Although it might not feel like it when you’re walking around in a sleep-deprived, zombie-like state or attempting to calm them with your millionth “shh, shh, shh” of the day, the newborn days go very quickly. That initial stage is such a blur that when the fog from your head clears, you realise that you’re six weeks in and referring to your newborn as a newborn is verging on fabricating the truth.
It’s not quite blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, but it isn’t far off. In the whole scheme of your kid’s life, the newborn stage is very short. Even though it wasn’t that long ago, I remember L as a few days old and when she’s a few months old, but the memories of that gap in the middle are described as patchy at best. Even with ‘Beetle’, he’s changed so much in the last six weeks that the 7lb 5oz baby born in early Feb feels like such a distant memory.
With the very real danger that these early days can easily be forgotten, we were keen to have a newborn photoshoot to (properly) capture our little lad during his first days of life. Sure, I’ve taken loads of photos of him myself, but it’s not quite the same as a professional gig.
So, with that in mind, we enlisted the services of Hertfordshire-based newborn and family photographer Rachel at Lightmonkey Photography. This was actually are fourth photoshoot with Rachel – we’ve always enjoyed the shoots and been very happy with the results, so were chuffed that she could fit us in at short notice.
Although we’ve had a few different photoshoots before (previous shoots here, here and here), none have involved a newborn baby. So, it was very reassuring to know that Rachel is one of the only Pro members of BANPAS (Baby and Newborn Photography Society) in the area, a professional body who promote safety in newborn photography. She has also undergone specialist training and has years of experience in posing and handling newborns safely.
Prior to the newborn photoshoot, we had a chat over email about the session and what we were looking to get out of it. For us, we obviously wanted photos of ‘Beetle’, but we were really keen to get some of him with his older sister too. If there was time, then it’d be nice to get some family shots, but this was really about the kids. Our only special request was trying to get some photos where L’s face is obscured – long story short, I decided earlier in the year to stop sharing photos of L’s face online for privacy reasons.
When it came to the day, Rachel had advised us that it’d be best to arrive to coincide with his second feed of the day which was around 9.30am. She also said that we should try to keep him as awake as possible in the morning, which is harder that expected with a sleepy newborn! Both of these would give us the best chance of a good shoot, as he’d hopefully be conked out due to tiredness and having had a recent feed.
We’ve always found shoots to be really relaxed with Lightmonkey Photography and this was no different. Rachel takes photos in her home studio, so there’s a welcoming and chilled out feel to it all. As we handed ‘Beetle’ over to her, L explored the playroom and the missus and I relaxed on the settee with a drink. It was like we’d uncovered a secret babysitter!
A warm room, white noise and Rachel’s newborn skills ensured that the little one was in a deep slumber and ready to be papped. The first photos taken were of ‘Beetle’ laying down on his side, back and front. These were quite natural and basically involved him sleeping on a kind of comfy mattress draped in a light blue, then dark blue, cloth.
Photos were taken of him in his birthday suit, prior to protecting his modesty with some trousers. Rachel also introduced a couple of props, namely little, cuddly toys and a hat. Here’s a few of those photos:
I’d never considered it before, but a lot of effort goes into photos such as the last one above. As a newborn has no control over their head, propping a baby up like this would obviously be unsafe. However, this is actually two photos stitched together. Rachel took one photo where she supported his head with her hand on his cheek, then another supporting his head on top. She then merged the two photos together and edited out her hands. Clever and safe!
The next set of photos involved ‘Beetle’ partly swaddled asleep in a fur-lined bowl. I know, it sounds a bit odd when you explain it like that, but the final result looked great. Although this was staged – we’ve not stuck him in a fruit bowl at home – it still felt quite minimalistic and natural, which is what we prefer. Here’s a few of the final photos:
After a little under two hours, we were done with the newborn baby photos. ‘Beetle’ had slept through the entire thing, which we were both surprised and relieved about! After a quick feed, it was time for the sibling photos with his big sister.
Due to preschooler moods and attention spans, we only had a short window before L would probably get bored. So, Rachel firstly sat L sat on a cosy rug and ‘Beetle’ was placed onto her lap, before laying ‘Beetle’ on the rug and having L lay behind. As mentioned, as I’m not showing L’s face on the blog anymore, there’s only a couple I can include below – however, we have some awesomely cute ones for our own perusal:
The final part of the session involved us – no longer could I relax on the couch. Firstly, we got some really nice family shots of us all sat down, which again, I can’t share as per above. We then had some of the missus, ‘Beetle’ and I standing up, before a couple of individual shots of us holding our little lad in various poses:
We were with Rachel for about three hours for the newborn photoshoot and it absolutely flew by. We are very, very happy with the results and are chuffed we had them taken despite being in that newborn haze. So, if you’re looking for a newborn, baby and / or family photographer in Hertfordshire, then we’d definitely recommend Rachel at Lightmonkey Photography. She’s friendly, knowledgeable, knows what she’s doing with newborns and is undoubtedly talented behind the lens!
Have you had a newborn photoshoot before? Is it something you’d consider in the future or regret not having done? Let me know below!
Disclosure: We were provided with a complimentary newborn photoshoot in exchange for sharing our experiences of the shoot.