What in a Bespoke Newborn Photography Session with Lullaby Images?
There are many different styles to family photography and within that, even more specialities. When I took a dive and decided to make photography my full time profession, I chose to focus on newborn photography and even more specifically, make sure that included advanced newborn posing. This is not something that every newborn photographer in Hong Kong offers, as one of the largest elements to it all, is a thorough understanding of the safety components when handling and posing such a tiny human. You need to be aware of their range of movement, their airways and ensure they always have the support they need. There are many newborn photographers whose approach is more candid with lifestyle and documentary portfolios, many who will focus on keeping the baby wrapped and pop the baby into a stylised prop setting ... but there are only a very few that have the experience to do advanced newborn posing safely and well. If you are expecting a baby and want to reach out to a newborn photographer, it's important to find someone who has baby experience and a portofolio inline with the style of photography that you are looking for to document your baby's first days.
I am frequently asked what the difference is between my lifestyle newborn photography sessions and my bespoke traditional newborn photography sessions. In the later, the main difference is that I bring all the photography gear necessary to achieve both basic as well as advanced newborn poses, which I do not bring to my other sessions. This consists of 2 large suitcases of blankets, posing support pillows, a posing frame, wraps, hats, head bands, 1-2 props, photography lighting gear and my camera with my prime Canon lenses.
After the baby has had a big feed and is wonderfully milk drunk, they often settle into a nice deep sleep which is the perfect window to start my flow of poses. The success of a posed photography session lies in the baby in sleeping well, which is why it is important to schedule it within the first 30 days at the latest. They become more alert and awake for longer periods as the days go by, which makes this type of photography more challenging. Depending on the baby's temperament and if they are sleeping heavily already or need more time to settle, I either start with them in their birthday suit or swaddled, on my posing frame. My workflow enables me to transition the baby slowly and gently, through a range of poses, which I photograph from different angles and also make sure to capture all their macro details in the process. As I have been focusing on newborn posing since 2016, I have experience to be able to take my cue from the baby in every session, remaining flexible and adjust my process to their needs, leaving plenty of time for soothing, settlings and if needed, top up feeds. The baby is also the boss of all my sessions.
My bespoke sessions are tailored to each family uniquely, after our consultation chat to learn about what the family wants most from their collection. Whilst the solo baby posing does take up around 80% of the session in terms of time, as it requires patience and slow transitions, I love to also make sure to photograph all the family portrait variations too. They are equally as important to me and often most cherished, especially for the little one to have looking back at their family when they are older. I always make sure to capture mum & bub, dad & bub, everyone together and any siblings (even fur siblings!).
The images in this post are examples of both basic and advanced posing in traditional newborn photography, but photographed in my less-is-more minimalistic style. I always want the baby to be the star of the image itself and not have their beauty diluted by too many other busy distractions. With white neutral backgrounds, there is nowhere to hide and getting perfect lighting is everything. For each pose, I photograph them at different angles and add in or remove wraps, hats and headbands to create variety and options. Here are some of the poses included in my bespoke sessions. Whilst I endeavour to flow through most of them, all my newborn photo sessions are entirely baby-led and if a little one really is not feeling it and can't quite settle comfortably, we move on to another pose.
- Womb Pose, also known as Taco Pose. My favourite pose hands down and this is closest to how they were when they were in the belly and many babies find comfort in this pose, but it isn't for all of them. Properly placed support pillows are key to this pose working well and not compromising their little airways.
- Side lying pose is a very natural comfortable pose that even sensitive babies are happy to settle into.
- Hands on Chin Pose, when they are on their tummy. It is so important to watch the circulation in the little wrists and hands.
- Tushy Up (aka. Bum Up pose), requires proper support around the baby and making sure their little hands are placed to turn their head out towards the camera
- Tucked in Pose. This is a cute and natural one, great for even sensitive babies, often with a little toy to add the personal touch.
- For the pose with them curled up beautifully on their back, I love to shoot these from a variety of angels and also play with the lighting, having it back lit, as well as the lighting feathering across their feet and face, and then rotating them round to get the light from the side of their face too. It gives lots of variety and different creative options when it comes to the digital art composites that I love to add as a bonus image to my clients galleries.
- Prop set ups. I usually bring 1 or 2 props to my sessions. It could be a bucket, basket or bowl, where the baby is placed and stylised with a tight swaddle. These setups are colour themed and stylised in my minimalist style. They offer great variety to a session and always great to fall back on, for even the most unsettled babies love my swaddles and settle down eventually when they are bundled up.
All my photography sessions include a wealth of macro close up images of the baby's details. I use a powerful lens, the canon EF macro 100mm F/2.8, to capture their feathery eyelashes, pouty lips, tiny toes, little fingers... and all those wonderful fat rolls in their arms and shoulders. For parents who want to make a baby photobook album or just love to swoon over these little details, they add just that little bit more to round off their newborn collection and offer a more rounded story, illustrating every aspect of them in those first days.
Lastly, my bespoke sessions also include those wonderful poses of the baby in their parents hands and arms. I personally prefer to stay away from the traditional 'Froggy Pose' and instead offer a vaariation of this with the parents hands to support the baby. These images generally offer a personal and beautiful way of showing how tiny they were in those first days and there are so many variations ... so many, that I will be popping them in their own dedicated blog post. So watch this space lovelies!
I am a Hong Kong based photographer specialising exclusively in newborn and baby portraits, establishing Lullaby Images in 2016. I have extensive training in newborn baby posing and safety. I am a mum to a fiercely independent toddler who loves little adventures. With both professional and personal experience with tiny humans, baby safety and comfort is at the heart of all my photo sessions.
I hate saying 'no'. Help me say it less by reaching out to talk about your newborn photography session well before your due date. I only take on a limited number of bookings a month and many Mamas reach out to me in their second trimester to book in their session.