Tips for a Successful Newborn Photo Session
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL NEWBORN SESSION
LET’S PENCIL YOU IN!
It is best that you schedule your newborn session PRIOR to your baby’s birth to ensure a spot on my calendar. Contact me, please during your second trimester and we’ll pencil you in.
Then, shoot me an email soon after you deliver so we can arrange a time for the session.
Newborn sessions should be scheduled within the first 14 days of life. However, the BEST time is between 3-7 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 me 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 I’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 I can easily edit problem areas, I prefer to do as little retouching as possible to baby’s skin.
The majority of my newborn sessions take place in your home. If the weather is warm enough and you’re comfortable with the idea, we can take the session outdoors. (Baby being all pose-y and cute in a big, open field or at the base of an old tree? SWOON!)
Worried because your house is a mess? Don’t even stress out! You just had a BABY! If you didn’t have dishes piled in the sink, dirty clothes and baby items strewn all about, I’d think you were weird. Clutter is definitely expected! I really don’t need much space and can shoot around any problem areas.
I ask that you open all of the blinds and curtains in your home prior to my arrival. This enables me to find the best source of natural light in your home, so that I can set up my “mini studio” in the best possible location. Nothing flatters like natural light, so I prefer to use it whenever possible. For this reason, sessions are normally done mid-morning to late-afternoon when window lighting is as its best.
When I arrive, I will walk through your home looking for the best light and that is where we’ll do a majority of the shoot. Sometimes the best location ends up being a foyer, by the backdoor or kitchen…usually wherever there is a large window.
I w ill also bring additional lighting equipment to help out when needed.
CRANK THE HEAT!
I recommend that you keep your home a bit warmer than normal during the session. (Like a toasty 76-78 degrees or so.)
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!
Crank the heat 30 minutes before our session to ensure that it’s warm enough in time for the clothes yanking…and I’ll bring along a space heater to help keep baby in a steady warmth.
Please loosen your baby’s diaper and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those little imprint marks time to disappear. (You baby will be naked in most of the shots, but I pose them so that all the “important bits” are not on display.)
Most of the images we’ll be shooting work best if the baby is in a deep sleep. To encourage this, I 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 I think it will be worth it in the end!
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. We’ll also be more than happy to take as many breaks as needed to help him/her re-fuel. It’s tough work being a model!
Please do whatever you can to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session. If you have other children that might create noise, try to find a sitter or family member to take them away from the home for a few hours. If you have a noisy pet, you may want to do the same.
* If you have children and would like them to 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 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! Please, 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.
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! She is not going to get ANY good photos!”
It isn’t, and I will!
I 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 doesn’t do what I 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 my blankets (or me) as his/her own personal potty. This is natural and I expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it.
I wash all of my baby props and blankets between each session with non-scented baby detergent.
It would definitely be helpful if you had a stack of old towels, extra wipes and blankets available for when things get messy though.
*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.
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 me know! I take every measure to ensure that your baby is never in any danger. For that reason, I 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 I believe 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 I want to capture all of that…so take care of yourself first! And feel free to tell your husband that I am 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. I personally prefer earth tones that go so well with skin tones, the less distraction from that precious little face, the better! (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 cotton knit camis and knit tops.
I am also a big fan of skin-on-skin portraits with you holding your baby against you. They’re so simple + timeless!
So if you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top or tank as an alternative.
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.
I suggest you NOT wear button down shorts, 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. The retouching involved is extensive and will incur an extra fee.
MAKE THE BED!
Is there anything more simple + gorgeous than a new family cuddled up in bed together? The answer is no!
So I might suggest that we move the session to your bedroom at some point. If that’s something that appeals to you, a few tips:
1. Make the bed, just this once.
2. A solid blanket/comforter (or something that isn’t TOO busy is best.)
3. I highly recommend white to light cream bedding to keep things light and airy.
To personalize your session I recommend you prepare the following:
•Blankets that are special to you (made by grandma, embroidered with baby name, matches nursery, etc.)
•Hats, bows or booties you love
•Fun personal items that represent a hobby, favorite sports team, family heirlooms, etc.
Did I miss anything? Have a more specific question?
I am more than happy to help in any way we can
so just shoot me an email: email@example.com
or give me a call: (904) 888-2223