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.
PLANNING YOUR SESSION
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. 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. Be prepared to spend up to 3 hours at my home studio. In the case of a multiples it may take 4 hours. It sounds like a long time, but it goes by very fast and is absolutely necessary to allow time for feeding, changing, soothing, dressing, set changes, and careful posing. Family members who will take pictures with baby will go first. Afterwards, they can relax in another room watch TV, using their personal devices or even take a nap.
TIPS FOR A SMOOTH SESSION
PREPARING YOUR BABY
Tip 1: 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 followed by a massage with skin moisturizer always does the trick. Next, If you are within 30 minutes of the studio, please give your baby a "full feeding" 30 minutes prior to leaving home. They will likely fall into a deep sleep on the car ride over and sleep through the first set of pictures before needing another feeding. If your baby is not full, this tip will not work. If you are are 45 minutes or more from the studio, we will want to top your baby off with a partial feeding upon arrival if needed. This is very important. Without following these steps, we spend too much time getting your baby to sleep and not as much time photographing them.
TIP 2: 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. This is especially helpful if your milk is flowing slowly or not fully developed. Be sure to avoid spicy food or foods that cause allergies or 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 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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. Also we prefer not to photograph boys within 4-5 days after circumcision as posing may further irritate the area.
Tip 6: 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 7: 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
Beyond what baby is wearing to the session, you are not required to bring any clothing to the session. If you do however, please bring no more than 1 posing outfit from home. My style leans toward keeping the focus on your baby baby simply and naturally in the smallest size he/she will ever be. For this reason, your baby will be photographed in wraps (swaddles), specially sized newborn outfits provided by the studio, and/or naked. If bringing an outfit from home, please consider timeless neutral, pastel, or muted colors (creams, beige, white, blue, grey, pastel pink, lavender). I will do use an excessive amount of props that you will see on the internet from some newborn photos.
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
Baby Hair Brush
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.
YOUR PATIENCE AND CALM I do not force babies during my sessions. I take time to allow them to eat, be soothed, have diaper changes, as well as different outfits, poses and sets. Also remember to remain calm. Babies get upset when they pick up on frustration and anger. I will not allow the session to continue if parents become argumentative with each other or their children.
AT THE 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.
Poop & Pee
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 at the beginning. A white/cream short sleeve shirt is suggested for Dads and a white/cream tank, cami or blouse top is suggested for Moms. Black and Greys are also ok. 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 ($25 fee each sibling). 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
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.