If you know me, you know how much I absolutely love newborn photography. For the most part, my newborn sessions take place inside my baby photography studio, but every now and then, I love to photograph newborns outdoors. So when this mama-to-be inquired about holding her newborn daughter’s upcoming photography session on their family farm surrounded by farm animals, I was immediately intrigued and said YES! Holding a newborn photoshoot with farm animals sounded like so much fun, and it turned out to be ‘udderly’ amazing!
Preparing for a Newborn Photography Session on the Farm
Whenever I hold outdoor newborn photography sessions in San Diego, I always have to plan ahead. I bring along a totable wagon filled with everything I will need for the session, including props with coordinating outfits, wraps, accessories and posing aides. As it was during the winter months, I prepared a few warming layers for baby, including a few warm swaddles, wraps and knit, footed rompers with their matching bonnets and headbands. Making sure that baby is fully comfortable on all levels is the key to a successful newborn photography session, weather it be in the studio or outdoors on location. To prepare, I asked mom to fully feed baby girl prior to my arrival, so that she would not be hungry and to induce her sleep. A full belly, even for adults, can trigger the sleepies, and that’s what we want for a happy, sleepy session. I also asked mom to make sure baby was properly burped and changed, so that she would be ready for the session. Having in mimd that the session would take place on a farm, I chose my props and coordinating accessories not only to keep baby safe, warm and comfy, but to also coordinate with the feel of the farm. I happened to have a vintage egg basket that worked great, as well as an heirloom quilt that I thought fit perfectly. I also brought along a bucket, vintage child’s chair and old wooden bucket as props. I packed up my wagon with everything and hopped in the car to drive to the farm for the photo session.
Meeting the Farm Animals for the Newborn Photography Session
Upon my arrival to the farm for our newborn photoshoot with farm animals, I got to meet my super adorable newborn subject, baby Mia. She was such a cutie pie, complete with the cutest little chubby cheeks ever. Mom and dad guided me through their family farm where I got to meet all of the members of the family, including their pig, sheep, horse, rooster, chickens and dog. I love animals, so this was such a dream to be able to take my passion – newborn photography – and to hold a session with these sweet beings.
Posing a Newborn Around the Animals for Photos on the Farm
My #1 priority is safety for my newborns. For this reason, and especially when around animals, I always make sure that poses are done safely. This means that often times the final photos that you see actually consist of composites. In the image above with baby in the basket surrounded by the pig, sheep and rooster are a compilation of a few different images that I shot separately, and then edited together, piece by piece. Know that baby’s parent was present and within arm’s reach for all of these poses and photos. They are either just out of the frame (but within arm’s reach) or photoshopped out completely. All of the animals were curious about what was going on and were just so cute! It’s funny because when I photograph dogs (I volunteer for dog rescues), I know what sounds to make to get the dog to look right at me and perk up their ears for the best shot, but with a pig or chicken, it’s not that easy. It took some time, but I was able to get some of the farm animals to look my way so I could photograph them.
A newborn photoshoot with farm animals needs two things: a newborn and farm animals! We started with photographing the bigger farm animals first, and had baby girl carefully posed (with parent nearby) with her farm pig and sheep. Mr. Rooster was feeling left out so he decided to photobomb that image. It was the perfect photobomb! Next, we just had to get a shot with their sweet family dog, who was such a good boy, sitting next to her as she was safely posed in the bucket. This is where my dog attention getting trick worked to perk up those sweet ears and look right at me. Finally, we photographed baby girl with all of the pet chickens, who did not care at all that that I wanted them to get in the camera frame for me to photograph next to the prop bucket, so dad sprinkled a bit of seed on the ground and they all came around to have a meal while I snapped away!
Tips for Photographing Newborns Outdoors
Sometimes, the outdoor elements can be a bit much for some newborns, including a mild breeze, even in the warm summer months. Other times, that same warm breeze can be relaxing to a newborn. So how do you know what to prepare for when holding an outdoor newborn photography session? Well, the answer is to plan for it all. Have a plan A and a plan B. In the warmer months, prepare to have the prop and accessories ready to shoot baby posed with little to no clothes but also have a backup swaddle/wrap or knit outfit just in case baby is not vibing with the elements. If your outdoor session is in the cooler months, those rompers are definitely a must-have to keep baby warm. Make sure the knit outfit is footed and comes with a matching knit bonnet to make sure baby is snuggly and warm.
Bring along pre-planned props with matching accessories that will account for both plan A shots, such as the froggy pose, side lying, etc. Make sure those same props can be used in alternate ways in case baby prefers to be swaddled or to be positioned in alternate, less intricate ways.
If you have one of those gardening mats to place your knees on – you know, those memory foam type mats, bring one. Shooting newborns outdoors means a lot of time spent on your knees as you take your time carefully positioning baby, and that can be a pain in the knees!
Prepare your newborn clients by giving clear preparation instructions such as feeding baby fully right before your arrival, changing baby’s diaper, giving baby a good burp and also, if the parents are able to keep baby awake for about 30min to an hour prior to the session, that will help baby fall asleep and be ready for those intricate poses to be done.
Bring wipes and hand sanitizer. There may not be a sink at the outdoor location you’ll be photographing baby in, so make sure to keep wiping down your hands and using a pump of sanitizer between setups and touching anything else besides baby.
Get creative! Like literally, find an interesting location such as a farm for your newborn session! Just remember to keep safety your top priority, and to make sure you either have an assistant or a parent that can act as an assistant for the session.
Looking to book your newborn photoshoot with farm animals? Let’s do it! Head over to San Diego Newborn Photographer | Sophie Crew Photography and send Sophie a message!