I've built my session flow and client experience in natural, baby-led newborn photogrpahy based on the needs I have as a photographer but mostly what I would have needed as a newborn mom. I want everything to be easy and relaxing for the new family and our time together as precious as I can ever it make.
I want my moms to feel they are the only moms I work with. I want them to feel that they are doing everything perfectly fine and right (as they are) and that the shoot with me is the best investment a family can do with their time and money in the first few weeks with a baby.
This is how I've designed the whole experience:
BEFORE THE SHOOT
Before the shoot I'm sending the tangible preparation guide to the family via post. The guide includes tips on what to wear, how to prepare the baby for the shoot and where to park the car. In my client experience some things simply can't be digital, no matter how easy it would be to just send a pdf. I love the feel of a quality print in front of me – and I know my clients do too. I'm also sending for the family a questionnaire where they can share their journey and thoughts with me.
Before the family arrives to the studio I warm up the place and prepare the beanbag. I use a very basic beanbag with average amount of filling and some posing beans (from The original photoblocks) if needed.
I pick of some yummy pastries like cinnamon buns or freshly baked croissants with a delicious coffee the family can enjoy right after they arrive at the studio.
I love to light some scented candle or other air scents (lavender is great for better sleeps wink wink!) to create a multi-sensory, memorable experience. To make the family feel at home it's also great to play some lovely background music (make an own Spotify list that your clients can cherish later too!).
But the main thing I do to keep my clients at ease is to prepare and inform them. They should know 100% what to expect from the day. I share as much information on my website and social media, they receive the guide and I walk them through the process. But I also let them know that whenever they have questions, I'm here. And that is key to a relaxed, beautiful studio experience.
DURING THE SHOOT
My biggest aim during the shoot is to make the mom feel as good as ever possible. When the family arrives to studio, I take the baby and the parents can have a peaceful moment with their coffee cup and some snacks. The kind of peaceful moment they often haven't had since their little one was born and they've started life as a new family.
I prepare the baby for the shoot, no matter if we are using a body or a wrap. I change the diaper and wrap the baby on my lap before moving them to the beanbag. I always start a shoot with the baby only, so the parents can catch their breath after a busy morning (leaving home for the first time with a newborn is a sport!).
In keeping with my nordic, natural style I use very neutral tones on my wraps and blankets and ask the family also to wear some light shades. The baby's skin is so delicate that it loves to have light and neutrals around it in pictures. I observe how the parents hold the baby during transtitions and then naturally to pose them in the same way, so that being in front of the camera feels more natural to them.
While shooting, I'm guiding the family, helping them "pose", but also capture those beautiful moments in between when they're at their most natural. I'm guiding them with words and directing with hands. I'm talking to the family the way they can easily dive into that very moment; "look, now he's here!", "this is the moment we have been waiting for".
I make sure to put the camera down every now and then to just check how everyone is feeling; if the mom is feeling good, are the postures okay for her and does she want to drink something.
Before saying goodbye, I make sure to tell the family exactly what happens after. How soon can they expect the images. How do they receive them, etc.
AFTER THE SHOOT
After the shoot family gets a slideshow of all the images with an emotional soundtrack. Families love that, it somehow ties together the whole experience and reminds us what are the most important things in life. I send the slideshow to the family within 2 weeks from the shoot.
IMPORTANT! If I cannot promise that I will be able to stick to this schedule, I rather say 3 weeks. Part of going above and beyond for a client is to always over-deliver on promises. This means always delivering images at least 1-3 days before I promised them.
After seeing the slideshow I send the full image gallery. I only offer full galleries. My clients don't want to choose. They want them all. I also offer optional viewing sessions in the studio to help my families order art for their walls or albums to their coffee table