Congratulations on the birth of your new little one!!! What a special time in your life! New changes and new challenges but accompanied by so much new love.
Newborn photography can be challenging, but it's so amazing to be a part of baby's life when they are just days old and give parents memories to treasure for years to come. There's a bit of prep and planning that needs to go into these sessions to make them more successful and to get the very best out of your upcoming newborn session, here are a few tips I've compiled to help:
- I recommend you schedule your session at least 3 months prior to giving birth to ensure a spot on my calendar. Then contact me as soon as you can after you deliver so we can schedule the session.
- Birth Day!:
- Ideally, newborn sessions should be scheduled within the first 14 days of life, the BEST time being between 3-7 days after their arrival. However; this isn't always possible because of a variety of situations.
- The newer the baby, the easier it is to move them around and pose them into those cute sleepy newborn poses. Between 3-7 days, they're at their sleepiest, which allows for much smoother handling and transitioning between poses.
- At around 8 days old, babies discover how much fun it is to stretch and move. All this moving makes posing more difficult. Around day 14, it's harder to get baby into a deeper sleep. And newborn acne tends to flare up around then too. Small problem areas can easily be fixed, but full blown acne can take much longer to touch up in post production.
- Preparing Baby:
- If possible, try to keep your baby awake for at least a full hour prior to your session. If they fall asleep just before arrival, that's ok. The key is to make them want to sleep during their photo session.
- Feed/nurse your baby just before arriving. There will be breaks for feeding during the session, but arriving fully fed and ready to go will ensure baby is sleepy enough to get the poses and photos needed. 'Milk drunk' babies make the best models.
- If driving for a long distance before your session, plan ahead so there's enough time to feed the baby before you arrive. Also try to keep them awake if possible during the drive so they'll want to sleep once you get there.
- Dress your baby is an outfit that's easily removed. Button up outfits work well. Try not to dress them in anything that requires being pulled over their head to remove it. Baby will be naked or wrapped in a diaper for most of the session.
- Remove tighter fitting clothing that will leave a mark in baby's skin about a half hour before the session. Keep diapers loose enough so they don't leave a mark but of course, tight enough so there are no accidents.
- Pacifiers make posing much much easier as babies suck to soothe themselves. Used just for the short duration of the photo session, it's highly unlikely it will have any affect on your nursing relationship if you're breastfeeding. If you have a heartbeat bear or lambie, or any other type of sound machine you use to get your baby to sleep at home, please bring it.
- Baby will be naked for many of the photos but if you have a special outfit you want a photo of him or her in, please bring it, but no more than one please, as repeated outfit changes can be upsetting to little ones.
- Preparing parents:
- Being a new parent, especially a new mom, is stressful. Babies can sense a person's anxiety levels and respond to them. I'll do everything in my power to keep the photo session a calm and enjoyable experience. Parents are free to help with posing or just sit back and relax for a bit. Staying mellow throughout the session is essential to getting the beautiful photos we're looking for.
- Photos of parents with their new baby are just as important as photos of just the baby. So at the end of every session, I like to get several shots of just mom and baby, just dad and baby and then all three together. You're a new family and there's nothing more special than having a photo of you all together celebrating that new life cradled in your arms. So as not to distract from that new little one, dress in something comfortable but simple and neutral. Busy patterned clothing will draw the eye to your clothes instead of to your beautiful baby and your loving gaze as you hold your little one. *if you have concerns about what you plan on wearing, feel free to shoot me a quick photo of the outfit you were planning on and we can discuss it more together.
- Moms: you just had a baby and your body will look like you just had a baby and that's awesome! Celebrate it! Own it! You made a person and then brought it into the world! That's no small feat! You're beautiful and you did a beautiful thing. Please don't shy away from the camera because you're worried about how you look. But also, don't forget to take care of yourself. You are not selfish for taking some 'me time'. Self care is an essential part of being the best mom you can be.
- Dads: Portraits of you holding your little one close in your arms and giving them a kiss tend to be the shots that get moms crying every time. Keeping your attire simple and neutral is suggested so as not to distract from the connection between you and your child. Try not to be too matchy-matchy with mom. Simple short sleeve or long sleeve knits work well. Undershirts work well for this too. If you wear a watch, it will most likely cause a glare or reflection because of the flash. Your hands will be featured often, whenever you're holding your little one, so make sure they're well tended to.
- In order to keep your baby as comfortable and cozy as possible, the heat will be set very high in the studio. Parents should dress in layers, as it will be hot for us adults.
- Baby's in charge:
- The baby's mood will dictate how I proceed during the session. If he/she's not in the mood for a certain pose, we move on and that's perfectly ok. Getting the baby to sleep and comfortable enough to pose takes lots of time and patience (and milk and cuddles and more!). We'll take frequent breaks for feeding, diaper changes and whatever else you think baby might need to get comfortable.
- Parents know their baby best. If you sense baby's ready for a break or might want a pacifier or has a dirty diaper, etc, please feel free to let me know.
- I have an assortment of bowls, baskets, headbands, wraps, outfits and backdrops in the studio to work with. If there's a certain look you had in mind, please let me know when you book so I have time to prepare and setup for that.
- If you have your own props you'd like incorporated, let me know about them in advance so we can discuss if they'll work well in the setup or not.
- Please let me know if there are certain color palettes you prefer, or what colors the nursery is decorated with, so the resulting photographs of your baby will work well in your home. There's a spot in the Questionnaire I send to all clients about their preferences, so let me know there or in our email communication.
- It happens. So does pee and so does spit up. I'm prepared for that. All of my backdrops and fabrics can be washed so no worries! Every item of clothing or fabric your baby uses while in the studio gets washed immediately after your session in hypoallergenic baby detergent. So each session starts with fresh and clean materials.
- You know your baby's signals better than I do. If you see them starting to make the poop face, let me know asap! Any mess we can avoid ahead of time is so much better than having to clean one up. If you see something, say something. :)
Need more info to help you plan your session?
with any questions or concerns.