Outdoor Newborn Sessions
Being a photographer during these uncertain times has brought on a whole new challenge to us photographers. We are all trying to ﬁgure things out as we go along navigating this new territory. Before COVID hit, I was primarily a studio newborn and child photographer. Despite all the limitations put into place due to COVID, I've found much success in doing outdoor newborn and milestone sessions.
Here are a few tips for an outdoor newborn session I've picked up along the way that will hopefully help you.
1 - Light is everything - Plan your session around when the light is the best. I ﬁnd this time is an hour before sunset or at sunrise. Typically, babies and young kids (baby's siblings) do better in the morning, so those are the most popular session times with my clients. Right now isn't the easiest time to get clients to come out to get pictures but discussing the pros of this time with them and helping them to understand the importance of beautiful light usually persuades them to choose one of these time frames.
2 - Have a goal - I like to come to the session with a mental outline of what I want to accomplish and wherein the park or outdoor area I want to go. Typically my goal is two set-ups with baby alone, two full family set-ups, one sibling set-up, one set-up of mom and baby, and one set-up with dad and baby.
Then at the end of the session I like to photograph all the baby's features - ﬁngers, toes, lips, nose, etc.
3 - Pack accordingly - It's helpful to have a few props and wraps to help the session go smoothly and to help achieve my desired images. I ask the clients beforehand if they are comfortable with me, bringing props/wraps. So far, everyone has been okay with this but I continue to ask. My props typically include one or two boxes that will ﬁllers inside, a few blankets for texture, wraps, and hair accessories if it's a girl.
4 - Wrap baby - I've done outdoor newborn photography with naked/unwrapped babies. It's fun, but it's also very challenging and very intimate. If you are going for a no or low contact photography option, I recommend wrapping the baby. This way, you will likely get a happy baby for longer. In my opinion, traditional baby clothing distracts in images, and I prefer the look of a wrap. I've been offering to wrap the baby for clients or give them a tutorial on how to do it. About half the clients have been comfortable with me wrapping the baby (while wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer beforehand), and half have opted to do it themselves.
5 - Let baby lead - Once the baby is wrapped, you can quickly move baby from set-up to set-up. If the baby still isn't happy, let the baby lead. If the baby is hungry, take a break for the baby to eat. If the baby doesn't like to lay in boxes, then let mom and dad hold the baby for most of the session. If the baby is tired, let baby sleep. If he/she isn't tired, it's okay for them to be awake. I like to save the unwrapped baby images for the end of the session. When we have ﬁnished the session, I'll unwrap baby and photograph his/her hands, feet, nose, lips, etc.
Kristeen is a professional portrait photographer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. She focuses on newborns, kids, and family photography. Kristeen offers studio photography along with outdoor sessions. Kristeen’s passion is to capture the pure freshness of newborns along with all the emotions and love that comes along with family life. Kristeen’s business name is KristeenMaire Photography. You can learn more at KristeenMarie.com.