Behind the Scenes with Katie Hardy!

Today we have a special guest blog post by Katie Hardy who was generous enough to give us a behind the scenes look at how she prepares and how she sets up her newborn workflow in her studio!



I started Katie O Hardy Photography in 2008. I began specializing in newborns and babies almost 2 years ago. I photograph all my newborns between 7-9 days old in my “newborn room”. It’s a smaller room off the main waiting/main shooting area. Here, I am able to keep my room warmer and quiet while parents can enjoy the tv and cooler air in the waiting area. I have a parent assist or use my assistant for “tricky poses”.  I use an Alien Bee 400 strobe light with a 50×50 Westcott softbox.

katie hardy studio

I arrive at my studio the day before to get everything set up and ready to go. I try to make each newborn session different as far as colors and props go. But as far as posing goes, I have a complete set that I do. When people hire me, they are hire me because they have seen my work and like it and I want to make sure they get exactly what they see. Here are the details of my flow:

My Workflow

I have 5 MAIN poses that I do: side taco, feet under on belly, pray pose (these seen in picture below) and 2 “prop shot” poses. Optional or upon request – head in hands pose.

With these poses I get about 6 to 7 pictures that all look quite different actually just by changing my position and tilting my camera. You can read more about how to get those 6-7 pictures out of 1 pose on my blog.

Here are a few examples of how I create multiple images out of the same pose by changing my angles:

From that pose I can easily transition into slightly modified poses that again look very different.  Here is one example:



I email my mommies an outline to read over before their session. It just goes over what to bring and what to expect at the session.

Once the session is scheduled, I have the mommies text or email a picture of the nursery. This is so I can plan out all my blankets and props. I then email them what I call an “outline” to read over before the session. I tell them that it will explain everything they need to know about the session and what they will need to bring.

  • 1. I ask that they loosen the baby’s diaper for the car ride. This helps with the little red marks on their legs. Plump babies (over 8 lbs) will need this done but the teeny ones will not. Preemie diapers are still big for them! LOL
  • 2. I ask that they dress them in a button down onesie. This is so I don’t have to pull anything over their head. We all know they hate that!!
  • 3. I ask they collect any items they want to use in the session beforehand – family heirlooms, toys, monogrammed blankets, etc. I go through them with you to determine what will look best in the pictures.
  • 4. I ask that they feed the baby before coming so they arrive with a full belly.
  • 5. I ask that they bring a pacifier even if they don’t take it. Most babies don’t need it but babies do love to suck and I do have to handle them alot and sometimes they wake up. When a newborn is awake the only thing they know to do is eat, so sometimes a suck or 2 sends them right back into milk land.
  • 6. I ask that they decide if they will be in the pictures with the baby and have them dress accordingly. I recommend a black strapless shirt or tank top for mom. Black t shirt for dad. For those young skinny moms, I like to encourage them to let me wrap them so they are skin on skin.
  • 7. I tell them that their babies can smell them from across the room! And ask that they wait in the waiting area. This isn’t to hurt their feelings I just want baby to dream sleep dreams instead of “where’s my milk” dreams.
  • 8. I tell parents to expect the session to last 3 hours(this is worst case scenario-very rare) and to bring plenty of snacks, drinks, thank you notes to write or a lap top to play on.

As for me, I am at the studio the day before preparing all my set ups so I can just flow from one to the other. That way, when they arrive, we are ready to start! It takes about 2 hours from start to finish.  I also, text or email back and forth with mom and discuss nursery décor, favorite props, poses etc.

I have a large waiting area that also serves as a shooting room! I have 3 windows that allow me to use natural light so I ‘m not moving my big light back and forth. I have a gorgeous green couch that makes great sibling and family shots. In my last studio, I wasn’t able to provide many sibling/parent shots because my space was so small. I also use this room for my older babies through 1 year.  I have plenty of space in there for them to crawl or walk away :)


Q&A with the IMB staff:

IMB: Was this your first studio or an upgrade?

KH: My first studio was soooooo small!  I literally rented a “room”. Now I have a waiting room, older children area and newborn room!

IMB: How did you find this studio space?

KH: I wasn’t looking actually! My best friend owns an online children’s clothing company and I do lots of pictures for her. She mentioned she had some space available for rent and I checked it out and it was PERFECT! I knew when I first walked in that is was gonna work. I have a HUGE waiting area that also works for my older babies. And a seperate newborn room that has a HUGE closet to store props. It’s the perfect size.


Thank you, Katie!


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  • Debbie Whitfield

    That was great!


  • Ashley Jernigan

    Awesome work Katie!! Keep it up! You are a true artist that captures the moments in a babies life that are most precious to every mother!


  • I’m curious how the newborns react to strobe flashes? Do they wake up? Love your shots by the way!


    Katie hardy Reply:

    Crystal, not at all. The light box is feathered so it’s not directly on them :)


  • Definitely one of the best posts ever. I wish all posts were this open and helpful. Thanks so much!


  • Thanks for the great tips to tell parents. It never occurred to me to have the mom not be in the room, but it does make sense. And I love the idea to tell them to bring stuff to do, like fill out their thank you cards for people who gave baby gifts. :)


  • Very interesting post, I run a commercial studio where session only last 1.5 hours, it has to be this way as i do 10+ shoots a week for all variety of subjects.
    This sort of shoot is very specialised and I would be very interested to Know how you price this style of set up? I Completly respect your experience and skills as an artist and woudlnt use this information in any way of personal gain :)
    To Spend 3 hours shooting and aim to get 5-10 images doesnt seem cost effective unless your charging upfront for the images and covering your time.
    Like alot of studios, I offer Cheap vouchers with a few Small Prints included with “no Obligation” to purchase more but thats the whole point. I will shoot 20+ different compositions, lighting set ups and Styles so that come viewing time there are 50+ finished images to choose from. If clients dont buy anything then yes I loose about 3-4 hours of work but my ratio isnt bad.
    Would love to hear your side of the business plan and how people approach your prices.
    Great work again :) x


  • Sweet baby photos. I agree that some newborn session can take up to 3 hours. My last one just took that long. I told Mom not to get discouraged. I didn’t mind at all…. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos! Angela Butler – Ft. Campbell, KY – Family and Newborn Photographer


  • you have a excellent blog here! would you like to have the invite blogposts on my website?


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