Preparing for your Home Photography Session
Please read all the information in this page before your photo session.
- In preparation for the photography session in your home all you need to do is ensure that the baby and children are rested and fed wherever possible. However don't worry if, on the morning of the session, everything seems to be going pear-shaped! Baby won't nap, toddler has a bruise on the head, your newborn is unsettled, siblings are grumpy.... don't worry. It's important that you are relaxed and looking forward to your photography session. Most babies and children perk up very well during the actual session.
- I ask that the basic session fee is paid on the day of your session. Anything additional is decided after you get to see your gallery. If you have a gift voucher please have it ready and take a note of the details for your records (Just take a picture of it on your phone perhaps).
- Please be ready for when I arrive. It is really helpful if everyone is dressed and ready to go from the moment I arrive. The novelty of a photography session can wear off quickly for children so I like to get going straight away. I am almost always on time. If I am running at all late I will text you to let you know.
- Please check little faces carefully and give them a good clean. Look closely for little dry snots around the nostrils!!
- I usually end up using upstairs and bedrooms for photographs where the light is often good. All you need to do is tidy the bed and side lockers. It's useful to have children's bedrooms and cots ready too just in case. I don't require any further preparation from the family as I am used to working in all kinds of homes and spaces. I can also use a studio style backdrop with eliminates distractions from the background. In this way you can have a selection of images, some "studio style" and others with a more natural background. All my images are taken in the home and as you can see the houses don't feature so please don't worry about that part. You don't need to think about the quality of the natural light either. I can work with natural light even on the dullest of days. In fact, often the nicest light is not actually the brightest light - so allow me to work that one out on the day :-)
- Please have curtains and blinds fully open in all the available rooms. Please lift the blinds completely in the rooms to allow as much light in as possible.
- Please also take up any rugs or mats that are covering wooden floors. (not needed for newborn sessions). I often photograph children sitting on the floor and wooden floors are a great background .
- I also ask that other cameras or camera phones are not used during the session. It is distracting for me and the children.
Developmental stages...please read relevant section below.
For newborn photography sessions I allocate more time so there is no pressure on the new mom. I expect the session to be frequently paused with feeding,changing and settling. If you like the idea of photographing your new baby in bare skin It is really helpful if the newborn is just in his or her nappy and wrapped in a blanket for when I arrive - especially if you think he/she will be sleeping when I get there. Have the house warm too. My sessions are relaxed and taken at the baby's pace. I always include parents and siblings in the sessions and it is so special to look back on those early days that can actually sometimes be hard to remember.
For newborns...there is nothing more beautiful than their own brand new skin. Little babies often look swamped in clothes so I usually photograph new babies in their bare skin. If you prefer your new baby to be photographed in clothes just choose something simple fits as well as possible. Sometimes just a simple vest looks lovely.
This stage can be a little tricky. It is a nice age to photograph as their eyes are bright and wide. They don't always smile during the sessions but that's ok. I love big wide eyes at this stage and a beautiful portrait is guaranteed. The only thing to keep in mind for this age is that you may not get as wide a variety of shots. They are not as responsive as the next stage below and are unlikely to get in to a deep sleep for curled up baby pics. They can be a little fussy at times and a bit less predictable but once you are aware of this the session will be lovely.
Older babies - 14 weeks - 9 months
I love working with babies between four and nine months. They are usually in top form for 45 minutes. In fact, I can set my watch to them! This is a great age for parents to be involved in the sessions. This age group are particularly responsive to faces and expressions. They like short bursts of stimulation but then are exhausted after 45 minutes...ready for a nap. It is so easy and fun to make babies of this developmental stage laugh and smile EXCEPT if he or she is sick or under the weather in any way. If this is the case, even if it's last minute, please consider postponing. Your baby will not be able for the session if he or she is not feeling well.
10 months - 18months
This age can make strange. That's ok. I take it slowly at this stage and they usually warm up after 20 minutes. Active sessions are best with this age. Plenty of distraction, toys and parent interaction. At this age I find that babies are less interested in new faces and really engaged by action, toys, exploring. Sometimes with this stage I take a more passive, observing role and I rely more on parent interactions to catch the shots.
Please don't worry about how your toddler will behave on the day. I am used to working with all ages and adopt a different approach with each age group. The most important thing to remember is for you to stay relaxed. Even if the session seems to you like it's not going well, please trust me and know that I will get great shots for you. What I can see is different to how you might experience the session. It's usually great fun but sometimes with toddlers it can be tricky.
I absolutely love working with older children too. Very little preparation is needed and they usually have a great time during the session. Just make sure everyone is ready for when I arrive. Some children can get a bit giddy during the sessions. Please allow this to happen and don't worry about "best behaviour". Giddy children make wonderful photographs.
Newborns and Older siblings
I love working with newborns and their sisters and brothers. I will always include the older children and take as many pictures as them as their new sibling. I usually get great pictures of the older child with the new baby and I have lots of tips and tricks to achieve this. Toddlers of 18months- 2years however usually have very little interest in the new baby and it can be tricky to get the shot of the two together. I usually achieve it but just so you are aware that it's not always easy!
During the session, especially for toddlers and older kids, I will try and surprise them or make them laugh. It's often a natural reaction of grownups to respond too with "surprise faces"! Try your best to ignore me if I am trying to get a reaction out of the kids. You just be ready for the photograph and allow me to interact with the kids. This is especially true for larger group shots. It's actually more difficult than it sounds but try your best to allow me to get the reactions out of the children in groups shots. I will let you know if I need help.
Please allow me to engage with the children/ toddlers without too many interruptions. I will ask you if I need help. Too many instructions and voices can be distracting for the kids. It's important that I can connect with them during the session. My invitation to you is to allow me to take charge for an hour and for you to relax and enjoy the session.
What to wear?
Keep it simple and don't worry too much about it. I suggest avoiding logos or distracting images on clothes. Make sure everyone is comfortable in what they are wearing and that the children feel like their usual selves.
Little girls always look gorgeous in summer dresses but only if they are happy to wear them.
For family shots, it is often a good idea to wear similar style clothing. For example, it would not look good to have one family member dressed in formal gear and the others in casual clothes. I find soft tones photograph beautifully. Blues, pinks, creams, soft greens etc. Very strong colours (like cerise pink or tangerine) can often reflect on children's skin so it's best to avoid very bright block colours. It is recommended that the family wear colours that look good together or are from the same general palette. Floral patterns can photograph well too. Black is ok but can show every speck of fluff and dust.
All that said, the most important aspect is that everyone is comfortable, at ease and happy in themselves so that expression and personality can really shine through.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
Location: Dublin, Ireland. Sinéad Feeney Photography LTD. Newborn, baby and family professional photographer.