Family Newborn Photos

Family Newborn Photos

The most questions I get from people planning their newborn session has to do with family newborn photos.  I think this part stresses everyone out like an outdoor family session, but I promise… newborn family photos are SO much easier.

The biggest piece of advice that I have to give is bring separate cars.  Especially if you have toddlers or 3 or more children.  I like to have baby alone for the first hour of the photo session, and then let siblings come one hour in to the session.  At this time, I will get baby wrapped for pictures while you are getting the older siblings dressed and acclimated to the studio.  Why?  Well, first of all most babies tend to sleep best at the beginning of the session.  If you have followed my preparations, they will arrive at the studio nice and sleepy.  That gives me time to get all of the unwrapped photos first.  Second, family and sibling photos can be very stimulating to baby.  I like doing this last because this usually wakes up baby.

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This photo was about as easy to take as it looks. This crew of 5 was a dream!

What to Wear

Keep in mind, these pictures will NOT be full body.  They are only waist up.  The way moms hold baby, we will only see the top portion of your top and your shoulder.  I do not recommend jewelry such as bracelets or necklaces.  They tend to get in the way of holding baby, and you usually don’t see them.  Most of the time moms end up having to take them off.  Earrings are fine 🙂 I love light colors, creams, and pastels.  Bonus points for lace!  Dads look great in a solid button down shirt.

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I love the lace details from mom’s shirt.

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Solids photograph best for newborn pictures. Think simple and not busy.

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I love the eyelet detail on mom’s shirt.

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I also love the skin to skin look. Since you will hold baby against your chest, a sleeveless top or camisole will give you this look.

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A simple, solid button down shirt is best for dad.

Sibling Newborn Photos

This pose is my absolute most favorite sibling pose.  However, it is usually the most difficult.  Big brothers and sisters around 18 months – 3 years can be really unpredictable.  This pose can make them very nervous.  I think it makes them feel like they are going to take a nap LOL!  I suggest practicing this at home so that they know what they are going to do at the studio.  AND if they don’t cooperate, that’s ok!  I have plans A, B, C, D, E, F, G going on in my mind at all times!

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I love the neutral and gray colors.

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This is my absolute favorite pose with siblings with a newborn. Can you tell???

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Don’t want to worry about a shirt? Big brothers look really cute going shirtless.

Nashville Newborn Photographer

I hope this has helped you know what to expect at your newborn session.  My #1 piece of advice for every single photo session, including newborn pictures, is not to stress.  I know that is easier said than done, but if you are stressed it will show.  For newborn sessions, the only think I ask you to do is follow my newborn guide that I send before your session. If you do this, I will take care of everything else once you get to the studio.  You don’t have to lift a finger!

Keep your expectations reasonable for your other children.  Remember, they have gone through a huge life change!  I know I have a lot of smiling siblings posted here, but that is NOT always the case.  I love connections, and I love snuggles.  So if smiling at the camera is asking too much, or I am getting fake cheese smiles, we will abort and go to snuggling.  Little adjustments like this keep my photos from looking cookie cutter, and they let your children’s personalities shine.

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I can’t get over how much I love this family of 7!  I LOVE how you can see each of their personalities in this picture.  This my friends is what it is all about!

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What to Expect During Family Photos | The Allen Family

What to Expect During Family Photos

One of the BEST parts of being a photographer is getting to know families and making new friends.  The Allen family is one of those families.  I have been working with them since their oldest was a toddler.  Since then, I have watched them add THREE more boys to their family.  To say their momma is the definition of a boy mom is an understatement.  She is super mom!  Through all of our sessions together, I think she has mastered what to expect during family photos!

You would think dressing 4 boys, loading them up in a car, and getting to a photo shoot location would be stressful.  Well, you don’t have to think, I’m sure it is!  But… this family has gotten awesome at our sessions and their expectations of the boys.  They know these boys are not going to sit or stand still for long, so they don’t pressure them to do anything.  There’s no fussing at them about how they are smiling or what they are doing.  They simply enjoy the boys, and it shows in their pictures each and every time.

So…. what should you expect during family photos?

1. Don’t expect to stand and smile the whole time.  This is boring for kids and honestly, it’s boring for me to edit!  I LIVE for interactions.  Don’t expect perfect smiles.  If you pressure your kids to smile, you are going to get a fake cheese smile.  I want to capture giggles and REAL smiles.  So if it takes tackling dad, chasing a kid through a field, laying down to have a tickle fight, or pretending to pick boogers, we will do it.  Plan to look at the camera only about 10% of the time.  Really 😉

2. Plan to have fun.  Almost every single one of my family photo sessions ends with dad saying “That’s it?” “Wow, that was easier than I thought it would be!” “That went SO much better than last time we took pictures.”  Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself, but I truly believe that if you play games and let loose with your family, that you will get the pay off when you see your pictures.  I know you want to look great in your pictures, I get it!  BUT if you are constantly fixing hair, straightening skirts, wiping noses, and pulling down collars, you are going to lose the moment.  Sooooo, take a deep breathe, try not to worry, and leave all the work up to me.

3. Don’t stress.  There are SO many things in life worth stressing about.  Photo sessions should not be one of them!  I know I’ve said this a million times, but they should be fun!  Since most of my outdoor locations are green spaces and fields, it should be like a day at the park with your family.

4. Watch YOUR expectations.  Do you have a serious baby?  If so he or she may not smile, and that’s ok!  It’s their personality.  We may get other really cute expressions.  If we stare at baby and work on getting a smile that doesn’t come, we will miss all of the other cute things that he or she does.  Do you have a shy child?  It may take time to warm up.  Just because you are in front of the camera does not mean they are going to be any different.  Embrace being YOU!


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You NEVER know what you are going to get with 4 boys!  My very favorite picture from this session is the middle one with mom in the center.  We tried laying down for about 30 seconds.  There were legs flailing everywhere, mom’s dress kept getting pulled up, the toddler kept escaping….  We aborted mission really quickly, and I got to my computer to find this gem.  Look at big brother’s face.  THIS my friends is what it is all about.  That face is NOT staged.  It’s true love, and that momma in the middle is the center of ALL these boys lives and hearts.

Nashville Family Photographer

I photograph all of my family sessions past the newborn stage outside at sunset.  Sunset is my favorite time of day because of the beautiful lighting.  I feel like the lighting sets a mood and look that makes your pictures stand apart from others.  The great thing about this time of day is that EVERY day is different.  Some days are huge glowing sunsets, other days are cloudy with the sun barely peeking out.  I love this because it makes EVERY session unique.  I do not photograph family sessions mid-November through early March because of temperatures.  If it’s too cold for me to be outside, I know it will be too cold for a baby or toddler.  I am currently booked for 2018 family sessions, but I’d love to see your family in 2019!

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Baby Corbin was super distracted outside, and that’s ok! He loved playing on the quilt, and we were able to capture two of his milestones: sitting and tummy time.

Nashville Baby Photographer

Isn’t Baby C precious??? We used his family session as his 6 month sitter session.  He wasn’t fully sitting up, so we had to help him out with a bucket.  Which turned out oh so cute, I might add!  He was too distracted by the grass to smile at us for that one, but look at that cute face!  No smile needed.  However, he LOVED playing on the quilt on his tummy.  He turned on the charm for those pictures!

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  • Katie - LOVVVVVE all these tips!! Your clients are so lucky to have you to capture their moments. You do such an amazing job of photographing the tender moments. Gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay -  She is indeed a super mom! What a fantastic session and such great tips as well. You captured this family as just that, a family. I love all of the interaction and closeness in each image. Just beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Kandi - Shannon, I love all the tips and tricks you shared! So much easier when there is no expectation of smiles all the time! GREAT ADVISE!!! You truly capture the most amazing family sessions! Such genuine interaction!ReplyCancel

Dex | What to Wear Newborn Sessions

Nashville Newborn Boy Photographer

Meet baby Dex.  His squishy round cheeks stole my heart at first sight.  He makes baby #4 for his family.  When I first talked to his grandma, she told me that he has a beautiful family, and she was right!  Just scroll down to see how easy they made my job! (You’ll also find some tips on what to wear for newborn sessions.)

I start newborn sessions with individual baby pictures.  I love the rustic, neutral tones that we used for Dex’s pictures.  The colors and props we used were perfect for a baby boy.  Once we have completed individual baby pictures, we move on to family and sibling photos.

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Dex’s parents requested a picture incorporating dad’s baseball glove. I love simple, personal touches like this.

What to Wear Newborn Sessions

One of the most common questions I get from my newborn clients is “What do you suggest for us to wear for our newborn photos?”  Honestly, I think clothes for newborn family photos are the easiest to plan.  Here are a few tips for planning your clothing and what to wear for newborn sessions.

1. Wear neutral or pastel colors.  Light colors photograph best at the studio.  Years ago at my 12 year old’s newborn session, we wore black, had a black backdrop, and photos were all in black in white.  This is not the case my studio.  Light colors, creams, and neutrals are best.

2. Dress in simple clothing.  Since these pictures are in my warm studio, there is no need for layers.  Truthfully, you probably WON’T want layers!  (Don’t forget that we keep the studio nice and warm for baby.)  If you like the skin on skin look, you can also wear a sleeveless shirt.  Girls can wear dresses, t-shirts are great for boys, and button downs or t-shirts work well for dads.  *** Please no big brother, big sister, or monogrammed outfits.  My rule of thumb is that I photograph people, not outfits.

3. Chose clothing with different textures.  Lace is my favorite!

4. Don’t wear busy patterns or bright colors.  We want the attention to be on baby and your faces.

5. Don’t worry about coordinating pants or matching shoes.  Newborn photos in the studio only show waist up.  There is a slight chance you may see waist bands, but that is about it.

For more ideas and visuals, visit my Studio Session What to Wear pinboard on Pinterest.

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Simple, solid, neutrals and pastels look best in the studio.

Family and Sibling Newborn Photos

Your family and sibling pictures will be some of your most treasured pictures from our session.  Choosing simple, timeless clothing will help you love these for years to come.

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I think Dex loved the one on one attention!


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Erin’s Maternity Photos | Maternity Dresses

Nashville Maternity Photos

I squeezed Erin in for her maternity session right at the beginning of my busy fall season.  She was totally open to trying a new location.  I picked this spot without seeing her dress.  I was in love when I started photographing their session.  The tones in her dress looked amazing with the setting.  It pulled browns from the grass and barn to make an absolute dreamy session.  I love how maternity dresses make a beautiful mommy look so elegant and graceful.

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After weeks of rain and crazy beginning of fall weather, we lucked out with a beautiful evening.

What to Wear for Beautiful Maternity Photos

Maternity dresses have become popular for maternity photos.  You may have seen the long flowy gowns and even the ones that split in the middle to show your belly.  I don’t think it is necessary to purchase a “maternity gown” just for a photo shoot.  I love (and highly recommend) a maxi dress.  Long dresses photograph beautifully.  They hug your curves in all the right places.  If you purchase a maxi dress for your maternity photos, you can also wear it to your baby shower and other events before baby arrives.  My favorite shops for maternity dresses are Pink Blush and ASOS.  You can also find great dresses at department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom.

?pp_route=%2Fimage-resize&path=L2hvbWUvc2hhcC9wdWJsaWNfaHRtbC93cC1jb250ZW50L3VwbG9hZHMvMjAxOC8xMC8xOC01NDAxLXBvc3QvMjAxOC0xMC0xN18wMDAxLmpwZw%3D%3D&template_id=8121822e-8812-421e-9bad-5c4d326b4073&width=768 Erin’s Maternity Photos | Maternity Dresses

These two were naturals! They forgot all about the camera, and it shows in their pictures.

I know choosing a photographer is a big decision.  These are pictures you will never get back!  I invite you to view our reviews to see what others are saying about us.

“Shannon is absolutely amazing with new borns and children!! I can’t recommend shannon enough! If you are thinking of booking, you should do it now! She books up fast due to her awesome work!! I’ve used her for both of my son new born sessions as well as mini sessions!! Super talented and so very sweet!! She also did our maternity photos which turned out stunning!!”  ~Jamie C.

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Baby’s First Year Packages | Gabriella

Baby’s First Year Packages

Did you know that we offer baby’s first year packages?  These are some of our most popular packages.  Baby photos help document milestones during baby’s first year.  Mom’s love them because I even provide baby’s wardrobe.  You don’t have to bring a thing!  I have a huge selection of clothing, props, and accessories.  You are welcome to go through my studio closet and pick your favorites.

Sitter Sessions

This is my absolute favorite milestone!  Sitter sessions usually take place around 6-7 months.  I like for babies to be sitting steadily for this session.  We always have a spotter near baby, but it’s nice not having to worry about them being too wobbly.  Milestone sessions at this stage have a great variety.  Sitters usually love tummy time or pushing up, and they will play with their toes on their backs.  All of these make for the best photo ops! Although I provide outfits for these sessions, I also love naked baby pictures.  Clients often say they choose me for my use of simple props, different textures, and elements from nature.

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One Year Milestone Sessions

One year sessions are busy, busy, busy.  Many babies are on the go by this milestone.  Whether they are crawling, cruising, or walking, they are more mobile and showing their opinions.  Plan to do a lot of baby wrangling!  With all of the movement, naked pictures are not really an option for these.  But I have outfits, diaper covers, and suspenders in sizes 6-12 months and 12-18 months.

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One Year Cake Smash Photos

Another fun option for your baby’s one year milestone session is to include a cake smash.  Click here to find out more about my cake smash sessions.

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Miss G’s mommy shared the sweetest words after our sessions together.

“I can not say enough good things about Shannon Payne Photography. I found her as a referral from a friend and so I took a chance. From the moment we walked in her space we immediately felt comfortable.

When you first photograph a newborn, as a new parent you are already so nervous that something could go wrong. But not with Shannon, I never worried about anything, once I arrived. She was so gentle and careful with my sweet baby.

After that appointment I immediately booked my daughters 6 month and 1 year appointment. I knew I was going to continue to use her for all my children’s photos going forward. I consider her now a friend and am so excited to share her talents with everyone else! My friends who didn’t get photos of their children, see my daughters pictures and are so sad they didn’t! Well worth the time and investment! I will cherish these photos for the rest of my life! Thank you Shannon!”

If you are searching for a photographer, I highly recommend looking at their reviews.  A well established and reputable photographer should have accessible reviews.  You can find review for Shannon Payne Photography here on Google and on Facebook.  If you are expecting or have a new baby, I would love to hear from you!  You will NEVER regret documenting your baby’s first year, and our Baby’s First Year Packages are the perfect way to do it!


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