After years of working with families and capturing their babies first moments in photographs, I’ve come to find that most parents would rather NOT be included in the newborn sessions. Sometimes I would have to beg, bribe and practically drag moms and dad in front of the camera. Just to get one shot.
I couldn’t understand WHY, until I asked.
You want to know the most common excuse they had to declined photographs was? The way they looked.
I quickly began to realize they only physically saw what the photograph would be like, they didn’t emotional see what it would be like. After discovering this, I began to talk to my moms and dad differently about being involved in the portrait session and existing in photographs for their children and their children’s children. I told them how their baby would never fit into their arms again like this and they will never get this time back.
Usually that got them in front of the camera. Once in front of the camera it was my job to emotionally charge the scene with bringing out pure emotion so they remembered how they felt at this time NOT how they looked. I would have them think about what it felt like the first time they saw baby, how their baby smelt and the softness of their skin next to theirs. It would work like a charm every time. Emotions came spilling out with smiles, giggles and even a few happy tears.
If you are not emotionally charging your moms and dads during parent shots, you can start now. Don’t know how? Here are my top 5 basic ice breakers to say during your session to bring out that emotional side.
- I’m going to place baby in your arms. Once they are in your arms, you just get to hold them and enjoy them and let me do all the work with the details.
- Can you remember the first time you saw your baby? How did you feel?
- As you are holding baby I want you to close your eyes and send them a wish. Something you hope for them.
- Take a deep breathe and let it out, enjoy this time of them being little, your baby will never fit into your arms like this again.
- Breathe in their smell, isn’t it lovely! You made that.
Once parents are emotionally invested now with the experience of capturing their portraits it is time to top it off and rock the parent shots with strategic parent posing or the basics.
In other words, make mom and dad look good!
I have a few poses I use at every session. Why reinvent the wheel, when it works. If there are new posing ideas I have or come across, they are incorporated after the basic poses are done.
If you are hesitant on parent posing or need some basic poses yourself, here are some of my favorites. I suggest to study the pose, look at the arm placements on mom and dad, look at the baby placement and the lighting. Then you can adjust and modify to build the pose to fit your style and clients.
It’s an honor to be photographing the world’s newest little human beings. It takes that special touch, patience and a pure love. She believes emotional connection makes for influential newborn portraiture and that anyone seeking that, can find it.
Malia lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona with her most supportive husband and her 3 fun-loving children. As the owner of Malia B Photography, she photographs the cutest babies in the Valley of the Sun.
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