Newborn sessions are my joy. These sweet brand new little angels are my muse and photographing them simply and genuinely makes my day. I spend some time every day learning to perfect the art of photographing newborns. Hopefully this detailed guide will help you to prepare for your baby's session and help answer any questions or concerns you may have.
NEWBORN SESSION PREPARATION GUIDE
PLANNING YOUR SESSION
When to schedule a session
Newborn sessions are designed for babies 14 days and younger. The best day to photograph your little one is from day 5-10. During this time newborns tend to be sleepier and retain that fresh newborn curl making them easier to pose. After 14 days, newborns are less flexible and will not do certain poses, they tend to develop things like colic and baby acne or peeling, they also tend to be more alert and stay awake longer. It is extremely important to book your baby's session while you are still pregnant. I will initially set your newborn session on a temporary date (usually your due date). I know you'll be just excited as I am to capture those little tiny fingers and toes and sweet puckered lips while these fleeting moments last. So within a day or 2 after giving birth, simply give me a call and we will select the actual date for your newborn session within the first 5-10 days. The session fee and agreement are due at the time of book. Your newborn session will take place in my warm comfortable home studio where we will have everything needed. I supply all of the backdrops, baskets, hats, headbands, wraps, and props for the session, but you are welcomed to bring some of your own. If there is a pose on my website that you particularly like, please be sure to mention it. My style tends to lean more toward simple photos that focus on baby, however we can style your session with a variety of props as desired if planned well in advance of the session date. Be prepared to spend 2-3 hours at my home studio. This allows time for feeding, changing, soothing, dressing, and careful posing. Family members can relax in another room, watch TV, work, take a nap, surf the net on personal devices, until ready to have their photo taken with baby.
THE DAY OF YOUR SESSION
Feeding your baby
A full baby = a sleepy baby, and we need a very sleepy and calm baby in order to achieve those sweet, flexible poses. To encourage this I highly recommend, scheduling the session time around your baby's feeding schedule. Stimulate the baby for at least two hours before your scheduled arrival; a warm bath always does the trick. (Be sure to moisturize baby’s skin following the bath). Also keep them awake during the car ride to the studio. This is very important. Without this, we spend too much time getting your baby to sleep and not as much time photographing them. DO NOT FEED baby for at least 1 hour prior to arrive. You will feed your baby upon arrival to the studio. If this is not possible, then please feed and burp your baby just before leaving the house. This way they can fall asleep in the car ride to the studio.
I 'highly recommend' if you’re solely breastfeeding to pump and bottle feed your milk for your baby's session. Pumped milk in a bottle will quickly satisfy your baby's hunger and reduce session time. Be sure to avoid spicy food or foods that cause gas as gassy babies don’t pose well. Please let me know if you would like a list of troublesome foods for breastfed babies. *If baby happens to be gassy the day of your session, Oval or Gripe Water can be used to help ease baby’s discomfort.
TIP 1: Expose your baby to some diffused daylight once a day in your home within their first few days of life. (as opposed to always keeping the blinds/curtains closed). This will help them get used to light. While newborns don't see well, they are very aware of light. In my experience, babies that are not exposed to much daylight until they reached the studio are somewhat mesmerized by this brighter light and will not fall asleep but instead try to follow the the objects that they see moving in the light instead of falling asleep.
Tip 2: Dress baby in loose fitting clothes (ie a button up sleeper) that do not need to be pulled over the head. This helps to avoid disturbing baby when getting undressed. A simple button up sleeper/onesie is best. No tight fitted socks as they tend to leave lines and red marks on legs. This will show in photos so please avoid the socks.
Tip 3: We will not photograph baby on shot day. If your baby has shots the day before and is still wearing a band-aid, please remove it 1 hour prior to your arrival to the studio.
Tip 4: Some poses will have your babies hands next to their face. To avoid face scratches, Be sure baby's fingernails and toenails are trimmed a day or two before the session. There are specially made baby trimmers for this or some parent choose to bite the nails. This tip is a very important.
Tip 5: Because you’ll be in our studio 2-3 hours, I highly recommend eating a good hearty breakfast before you arrive and bringing a snack for each family member. As much as my goal is for baby to be comfortable, I also want you to be comfortable and at ease too!
What to bring
No more than 1 outfit from home. The focus is your baby in the smallest size he/she will ever be. For this reason, your baby will be photographed in wraps and naked. We will also choose one of the clean hand made fitted newborn outfits provided by our studio. Consider the the color scheme of your home or nursery. When in doubt, neutrals and pastels always work.
2-3 Bottles with formula or pumped breast milk. (highly important to use bottles)
Pacifier (whether or not your baby uses one). I can assure you, your baby will not become dependant on a pacifier in three hours, but I can promise it will help keep him/her calm between poses.
Plenty of diapers/pampers
Burp cloths and a clean washcloth (for eye boogers)
Wipes and ointment (butt paste, desitin, etc)
1-2 receiving blankets
Extra shirt for mom and dad as your baby may have a pee/poop accidents
Baby should arrive in a loose fitted outfit that does not require pulling over the head, no tight socks or headbands that will leave marks on the skin
Aquaphor, vaseline, or natural oil for peeling skin and gripe water for gassy babies (available at Target)
Props: We love adding personal touches to our client sessions. You are welcomed to bring a special prop (such as a neck tie, tutu, knit hats, headbands, personalized item, family heirloom, baby's initial blocks, handmade blanket or small stuffed animal). For large or more elaborate props, please discuss ahead of time with the photographer to ensure your baby’s safety and comfort.
If you will be bringing young siblings to the session, be sure to bring their favorite toys, videos, movies, snacks to keep them occupied until their turn to be photographed with their new sibling. We also have snacks, coloring books, crayons, disney channel and wi-fi for connecting mobile devices.
DURING YOUR SESSION
As you might know babies don’t like the feeling of being naked, they want to be warm and completely snuggled so we generally start with baby fully wrapped on a blanket or in a basket. We then move on to family portraits (parents and siblings). Once these important shots are done, we will then move on to photographing your baby in some of the props that you have chosen. The studio temperature is a warm 80 degrees. I will also have a small heater to keep baby warm and a soothing white noise player which often mimics the soothing swooshing sound in the womb. I usually ask mom or dad to be my assistant at times during the session swapping out props and clothing. When not needed, parents are welcomed to sit back, relax, watch TV, read, or feel free to connect to our wifi for your online needs.
It is completely natural for babies to use blankets, props, me or parents as their own personal potty. Please don’t feel embarrassed. I assure you it has happens at nearly every session. We do however ask parents to bring an extra shirt just in case.
Safety is my utmost number one priority when handling your baby which is why either mom or dad will be my spotter/assistant. All eyes and hands are to be kept near or on baby during posing. During the session I will be mostly handling and posing your baby, but don’t worry I have plenty of experience handling newborns. I will never put your baby in an unsafe pose. I will hold and care for him or her as if they were my own!
I encourage parent portraits with the new baby, and these are usually done near the end. A white/cream short sleeve shirt is suggested for Dads and a white/cream tank, cami or blouse top is suggested for Moms. No busy patterns please. For more artistic shots, Dads may choose to remove their shirts and Moms may choose to be wrapped in a scarf, wrap or other stretchy material available in my studio. These can make for some very tender images.
Moms: I know that you may not feel like yourself right after giving birth, but I strongly encourage you to have a photo taken with your new baby at this stage. He/She will grow up and will want to know what his mother looked like holding him/her close to her. I will photograph you in flattering angles, usually from chest up or in a loose fitting gown to ensure your comfort.
If there are young siblings that you would like photographed with your newborn we will do these shots FIRST. Cream, ivory or white (without patterns or logos) is recommended for older siblings (tops with jeans or even dresses for girls). The more texture the better (knit, lace, etc). They’ll be barefoot, so no need to look for clean shoes.
*Due to the time involved with newborn sessions, we may ask that your spouse/partner take the older siblings home or out for something fun to do while we finish up with the individual newborn shots. If your child is comfortable playing games on your phone or ipad or watching a movie uninterrupted, this is ok as well.
NOTE: VIDEO OR CAMERA DEVICES OF ANY KIND ARE NOT ALLOWED. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING IN OR OUTSIDE MY HOME STUDIO
AFTER YOUR SESSION
After your session is over, I get to work sorting your images for the best of the bunch, followed by a touch of editing to ensure your baby's portraits look great. I'll remove or reduce the appearance of temporary acne and other minor imperfections from his/her skin. The post processing phase usually takes 2 weeks. I will upload your photos online in a private gallery where you will choose your favorites from the comfort of your home. You also have the option of coming back to the studio to review your proofs, view sample products, and place your print order at that time. The choice is yours! It is imperative that you involve all financial decision makers when purchasing prints since it's the only time, your order can be placed. We can setup a payment plan if needed, but all payments must be collected prior to submitting your order to the lab.
Read more about the Proof Viewing and Order process here.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to capture these precious moments in time for your family. It truly means the world to me and I know your photographs will create unforgettable memories for generations to come. Please do not hesitate to let me know if there is anything I can do to make our time together go smoothly.