by Jenni Jones
I am not going to lie, I spend a ton of time preparing for a newborn session. My goal is to keep everything cohesive, so regardless of the images a client chooses to display in their home, they will all go well together – AND – everything will match the color palette of their home.
My preparation begins long before the session even starts – in fact, it starts with the first inquiry. When a potential client emails me, one of the first things I do is send them a questionnaire. My primary goal is to understand exactly what they are looking for, as well as get a feel for their personal style and taste. Ultimately this helps me determine whether I am a good fit for them (and vice versa), but, if they do end up booking a session, it also helps me in the planning process.
I ask clients to consider the words that come to mind when they think of their own personal style, and give them a list of words to choose from such as simple, modern, neutral, and monochromatic. I also ask about the color palette in their home – what color are the walls? Is there a recurring theme or color throughout rooms? What about furniture – what colors or tones are seen throughout the house? I also ask if there are any colors they would like to include in their session (or any colors they would like to avoid).
Based on the parents feedback, I select one to two primary colors to include in their session, and possibly one accent color, and build everything I bring around those. Don’t go overboard – the more colors you choose to include, the more challenging it will be to bring it all together.
I break it down into warm vs. cool tones. When looking at my backdrops, props, etc. – warm and cool are broken down by:
- Warm: cream, tan, brown, blush
- Cool: light grey, dark grey, and soft pink
- White & off-white can work with either one
I am very much a neutral tones kind of gal – I actually have very little “color” – I use all neutrals. However, if you use a lot of color, the concept remains the same. Here’s how I would generally group colors by warm and cool (obviously there are variations in hue, you could have warm and cool hues for each color, so please take this as a generalization):
- Warm: Red, orange, yellow, brown, tan, cream, pink
- Cool: Blue, purple, green, grey
Once I know the one or two colors I want to focus on in a session, I start pulling everything together with backdrops, furs, hats, wraps, and props. I normally bring 2 different backdrops (for beanbag shots) and 3 props with me to a session. Sometimes I use them all, sometimes I don’t.
An Example Session
For this session with a beautiful baby boy, the client wanted to include dark grey, so I planned for dark and light grey, as well as off-white. I start by pulling out everything I have that is grey (both dark and light) and off-white/cream. I put it all on my dining room table and started narrowing down the items I wanted to use. For the record – I made a giant mess.
Once I know the backdrops I want to use, I coordinate with wraps and hats. Then I start figuring out which props to use, and get them packed/stuffed/filled so they are ready to use when I arrive at the session.
During the session – I will swap out various hats and wraps to add variety to their gallery. I know I won’t use everything that I bring, but it’s there if I need it, and I know it will work well with everything else I use.
My obsessive need to plan everything (in life) has finally paid off.
Bringing It All Together – Session Images
Here are the items on my dining room table put to use:
I know it can be time consuming to plan everything out – but I promise your clients will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to ensure every image in their gallery will look great hanging on their walls.
Jenni Jones, Texas
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Mother to two handsome shih tzus, Jenni resides in Texas where she specializes in maternity, newborns, and babies up to one year. Her photography style, much like her personal style, is very simple and soft. As she says, “I just prefer simple elegance. And that is very much reflected in my work – in my subjects, how I compose images, as well as in my processing.” Jenni shoots with a Nikon D700 and several prime lenses. She also loves her new bangs, coffee, sugar free red bull, chardonnay, and her Tempurpedic bed.