Capturing moments sounds like an enormous cliché and it’s a phrase you’ll see on pretty much every lifestyle and portrait photographer’s website (sad but true). It is however a very accurate description of what happens at a family portrait shoot. The art of photographing special moments is as much about pressing the shutter at the right time as it’s about watching out for tiny interactions like this one. I’d like to add that this tender moment of babies touching hands was followed by a refusal from daughter no.1 to even look at her new baby sister. Such is the drama and humour of working with toddlers.
Luckily the newest addition to the family was very compliant and stayed awake and content throughout the shoot. This is the second newborn shoot I’ve photographed for this family and as I’m well versed in the art of toddler negotiations (I could probably join the UN peace keeping force) I approached the toddler and newborn baby portrait section of this shoot with great care. Making a photo shoot fun and encouraging toddlers to see some sort of benefit in sitting still briefly is key, and so we managed to get this shot.
Once no.1 had kissed her baby sister, she dashed off to play and in between her running between the bedroom and the lounge, I got some shots of Mom and Dad.
To optimise cooperation from daughter no.1, I scheduled this newborn family portrait shoot for 9am on a Sunday morning. Small humans are usually best first thing in the morning, and knowing that we’d like to get some portraits of the whole family together, I wanted to have the best chance of a fresh and happy little girl. Newborns aren’t usually in any sort of routine at the stage I shoot their portraits (10 to 14 days old), so I like to allow plenty of time for feeds and any other eventualities that might ensue during a shoot (outfit changes for Mom and Dad etc).
You’ll see quite a few of the newborns I photograph with their eyes open. My work is very natural in style, so you won’t see many babies in tutus here. I like to photograph babies as they are and allow shoots to evolve and unfold in as relaxed a manner as possible. Sometimes a shoot is done in an hour, sometimes it takes longer.
When I eventually persuaded this little tot to sit down by the window for a second, I managed to get some beautiful portraits of her. No.2 was far easier, but that is sometimes how it goes.