Torquay, Geelong & the Surf Coast

Everything You Need to Know Before Your Newborn Photography Session in Geelong and Torquay

February 20, 2024

The countdown is on until baby arrives! You’ve bought a car seat, a cot and every neighbour in town has been offering you their hand-me-downs… but what about newborn photography? Have you thought about how you want to capture your new baby? There’s a pretty wide range of styles of newborn photographer around Geelong, and […]

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New mother looks lovingly at her newborn in a black and white photo.

The countdown is on until baby arrives! You’ve bought a car seat, a cot and every neighbour in town has been offering you their hand-me-downs… but what about newborn photography? Have you thought about how you want to capture your new baby? There’s a pretty wide range of styles of newborn photographer around Geelong, and I’m here to take you down the path less travelled – that of documentary newborn photography.

Al + Imo at the Good Day House - Imo and her toddler play in the new baby's nursery.

Photo of Al + Imo at the Good Day House by Bobby Dazzler Photography.

Tiny newborn babies, delicious chubby babies, sitters, crawlers, twins… I’ve been a photographer of newborns with their families in the comfort of their own home for 6+ years now, in Torquay, Geelong and my other home (Cowichan Valley, Canada). I’ve learnt a LOT through these sessions – how to prepare for a newborn photoshoot, how clean your house needs to be for family photos (hint – it’s good news), what to dress baby in for their newborn photos, outfit ideas for family photo sessions, the best age for a newborn photo shoot, and the big one that new and expecting parents often discuss – is there an alternative to the overly posed and airbrushed studio newborn photo aesthetic? (Oh yes, there most definitely is).

So, consider this your all-in-one, comprehensive blog post with everything you need to know about what it’s like to have an in-home newborn session in Geelong and Torquay!

This blog post will not only open your eyes to a very different, down-to-earth way to document this new chapter in your family’s story, it will also help you prepare for your own Geelong in-home newborn photo session and show you the relaxed film style of photography you can expect when you opt for less posing and more playing!

Why in-home photo sessions are perfect for Geelong families with newborns

The first question I’m asked on a consultation call is: Should I have my newborn photos in-home or outdoors?

Although I LOVE outdoor family sessions at Point Addis beach near Torquay, they are most ideal for families with toddlers and older children (ie. the age where they can run and play and not just eat sand). For sessions with babies under 6 months, I always recommend in-home sessions. They’re comfier for everyone and there are safe places to put baby down. You don’t have to plan to bring a million outfit changes for blowouts and pukes and since you tend to spend a lot of this phase of life at home, I think it makes sense to tell that story honestly, and that means making the setting of your photoshoot your home. (Yes, even if you’re undergoing renos/it’s ‘just a rental’/it’s not magazine-worthy). Although a bit of cleaning is good prep, in general I find my clients with younger babies feel more relaxed in their own home, and there’s plenty of time to go with the flow of your baby’s sleep and feeding needs. If you live in Geelong, Torquay, the Surf Coast or the Bellarine Peninsula, I will happily drive to your home for your session. I occasionally take on newborn sessions in Melbourne, too – so please reach out if you like my style and want to book (travel fee applies for Melbourne bookings).

Why should I book my family photos at home?

Reason #1: Relaxed kids make for happy parents, which make for fun family photos.

If you’re after a newborn session and have older children or toddlers, having it at home is a great way to have all kids feeling relaxed. I’m a mum of two little ones and have been a primary and secondary teacher for the past 15 years, so I’m pretty good at making kids feel safe and relaxed (and playful – very important). One of the things parents love during newborn sessions is when I take older siblings off to show me their bedrooms. Usually they end up dressing up in costumes, showing me their toys and skills, and I get to surprise you with a whole bunch of hilarious, documentary-style photos of your other children that you didn’t even know I was taking. It’s the BEST. (Plus your kids will have a hoot).

Reason #2: ‘Documentary-style’ means STORYTELLING.

This is why I do what I do. Every family is filled with stories completely unique to them. Some of the things that are the most mundane and everyday become the things you feel the most nostalgic about later. For me, I deeply miss taking my eldest for his morning bike ride in the Vancouver Island forest behind the boarding school where he was born. Every day, we’d look for bears, in late summer we’d pick blackberries, and we’d say hello to every friend we passed. It was so small and simple and everyday, but I’m really glad I took my camera out on a few of those walks because that visual helps me to remember that time and how I felt in early motherhood. For you, this could be kids’ art on the fridge, handmade Christmas decorations, your son’s secondhand grubby overalls that he refuses to take off. You might not appreciate these things in the moment, but in time I promise you will – and having them in your family album triggers those sensory memories, even for your children when they’re grown.

What an in-home Geelong newborn session looks like

Posed newborn photography vs Lifestyle newborn photography vs Documentary family photography

I was a travel photographer before having my own children, photographing epic backcountry landscapes with my husband on multiday hikes in remote places. But when I became a mother (and with the lack of travel this brings, as well as a shut down world in 2020), I took the skills I’d learnt from photographing other family’s newborns and started capturing my own. I tried a lot of different styles of newborn photography to discover what I love, what aesthetic felt like my own original art, and I really didn’t like a lot of what was out there. I knew that posed newborn photography was not my thing – it seemed so Anne Geddes, tiny posed cherubs for a calendar style, with hilariously daggy props. My favourite photos to take of my own babies was of their funny facial expressions when they’re stretching, the flaked-out asleep peacefulness or the smiles I’d get while making up stupid songs about changing bums. I realised that my style was a little more like Lifestyle newborn photography (which is in the family home, includes siblings and parents, uses natural light but does have a fair element of direction from the photographer to generate cohesive family poses and create connection). Many of my family and newborn sessions during those years were quite lifestyle in their aesthetic. 

But now? I think I’ve really found my voice in photography – and the word that runs true through all my sessions is honesty. I ask parents to show up as they are (ok, maybe not in leggings and a pukey top, but no fancy flowy dresses required for my sessions). If kids want to wear colourful, retro clothes, let ‘em at it. Is your home colourful and messy and full of life? Great – leave it. I will play with your kids and we’ll put on some fun music. Maybe make pancakes or turn on the sprinkler and run around the backyard, or if there’s just one little newborn, then you can spend the entire time gazing at your baby, and I’ll document that (let’s be honest, you’re spending all day doing that already!).

So, documentary photography – honest storytelling, very little direction from me, resulting in photos that feel like your family. That’s my jam. 

I think there are a lot of new parents out there who desperately want beautiful photos of their newborn or older baby, but really don’t like that studio aesthetic of tightly-swaddled and posed newborn photography. Instead, they want the photos to include siblings, parents, the family dog – and to be reflective and honest of what their life looks like right now.

If you or your partner have any worries about what your newborn photos might look like, let me say for the record here: I will not wrap your baby up and pose them like a frog. I won’t put them in a pumpkin. I won’t even put a bow on their head. The only ‘props’ I might use are favourite blankets or items with meaning from your own home (especially if Nanna Joan crocheted a baby blanket. A photo of that will make her DAY). My goal is to capture what your life looks like, right now, with this sweet new bub in your lives. You know what I will do? Find a pocket of light in your home. Guide you and your partner there. Help put baby in your arms so you can look at how beautiful they are. They can feed, cry, fart, wriggle, snuggle, stretch. You’ll have adoring facial expressions. And I’ll photograph you, spending time doing what you do for hours every day – holding and staring at your baby. If that sounds easy, it’s because it is! Don’t worry about timing our session to line up with awake or sleep times – we’ll have plenty of time for everything. My newborn photography sessions are 2 hours long, so they can be relaxed with cuppa breaks, feed and change times and naps.

Here are some images from a recent Geelong newborn photo session with a beautiful 6 week old boy and his mums. You’ll see that I always try to capture little details as well as creating a sense of story, so that as the baby grows he can look back on these photographs and understand the joy his mums felt to be able to bring him into their family.

What’s the best age for newborn photos?

Every age brings its own sweetness, and it depends on what you’re hoping to capture and remember. 

  • Sleepy newborn snuggles, fresh newborn skin and adorable fuzzy shoulders? Anything from a Fresh 48 to two weeks old is ideal. 
  • Time for you to recover just a little post-partum, get settled at home and find a little rhythm, while still getting sleepy snuggles and feeds and have cute little baby toes? 4-6 weeks is a perfect age window.
  • First smiles and maybe first giggles? Possible chubby baby thighs? 3-6 months is delightful.
  • Sitting and interacting with you and your partner, lots of smiles? 6-8 months.
  • More movement, like crawling and possibly early first steps? 8-12 months.
  • Baby’s first birthday is a very popular one for parents who missed the newborn photo window but want to remember their baby before they become a toddler!
  • Also consider the ages of any siblings – I adore sessions where a newborn is being introduced to an older sibling. If you’ve never experienced that moment before, trust me – it’s one of the most heart-bursting moments you will ever experience, and photos will help you remember it.

What an in-home Geelong family photo session with older siblings looks like

Newborn photos are infinitely funnier and more adorable when there’s an older sibling involved! While the emphasis of the session is on the new baby, the wider story being told is of your growing family and the connection you all share. It’s a chance to update your whole family photos, not just capture portraits of the new arrival.

How to prepare your home for a family photoshoot

I have two little ones of my own and the thought of getting my home ready for a photographer is mildly terrifying – so many piles of (thankfully clean) cloth nappies everywhere! 37 socks in strange places, none of which match! A filthy highchair that I swear I just cleaned! It. Never. Ends.

BUT – this is the little nugget of wisdom you’re hoping for. My camera can’t really see your dirt. Clutter, yes. Ugly internet modems – yes. Filthy windows – yes. But aside from these things, actually embracing some of the mess that comes with childhood will help to make your photos feel more real and honest. They’ll remind you of what this phase of life is like, and one day you’ll look back on this time and find that patch of floor under the highchair to be significantly less triggering than you do today!

So, whip around and declutter your 3 favourite rooms. I suggest living room, nursery/playroom, your bedroom. Clean the biggest, nicest window you have, especially if there’s a big couch in front of it that everyone can pile onto. Don’t worry about the loo!

How to dress your baby for newborn photos at home

Tired parents can often overthink what to dress the baby in for their newborn photos. They are often given so many beautiful baby gifts that it can be hard to decide. My recommendation, after 6+ years photographing newborns? Keep it simple. A cute newborn outfit for photos is a simple sleeveless or short-sleeved little bodysuit in a light-coloured neutral or white. Avoid logos and text. I’m not a fan of huge bows on girls – in fact I prefer clients to go easy on gendered elements entirely. A favourite textured blanket (especially if knitted by a grandparent!) photographs beautifully and brings an element of family history into your photos. Keep in mind that we want to see hands and feet, so pop the heater on.

What to wear for a Geelong in-home family photo shoot – older siblings and parents

This is where I suggest letting your kids’ personality come into the mix. I LOVE colour and you can embrace your kids’ favourite pieces by rounding out the overall colour palette with some neutrals or other colours in similar tones. My main tip is start with one piece that you’re pretty obsessed with, and build out everyone’s outfits from there. Chuck everything on your bed in a big pile (lots of my clients text me a photo to get feedback – always welcome!). Textures, layers, neutrals are magic to round out anything that feels a bit too bold or bright. Just make it feel like you – embrace your own aesthetic and things that you love and things you feel comfortable in!

A few of my favourite kids’ clothing brands that look great in family photos are:

Petits Vilains

Goldie + Ace

Olive + the Captain


I have a big beautiful guide that I send all my clients that is full of ideas for which colours look great on camera, which patterns are a disaster (fine stripes and gingham are tricky!), and also all the tiny things you might never have thought of, like bra straps that fall down, hair bands on your wrist and Apple watches that always seem to flash up with a text message right when I’ve hit the shutter.

Capturing your family with a 35mm film aesthetic 

Did you grow up with parents who photographed your childhood and holidays on a 35mm film camera? I feel so grateful that my parents had a film camera and documented – extensively – our childhood. My brother and I love whipping out the family albums (cue photos of us wearing nothing but plastic shopping bags while Mum unpacked the fortnightly Big Shop) – and there are two things that are remarkable about these photos. 

#1: Their 35mm film aesthetic

The first is the stunning rich tones of the film this was shot on. I love the ease that digital gives me to capture a range of images in a family or newborn session, and if a home is particularly dark then my beautiful f1.2 lens helps me bring in as much light as possible. 

But the softness, the grain, the depth of colour and the magical split-second-frozen-in-time feeling that only 35mm film can provide? That’s why I offer the option to add on a roll of colour film (usually Kodak Professional Portra 400, for those stunning natural skin tones and just the right amount of contrast), or black and white 35mm film (I have a few favourites here, but Ilford HP5 plus comes to play a lot). It’s so special to have some film photos of your baby and young children, especially because try as we might, we can’t go back and take them again later.

Want to see how 35mm film photos look different to digital? Here are some photographs from the same Geelong family session featured in this blog post, but this time shot on film. (Note: the colour film used here is Kodak Professional Ektar 100, which I chose because we wanted to capture some bright, sunny jewel tones in the garden and this film stock has higher colour saturation than Portra 400).

#2: Printed photos and albums

The second remarkable thing is that these photos are printed. I’ll say it one more time for the people in the back – these photos are in hard copy. They’ve lasted 35+ years already. Can I access a photo I saved on a floppy disk from the first ever digital camera I owned as a kid? Nope. They’re lost. Even an old hard drive I had at uni I can no longer give me access to photos, because there’s no supporting software with which I can open the files. Oof. Anyway – I digress briefly to just reiterate the importance of printing your photos!

(And if you’re anything like me and are 3 years behind on your personal annual family albums, I can show you how to print a spectacular fine-art album in minutes, directly from your gallery I’ve sent you. Because if it’s not quick and easy, we’ll never get around to it, right?)

Now you’re ready to go!

Whew, that ended up being more of a novel than I expected! I guess there’s actually a lot to consider when you’re booking your newborn photos. I hope this article has given you some clarity around how to prepare for your newborn photos, how to dress your family and how we can capture your kids on yummy yummy FILM so they can look back on their family albums with a belly full of joy and nostalgia!

Are you an expectant parent in Torquay or Geelong who loves this laid-back, family story vibe of photography? I would love to chat with you about how we can create a beautiful, relaxed newborn photography session at your house. Even if you’re only halfway through growing your baby, we can get you on my calendar and decide dates later – we can maybe even get you a mini maternity session of your growing baby bump down on the beach in Torquay before bubs arrives!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this article! Have any questions, or want to chat about a session for your family? Click below to reach out to Kristen!

Contact Kristen

Pricing and information for Geelong and Torquay newborn photography sessions with Bobby Dazzler Photography

Kristen is the photographer behind Bobby Dazzler Photography, a Surf Coast based business helping families to document their kids in a natural, fun way. She also creates down-to-earth brand photography for local businesses – see more of that over here. Photos of Kristen above created by the lovely Jean Bremner Photography.

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I'm Kristen, your new daggy friend with a camera.

I'm the real human behind Bobby Dazzler, and I'm a brand, family and newborn photographer based in Torquay, Victoria. THANK YOU for being here. Seriously. If you're anything like me, you're probably snatching spare minutes during toddler naps and school runs to read this - so I'm grateful you're still here. Just so you know - I'm on day 3 of dry-shampooed hair and will probably wear socks and birks to your photo session. So, however you want to show up for our session is fine by me! I value honesty, integrity and kindness - so please, just be you. Chances are we will want to go drink a negroni after our photo session together and laugh about all the things we want to do, if we only had time to do them.

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I acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as the Traditional and Rightful Owners of the land where I work, live and play. I acknowledge the sacred connections between First Nations people, their land and their water. I acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded, and I honour and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.