I'll be honest. To get great photos of your newborn in Los Angeles takes planning. There are two main windows of opportunity in newborn photography; one from birth to 14 days. The other, "try and hope for the best on days 15+". I want to help you make the most of both .
Plan Ahead: If you know you want newborn pictures, interview and book your photographer about a month before your baby is born. No one expects expecting parents to be able to say exactly when a baby will be born (usually at least). But a newborn photographer is used to this fact and will plan a window during which you are likely to come in for photos. No one understands better than a newborn photographer that things do not always go as planned. So relax...let your photographer do the worrying. All you need to do is get on their calendar.
Didn't Plan Ahead for Baby Pictures? It's Still OK: What if your baby is past the 14 day window that newborn photographers love? Can you still get newborn photos? Of course you can. It is just harder, that's all. And you need a photographer who is willing and able to spend a lot of time working on this project if needed.
No matter which category you fall into, here are 3 tips from a pro.
1. Clothes matter: Newborn baby photos are ones that are meant to be "timeless". That is, generally, no one wants professional newborn photos of their baby in a graphic-ridden onesie that screams "trendy". Thus, get clothes that will look appropriate and beautiful 20 years from now when your son or daughter is looking at them. A simple search for "newborn hat" on www.etsy.com will yield a ton of cute items. Select solid colors, avoid monograms and keep it simple. Talk to your photographer about the kinds of clothes they prefer to photograph so that their photographic style is accentuated.
2. Feed Your Baby at the Studio: The key to traditional newborn photos is that the baby is sleeping. We love "milk drunk" in this industry. Plan on feeding on-site. Trust me when I tell you that your baby will likely NOT behave as they have been doing at home for the past few days or weeks. Once they are in a studio, they "know" something is different. They probably will NOT sleep as easily as you think. This is to be expected and this is why newborn shoots can take 2 hours or more. Be prepared to do a lot of waiting around. And most of all, be patient. There is no "try again tomorrow" with newborn photography. This is it. Right now. Today.
3. Just Mommy and Me: When I say "mommy and me" I mean Dad too. But I generally tell families NOT to bring a lot of people to the shoot. (I have had 8 people show up to a newborn shoot). It is disruptive, too loud, and actually impacts the quality of my work. If you have child care issues with siblings, plan ahead so that you can come to the studio alone with your baby. We understand that this is your new baby, and we understand you are excited. But trust me when I tell you that it may be great for the adults, but it is not so great for the baby, and even less so for the photographer. Newborn photos are pricey. Get your money's worth and just focus on the baby. What you ultimately want are astounding photos. Let the photographer do their job. Take it from a pro: what you will care about in two weeks are the fabulous photos your photographer made for you, not the experience of the photo shoot itself.
Katie is a maternity, newborn and infant photography in the Los Angeles area.