Tips For A Successful Newborn Session
I really enjoy photographing newborns! Being a part of their first days of their life is a challenging but oh so rewarding experience! There's a fair amount of prep and planning that goes into a session to make it successful. I have compiled a few tips to help you & I get the very best out of your upcoming newborn session
. So here you go!
When should you schedule?
My recommendation is that you schedule a session PRIOR to baby's birth to ensure that you get a spot on my calendar. Let's chat during your second trimester and we will pencil you in.
When you create your "who to call" list after baby's arrival, putting my name on the list will be a good way to contact me and make sure we arrange a time to do babys photos.
Yay! Baby is here! The first 14 days of life is a good window of time to capture newborn photos; however, the optimal time frame would be between 3-7 days of being born. This is to ensure that baby is still in that sweet sleepy newborn stage where we can hold & move them around without upsetting them too much; they are much more forgiving before day 8 (when they begin to discover stretching). After day 14 is when baby acne really likes to flare up; to diminish the amount of retouching/editing, lets schedule in the sweet, sleepy, perfect skinned window before they are 1 week old.
Your home. Simple as that. I want to stay where you are comfortable and where baby is comfortable. My style is very much lifestyle; take babys first photos, in babys first home. It's like I'm not even there!
Do not stress about keeping a clean house for photo! Baby things strewn about? Awesome. Dishes in the sink? Great! You just had a BABY; guess what, you get a pass! I don't need a lot of space to create beautiful photos; I have the ability to work around any problem areas.
Furniture will get moved around to create more light, to remove distracting objects from a photo, etc. But don't worry, I will move everything back to its original place.
Getting that natural light.
Prior to my arrival, please make sure to open ALL of your blinds and curtains. This will help us find the best source of natural light so we can set up in best possible area. To ensure that we get that swoon worthy photo, the best window light happens around mid-morning to early afternoon.
When I arrive, I will want to walk around the entirety of the house to find the prime location and where we will do majority of the shoot. Some of the best locations are in foyers, near the backdoor (even the kitchen); basically wherever there is a LARGE window.
Crank the heat!
My recommendation is to keep the home nice and toasty warm (80 degrees is a great temperature).
Baby are used to being bundled up and cozy warm; then we come in and take off all their clothes for those adorable naked baby shots. They do not enjoy that very much. So ensure a smooth transition and happy baby, we want to keep it toasty; all that matters is keeping them happy and warm.
30 minutes prior to your session, crank the heat. Once I arrive, heat will be at a great temperature to remove babys clothes.
(If you are willing to make a few trips to the dryer to keep blankets warm; bonus points for you!)
Please loosen up babys' diaper at least 30 minutes before the session. This will help those pesky imprint marks to disappear for those adorable little naked baby photos.
Your session will go a lot smoother when baby is in a deep slumber. In order to get the best photos possible, do whatever it takes to get them nice & exhausted! Keeping them awake before the session might feel like torture to you, but I really think it will be worth it in the end.
A full tummy makes a happy baby! Please make sure to feed and burp baby right before the session (or right when I arrive as I am setting up). This is will help baby get into that sleepy "milk drunk" phase. I am more than happy to take as many breaks as possible throughout the session to get baby re-fueled and ready to go again!
Please do whatever you can to keep the noise level to a minimum during the session. If you have other children that may create noise, I recommend trying to find a sitter to take them away from home for a few hours. This also applies to pets; please have somewhere they can go so they won't disturb a sleeping baby.
*If you have children that you want to include in the session, I recommend bringing them in at the beginning or end of the session. And then have someone take them during the rest of the session. To maintain that calm environment, only those being photographed should be present during the session.
Patience, Patience, Patience!
A full newborn session can last anywhere from 2-4 hours; all depending on baby's mood and willingness to sleep. We cannot predict the outcome ahead of time! If baby doesn't want to cooperate, we all have to stay calm; baby will pick up on any frustrations in the room. If sleep isn't happening, no big deal! Wide-eyed newborn photos are just as precious!
I understand fully that this is your precious cargo. But I want to say it again... RELAX. I am 100% confident around newborns. I have years of childcare experience, majority of that time with infants. I am comfortable holding newborns (and even putting them to sleep if need be!). Your baby is safe in my hands, I promise!
So, YES. Feel free to leave the room for a bit if you'd like. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy it without worrying if baby is going to start fussing before you finish, take a long shower, you can even take a well deserved nap! This is all totally okay with me, and one I encourage! If I need you for a feeding or have a question, I will absolutely come track you down.
I want to say it again... RELAX.
I know that this is your brand new little human and stress comes with the territory; but we all need to stay patient and relax. I know moms tend to stress out a bit when baby starts to fuss or are having a difficult time and they start to panic about not getting any good photos. Don't worry! I will work with it! I do well with fussy baby's and keeping calm (it's literally my full time job!); I am more than happy to take over if you start to panic.
We will take the baby's lead; they may need to be fed or cuddled before getting them to sleep before posing, and that is totally fine (I love baby cuddles). Fun fact: 50% of the session will include feeding, diaper changes, and baby cuddles; this is all to get them comfortable. If baby just isn't in the mood, we will take a break and pick up when baby is ready.
Please remember: Babies can sense stress & anxiety (especially from mom & dad). Literally the only way we will be able to get the photos we want is with a calm & relaxing environment; so please STAY CALM.
For the majority of the session, baby will be in the buff. So please don't freak out if they decide that my blankets and props are their personal potty. Don't feel embarrassed because poop happens! I wash all of my blankets with unscented laundry detergent.
If you have a stack of old towels, baby wipes, and extra blankets handy; this would be very helpful for when things get messy.
Diapers tend to look a bit messy and distracting in photos, but covering them up with a diaper cover or blanket helps make a better photo.
*if you would like shots in a diaper, its a good idea to use a cloth diaper, diaper cover (in a solid color), bloomers, or something to cover up the disposable diaper.
You are more than welcome to provide any props to use during the session; look for items with texture and color to make your images more unique.
If you have any family heirlooms or props; please gather them all together and have them ready to use for when I arrive. We may not get to use all of the items but I will look through them and determine which ones will work best.
Please talk with me a few days in advance to discuss any specific ideas you may have; props, poses, etc. so I can prepare accordingly ahead of time. Changing things up halfway through a session will make it difficult to keep things going smoothly.
If at any time during the session you are feeling uncomfortable please speak up! Your baby's safety is the first priority and I won't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
What should you wear?
Being a new mom, you may not be feeling at your best. This could be the best time for you to go get pampered! Go get your hair & makeup done, get a mani/pedi; whatever will help you relax and feel comfortable in photos. (majority of photos are of baby, but if you want to sneak in a photo or two of you & baby; I am more than happy to accommodate!)
Clothing: Keep it simple. Throw in a tad bit of color, but no crazy patterns. (Please don't be matchy matchy with white shirts and jeans; theres simple... and then theres boring).
There is also the option of skin on skin! They are simple & timeless and could also help in getting baby to sleep! For mom, if you want photos of breastfeeding, I am more than happy and comfortable to accommodate these but please let me know ahead of time so I can make sure to find a time to get them in.
Make the bed!
Your bedroom may be an option for the photos (its usually light, airy and comfy). So a few tips in case we do move the session in there:
1. make the bed (just this once!)
2. a solid blanket or comforter (no busy patterns).
3. My recommendation is white to light cream bedding (it makes things feel light and airy).
Did I miss something?
Do you have a more specific question?
I am more than happy to help, just shoot me an email!