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. You can then wait and see your gallery to decide on any add-on options. However, if you know for sure that you will want the printable disc, I offer a discount on it if paid at time of session. If you would like to pay by card, please let me know and I will send you a payment link via Paypal, otherwise you can pay by cash on the day.
- 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 more than ten minutes late I will text you to let you know. Please keep an eye on your phone but expect me to be on time!
- Please check little faces carefully and give them a good clean. Look closely for little dry snots around the nostrils!!
- I like to be able to use 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. As you can see from my website the interior of your home doesn't have to be a feature of your pictures so please don't worry about that part. I am really good at finding the right spots in your home to use. I will do a selection of documentary/candid style shots and shots with a more "studio style" but they will all be very natural, relaxed and unposed. 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.
- Unless it's a newborn session, don't have the house too warm. In my experience, parents can overheat a little during the session -so just keep this in mind.
- 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 .
- If any of the adults are uncomfortable with the idea of a photo session (can sometimes apply to Dads!) tell them that it will be quick and easy and they don't even have to look at the camera. Tell them that my focus is on the kids and that their help with the children would be great on the day. It's not nearly as daunting as it sounds!
- I bring a lot of energy to the session, I get the kids going fast and I work fast. I am never, ever under time pressure myself but there is a natural window for children to be at their best. If I seem hurried, this is why. I need to maximise my time with your children and I get really great photos in the short window of time that the children give me!
- Your children are my little customers for the time I am with you. Please, please don't worry about behaviour or manners etc. They often don't interact with me like they do with other grownups and they can get a little giddy...don't worry. Let them relax and have fun. This is how I get the pictures you want!
- Finally, I just ask that other cameras or camera phones are not used during the session. It can be a bit distracting for me and the children.
Developmental stages...please read relevant section below.
For newborn photography sessions I allocate enough time so there is no pressure on the new mom. The photography session can be paused for changing, feeding or setting. I will most likely be on time so aim to have your baby finishing up a feed when I am due to arrive (don't worry if this doesn't work out - this is just the ideal scenario. I work well in every situation!). If your newborn is likely to go asleep after the feed and you want him/her photographed in bare skin, please start the feed with just his or her nappy on and wrapped in a blanket. If you prefer to have clothes on your baby, please have them dressed. Have the house warm too so if the baby is in bare skin it will be warm enough. 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.
Loads of people have asked me for links to the various products that I recommend in my newsletters (from my experience and from recommendations from other parents) so I will put them here for newborn Mums and Dads who may be interested..
Loads of mums have recommended Silver Breastfeeding cups. The Irish site is sold out so here is the amazon link:
My Favourite Baby book and in fact this is where I learned a lot of my baby sleep techniques:
The Baby Shusher is my favourite white noise device. It is invaluable for getting babies off to sleep especially when over-tired :
If you have any other questions about your newborn baby photography session just email me!
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!
Please try not to be nervous or self-conscious with me. I love photographing families and I really will be mostly focused on the children. 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 not react yourselves 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.
When I am photographing your children on their own without you in the shot, please allow me to keep their attention. 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 writing 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. Leggings are a good idea under dresses .
Try to avoid sports clothes for boys. It can date pretty quickly.
Shoes are not necessary for children...or adults if you don't want 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. Make sure you are not too warm. You don't need to be matching completely!
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.