Presented by Meggan Harper at our May Monthly Meeting
Client Consultation & Selling
Meggan begins her presentation with an overview of her initial phone calls with clients. Some amazing questions she asks her clients relate to where they would like to display their newborn portraits in their home, and what type of décor they have. This helps both her and the client discover what type of print products they desire. After booking, Meggan mails her clients a welcome card. She also sends them an email confirmation that includes a link to her blog post on decorating with portrait art. Not only does this connect to those initial questions in the consultaiton, but it also serves clients as a helpful tool for them to refer back to.
To set up for your newborn shoot, Meggan suggests gathering several items to prep for the shoot and keep the baby comfortable, as well as several props to ensure a variety of images. You'll need a a heater or two to keep the baby warm, a white noise app to further soothe the baby, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and wipes for cleanup, a beanbag/table to place the baby on, a basket to place the baby in, a background stand and backdrop, towels to nestle underneath the baby for certain poses, wraps to dress the baby in, and other props and accessories such as hats, teddy bears, etc.
Meggan also explains her tips and tricks for newborn sessions. Firstly, tell the parents to dress their baby in loose clothing that is easy to remove during the photoshoot. Secondly, move slowly when posing the baby. Thirdly, hold the pose. Once you have the baby in the position you want, gently hold them so they settle into the new position without startling. Finally, always remember to get the safe shot first, and then perfect it, because you never know when the baby will become uncooperative. The main poses that Meggan finds always are top sellers are "the smile," "baby in a basket," and "hands," with the baby's hands around their face or over their heart.
At the end of a newborn session, Meggan schedules her clients' portrait selection appointment. This is the moment where she provides her clients with referral gift certificates, since her clients have seen her in action and are happy and excited to see the photos!
Posing Workflow Demonstration
Meggan uses one continuous light source and one reflector for a simple lighting setup during her newborn sessions. She always lights the baby diagonally down their face, and never up their nose, with a reflector on the opposite side. This reflector fills in the light on the face without compromising the directional light.
For the posing demonstration, Meggan uses a StandInBaby, which is a helpful tool for newborn photographers to test out newborn poses. She shows us how to initially wrap the baby while in her lap, and also mentions the appropriate ways to tuck in their limbs depending on their wakefulness. Then, Meggan shows us how to roll up towels to place in the basket, which will help hold and prop up the baby. After placing the baby inside feet first, she can easily adjust the towels to perfect the pose. She smoothly switches out props to ensure a variety of colors and textures. She adds faux fur to the basket, swaps out cute hats and teddy bears, and even tucks a different wrap over the baby without undressing.
After the baby is completely asleep, Meggan moves onto the beanbag, which she covers in either a stretchy jersey knit fabric or faux fur that is clamped onto PVC pipes. She uses the same lighting setup as before. She rolls up two towels to slide underneath the fabric and on top of the bean bag; one to support the baby's head and one to put under their feet. As she explains this process, she gives additional tips and tricks to soothe the newborn.
Meggan sits on the floor and poses the StandInBaby, handling it as if it were real. She goes into detail on how to execute poses, and explains which ones are safe to do and which ones require composite work. She even reminds us to keep in mind shots that could be used for birth announcement cards, which require blank space for text.
At the end of the demonstration, Meggan answered everyone's questions. Pertaining to her workflow, she revealed it takes her anywhere from 1 hour and 20 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes to photograph a newborn session. She also insists that the newborns (of a typical gestational age) be 6-14 days old, because if they are older than that they will startle easily, be touch sensitive, and not be as flexible for certain poses. We ended the meeting with a fun giveaway from our guest newborn accessories vendors!