I am giving readers the gift of precious baby photos in this week’s blog post. Tanvir and Karim recently welcomed their little girl into the world, and I have all the details of their Christmas-themed newborn photo shoot in today’s post. Happy holidays, y’all!
Christmas-Themed Newborn Photo Shoot – The Decorations
Tanvir and Karim’s baby girl was born in late October and she was seven weeks old at the time of our portrait session last week. Since the holidays are in full swing, and Tanvir loves Christmas, their apartment is decorated from top to bottom. The majority of the photos were taken near the apartment’s largest natural light source – the living room window. To make sure the Christmas spirit wasn’t too overwhelming in the background, however, I did remove a few items from the windowsill and put a blanket over the colored, blinking lights.
The bottom line for your own photo shoot: if you go crazy for Christmas, then don’t be afraid to include your holiday zeal in your photos. I do recommend erring on the side of moderation, however. The idea is to showcase a hint of the holidays, but not drown your subject in decorations. Select a spot in your home – preferably near a window that lets in lots of natural light. In this area, try to curate your Christmas background decorations down to a few essential items.
Christmas-Themed Newborn Photo Shoot – Working with a Newborn
Now let’s talk about the talent. Tanvir and Karim’s little girl did a great job during her first photo shoot. Of course, every model gets hungry on set. But this is why my photo shoots are 90 minutes in length. My sessions are designed so that you have plenty of time to have a feeding or just some quiet downtime. Models of all ages need some time in between takes. So don’t worry if your little one morphs from the cutest little elf into the Grinch. We’ve got plenty of time to take some great photos.
In terms of the order of the photos, I always start with photos of the baby alone, then roll into photos with the entire family, and finally, one-on-one photos with each respective parent. For the photos of the baby alone, I always bring to my photo shoots a faux sheepskin rug from Ikea. I have found that layering this rug over a Boppy and a blanket make a perfect nest for photos. I would normally start with a swaddled baby, but in Tanvir and Karim’s case, their baby daughter was not a fan of swaddling. Instead, we used her sleep sack outfit and she went from nap time to photo time with no crying. (Well, until we started adjusting the headband…)
Christmas-Themed Newborn Photo Shoot – Lighting
For Tanvir and Karim’s portrait session, the original plan was to mainly rely on natural light coming from their living room window. Before the baby arrived, I had a Zoom call with the family during which Tanvir and Karim took me on a virtual tour of their apartment. Their apartment is lovely, and they do get quite a bit of natural light. However, it was a bit overcast on the day of their shoot, and supplemental lighting was still necessary.
I brought continuous lights with me, as well as flash. Quick reminder: camera flash will not damage the eyes of a newborn, nor those of an adult. [Check out this article for more details.] The problem with using flash during a newborn shoot is that the light bouncing off the walls often distracts the baby from where you want the child’s focus to be. However, I quickly found that Tanvir and Karim‘s newborn absolutely loved the camera. Perhaps it was the flash or the sound of the camera shutter, but she is a born natural in front of the lens. Indeed, it’s rare to see a baby with such a natural predilection to looking directly into the camera.
It’s important to note the age of this little one for the photo shoot. Babies normally do not start to smile until the second month. So if you are photographing a hatchling, then do not expect this much camera interaction. At seven weeks of age, Tanvir and Karim‘s little girl was just discovering her smile, and it worked out fantastic for their photo shoot.
So that’s it; check out the rest of the photos from the session. For some more tips and tricks for your newborn portrait sessions, start here. Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Festivus to you all, and I’ll be back next week with more photo adventures.
Interested in scheduling your own family portrait session? Drop me a line and let’s talk about your photography needs.
If you are interested in viewing more images from my family portrait portfolio, then please visit my website – KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com