Posted by Sophie Crew On September 13, 2016
Preparing for your
mini newborn sessioN
Tips and ideas in preparing for your mini newborn session…
In addition to my full newborn photography sessions in the studio, I have been offering mini sessions for a few months now, and they have been a hit! In case you’re wondering what a mini newborn session is, it’s a very shortened, condensed version of my full newborn session. Our session is one hour long, and we focus on making the most of our time, capturing your newborn baby in approximately three different setups. Because many parents wonder about planning for this type of session, I’m happy to share a few tips and suggestions in preparing for your mini newborn session in the studio.
My main goal during our session is to make your little one as comfortable and happy as possible. Awake or asleep, it is important to me to get baby happy and relaxed. I have my own techniques to help your baby get to a happy place, which include providing a comfortable studio temperature for baby, background noise (I love the Hawaiian station on Pandora), and experience in how to handle newborns. Some of the things you may see me do with your little one throughout our session is to lightly jiggle, provide a shhhhhushing sound (I love using The Baby Shusher), swaddle, and apply a gentle yet firm pressure to the body. All of these things help your baby get comfy, but it is important to thoroughly follow the preparation instructions I provide prior to our session so that we can work together to get your newborn content and relaxed during our short time together.
My first tip is a really, really, really important one… Make sure you have calculated driving time to the studio, so that you can be sure to feed baby fully before departing from your home and in time to arrive at the studio 15-20 minutes prior to our scheduled session time. Arriving 15 minutes early will allow you to get baby undressed (diaper and light blanket during this period) and to get acclimated to the temperature in the studio. This is also an important time to feed your newborn again. As you have just fed your baby before leaving, your little one should be content, but ‘topping off’ is a great idea so that baby won’t be hungry again during our session. 10-15 minutes of final feedings is usually plenty to get baby into a (usually) snoozy place. If your newborn is going through a growth spurt or you notice a lot of eating going on the day before or the morning of our session, please make sure to account for any additional time you might need for feeding.
I also ask that you bring a pacifier along. I recommend the Soothie 0-3 Month pacifier. I find that some babies don’t like the traditional ‘baby’ shaped pacifiers that have more of a platypus style nipple. Pacifiers can help a newborn that needs just that extra bit of comfort through sucking. It is a natural and common need for a newborn, and while we are working on getting your little one comfortably posed, this can help greatly! I don’t recommend parent fingers instead of pacifiers. Personally, I worry about germs that might be hiding under your nail bed, but professionally, well… your hand gets in the way of posing!
Relax! Your baby can sense your nervousness. I find that when parents of newborns that are very anxious about the the session and how their newborn will do, the feeling rubs off on baby and causes a bit of restlessness. My job is to keep baby happy and content, so I encourage you to relax and enjoy our session. Sit back and take a moment to hang out, relax and let me take over for the next hour. I’ve got that Hawaiian station on Pandora playing…. feel free to imagine we’re baby posing on a beach in Maui!
Being awake is not a bad thing! I know, you have dreams of your baby sleeping soundly while I get all of those detailed poses. That is my goal too, but more importantly, I want your baby to be happy. Despite all of our preparations and in-studio techniques, sometimes newborns just don’t want to miss a beat! They sense they are in a new environment and want to take it all in. That’s totally fine! I love capturing wide-eyed newborns! Don’t stress if your newborn is not sleeping right at the start of our session. I will spend the next hour getting him or her so comfy while I get some good eye contact, that your little one might just fall asleep during the session, and we can quickly move onto those sleepy poses!
Here is our little model for this blog post – newborn baby, Fisher! Welcome to the world, little buddy!
Interested in booking your mini or full newborn session with Sophie Crew Photography? Check out the website for info and to send me an inquiry!
Posted by Sophie Crew On September 8, 2016
10 Tips to Calm a Fussy Newborn
Tried and True tips to help new parents get through those first few weeks with baby
Over the course of my 11 years of not only being a mother, but also a professional newborn and baby photographer here in San Diego, I have learned quite a few tricks of the trade to help our little ones settle comfortably into their new outside world. You may wonder why in the world you would want to take advice from a newborn photographer. Well, as newborn photographers, our main role is to turn to our Baby Whisperer experience to soothe, calm and settle these tiny beings into comfortable poses in a limited amount of time. Below, I have streamlined my most important tips and tricks in order for you to do these at home. Enjoy 🙂
- Full Belly
Your newborn’s main job is to grow. Eating provides your little one with the nutrients he or she needs to do so. There will be times when baby is hungrier than usual. In my experience, I have found these to be related to growth spurts. As long as there are not medical issues or your doctor has advised otherwise, let your baby feed freely, and let him or her tell you when they’ve had enough. Typically, this could mean falling asleep during feeding, or just pulling away. Don’t forget to burp baby during and after feedings to avoid a painful tummy.
Your newborn baby has been living in a soothing, yet noisy environment for 9 months. Inside the belly, baby hears your heart, circulating blood and other consistently loud sounds 24 hours a day. Once born, their environment turns quiet. Making Shhhh-ing sounds reminds baby that they are in a warm and safe place, as it brings them back to the womb. So for this technique, I must absolutely recommend “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp. Watching his video, if you have already read the book, is also a must. 11 years ago, as a new mom, I just assumed that ‘shushing’ was to be lightly lullabied to baby. I was wrong, lol! When baby is crying, that is all they hear. In order to be effective in providing them with that comforting shushing sound, you need to distract their cry with a shush. Get close to baby, and provide consistent and repetitive ‘Shhhhhh’ sounds that are not deafening, but loud enough that baby will hear it. One tip I can’t forget is to continue repeating ‘shhh’ for minutes after baby has calmed down. This reaffirms to baby that he/she is ok and in a safe, warm place with that familiar, comforting sound.
- Upright position
I have found that in my many years of experience with handling newborn babies almost daily, that some newborns are more prone to reflux-type tummy pains. As an adult, you might have the occasional heartburn, and you might know that for you, laying on your back is the last thing you want to do. A good tip if you suspect a moment of fussiness due to reflux in your newborn, is to prop him or her upright. I personally like to place them in the froggy position (see image #1 above) while posing, but for everyday handling, a burping position will do just the same.
My mom always swore by putting me in the carseat and driving me around town in the middle of the night in order for me to fall asleep. Just like that familiar ‘shhhhh’ sounds baby would hear all day and night long while in the womb, baby is used to the movement that he or she felt as you went about your day while pregnant. In chatting with my maternity photography clients over the years, as well as in my own experiences, when pregnant, you might have noticed baby becoming more active at night time, kicking and moving around inside your belly. Well that is because while you were trying to settle your body down in bed, your baby was disrupted from his or her sleep while being lulled by the constant moment you were providing. Newborns are used to movement and find it very soothing. Pick baby up, walk around the house, closely hold your newborn as you sit and bounce from an exercise ball, rock baby, etc… just move!
I have no idea how this works, scientifically, but dude – it works! I use this technique a lot while posing newborns, but I was so excited to see this video surface last year of Dr. Robert Hamilton using this technique with one of his pediatric newborn patients. If you are a newborn photographer and are reading this, check out pose #9 above – this is where I use this technique the most, and it is super effective in calming newborns into this pose. For new parents, please watch the YouTube video above to see how this miracle tip totally works!
As long as your pediatrician gives you the ok, I am a super believer in the pacifier. Newborns need to suck. They are not always necessarily hungry, but need that comforting feeling. As a newborn photographer, I ask all of my clients to bring one along (and I have extras on hand in the studio). This helps settle a newborn that is tired but perhaps overtired and overwhelmed, settle into a repetitive sucking motion, and are immediately calmed. Be sure to discuss pacifier and any other sucking (finger, etc..) usage with your pediatrician either at the hospital or during your first well-baby visit to make sure baby is eating properly and is healthy enough for a pacifier.
- Forehead Sweep
Here is another one of those ‘I have no idea why this scientifically works, but it does’ tips… We all know that touch therapy and skin to skin contact with your newborn baby provides a wealth of benefits. I find that when I am posing my newborn babies, and they are almost asleep but are fighting it ever so slightly, a gentle, soft and slow sweeping of my fingers from the top of their hairline to the base of their nose, working through the forehead, lulls a newborn into a relaxed state.
- Tight Swaddle
With my two daughters, I was a big fan of swaddling, and I came to absolutely love it when I introduced swaddling to my newborn photography clients. The key is the keep baby in a comfortably tight swaddle, where arms and legs are comfortably but snugly molded onto belly. I love the use of jersey fabrics as they provide quite a bit of elasticity for a firm yet comfortable swaddle that will mold into baby. I do it a bit differently than how it is shown in the hospital with the baby blankets they provide. I believe the hospitals recommend folding down one corner of the blanket, then using that side to lay your newborn’s head above, then moving the remaining three corners into a burrito style wrap. That works great with that kind of blanket, but for me personally, I choose very starchy fabrics in long rectangle forms. I being by laying the fabric down lengthwise, then placing baby about 1.5 feet from the right edge. I then take baby’s arms and bring them down to his or her sides, folding them above their belly, and folding that right piece snugly over baby’s torso, tucking it behind their back. I then take baby’s legs and fold them up into a ‘criss-cross, applesauce’ position above their belly. I then take the bottom of the wrap from underneath their bums and bring that fabric up and over , tucking behind the left shoulder. Then I take the remaining fabric from the left side and ‘burrito’ wrap baby.
- White Noise
Just like tip #2 regarding ‘shhhh’ sounds, having constant white noise in the background works great. For those of you who are second time parents, you might notice how much more ‘easy’ your second newborn is, and how much they can fall asleep and remain calm when their older sibling is running around the house, singing, talking and playing. I am a big believer that newborns can hear their siblings while inside the womb, and find their ‘noisiness’ soothing. Run the dishwasher, washing machine, or simply just download an app! There’s an app for that! Here is the one I recommend. I personally like the ‘fan’ noise.
- Warm up
Babies are sensitive to temperature, and my experience has been that newborns do not like to be changed or wiped, because it’s cold! Keeping the temperature at a consistently warm (but not ridiculous) temperature will make those diaper changes or outfit swaps much more seamless and your little one won’t be startled. Ever wonder why your newborn photographer keeps her studio at a warm 85 degrees? Well, temperature is a big deal when dealing with newborns that are usually photographed undressed or lightly swaddled. Providing them with a warm and consistent environment means that not only will baby be comfortably warm, but your photographer’s hands that are constantly touching and moving baby around with will remain warm too, not startling baby with every touch. Remember that your newborn was living in a swimming pool in your 98.6 degree body – they like it warm!
- Diaper Check
Bonus tip! We all know that if a newborn is unhappy, it could mean they are hungry or need a diaper change. Not only will your newborn thank you for cleaning them up from their uncomfortably soiled diapers, but by keeping their bums clean and dry, you’ll help alleviate and/or prevent diaper rash. I also recommend keeping baby out of a diaper for a short period each day. Let that bottom air dry – this will help diaper rash heal more quickly. Just be sure to lay a blanket loosely over and under baby just in case… and as a newborn photographer, let me just tell you how often those ‘just in case’ moments occur. Although refreshing for your newborn, things can get quite messy for you.
I hope you enjoyed reading these 10 Tips to Calm a Fussy Newborn!
Posted by Sophie Crew On August 27, 2016
Back to School Photography San Diego
Just a quick break from editing sweet newborns, cute kiddos and gorgeous bellies to bring to you my annual personal blog post featuring the most beautiful 8 and 10 year old kiddos ever. That’s because they’re mine, lol!
It’s that time of year again for Back to School Portraits, and to celebrate my girls heading to school for the 2016-2017 school year, we headed on over to a spot we’ve been using for a few years now to sneak in some portraits in front of those cool school busses. I dragged my really heavy vintage school desk out of the garage, where it basically is used as a laundry shelf for 364 days of the year and loaded it up into the car. We were almost at the location when I realized that I forgot to grab some red apples as props, so I looked over and saw a doughnut shop… so the clear choice was obviously to replace red apples with very healthy (ahem) doughnuts to use as props… Good choice, right?
Here are my girls! Ava will be starting sixth grade this year, which means a whole new school! She is SO excited to go to junior high school and to take some fun classes such as drama and Spanish! This girl is going to do great! However, this is the year that she doesn’t want me to walk her to her classroom and plant a big kiss and hug on her….sobs! I mean, I get it, but I guess I’m not ready to cut the cord, lol. She has given me very specific instructions as to where outside of the school we will hug and say our goodbyes, and the fashion that the hug will take place. Seriously, sobs.
Emma started third grade last Monday and is doing great! She is happy to have a couple of good friends in her class, likes her teacher, and is so excited to play on the ‘big’ playground now! She’s settling into the swing of things, and quite opposite to her big sister, she wants me to bring her to classroom each morning! Let’s hope this lasts a couple of more years at least! I know this is a big year for her – multiplication, hello! I know she will do great!
Well, I hope your cute kiddos had (or will have) a super awesome first day of school! Happy school year, everyone!
Interested in booking your Back to School Session with me? Head over to the website and shoot me a message!
Posted by Sophie Crew On August 11, 2016
Twins San Diego Twin Newborn Photographer
Welcome to the world, August and Eleanor – San Diego’s newest little set of newborn twins! These cuties came to the studio with their adorable big brother, Owen. How exciting that he gets not only a little brother, but a little sister too! I am so excited for these three siblings to grow up together and have so much fun!
August and Eleanor were super adorable. People always ask me if photographing newborn twins is super difficult. Well, in a sense, it is. I mean, it’s posing, patience, shuuuushing and comforting times two. But it’s so rewarding! I love photographing newborn multiples! Sometimes, newborn twins or triplets don’t necessarily want to sleep at the exact same time, so it’s often a waiting game to get them both sleepy and posed in unison. With twin newborns, I play in by ear with posing. If one is awake and one is asleep, I focus on getting individual poses from each – sleepy poses from the twin that’s snoozing, and eye-contact shots from the twin that’s wide awake. These two cuties were on that schedule for most of our session. When the finally did fall asleep at the same time, it was GO time! Working quickly and patiently to get them posed so sweetly was so much fun. I did require some help from August and Eleanor’s parents with keeping them in a certain position once I posed them so that I could work on baby #2. Once both were posed, we let go and snapped away! I love how peaceful and comfortably they both posed together, side by side. So cute!
Here are a few shots from our twin newborn session in the studio…. enjoy 🙂
Interested in booking a newborn twin or triplet photography session? Click HERE to get in touch with Sophie and to find out more information.
Posted by Sophie Crew On July 26, 2016
San Diego Newborn Baby Photographer
It was so fun to meet and to photograph baby girl, Amaya for our newborn session a few weeks ago in the newborn studio. This sweet baby was born a few weeks early, and spent a few weeks in the NICU. She was finally able to come home and was happy and healthy to have her photography session take place, so we went ahead and finally set up her session.
Beautiful Amaya was do sweet and was so fun to pose. She did great with holding my very favorite pose on her own. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that almost always, the ‘froggy pose’ is done as a composite. I take two separate shots – one while holding arms and wrists, and the other holding baby’s head. Well every now and then, baby’s body type, sleep phase, etc… will allow for baby to hold the pose on their own. I am always hovering over their head with my hand just in case for safety. Safety is absolutely my main priority!
A few weeks ago, just before Amaya’s session, a few of us San Diego newborn photographers got together to hold a newborn and baby prop sale. We love all of our props, but often like to change it up and trade/sell/buy amongst ourselves to keep our inventory new and fun. I set out to get rid of a lot of my newborn backdrops, hats, props and headbands because I have a serious newborn prop hoarding problem, but instead, ended up just adding a ton more to my inventory. Oops! So, for Amaya’s session, I was ready with a cool array of new stuff! Check out the cute blue doll bed… Baby Amaya was a fan. You can tell because she chose that prop to smile in ????. And that gorgeous, white wool wrap keeping Amaya cuddled on the white fur was handmade by an amazing fellow newborn photographer. Here is her online store… These wool wraps are so beautiful and unique! It’s really amazing to have such talent right here in San Diego!
Anyhow, here are a few images from baby Amaya’s newborn baby session!
Posted by Sophie Crew On July 20, 2016
San Diego Newborn and Family Photographer
I had so much fun photographing baby girl, Abby, last week for our newborn and family photography session in the studio. This beautiful girl was just about ten days old for our session and the cutest, chubby cheeky baby ever! Seriously, look at those adorable cheeks!
We got a great variety from a mostly sleepy little Abby, and she gave us quite the sweetest smiles! I have to share this funny story… So mom and I were chit chatting before our session and she mentioned that Abby had a bit of thrush, which is harmless but manifests as white patches on baby’s tongue, which sometimes looks like milk curds coating baby’s tongue. She was worried that it might show in the photos. I was confident in my response that she would naturally keep her mouth closed as she would be asleep, and that the patches wouldn’t be visible… Fast forward to close to the end of our session when sweet Abby started firing off a few beautiful smiles. My most favorite of the smiles? The one where… She. Stuck. Out. Her. Tongue. Haha, it was the cutest smile ever, so I knew I had to make magic happen in post processing because mom and dad would love it as much as me. It took some detailed work but I was able to do it, and I love the result. Check it out below!
Here are a few images from our session! Enjoy!
Isn’t big sister, Anna, the best big sister ever? She asked to hold her baby sister for more shots. So sweet!
Posted by Sophie Crew On July 13, 2016
I had a great time photographing this little handsome dude, Theodore. This sweet baby boy came to the studio with big brother, mom and dad, and grandma and grandpa. This little guy is loved! He did great during our session and what’s awesome is that he was my first to test out my new DIY newborn ‘chair’! I think he liked it! It was a fun project to work on and didn’t take much time. I want to make a few more now in different shapes! Sweet baby Theo let me pose him as he slept peacefully for most of our session. Thanks, buddy! Here are a few images from our newborn session, with his beautiful family too!
See that sweet smile in mommy’s arms? Love it! Such a peaceful little smile!
I am gearing up for my newborn posing workshop next week in Jacksonville, FL! Interested in a mentoring session in So Cal? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on 1:1 mentoring and future group workshops!
Stay tuned for a bunch of sweet, new newborn baby blog posts… I’ve been behind on blogging and promise to keep up through the summer!
Posted by Sophie Crew On July 5, 2016
San Diego Based Newborn Photographer Sophie Crew Photography
I am so excited to head east to Jacksonville, FL this month for a fun, one day newborn workshop where we will spend the day together posing, editing and chit-chatting about the business of babies! Join me for this once a year opportunity in Jacksonville!
This awesome one-day workshop will be held on July 23rd, 2016.
In the morning, we will tackle one full newborn session, focusing on posing, understanding newborns, and how to set up your own workflow to achieve the best of each individual baby. Bring your camera along! This will be your time to work together with me to get baby set up and to get the best shots in terms of angles, lighting, expressions, etc.
It’s lunchtime! We’ll break for some food and chit-chat!
In the afternoon, we’ll head back to the studio to take a peek at the images we captured that morning, then discuss editing. I’ll provide you with my own workflow, from start to finish. We will go over a few individual images from the morning session and edit them fully, reviewing each step of the process. My goal is to give you the tools you need to develop your own style of editing based on the tricks I use for my own.
Workshop enrollment will be limited to 5 photographers, with a minimum of 2 attendees. The cost for this awesome one day workshop is $700. A $350 non-refundable retainer is required to retain your seat.
Posted by Sophie Crew On June 22, 2016
San Diego Newborn Photographer
Harlow – one week new…
It was so great to meet baby girl, Harlow last week for our newborn photography session in the studio. I met her beautiful family a few years ago when I photographed her big sister for her own newborn session, so I was so excited to hear from mama S a few months ago, and to hear that baby #3 was on her way!
We got some great images from sweet Harlow. She had a few moments of awake time where I was able to get some good eye contact. My most favorite image of her awake is of her with her siblings… getting eye contact is sometimes difficult to achieve from a newborn, so imagine how excited I was to see that she had kept focus on me during those precious sibling shots!
Interested in a newborn session for your newborn baby? Are you a photographer and are interested in a mentoring session? Click here to send me an inquiry and for more information!
Posted by Sophie Crew On June 11, 2016
Newborn Photography Workshops and Mentoring
Sophie Crew Photography
I had such a fun time meeting and mentoring fellow photographer, Ana, for our 1:1 newborn mentoring session just a few weeks ago! Ana came down to my San Diego studio from Orange County, CA for a full day of instruction on prepping, posing, editing and business chat. We started the morning by preparing the studio for our newborn model, going through the different possible scenarios that we might encounter during our newborn session, such as how to begin if baby arrives to the studio wide awake, awake but sleepy, sleepy but ‘fighting it’, etc… we laid out our different ‘stations’ throughout the studio and got to know each other as we chatted about the day to come.
Our adorable newborn model, Solomon, arrived ready to go! We went through my typical poses and workflow, and even got a few adorable smiles from our full newborn session. Baby Solomon cooperated well and showed us what a typical newborn session entails in regards to sleepy time (deep sleep vs. light sleep), breaks for feeding, proper comforting techniques, etc… We went through shooting angles, connection to baby through the lens, light placement, etc… All in all, we had a fun-filled morning of newborn goodness!
After our session with this little cutie, we took a break for lunch, then jumped right back into it for our afternoon of editing, workflow and business chat. We went through my general editing workflow, including common issues that are encountered in newborn editing (color adjustment, balancing, etc…) as well as my personal editing technique and style. Editing for me, is where these captured images come to life. It’s so fun to pull up the images in Photoshop and explain ‘so here is why we posed baby/positioned baby/angled ourselves/used this wrap/etc…’ as we look at the image ready to be edited and turned into art.
Ana, it was a huge pleasure to meet and to work with you! I am so excited to keep up with you and to follow you through your newborn photography journey! Special thanks to baby Solomon’s mommy for allowing us to photograph this sweet boy!
For more information regarding a one-on-one newborn mentoring session or to host a newborn posing and editing workshop in your area, please email email@example.com or click here to shoot me an inquiry via the website!