Tips for Attending a Newborn Photography Mentoring Workshop

Tips for photographers attending newborn posing workshops and mentoring sessions…

Hey photographers! This is it.  You’ve been photographing newborns here and there, you’ve decided to take the plunge and look into attending a newborn posing workshop or a one-on-one mentoring session to bring your photography to the next level.   Maybe you’ve been drooling over your favorite newborn photographer’s work and are giddy to hear that he or she is coming to your city to offer a newborn workshop to a lucky group of baby photographers.  Perhaps you’ve discovered that a local newborn photographer offers private mentoring sessions that cater specifically to your needs.  Either way, making the investment in time and funds is such wonderful and important step in your newborn photography career.  I’ve outlined a few questions that I find useful for all newborn workshop or mentoring attendees to ask, as well as a few tips that will help you get the most out of your newborn posing educational experience!

Newborn boy posed with wheat colored bonnet and wrap in froggy pose during his newborn photography session in the studio in San DiegoWhat’s the difference between a workshop and a mentoring session?
Typically, a workshop is put on by one or two lead photographers, possibly with additional assistants, for a small group of photographers.  A typical number of attendees is around 5-15 photographers.  Workshops are awesome as they are taught just like a classroom – if one attendee has a question, you might find yourself thinking ‘great question, I would not have thought of that”! Typically, the lead photographer will instruct out loud to the group and will demonstrate posing for all to watch.  A mentoring session is typically a one on one session with just you and your lead photographer.  These sessions are a bit more intimate and allow for a more personal experience.  Let’s say that you know how to handle and to comfort baby, and you rock at swaddling techniques, but you just can’t seem to achieve that one pose – you can discuss this with your lead photographer who will usually cater the entire session to what you specifically want to learn.

Newborn baby professionally posed on a photography posing pod by professional newborn photographer Sophie Crew Baby PhotographyWhat should I bring?
Most newborn photography workshops and one on one mentoring sessions will allow for you to bring your camera along.  Be sure to ask your lead photographer if she uses natural light or studio lighting.  If using the latter, ask if you will need to bring any transmitters or special attachments for your camera to sync with the lights used in the studio.  Also ask which lenses to bring.  I personally shoot all of my newborn work with my  Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 and encourage my newborn mentoring attendees to bring this lens, or any similar lenses (50, 24-70, etc..).

How to pose a newborn that won't fall asleep and is already a few weeks oldWill I be able to handle the baby?
Typically, the mentoring photographer will be the primary newborn handler due to liability issues.  Your mentoring photographer may allow you to make very slight adjustments to baby once he or she is already posed, but all major handling should be done only by your lead photographer.  I know that I am personally a ‘hands-on’ learner, and want my mentorees to learn through experience, so I make sure to work as closely with my learners as possible, so that they can feel as if they are handling baby themselves.  Ask your mentoring photographer how close you will be able to get.  Side by side with your photographer as she’s posing baby?  At a distance?  Will you be able to comfort baby by yourself if baby needs comforting?  Think about your style of learning, and decide which method of learning will work best for you.

Newborn girl poses in the potato sack pose with a white teddy bear, swaddled tight with a white knit wrap on a white flokati rugWhat will be covered during the workshop or mentoring session?
Be sure to find out what will be covered during your workshop or mentoring session.  Posing?  Editing?  Parent poses?  Shooting angles?  Strictly newborn?  Indoors?  Outdoors?  Business talk?  SEO?  Social Media tips?  There is SO MUCH that goes into being a successful professional newborn photographer.  It’s not just a matter of learning to pose baby, but how to handle common newborn editing issues such as flaking skin, purple and green skin, etc.  How to angle yourself to make your image the most artistically perfect, how to get the most out of each pose, etc…  Will you be learning some or all of this?  More?  Awesome!  Make a list of things that are important to you to learn, and make sure that your workshop or mentoring session will cover all of these.

Newborn girl with a heart headband in a vintage Campfire Marshmallow tin bucket for her San Diego newborn photography session with Sophie Crew PhotographyCan I use the images from my camera for my personal business portfolio?
If you’re able to bring your own camera along to your workshop or mentoring session, chances are that your lead photographer will allow you to use the images that you capture for your own personal portfolio.  Some mentoring photographers will request that you provide credit to the posing photographer, a link to their website, etc… For example, “Sweet baby model posed by (insert mentoring photographer’s business name) during his/her amazing newborn workshop/mentoring session, edited by (insert your business name)”.  Make sure to find out if you will be able to use the images, and if so, how to properly share the love.

Sophie Crew Photography captures a newborn girl posed in the bum up pose on a colorful quilt in San Diego, CAWill you help me with questions after our session?
Many newborn posing workshops and mentoring sessions will become just the beginning of a wonderful relationship between you, your lead photographer and possibly other workshop attendees.  For workshops, I find that many photographers will open up Facebook groups that are private and just for past and future attendees.  These groups are used for attendees to share their before and after shots, ask questions, get CC and encouragement, or just to keep a connection to the lead photographer.  Mentoring photographers will usually keep in contact as well through PMs and emails, Skype, even coffee or lunch if they’re local!  Ask your lead photographer if you will be able to get help post-workshop should you have any questions or need feedback.

No matter which option you choose, there is no better way to improve and kick start your newborn photography journey than to get set up with either a newborn photography workshop or a one-on-one newborn mentoring photography session.  I hope this guide has helped you prepare for either option 🙂  Interested in a personalized one-on-one mentoring session with Sophie Crew Photography?  Click here!  Are you a photographer looking into offering newborn workshops, check out Eventbrite for their easy, online registration!