Newborn Photography Workshop: Work with Mom and Listen to the Baby
Work with Mom and Listen to the Baby | Transcription
If you are shooting for a client that I want you all to remember that this lovely newborn was just given birth to by an incredible woman who amazingly carried him or her for nine months. Now, what I’m saying here is that mom is rightfully going to be protective and concerned about the baby’s welfare throughout the shoot. There are several things that you can do to put mom at ease. Number one is to make sure that you are confident and you know what you are doing and saying. Otherwise it’s going to put mom on edge more than if she feels like you are basically new to this game. There are certain tell and tale signs. For example, let’s say prior to the shoot you tell mom to give the baby a birth. Well, babies aren’t supposed to take births. Newborns are not supposed to be submerged in water. If you say something like that mom is going to immediately feel like you are new to working with newborns. One recommendation that I have is to let mom be an active participant in the shoot if she would like to be.
You want mom to be there to feed, burp and help to nurse the baby if she feels like she wants to and is capable of it. You can also have mom assist or in the shoot and be involved. Generally, I find that the more involved that they are, the more that mom is comfortable. Remember that mom always knows her baby best. There may be times when you will need mom to take a back seat and to have someone else step in to assist. Now, the reason of this is that newborns can smell and sense their mother’s presence. There are times when the newborn is going to fuss and cry just because they know that mom is nearby but isn’t necessarily holding them. If a newborn is acting up for no reason it could be due to this. Have mom step away so the baby can basically no longer smell and sensor and then have someone else step in to assist and to help calm the baby. Now, this doesn’t happen often but it has happened on occasion.
It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of professional newborn photographers ask mom to sit and relax and to be really hands off during the shoot. Now, this is to avoid experiences where basically moms can be too hands-on and essentially slow down or interfere with the shooting process. As a newborn photographer, this is really your decision on how much you want mom to be involved. I prefer to have mom involved because she helps me in listening to the newborn. Mom is going to be your best barometer and your best gauge for the baby’s mood and needs, but it’s important for you to understand as well. More often than not, there are generally three basic reasons why a newborn is going to cry. Number one, the first and foremost reason that is simply hunger as we previously mentioned. Number two is going to be basically discomfort from the baby having a messy diaper to being too cold or too hot or simply placed in a position or pose that is uncomfortable.
Now, the third reason is a little bit hard to determine because you are not going to know until you basically eliminated one or two that the baby is not unhappy due to hunger, and not unhappy due to discomfort. Often times the baby is going to cry simply because it must be comforted more often than not by mom. Now, for me and my shoot I’ve generally found that when mom and I are working together to help keep a newborn feed, burped and comfortable, the duration of the shoots is generally cut in half and we have a much easier and willing newborn subject throughout the shoot. Once again, this is really up to you guys.