TIPS FOR A SUCCESFULL NEWBORN SESSION
We LOVE photographing newborns!
Newborn photography is incredibly challenging, but it’s so amazing to be a part of baby’s life when they are just days old. There’s a bit of prep and planning that needs to go into these sessions to make them more successful though. I've compiled a few tips below to help us get the very best out of your upcoming newborn session.
Let's get started...
LET’S PENCIL YOU IN!
We recommend that you schedule your newborn session PRIOR to your baby’s birth to ensure a spot on our calendar. Contact us during your second trimester and we’ll pencil you in. Then, shoot us an email soon after you deliver so we can arrange a time for the session.
(And we always feel super special when dad’s put us on the official “baby is here!” call list! Just sayin’…)
Newborn sessions should be scheduled within the first 14 days of life. However, the BEST time is between 5-14 days after their arrival. We’ll be moving them around and scrunching them into those sweet sleepy newborn images, so we want to make sure they’re sleepy enough to allow us to handle them. Plus, babies just tend to do a lot better with the session within their first 7 days. Somewhere around day 8 they discover the joy that is stretching! Once that happens…they’re not about to let us get them into those curly poses without a fight! After day 14, it’s almost impossible to get baby into that deep sleep that came so easily in their first few days…so it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to get them into any of the more bendy newborn poses. And, keep in mind that newborn acne (and sometimes colic) is likely to flare up after day 14. While we can usually edit problem areas, we prefer to do as little retouching as possible to baby’s skin to preserve all those fine details of fresh newborn skin.
Newborn sessions take place in my home studio. If the weather is warm enough and you’re comfortable with the idea, we can take the session outdoors for a few shots.
THE HEAT IS ON
The studio will be set to a toasty 80 degrees throughout the session. Newborns are used to being all bundled up, warm + cozy…and then we come in and yank off all their clothes for those adorable naked baby shots. They tend not to like that too much! Pushing up the thermostat is guaranteed to 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! Dress light!
Most of the images we’ll be shooting work best if the baby is in a deep sleep. To encourage this, we recommend that you do whatever it takes to make sure baby is nice and exhausted. Keeping your little one awake on top of your own sleep deprivation might feel like torture, but we think it will be worth it in the end!
SKIP THE COFFEE
I know it hardly seems fair after a long, sleepless night, but try to cut out all caffeine if mama is breastfeeding. While it may be exactly what you need to help keep your eyes open, it will also keep baby wide eyed and bushy tailed too.
A well fed baby is a happy baby! Please feed and burp baby right before our session to ensure a happy, sleepy (“milk drunk”) baby. Be prepared as baby will be more hungry during the session so we also be take breaks to help him/her re-fuel. It’s tough work being a model! Some babies 'cluster-feed' in their early days as well. Many new parents elect to bring a bottle (breast milk or formula) to help baby get a fuller tummy for the photo session.
TO BINK OR NOT TO BINK?
Yes, it can be a touchy topic for some and I fully understand. Many parents are advised against the binkie and worry about nipple confusion or their babe getting 'hooked'. I assure you, using one during the very short time in the studio will not affect baby. Their natural instinct when awake is to eat, so a little fooling can help sooth them back to sleep for all those sweet poses. If you choose to avoid a binkie all together, we will certainly respect your wishes.
We want to do whatever we can to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session.
If you have children that will be included in some photos, we recommend bringing them in at the beginning or end of a session and then having someone take them. Only those being photographed should be present, for safety and to help maintain a calm environment.
PATIENCE IS KEY
Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Unfortunately…this isn’t something we can predict! We ask that everyone remain calm, should he/she not want to sleep, since your baby will pick up on any frustration in the room. And if sleep doesn’t happen, that’s okay! Wide-eyed newborn photos are beautiful too.
Let me say it again… Relaxxx!
We’re pretty comfortable holding and posing newborns. Your baby is in safe hands, we promise!
So yes! Feel free to rest and leave the room for a bit if you’d like. We’ve had parents who’ve used this time to take a nap, …and even run out for a quick meal. All totally acceptable to us! If we have a question or need you for feeding, we’ll come and track you down.
IN CASE YOU MISSED THAT: RELAX!
Moms tend to stress out because this is a new experience…and they aren’t used to the waiting game that is newborn photography. They see their baby being fussy or having a difficult time getting settled and panic. “This is a disaster! They aren’t going to get ANY good photos!” It isn’t, and we will! We take the baby’s lead; getting them to sleep before posing takes time and they may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. In fact, we’d say that a good 50% of your session will involve feeding, diaper changes, and cuddling to get baby comfortable. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what baby is giving us. Sometimes that best photos happen when baby isn’t doing what we want. Just remember: Babies can sense stress and anxiety (especially from their mommy’s!) It’s super important that EVERYONE remain calm and relaxed during this session. Keeping the environment as mellow as possible is pretty much the only way we’re going to get the shots we’re looking for.
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 our blankets (or us) as his/her own personal potty. This is natural and we expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it. We wash props and blankets between each session. (This is why we only schedule one newborn session per day!), and we have plenty of supplies on hand.
*If you would like shots in a diaper, it’s a good idea to have a cloth diaper, diaper cover in a solid color, bloomers, or something to put over the diaper. Diapers on their own tend to look a little messy and distracting in photos, but throwing a cover over it cleans things up.
We have a wide collection of bowls, baskets, blankets, knit hats and headbands ready to dress up your little one. You are also, of course, welcome to use any of your own props. If you have any family heirlooms, toys, hats, props, etc. that you would like me to use in your session, please let me know. We may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but we’ll look through them with you to determine what will work best.
*We also STRONGLY recommend that you discuss any ideas, props or poses you have in mind at least a week prior to your session. We start planning out your session weeks in advance, so talk to us early on and let us know what you have in mind!
THE NOSE KNOWS
As a mother, your smell is so recognizable to your baby, that it may be necessary for mom to step out of the room for a portion of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, only to allow us to help the get baby thinking sweet, sleepy thoughts…instead of “where’s my milk?!”
Your baby’s safety comes first! If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let us know! We take every measure to ensure that your baby is never in any danger. For that reason, we will always make sure that a parent or assistant is nearby to lend support if needed.
BUT WHAT DO *I* WEAR?
I know! You just had a baby and aren’t feeling your best. But we think this is the perfect time to pamper yourself! Go have your hair + makeup done (or better yet, have someone come to you!), schedule a massage or have your nails done. Looking super relaxed and at your best will make you feel more comfortable during the session. This is an exciting time in your life and we want to capture all of that…so take care of yourself first! And feel free to tell your husbands that we’re making you if they need a little convincing!
As far as clothing? Keep it simple. Throw in a little color if you’d like, but skip the busy patterns. (And please don’t feel the need to match everyone in white shirts and jeans – there’s simple…and then there’s boring!). For moms, we suggest a simple cotton knit cami, or we have a few beautiful maternity gowns available at the studio. We’re also big fans of skin-on-skin portraits with you holding your baby against you. They’re so simple and timeless! So if you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top or tank as an alternative, we can always dress it up with some stretchy lace for a lovely touch.
FOR THE MEN.
Your hands, and possibly even your feet, will play a major role in this session, so it’s important that you tend to them too! Even if you aren’t planning on participating much in the session, you’ll still be handling your baby a bit, so it’s a good idea to touch up on your grooming. Trim and tidy your nails and apply lotion to any dry skin. (It also never hurts to dab a little moisturizer on your face to help you look more refreshed. Those late nights can take a toll on your skin!). A little clothing advice? Long or short sleeved knits are best. (Make sure there isn’t too much bagginess in the sleeve.) Undershirts also work well. Got tats? Shirtless daddy shots are always amazing! We suggest you NOT wear button down shirts, and make sure your t-shirts are free of logos or too much writing. *Wrinkles do show up in photos, so please make sure all clothing is ironed or steamed.
Gender Reveal, Maternity and Grow Up Plans avail