You know it when you see it: beautiful, professional baby portraits in the studio with precious blankies, baskets, stuffed animals and other items just so. You also know when someone tried to emulate these session photography images with DIY baby portraits. Those tend to end up like a Pinterest-inspired joke: Nailed it! Or, not! In all seriousness, there is a lot of work that goes into baby portraits by a professional photographer. There is education, lighting expertise, professional-grade cameras, studio sets and experience with small children. Getting an infant ready for a photography session takes a lot of planning and logistical know-how. The most important thing is to plan with the baby's mother about the feeding schedule. Babies usually fall asleep after feeding and can be swaddled to stay snug and safe when placed in a set. Toddlers are a different story. They will be engaged from the get-go and be a fast-moving target. The toddler himself will decide how long the session will be, so the photographer should be encouraging and well-versed in the right baby talk to get the child to look at the camera and have fun for giggles that show natural-looking smiles in the images. At a recent shoot, a toddler wanted to see the images right away, leaping off a miniature settee to run over to the photographer to see the images on the little screen monitor on the back of the camera. It sounded like she was saying ,"I like it!" when she saw the pictures. Actually, that's what grown ups posing for session photography do too! Preparation is very important for baby and toddler portraits. Your photographer should consult with the parents ahead of time on a number of areas:
What kind of images are you seeking? Are these for wall art or frames? Albums, cards or wallet-size gifts?
What kind of sets might the photography studio have installed?
What props will the photographer try using in the portraits?
Should you bring a special toy, blankie, binkie, best friend stuffed animal? (Sure!)
What is the schedule for feeding? (Also, bring whatever your little ones might want, such as Cheerios.)
May you bring your family pet? For instance, some studios specialize in dog portraits (we call them pawtraits) and the photographer can consult with you whether it is better to have a separate session just for Fido.
Can you bring other family members, including Grandma and Gramps to watch? Sure!
Should you bring multiple outfits? Absolutely, especially if your baby is still in the onesies and spit-up phase. Also, you may want to bring a special occasion or seasonal outfit, such as a Halloween costume or Christmas dress.
The whole experience and the outcome should bring joy. The session should be peaceful in a quiet studio with even the proper thermostat setting in mind for baby's comfort. The photographer should just love babies and taking their pictures. She should also be experienced in a range of portrait photography categories and have creative flexibility to make changes with the set or approach with a child during the session. The photographer should be at ease with helping children feel relaxed in a new setting and give Mom and Dad suggestions and guidance through the session. For more information about baby and children portrait sessions at Kat Mack Photography, contact our studio at 832-692-2707.