Tips for your newborn session
There is nothing more precious than a newborn baby. I'm a sentimental Momma myself, capturing those sweet and tiny newborn features is one of my favorite things. They grow and change so quickly. In just a matter of weeks, they go from a curled up sleepy little newborn to a pudgy little infant. Next thing you know you're planning a first birthday party! Newborn photography can be challenging but is so rewarding.
Newborn sessions are all about keeping baby happy and capturing those precious memories. Here are a few tips to make your session as successful as possible.
I recommend scheduling your newborn session PRIOR to your baby’s birth. I know you won't have specific dates (unless you are a scheduled c-section, then by all means, schedule the date!) I will pencil your due date on my calendar so that I make sure to leave a time frame available in my schedule around your due date.
Then, contact me after you deliver so we can arrange a time for the session (email or even a text message is fine just make sure to let me know who you are in your text!). Newborns must be scheduled in the first 14 days of life. The best time is between 3-12 days age. This is when they are nice and sleepy still and generally happy to be curled up into adorable poses. Babies past 14 days are sometimes very difficult to curl into newborn poses and while you can still capture adorable images you sometimes won't be able to pose them the same way you can a newborn, of course, this all depends on the baby. Each baby is different and I've had great success with baby's who have been up to 28 days old.
My newborn sessions are done in your home. I bring myself, my posing bag and a ton of backdrops, props and things right to you. If the weather is warm enough and you’re comfortable with it, we can do some shots outdoors. Worried your house is a mess? Don’t! You just had a BABY! I have two kids, a fulltime job and run a photography business, believe me when I say I understand clutter! I don’t need much space, but, I may have to move things around to make room to shoot but don't worry I'll help put it all back!
I prefer to use natural light whenever possible, so if you have a room that gets great natural light let me know, it may be your living room, it might be a bedroom or a kitchen. Sessions are usually done mid-morning to afternoon, when natural lighting is at its best. I do have artificial light source if needed in the shooting environment.
Things you can do prior to your session to help baby be more comfortable:
- Turn up the heat! Newborns are used to being all bundled up, warm and cozy. We are going to remove all their clothing and blankets that they are used to, on top of those 9 months in the womb. A warmer room will keep them happy. Bumping up the thermostat a few degrees (Like a toasty 80 degrees or so.), turning off that AC, will make the session flow more smoothly and help them sleep better. We may be sweating, but baby will be nice and warm…and that’s really all that matters! Crank the heat 30 minutes before our session to ensure that it’s warm enough in time for the clothes yanking…and I’ll be bringing along a space heater to help keep baby in a steady warmth.
- Loosen up! Please loosen your baby’s diaper and remove clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those little imprint marks time to disappear. (Your baby will be naked in most of the shots, but posed so that all the “important bits” are not on display.) If you are uncomfortable with baby being naked for their photos, I suggest having a diaper cover to use as diapers themselves tend to be printed and are not very cute in photos. Make sure to mention it and I will bring extra clothing props and wraps with me!
- Make them sleepy Posed newborn sessions work best when baby is super sleepy. To encourage this, I recommend that you do whatever it takes to make sure baby is nice and exhausted. Give them a bath before their session or try to keep them engaged as much as possible with a newborn! Keeping your little one awake for a bit prior to my arrival on top of your own sleep deprivation might feel like torture, but we think it will be worth it in the end!
- Feeding A well full belly is a happy baby! Please feed and burp baby right before our session to ensure a happy, sleepy “milk drunk” baby. It takes me a little while to get set up after I move all my stuff into your home from my vehicle, feel free to use this time to feed baby also. I am also more than happy to take a break to refill that belly anytime during our session. It is not uncommon to have to feed a baby several times throughout a newborn session, it's all about keeping that belly full.
- Pacifiers Even if your little one doesn't normally use one or you really don't want to use a pacifier with your baby long term, it's very helpful to have one handy on photo day. Being able to suck soothes them and helps them to settle into positions, and we can just pop it out right before we snap a photo. The Soothie brand pacifiers work great and tend to not leave little marks on their cheeks like some other types do.
- Make the bed Photographer fact of the day: I NEVER make the bed. Okay maybe on sheet washing day (just kidding, not even then, I just throw the blankets over the top and pretend). If you've seen any newborn photos of families on beds, they are adorable. If you have a cute bedroom and a light solid colored or not heavily pattered bed spread, we may take some family photos of everyone on the bed. If you are interested in this type of photo make sure you make the bed and tidy up the space around the bed and make sure to let me know you'd like to use it!
Things to remember:
- Patience, patience, patience,
Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. My sessions average 3 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. You never know what you are going to get. Try to not get upset or frustrated if your baby is not wanting to sleep or fussy, babies can pick up on the frustration. In the end, if your baby doesn't want to sleep, wide-eyed newborns take gorgeous photos too!
- Keep it Calm
Relax. Feel free to take a break, take a shower, take a nap, eat with both hands for the first time since your baby was born. Your baby is in safe hands. I don't mind and if I need your for anything I will come find you. Half of your session will involve cuddling, feeding and diaper changes, don't get upset if your baby is having a hard time falling into a deep sleep, it happens!
- Everybody poops!
Your baby is going to be in the buff for the majority of this shoot. Please don’t panic if your baby decides to use blankets (or someone) as his/her own personal potty. Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it. Props are washed between each use for this reason. It would definitely be helpful if you had a stack of old towels, extra wipes, and blankets available for when things get messy.
I will be bringing some of my collection of baskets, blankets, knit hats and headbands so you do not have to worry about having these things. If you have something special in mind that you've seen or just something that you love that you would like to have me use as a prop let me know ahead of time so that I can do my best to work in into a pose. (and I can make sure that I bring coordinating colors to use as backdrops.)
- Photos with Baby
My new Moms almost always balk at being in front of the camera. You just had a baby, you are beautiful, I promise. Keep it simple, solid colored tops or just a cotton cami so that you can get those beautiful skin to skin pictures. By all means wear those yoga pants, if that's what is comfortable! There's a good chance I might show up in mine since I do a lot of crawling around on the floor and up and downs. This is all about comfort!! For Dad, a short sleeve tee is best, solid color (preferably white or black, no logos).
Have a more specific question?
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