One Pose | Many Options

When I first began shooting as a newborn photographer I wasted so many great opportunities during sessions. I thought I needed to have 10 different poses and set ups and missed wonderful moments. Now that I understand posing I am able to have several different set ups and poses, but when I first began and I was still learning different poses, I wish I would have slowed down and taken advantage of the poses I did know how to do and capture many different angles.

One of the reasons it is important to do this is because it can later create a beautiful wall collage for clients in their homes. It becomes more of a collection piece and is visually beautiful when hung together. It also forces you to slow down and capture angles that might surprise you in being absolutely beautiful and stunning.

This is the one thing I wish someone would have told me when I first began photographing newborns 5 years ago… SLOW DOWN and LOOK.

Happy Shooting! ~ Michelle






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Simple & Safe Posing | Seattle Area Newborn Photographer

Poses do not need to be overly complicated to produce a beautiful final product. One of my favorite shots to capture during a newborn shoot is this image below. It is a great alternative for Dad’s who do not want their picture taken! ūüėČ
On my beanbag I drape a black sheet which allows for easy post processing. Once I have positioned baby on her side, I then have the dad kneel by my beanbag and bring his arms around baby. I then position myself onto my step ladder to captured the image looking down onto baby.
Then in post processing I select everything but baby and the arms, paint everything black, and edit as I usually would. Viola! A simple pose that has a dramatic look and keeps baby completely safe!
Hope you enjoyed this simple and safe posing example!
Happy Shooting!
©  {michelle newell} photography
Instagram: @michellenewellphotography
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FEATURE: Memories by Chantelle | Woodinville WA Newborn Photographer

I am SOOOO excited to get our featured photographers back up and rolling and couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce our next Featured Photographer, Chantelle Schreyer of Memories by Chantelle | Live Love Laugh. She is an incredible person, talented photographer, and amazing artist. Along with being a photographer, Chantelle also has a fantastic line of newborn props at Trinket & Pixie | Knits n Purls for Wee Ones.¬†

Thank you, Chantelle, for giving of your time to share about newborn photography!
1.)    How did you get started as a newborn photographer?
I’ve had a passion for photography ever since I can remember. But I began seeking out newborn photography three years ago.I started learning everything I could get my hands on, and studied light and safety techniques, & posing, and then just practiced and practiced till I staretd to see improvement. As an artist there’s always a period of time where we struggle to be where we want to be, but that time frame is usually one of huge growth!

2.)    What would you say was your biggest struggle when first starting out?
My biggest struggle was probably posing but also learning to “see light”. I notice even now with new photographers, that is where their struggle is too. Photography is really all about light, and all the factors that come with it. And once you “get it” everythign else seems to fall right into place!

3.)    How did you land on your style?
I landed my style by really beginning to listen to my self and by focusing on what colors and props suited me, rather than “following” trends or what was going on, on Facebook etc. I started out with all sorts of loud props and bright colors, which is totally fine and really nice, but I really didn’t feel it suited me or who I was. I personally like more neutral and narural tones in my own clothing, and therefore I simply allowed myself a more “organic and earthy” style to follow in my photography as well. But most importantly, I personally want the newborn to “take over” the image, not the prop, or backdrop, or hat, etc. Simple and natural is best for me.
4.)    What advice would you give aspiring newborn photographers on discovering their own identity within the industry?
Follow your heart and listen to your very own creative intuition about things. Stop comparing yourselves to others and just truly do what ignites your creative passion. The rest will follow. Oh yes…and also….love one another in this industry. Love your neighbor, love your competition, and love your teachers. We are all striving to do basically the same thing, and that is to capture and deliver amazing images of such a precious moment of time in the lives of new parents. Let’s support each other in that. We were all beginners once, and we are all always still learning, no matter how long we’ve been doing this. And……We all learn from inspiration, and lifting each other up. There’s more than enough babies to go around!!
5.)    When it comes to safe newborn poses and practices within a session, how do you handle that?
Safety is priority number one in my studio! I have actually just recently hired an assistant to be present at every one of my newborn and milestone sessions. Prior to that, I have always asked for a mom or dad’s help or I have asked another local photographer to come and assist. I will never do a pose if I feel it is uncomfortable for the newborn, and I always have a hand on the baby. I shoot with a 35mm 99% of the time, and I was blessed with really long arms! This allows me to always have a hand either close to or on baby, before and right after the shot. If there is a pose such as the “froggy pose” I will always, always, always do it as a composite. And in all honesty…it took me a really long time to build up to feeling comfortable with this pose. I didn’t try it until the end of my second year, when I truly felt comfortable and had enough experience to do so. And…even now…I will only do this pose if it gets requested by parents. It is not in my normal workflow. I also don’t do hanging poses for the same reason. I know they can be done safely, and are very beautiful, but I just prefer not to involve any risk with a newborn. I just personally prefer more natural, comfortable set ups and poses, done safely on a posing beanbag, or in a secure, weighted basket or bucket with my hand on baby at all times. I also always make sure baby is in a very deep sleep, before posing a newborn in a prop. and……when shooting from above, I always secure my camera strap over my neck.

7.)    You provide 1:1 and 1:2 mentorships for aspiring photographers, which is fantastic! What are some things that they will learn at this mentorship?
I do provide intimate 1:1 or small group mentoring a few times throughout the year. During a mentoring session, photographers will learn newborn posing on the posing beanbag, as well as in floor props. I discuss business aspects, session set up and styling, how to prepare and interact with parents, newborn soothing techniques, safety discussions and examples, as well as share my post processing secrets! All of this is done while teaching studio light, either with my softbox or my 86″ shoot through umbrella. Students will come away with a posing workflow and style guide, and a wealth of information, allowing them to go back to their studio and immediately apply new found techniques and ideas to help build their newborn photography business. Here is the link to find out more about my mentoring;¬†
Website & Blog:
Photography FB Page:
Newborn Prop Shop:
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I am so excited to announce that our second newborn guide will be available in the next few months!! This Guide will cover all of the details from our previous guide, and much, much more!! Stay tuned for the release date!

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Newborn Client Guide Template

When I first started out as a newborn photographer I found my email inbox flooded with questions about upcoming newborn sessions, and I quickly learned that I had failed to communicate to my client’s the details of their upcoming session. I quickly created a 1-page What to Expect document that answered a few questions, but lacked the excitement I wanted to portray to my clients about their upcoming newborn session. Thus the creation of my current Newborn Session – Client Guide.

I absolutely LOVE this client guide because it allows me to display lots of images to help excite my clients. It also answer the majority of their questions from Props Safety, Length of Session, What to Wear for Parents, Siblings, and Baby, to how to go about scheduling their newborn session once baby has arrived.

This 10 page Client Guide is saved as a PDF that I send to my clients after they have booked their session with me. I have kept it simple so to not overwhelm them, yet still answering all of the questions they still have.

Taking great photos and producing a wonderful end product is one thing. Being a good communicator and providing your clients with information to help them feel comfortable and at ease about their upcoming newborn is the icing on the cake.

Help your clients arrive at their newborn session knowing what to expect and feeling at ease with this Newborn Session – Client Guide. CLICK HERE to purchase your copy of this template and customize it to your liking!







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Baby Safety by Michelle Newell Photography

¬†When my cousin had her sweet baby boy, the first idea that came to mind was photographing him with our grandpa’s (baby’s great grandpa’s) vintage bicycle. This bicycle has been in the family for a LONG time. Even the sweet baby’s Papa rode it as a young boy… I am super sentimental, so I really wanted to produce this shot for them. But the very first thing that came to mind was making sure this was produced with baby’s safety being first.
My Grandpa’s bicycle did not have a basket on it, so I purchased a basket that could be secured onto the bicycle and not come off. My husband and I also tested it with 3-4x the weight of the baby to ensure that it would hold 8 pounds easily.
Prior to the session I layered the basket with padding and support to help keep baby comfortable and secure while the shots took place. {Please note: baby must¬†be in a deep sleep for tummy shots and not squirmy}. Prior to placing baby in the basket, I took a shot of the bike with it looking as if it were free standing for the final image. I then had baby’s daddy straddle the bike, keeping his thighs together tight while holding the handlebars to ensure the bike would not move. Baby’s Nana (grandma) was within a foot of the basket on the opposite side as an additional spotter.
After positioning baby on his tummy, he was place gently and securely into the basket. His daddy support his head at all times and never took his finger off him. Baby’s Nana also kept her hand on his back until I was ready to take my shots and removed her hand for literally 3 seconds while I clicked my shutter and replaced her hand, all the while never being more than a foot away from him. ¬†Later in Photoshop, the two images were composited to produce the final image.
I love producing “complicated” images. But what I love even more, is showing and explaining how these types of images are produced with baby’s utmost safety in mind. I will and would never¬†attempt a shot with these precious lives if I did not know that baby’s safety would be hindered in any way.
For those wanting to learn more through video regarding newborn safety and posing, CreativeLIVE¬†recently featured¬†Kelly Brown (one of Baby Safe Photography’s featured photographers) of Little Pieces Photography in an online workshop, which was outstanding. In the 4 day course, Kelly taught on the importance of newborn safety, and also demonstrated how to pose baby safely in numerous poses. I highly recommend investing in the valuable education.
Happy {SAFE} Shoot!
~ Michelle

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Quick Guide to In-Home Newborn Sessions

With as complicated as newborn portrait sessions have become, I thought it would be beneficial to focus on an area of this industry that can better assist those who may be struggling with newborn posed portraiture and want to venture away from that.
This Quick Guide to In-Home Newborn Sessions will discuss a lifestyle approach on how to go about setting the stage to capture magical moments between baby and the parents in the comfortable setting of their home.
Table of Contents
Prior to Arrival
Upon Arrival
Setting the Stage
Don’t Forget the Details
Using Available Light
Camera Settings
Providing Artificial Light
Posing | Creating Moments
Final Thoughts
The Quick Guide to In-Home Newborn Sessions¬†is for the aspiring and beginning newborn photographer or one new to in-home sessions¬†and is NOT a “complete how to.” Nor is this guide for the seasoned newborn photographer. With everything, there is a learning curve and process of perfecting ones craft. This guide was created to help continue the journey of growing and learning and assist the aspiring and beginning photographer in creating those beautiful in-home newborn portraits.
The guide¬†is¬†available as a PDF download. All sales are final –¬†purchase is nonrefundable.¬†
Purchase a copy of the guide HERE.
Retail price: $50.
Follow us on Facebook and stay tuned for the release date and time!
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FEATURE: Stephanie Cotta | St. Louis Newborn Photographer

Stephanie Cotta is a newborn and family photographer based in St. Louis, Missouri. ¬†She also holds newborn mentoring workshops in her natural light studio in St. Louis. ¬†The amazing Lilian.Grace and Trinket & Pixie are hosting Stephanie in Seattle, Washington for a one day workshop this summer. ¬† Stephanie was voted Best Family Photographer in Nickelodeon’s Parents Pick Awards. Now, without further adieu, Stephanie Cotta!
Back in 2001, Bill Gates delivered a speech to high school students in which he delivered eleven rules to live by, rules that they did not learn in school. ¬†(See his list¬†here.) ¬†And not only do I wholeheartedly believe in these rules, but¬†every time¬†this lists surfaces Facebook and by email, I’m thankful that someone had enough guts to say it how it is.
And while I’m certainly no Bill Gates on many levels, I feel like my years thus far in the photography world have left me with enough insight and knowledge to provide beginning (or advanced) photographers with eleven rules to live by. ¬†And as I would think Bill Gates must have thought, you certainly don’t have to agree with me…
So here goes:
1. ¬†Be You. ¬†With Facebook, Pinterest, Blogs, Twitter and every other bit of social media out there, it’s easy to get lost in everyone else’s style and not give yourself a chance to truly develop your own. ¬†But do it. ¬†Be bold and take risks and find the look that you love, the look that makes your photography yours.
2. You are not going to make 6 figures in your first year of business. ¬†Accept that and move on. ¬†Develop your clientele, do portfolio building sessions, become better. ¬†Because the more practice you have, the better you will become and that’s when you can start charging the big bucks.
3. Safety first, people. ¬†There’s a ton of really amazing poses out there (in the newborn photography world) and the majority of them are composites. ¬†Don’t think you can attempt these during your first few sessions or even in your first few months. ¬†Become comfortable with the new peanuts, then do your research or take a workshop to learn how to safely create these composites.
4. Don’t pretend you’re the first one to do it.¬†¬†While newborn photography has been around forever, only in the last several years has it really become so popular. ¬†It drives me crazy when even the top dogs in the newborn world claim to have done it first. ¬†Chances are, it’s all be done before so instead of claiming the idea as yours and the rest of the population your copycat, just make it your own and rock it.
5. Don’t let the top dogs scare you off by telling you to be original.¬†¬†Yes, I know it’s slightly contradictory of number one, but everyone needs to start somewhere and needs to look to something for inspiration. ¬†I’m flattered when people email me with questions, comment on my facebook posts or just have to know where that one textured blanket is from. ¬†If they don’t want people asking nor want people looking to them for inspiration, they shouldn’t be posting on social media sites.
6. A good camera and lens is not going to give you that perfect shot.¬†¬†You need to take the time to actually learn about lighting, composition, white balance, MANUAL settings, posing, post-processing, etc, etc, etc. ¬†Don’t think spending five grand on equipment will make you pro.
7. ¬†Your fan base will come.¬†¬†Don’t do crazy things on facebook like offering up your first child just for a few hundred more fans. ¬†They will come, I promise.
8. ¬†Hands off the thirty actions you just ran on that one images.¬†¬†READ: ¬†Don’t over process! ¬†Actions are great and I absolutely use them. ¬†But don’t run so many that you lose that awesome photograph you started with. ¬†And remember, you should always be striving to take the best SOOC.
9. ¬†Remember your customer service, please.¬†¬†I don’t care how big you get, you should never be too much of a hot shot to¬†say please and thank you and give your clients the customer service they deserve. ¬†It doesn’t matter if they are spending a $150 or $1500 with you, remember to treat them as you would like to be treated… and throwing in a little something extra for each session (an extra print, some wallets, etc…) goes a long way.
10. ¬†Spending thousands of dollars on props isn’t going to give you that ten thousand dollar shot.¬†When I first started my newborn photography, I literally had only four blankets, a few hats and one basket. ¬†And I made it work. ¬†Fill your storage room of props down the road and over time.
11. Give a little.¬†¬†I’m a big believer in this one. ¬†Photographs are timeless, beautiful and become the best possible memories for people. ¬†Whether they are sick, young, old or perhaps just don’t have the funds, so many, many people can be brought such joy by a gorgeous photograph. ¬†Look up a nearby organization, ask around and make someone smile. ¬†A little goes a long way and I believe it is so important to use your talent for good.

Be sure to leave a comment below, thanking Stephanie for her knowledge and willingness to share!

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Safety Tips for Newborn & Babes {Before & Afters}

It should be obvious by now that I am a huge advocate for baby safety. I want every photographer that has a passion to photograph these sweet babes to execute every session with the utmost safety and learn techniques that help them do so. So, what better way than with a few Before & Afters.

I posted the first image on Facebooka few days ago and loved reading all of the “ahh-haa!” comments from fellow photographers.

The Before shot is a quick pullback so I could show all of you how the shot was executed. With baby comfortably on my large newborn ottoman, I had Dad come and place his arm under baby as shown. While actually taking the shot I was standing up over baby to get an angle that would feel as if baby was actually resting on his Daddy’s arm. (For those of you wondering about baby’s leg, the cast is helping correct a club foot.)

Once in post production, I opened the image in Photoshop CS5, selected everything but the baby and painted the background black using the paintbrush tool. The edit took less than 5 minutes.

This shot also took less than a few minutes to set up and shoot. It gave me the look that I wanted while keeping baby completely safe.

I absolutely love photographing these sweet babes as they grow up and using the similar setups that I did when they were newborns to show how much they have grown.

Below are a few Before & Afters, which show how I execute some of these shots. Safety doesn’t¬†stop with newborns… It must continue on while photographing these sweet babes. ANY time I have a baby on a prop, mom or dad are right there next to them, even if I have to edit their body out of my shot in post production later. Keeping their sweet little one safe is MORE important to me than the amount of time it takes to edit later on.

Note to parents: If you are ever at a shoot and feel that the photographer is being unsafe, it is OKAY to speak up.

With every session that I do I want to show the parents of these sweet little ones that I am keeping their child’s safety #1 with every pose and setup that I do. By keeping things simple I am able to keep things safe.

I hope these images help inspire you to create images safely for your sweet little clients!

Happy Shootings!

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WINNER of the 1k Fan Giveaway is…

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated in the giveaway and helped spread the word about Baby Safe Photography!!!! And the moment we have all been waiting for….
CONGRATULATIONS to Roberta Gavigan on winning the 1k Fan Giveaway!!!!



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