My first professional photography session {St Albert newborn photography}

{I found this post unpublished three years after I wrote it. I don't remember writing it. It made me smile.}

Preface: Before my first session, I'd been taking photos as an amateur for several years. I'd taken many photography courses over those years, I'd amassed an embarrassingly comprehensive bag (or two) of equipment, and I'd been researching and planning a potential business for quite some time. Getting my business licence and insurance was easy, because I'd had everything ready to go for some time. I was also extremely well-rehearsed on safety precautions and set-up requirements specific to newborn sessions. Just to be clear - it's not the type of portrait session where you can 'wing it'.


My first proper session happened unexpectedly and quickly - I casually told a friend that I was seriously considering starting a business, she casually asked if she could pass my name to a friend of hers who was expecting, THAT FRIEND HAPPENED TO BE IN LABOUR, and I was at their house five days later taking newborn photos. It was insane. Awesome and insane.

In the four days leading up to that first session, I felt physically ill from nervousness most of the time. I spent hours and hours reviewing newborn safety and posing techniques, I looked at countless images of newborns, and I obsessively tweaked my business plan. I also developed a tack-sharp plan for explaining the session to the parents, putting them at ease, and producing great images. (I have a bit of a 'perfectionist' problem. And I like being as prepared as humanly possible in professional situations - I was like that in all my very-not-artistic previous jobs.)

The day of the session, my husband took the kids to his parents so I could chill on my own. I reviewed all my material, I forced myself to eat, and I was shaking with nervousness. But then? Then I arrived at the client's home. And I rocked it.

(I am really, really good in professional situations. I am calm, I am extremely comfortable and confident (HAHAHAHA), and I can almost always put people at ease. As a lifeguard, I was like that when someone was bleeding all over my deck, or when one of my staff was freaking out, or when things were literally blowing up - I do chaos well. Ditto as a salesperson and an IT manager - I'm good at knowing my stuff, thinking on my feet, and listening to the needs of whoever I'm working with. I just forget that I'm good right before a new professional situation - It takes being in the situation for me to realize that, huh, I know this.)

It turned out that the baby from that first session had no interest in being the typical fast-asleep newborn. So most of my planned shots didn't work out. But? I like working on my feet. It was fun. The parents were great. And we got some really beautiful images out of the session. 

Five days later, I was shooting my second newborn session. Without the pre-session nausea and anxiety. It was fantastic.

Moral of the story? Be prepared. Know your stuff. And for goodness sake, you'll be fine.