A Fresh 48 is the new black in newborn photography. So what exactly is it?
It’s a newborn session that takes place during the first 48 hours of a baby’s life. This special type of photo session aims to capture many of the early moments and special firsts, before the newborn baby leaves the hospital to head home and start life with their family.
Claire Eastman is a Click Love Grow Advanced Photography Course graduate, and since graduating, she has gone on to create Claire Eastman Photography. She’s captured more Fresh 48 newborn sessions than you can poke a set of forceps at, so if you want to find out how she’s doing it, read on to learn her essential tips for success!
“I love meeting new families and observing a fleeting part of their lives that they will never get back. I feel honoured that they include me in a time that is so precious, emotional and life changing. If you’re thinking about shooting one yourself, I hope my tips help you over the line!”
Before shooting a Fresh 48 session, I always ask hubby/partner to do a little declutter of the room before I arrive, or I do it myself. I have this conversation with mom and dad when they book me, explaining it reduces distractions in photos.
That being said, I don’t want to make it so perfect that we lose context. I mostly remove rubbish and neaten the bed.
Related: Clear the Clutter
I love to capture the real, raw and honest moments that a baby’s birth brings when they enter the world. For that reason I try not to interfere too much, and a Fresh 48 documentary style is the best approach.
I move around photographing moments as they unfold, and what I start with tends to be prompted by whatever is happening in the room when I first arrive.
I will also often just sit back and observe, and snap all the in between moments. These are my favourite, and I absolutely love getting home and uploading my photos to see what surprises I may have captured.
I also like to mix some posed pictures of baby and family in between, and this is the only time I will direct.
I don’t go into a Fresh 48 with a strict long list of shots to get from these photo sessions. However, there are a few pics I consider “must haves”, which I always aim to capture:
Related: Macro Newborn Photos
Hey, don’t forget dad!!
When capturing the family all together, I often use some or all of these poses:
Other moments I look for when shooting Fresh 48 photography are:
At my last Fresh 48 session, mum was alone with the baby when I arrived. This afforded me the luxury of getting some lovely intimate feeding and bonding photos of each other.
Not long after, her husband arrived with their two elder children. I was able to capture their expressions as they entered the room and saw their baby sibling for the first time.
So if it’s at all possible to time it this way, it’s well worth the effort!
I prefer to do a Fresh 48 within the first hours in the morning, as natural light is often better in hospital rooms. However, be prepared to be flexible if morning doesn’t suit the family or the baby.
Sometimes I face situations where light isn’t ideal. I don’t like to use a speedlight in these sessions, so the only light I have to work with is natural window light.
When I’m faced with a low light situation, I embrace it and use it to my advantage. I find the lack of light can create such a beautiful moodiness and depth of emotion that I don’t feel could be conveyed with a lighter/brighter environment.
Related: Low Light Newborn Session
But when really challenged, the reflection of light from the window/windows in the room are your friend, and there are multiple ways to use them to your advantage:
Also, don’t be afraid to crank up your ISO!
Remember, perfect portraiture is not the aim… it’s all about getting those emotions and important but fleeting moments. For that reason, there is nothing wrong with some grain.
Related: Using High ISO for Better Results
I use a Canon 6D and my 35mm prime lens.
The 6D is wonderful in low light, and this helps me when I have to really boost ISO a lot.
The 35mm is a beautiful lens and really helps images pop and come alive!
I keep in close touch with the parents in the lead up to their due date via email and messages, and I ask them to message me as soon as they can after baby is born. This gives me time to organise care for my own children.
If anything happens where I cannot make it (this hasn’t happened yet) or they change their mind (for example have a difficult birth), I give them the option of newborn photos instead of Fresh 48, once they are home and settled in.
Before the birth, I ask the parents to tell potential visitors about their Fresh 48 session and ask them not to pop in during it.
If they would like photos with any special people, they should invite them, however ask them to come at the end of the session.
We hope you get a chance to try out these fantastic tips for Fresh 48 photography!
Claire is a family and newborn lifestyle photographer, working in your home, local hospital or on location in and around Central Victoria in Australia. If you want to see more of her work, or you’d like to book her to capture your own Fresh 48, you can find her at Claire Eastman Photography.
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