These shoots are so special! We love doing them because you get to witness the first few hours of a new babies life, as well as see a family beginning or growing. However, the responsibility of capturing these special memories for in such important moments can be very stressful.
First 48 Shoots are so important because new parents can be extremely exhausted and stressed out. These heightened emotions can make it hard for them to recall all the details they desperately want to remember and treasure forever. Which is where you come in to help them remember all the special first they are experiencing.
Now we like to categorize first 48 shoots in two separate categories: Labor and After Birth. Some moms may want you do do a First 48 Photo Shoot that requires you to be there through some parts of labor and during the birth. This kind of shoot is very unscripted and un-posed, you will need to think on your feet. We categorize that as a Labor First 48 Shoot and you will want to expect a much longer shoot (so be sure to price yourself appropriately).The second an After Birth First 48 Shoot will take much less time and be a mixture of posed and un-posed shots.
Newborn photography is tough. If you have never had the pleasure and or opportunity to do a First 48 Photo Shoot you may be wondering what you are getting into and what kind of shots you should try to get. We have done a few of these shoots and want to share with you our experience and give you a few tips for having a successful First 48 Photo Shoot.
If you are looking for information about doing a Newborn Photo Shoot head on over to our post about that here.
Know Your Clients Expectations
You will want speak with your clients before they go into labor about what they want and expect from this First 48 Photo Shoot. First of all which kind of shoot do they want? Labor or After Birth. This is a great time for your to explain to them their options and will help you begin to understand what they are looking for.
If they want a Labor First 48 Photo Shoot you will want to talk with the mother-to-be and find out where she wants you to be in the room. How modest do they want to be. They last thing you want to do it make a women in labor uncomfortable. So depending upon what they decide make sure you are sticking to her wishes.
Now occasionally you may get a mom who really wants you to capture every moment. At that point you have to ask yourself what you are comfortable with and be upfront with the mom if she is asking for things that make you uncomfortable. If she wants you to get shots of the babies head crowning but you are uncomfortable with that it needs to be discussed ahead of time, so everyone is in agreement. Also if you are not good with blood this is not the shoot for you.
When you arrive you will have to check in. The mom should have let the people at the desk know you are coming. So don't go rushing in, follow the rules. Also when you arrive it is nice to let the nurses know who you are. If the mom wants certain pictures and there is time let the nurses know that is a good idea too. They are generally extremely willing to do whatever they can to make this a great experience for their patients.
Be On Time
If you get a text or call telling you your client is in labor come now, that is what you do. Be prepared. You should know your clients due date and have you bag packed and ready to go. Don't add stress to that mom whether she is in labor and you are coming after she has just given birth, your client has enough going on. Showing up at the time you agree upon is really important for keeping your clients happy.
If you are doing an After Birth First 48 Photo Shoot it is also important to show up on time, but you may need to be flexible. Mom may be getting checked out, or feeding the newborn. They also might be scheduling you around visitors (everyone loves to see a brand new baby right!). So be prepared to wait if another visitor is still there.
If you are waiting for your turn to go in and do your shoot here are some shots you can get while you are waiting. Before you even go in you can get a good shot of the outside of the hospital. Also you can get a picture of any signage you think might be special to the parents (maternity ward sign, hospital name, room number). However, any and all of these pictures can be taken after your shoot as well.
Keep it Short
If you are shooting and After Birth First 48 Photo Shoot you are going to want to make sure you keep it short. Now, we are not saying that you want to rush through this photo shoot. We are just trying to remind you that this mother just went through labor. If we haven't already mentioned it, labor is exhausting and overwhelming. You are going to want to get your shots and be in and out within the hour so the parents can get back to resting and enjoying their new baby.
Shots to Get
Now if you are looking to do some posed shots in a After Birth First 48 shoot here are a few we suggest. Some with the parents together holding the newborn close to their faces. Newborn babies are tiny, and if they hold the baby down at their waists if can make for some awkward looking poses.
Also you are going to want to make sure to get photos with each parent individually. This is a big moment for both of them! So don't leave anyone out. If the new baby has any siblings that are present make sure to capture a sweet moment of them together.
Some other shots to get are pictures of the babies wrist bands and tiny hands and fingers. Also their anklet and tiny toes. Get a shot of the baby in the mobile crib (make sure to move it over towards the windows to get the best lighting). Usually the mobile cribs have clear side... but they aren't always fingerprint proof. Make sure to wipe it down before you put baby in so you can get a nice clean crisp shot.
If you are looking for more ideas head on over to our sessions page to see what we have done. Or you can always check out Pinterest, which is great for inspirations or ideas.
Consider Editing in Mainly In Black & White
Not to say that you can't get some good color shots in color in your First 48 Photo Shoots, you can. But especially if you are doing a Labor First 48 shoot there tends to be a lot going on. Black & White photos tend to help you capture the drama of the moment. They also help people looking at your photos to focus on what you are trying to highlight in your photos.
If you are choosing to edit your photos in black and white exclusively, you need to discuss that with your clients ahead of time. Once again you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what look they are going to get in their photos.
We hope this blog post was helpful to you and gave you some insight into the prep work you need to do in order to prepare yourself and your clients for your First 48 Photo Shoot. If you have any questions about a Newborn Photo Shoot we have a post explaining how you can have a successful Newborn Photo Shoot here. Please let us know if you have any questions, comments, or tips of your own!