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Eight questions to ask your baby photographer:

Finding a photographer to take those first precious photographs of your new baby is an important decision and one that can often leave you feeling confused. We've put together this handy post which we hope will answer some of your questions - whether you're thinking of booking with us or another photographer, it is important to do your research so you find the perfect photographer for you and also so you know what to expect.

Q. "When should I book my newborn photo session?"

A newborn photo session is best carried out within the first 14 days of baby's arrival. at Lemon sky, we advise booking in whilst you are still pregnant after your 20 week scan, where we will pencil you in for you "due month". We only have a set amount of newborn sessions available per month, and often will not be able to fit you in at short notice if you contact us once baby has arrived (though if this is the case, please do not panic as we may be able to). Your photographer will talk you through what to expect at a newborn photo session, plus they should ask about your personal tastes and expectations for the shoot. Our optimal age for newborn sessions is between 5 and 14 days old, when baby is still so tiny, curled up and brand new. It is much easier to position your little one into those cute poses you have probably seen and love.

Q. "How long does a newborn photo session last?"

You can expect your newborn session to last between 2 and 4 hours. Session length may vary and depends on baby's mood and how quickly they settle into being photographed. It is impossible to predict the length of your session, as every baby is different. Time also depends on whether you would like family photographs included, or older siblings. Your photographer will have a variety of tricks up their sleeve to make the session as comfortable and smooth as possible. Upon booking your session, we will send you out an information pack including tips and preparation you can carry out at home before your session to ensure you get the very most out of your photo shoot with Lemon Sky. We normally include 4-5 setups and will try our best to include props of your choice. If you have a particular shot you'd like us to try to capture, we will do our best to do this for you. We read your baby on the day and follow "baby led posing" meaning we will not force baby into a pose they are not comfortable with. For example, some babies love being on their tummy, others do not! Some babies may have had a traumatic delivery, or may be on a growth spurt... We will follow your baby's lead to produce beautiful photographs of them as they are on that day.

Q. "Do we come to your studio, or do you come to our house?"

We operate from our home studio, meaning you come to us for your newborn shoot. By coming to us, it means you do not have to prepare your home for the shoot. You can arrive with our studio fully prepped, your props set up and ready, the light fully metered and the temperature regulated.

If you feel a studio photoshoot is not for you, then many newborn photographers will come to your home for your newborn session. These photographers will often title themselves as "natural light / lifestyle" photographers, which should help you narrow down your search. Though do always check, as some photographers will still visit you at home with their equipment too. Our cosy studio room is set up at our home in the PO2 area of Portsmouth (Hampshire) which is easily accessible from the main London Road and offers residential parking directly outside. Parents ourselves to two young children, we are sympathetic how tired you may feel and that travelling with a newborn in those first days may seem a little overwhelming! We will make your whole newborn photo session a relaxing and plesant experience for you, from start to finish.

We have often had Dads fall asleep during the session on our sofa, and mums arrive still in their pajamas. We are proud that we make you feel that comfortable! Parents often remark that this is the first time since baby's birth that they have been able to sit and enjoy a cup of tea without it going cold. We are aware that the memories you hold in your heart of your photo session will last a very long time.

Q. "Is a newborn photoshoot SAFE for my baby?"

A. Yes. Safety is our number one priority during a session and we will not do anything to compromise your delicate baby's welfare. All poses and techniques we use are carried out slowly, at baby's pace and with utmost care. We follow "baby-led" posing, meaning we will not force your baby into a pose or position they do not want to be in. Lauren will be "spotting baby" meaning she is within touching distance of your baby at all times during the session, which will then be removed from the final photographs during the editing process - This is called a "composite" shot and is often used by professional newborn photographers to achieve those wonderful, yet safe, photographs of your baby. Lauren will be checking your baby's circulation, breathing, temperature and monitoring their mood throughout the session.

To read more about composite imaging and why this is important within the newborn photography industry, please click here. This is a very informative article written by BANPAS about the use of composite posting. Please do ask if your newborn photographer is a member of BANPAS. Ask about how they practice safety and read the reviews on their website.

When a baby is posed into too many diffrent positions, they can become upset and over stimulated. We practice Flow-Posing with your little one, meaning we start with them in a comfortable position and gently move them into other poses that "flow" into eachother. We aim to keep baby as sleepy and comfortable as possible throughout your session. We also listen out for different "cries" and read your baby's mood throughout the session to judge how to proceed. Ie, a hungry cry is very different to a windy cry. To read more about your baby's language and how we interpret your baby's cries, please click here for "Is your baby trying to tell you something?"

Q. "My baby has red, flakey skin - should I postphone the session?"

A. No not at all! All newborn babies have some degree of redness, flakes or spots on their skin. Our detailed editing process will minimise any temporary skin conditions to bring out your baby's natural and beautiful complexion underneath. We do not remove birthmarks, but we will remove anything that would not normally be there. Some newborn photographers edit skin more than others, so please do ask and check how they go about this process.

Q. "Can I bring my own props?"

If you have a special toy, blanket or keepsake you'd like photographed with baby please do let your photographer know. We would encourage you to bring anything special with you to your photoshoot. A sentimental blanket perhaps, or a treasured little toy. Maybe Daddy's in the Navy and would like baby photographed with his hat, or maybe you are in another profession you would like to represent in your photoshoot. We are totally open and excited about fresh ideas, so please don't be shy when requesting prop use. You will have full access to our range of props, hats, wraps and backdrops throughout your session.

Q. "Are there any images included within the session price, or will I need to order afterwards?"

This is a very good question to ask your photographer, and they should be upfront and honest about what is and isn't included within your newborn session. We have heard horror stories from parents who thought a disc of images were included within their session, only to find out no images were included and to then be put through a horrible "hard sales" session with the photographer.

At Lemon Sky, we do not practice Hard Selling whatsoever. We give you total freedom over what you would like to order with us and are here to aid you in choosing the best products to suit you.

Your session price includes a luxury 7" x 5" print in a boutique box and also a beautiful solid silver charm featuring your baby's hand or foot print, courtesy of Sparkle & Co Boutique. You will then be able to place your order for additional images, prints or wall art at your preview & order session (see below). Our product prices start at £45 and go up to £995, so we offer something to suit every budget. When you enquire with us, you will be sent a full price list before commiting to book as we are open and honest about our product prices. It is impossible to predict what you will or will not be spending with us, but I can say our average client will spend around £500 on products and packages with us, if this helps to give you an idea.

Our products are not something you can get on the highstreet and we are proud to be able to offer quality and long-lasting memories for you to take home. From our wooden USB sticks, to our incredible wall art, we offer you a luxury and bespoke product that you will treasure not only for your lifetime, but pass on down through the generations.

Q. "When will I be able to view and purchase my photographs?"

This really varies from phtographer to photographer. Some will link you to an online gallery within 3 weeks of your session, some will bring a laptop to your home and others will invite you back to the studio.

At Lemon Sky, we invite you back to our studio for your Preview & Order session around 2-3 days after your photo shoot (at a convenient day for you). This allows us time to focus on your images and carry out our detailed editing and re-touching process before you view your images.

We provide a minimum of 20 images for you to view, collected in a beautiful and moving slideshow. You will then be able to go through your images one-by-one and decide which you would like to keep. Once you have decided, we will remove all images of your baby that you have not ordered from our system and regret we cannot keep them on file for a later date. We will happily explain why at your session if you would like to find out more.

I hope this article has been informative and helped in your search for a Newborn Photographer. If you would like to find out more about any of the above points, or would like to book in with us please do contact me on 07447 964 646 for a friendly chat.

Lauren x

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