
When I began I was a nervous of waking Eleanor so I limited the amount of posed I tried and also had concerns about my nice new studio and beautiful cream blankets being spoilt. After reviewing my first set of shots I realised to get the truly special newborn shots I’d need to fully commit to the job at hand so put my fears aside and stripped her down fully and began modelling my beautiful little girl.
I needn’t have worried at all; Eleanor was as good as gold and let me mould her in to nearly all the poses I’d hoped to capture. I’m certain that this won’t always be the case and feel blessed that my inaugural newborn shoot was so painless. It certainly helped to build my confidence and made me realise just what is possible with the right conditions.
The other thing I realised was that all of the different backdrops and props were unnecessary for this first attempt, what I really needed to do was to just select one simple blanket, put aside the props and just focus on getting gorgeous natural photographs.
Looking back over the 187 shots I took I don’t think there are any that I wouldn’t make at least a tiny change to, but that is hopefully where the experience and learning will really help me in future. Seeing those opportunities to perfect a shot now means that next time I’ll be aware of what to look out for and correct it. I know that I’ll then find another set of issues to overcome but I’ll continue to tweak and refine and hopefully continue to improve.
Even during the two hours I spent taking these photos I can see a marked improvement between the first and last taken so I’m definitely considering this first step into the world of newborn photography a success.