Here at Tinybeans, we are always looking for ways to give you inspiration and tips for your baby photos. We caught up with one newborn photographer who produces some of the most creative and stunning work we’ve seen. Brittnie Storm is the artist behind Heaven Sent Photography. Here is her full interview, plus tips to help you find a photographer in your area!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Brittnie Storm with Heaven Sent Photography. My studio is located in Sheldon, Iowa. My husband Charles and I have two little girls aged 2 & 4. Merry Lou is 4 years old and Emmie Kay is 2 years old. Being a new mom totally fueled my fire with photography. As soon as my daughter was born, I couldn’t get enough photos! I picked up my brand new camera that my mother-in-law gifted me for Christmas and my business began to bloom from there. Outside of photography, I am a makeup junkie, a bookworm, and we love to soak up all the little moments we can with our children whether that be going to the park across the street, or out to Grandpa & Grandma’s farm to ride the side by side and play outdoors. Family time is the most important to us all! Our little ones are only little for so long.
2. How long have you been in photography? What’s in your camera bag?
I have been in photography for 3, going on 4 years now. I started really focusing on professional photography when my daughter Merry was 6 months old. My business took off from there to where I was at the point that I could successfully transition to a downtown studio in June of 2016.
First and foremost I feel like I should talk about my camera bag itself because I truly feel like anyone who is a photographer NEEDS a House of Flynn camera bag! The amount of detail they put into not only their bags but also giving back to the community is really amazing. I carry a full size Evermore and I can fit everything I possibly need inside! I primarily shoot with a Canon 5D Mark iii. My go-to lens is the Canon 50mm 1.4 or the sigma 35 art 1.4 lens. There is nothing sharper on the market than the sigma art lenses, in my opinion. I also shoot with a Canon 135mm f 2.0 or a canon 85mm 1.8, but I only ever use those lenses outdoors. I’m a total prime girl so all the lenses I own are prime lenses.
3. Why did you go into newborn photography? What do you enjoy the most about it?
I really got into newborn photography because I was absolutely fascinated by it. After we had our own daughter’s newborn photos done, I was so in love and infatuated by all of the images all over Pinterest as well as the images that our our professional photographer had taken, that I just knew that photography was a creative outlet that I would truly enjoy. I researched newborn photography and took courses online, both free and paid, and I learned as much as physically possible before I even attempted to take on a real live newborn myself. Newborn photography is a daunting task and I truly did not understand how much work it was until I started researching it myself. Newborn photographers have a knack for making it look easy!
4. Where do you pull your creative inspiration from for your shoots?
I have joined a lot of photography groups on Facebook and that is where I draw my inspiration from. In these communities there are photographers from all over the world. It really helps me to be able to see what is on trend as well as draw some creativity from these other artists! Sometimes it can be as simple as loving the way they used a prop to loving their perspective they shot the photo. Other times it can be more complex as to what they used for their setup. I also have tons of ideas from just seeing different backdrops. A lot of times I will pull images from magazines such as Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. I find the littlest things to use for inspiration, it can be as simple as an outfit I find or a backdrop I am in love with.
5. What is your favorite professional photo you’ve taken and why?
My favorite image I have ever taken.. that is hard! There are always a select few that really stand out in my mind. There are so many different images that pull at different heart strings of mine. But this Pooh Bear image is probably right up at the top as one of my favorites. I melt when I catch a newborn smile and I was obsessed with Pooh as a kid. When Leo’s mom was pregnant with him, we were planning out his photo shoot and she mentioned that his entire nursery was decorated with all of her old Pooh Bear decor/toys that she had as a child. It meant so much to her to have a pooh bear image to be able to hang in his nursery. We never imagined we would catch a smile. But little Leo really brought this setup to life. His image is probably the one that sticks out in my head the most.
6. How should parents prepare for a newborn shoot?
I have found a tried and true method to really get a sleepy baby. This is the one thing that parents stress about and the most important thing that a parent can do is to NOT stress about it! Babies can tell when you are worrying, so do your best to stay relaxed and calm. I always plan a newborn session for 10:00 AM. I have found that this is typically the magic time for babies. I tell my parents to try their best to keep their baby awake for a couple hours before you come. I know that sounds like a daunting task, but it can make a world of difference for the session. Before you leave for the shoot, I ask my parents to give their little one a bath. This typically wakes the baby up, and it also makes for a clean and happy newborn! After that, it is important to put a little bit of lotion on baby. It is super important for parents to put their baby in an outfit like a zipper or button up pajama onesie… something that DOES NOT pull over the head. I also tell parents to avoid mitts with elastic as these can startle baby when being taken off. After all that, a very full feeding and car ride to the studio usually does the trick. Your photographer will take it from there!
7. Do you have any advice for parents who want to shoot with twins or triplets?
My advice for shooting with twins and triplets is to go in with no expectations so you can be blown away! A seasoned photographer will know how to work quickly and take advantage of each baby that is sleepy. Twins and triplets will require the same preparation than a single baby would – the hard work lies with the photographer.
8. When should parents plan to schedule a newborn shoot?
I always tell parents to plan schedule their newborn shoot in the second trimester. The earlier the better because this allows for the photographer to really customize your session. A photographers schedules fill up very fast – I always encourage people to book as soon as they can to really ensure for availability.
9. Since not everyone can travel to work with you, what kind of things should new parents consider when choosing a photographer?
When choosing a photographer for your newborn photos, make sure you choose them for their style. Every photographer is different. It is so important for you to research and find the photographer who offers what you are looking for. If a photographer has a simple and clean style, then lots of colors and props would not be their specialty. The same goes for a photographer who has a rustic style, their specialty would also not be colorful and bright more than likely. So find the photographer whose work would best fit your style and fit the walls of your home. When choosing a photographer, consider what you are getting with your experience. Many people think that because they receive more time or more images with one photographer over another that they aren’t getting as much. This is simply not true. There are many photographers who focus on quality over quantity. Would you rather have 10 absolutely stunning, beautiful works of art, or 30 pretty decent images that you feel you could have taken yourself? Sometimes people are confused by time also. Just because you get more shooting time with a photographer, does not mean that you get more images. Many seasoned photographers can get through a photoshoot very quickly because they have a workflow and know how to work with their subject. Just because you only receive a 30 minute session, doesn’t mean you will have less photos than someone who receives a 2 hour session. It is truly all about finding the right photographer for your wants and needs! If you want a beautiful baby album and wall art for your home, find a photographer who specializes in a full service experience and will be with you every step of the way! If you are more of a DIYer and love to have the digitals to be able to print on your own time, find a photographer who offers the digitals images for you to purchase. But most importantly find a photographer who’s style you love and who’s work will fit flawlessly into your home.
11. We’ve had lots of people ask us how to take quality baby photos in their home with their phone. Do you have any expert tips/tricks to getting the best photos without a fancy camera or a studio?
Lighting is the most important factor with photography. Find a place in your home with beautiful natural light. Whether in front of a sliding door or a big window. Don’t position your subject in the direct sunlight, instead step back or to the side about 3-5 feet to where you are in the shadows or the light. Your light should be at a 45 degree angle. From there you could use an ottoman or a bean bag to position baby. It is important to have the room be very warm, your little baby is used to being inside a natural heater that is 98 degrees, they like a warm room temperature above 75 degrees. White noise or a heartbeat machine do wonders to drown out noise as well. And photographing your newborn under 14 days old is key. They haven’t adapted to the outside world yet at this point.
But honestly, leave it to the professionals. I promise it is worth the time and the investment. Your little baby is only going to be little for a short amount of time. They really do grow so fast and I talk to way too many parents that regret not having professional images taken of their little baby! It is crazy how fast they grow in that first month.
12. Do you know of any iphone/android apps that are great for picture taking or editing?
This I am not sure! I use adobe lightroom and photoshop to edit all of my photos, I know these apps are available for download/purchase through the app store and would be a great place to start!
13. Do you have any advice for those who want to make a DIY-style home studio to take photos of their baby?
If you still really want to attempt a DIY-style shoot in your own home, make sure the room is a balmy 75-80 degrees. Use blankets and clothespins to pull your blankets tight to avoid any wrinkles. Baskets and swaddled shots are much easier to attempt than trying to lay a naked baby on a blanket and pose them. Having warm blankets or a small heater going near your setup will keep baby sleepy. Use natural light but stay out of direct sunlight. And keep it simple! Don’t go overboard with props and pinterest ideas. The most timeless images are the ones that take the least amount of effort. You can find tons of newborn photography props, blankets, and clothes on etsy. But above all, if you aren’t comfortable photographing your newborn, don’t. We take safety very seriously when photographing newborns and children and many photos are actually composites (meaning they are 2-3 images stitched together to create 1 image). If the pose or image looks complicated and hard to accomplish, it probably is and we suggest you do not attempt it. Just keep your posing simple and don’t shoot up the nose of a newborn.
14. What is the best email that people can reach you?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org but people can easily reach me through my “contact me” tab on my website www.heavensent-photography.com as well.