Tips For A Successful Newborn Session
Updated: Jan 24, 2018
I LOVE photographing newborns! Newborn photography is a delicate art, and it's amazing to be a part of the very beginning of your baby's life. There is some prep and planning that can help make your session as successful as possible. Here are a few tips to help you get the very best out of your time with me.
…LET’S GET STARTED!
LET’S PENCIL YOU IN! I recommend that you schedule your newborn session PRIOR to your baby’s birth to ensure a spot on our calendar. Contact me as soon as you know you want me to photograph your baby. Unless you have a scheduled induction or c-section, we won't actually book a specific date, but I will mark you down on my calendar so I know to expect your call. I never book more than 3 newborns a month, so the sooner you can notify me, the better! Then, you, your spouse, your mom, ANYONE can shoot me an email soon after you deliver so we can arrange a time for the session.
BIRTH DAY! Newborn sessions are best to complete within the first 14 days of life. In my opinion, the very BEST time is between 4-10 days after their arrival. I’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 me to handle them. 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.
WHERE? I can photograph your baby in the studio, or in the comfort of your home. If the weather is warm enough and you’re comfortable with the idea, we can take the session outdoors. PLEASE don't worry if your house is a mess! You just had a BABY. . . I EXPECT it to be a mess (and will feel like a failure myself if it's not!) 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!
LIFESTYLE VS POSED...WHAT'S THE DIFF?
Lifestyle sessions ALWAYS take place in your home and are much less formal. I come there just to capture your new life with a newborn. . . feeding the baby, changing diapers, cuddling, and if it happens (as it usually does), baby sleeping peacefully. While we will utilize items in your home, I don't bring any of my props and don't scrutinize about molding them into the perfect position. It's a very "raw" and real-life session. Because of that, lifestyle session usually yield more images and the fee includes more copyrights, because the editing is simpler. These sessions are also only 1 hour long. I absolutely LOVE lifestyle sessions.
Studio sessions, on the other hand, are very formal. We spend 90% of the time setting up the shot, making sure everything is perfect, getting the baby to sleep, and the actual picture taking is very minimal. We use props, blankets, head-bands, and backdrops to stage beautiful photographs of your sweet baby. Because we spend so much time perfecting everything, I allow a bit more time for these sessions and they usually last about 1.5 hours. We aim for at least 3 different poses, which is typically some kind of wrapped/swaddled shot, one with a prop (such as a bucket or basket), and one if the total buff on a blanket. If desired, we can also get family and sibling pictures, as well. These sessions include your choice of 10 edited and enhanced images with copyrights, and while they are typically in the studio, I can also come to your home.
Want a little of both? That's fine, too! We can always split your session 1/2 and 1/2 and cover both styles of shooting :)
LOVELY LIGHT! If I'm shooting in your home, I ask that you open all of the blinds and curtains in your home prior to our 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 we prefer to use it whenever possible.
CRANK THE HEAT! I recommend that you keep your home a bit warmer than normal during the session. (Like a toasty 80 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. Bonus points if you’re willing to make a few back and forth trips to the dryer to keep baby’s blankets warm! They love that!
LOOSEN UP! Please loosen your baby’s diaper and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those little imprint marks time to disappear. (Your baby will be naked in most of the shots, but I pose them so that all the “important bits” are not on display.)
SLEEPY? 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! If you're doing a studio session, usually the car ride over will lul them into a nice sleep before we begin.
HUNGRY? 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. I'm 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!
BABY SNUGGLES Once the session is ready to begin, please use this time to sit back, relax, and let me do the work! If you're coming to the studio, please let me remove your baby from the car seat. I want to make sure your baby is jostled as little as possible and will immediately be wrapping your baby to help them fall into a deeper sleep for the first set of photographs.
VOLUME CONTROL! 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, or wait for them to arrive to the studio after the baby is finished (or leave early once their photos are finished, if they come at the beginning of the session). If you have a noisy pet, you may want to do the same.
PATIENCE IS KEY! Baby’s mood and willingness to sleep will determine what sorts of poses and how much variety we are able to fill in that time. Unfortunately…this isn’t something we can predict! If everyone remains calm,that will help keep your baby from picking up on any frustration in the room. And if sleep doesn’t happen, that’s okay! Wide-eyed newborn photos are beautiful too
RELAX! Let me say it again… Relaxxx! I’m pretty comfortable holding and posing newborns. I've had three of my own, I handled babies as a volunteer in Riley NICU, and I've been photographing newborns for 8 years. Your baby is in safe hands, I promise! So feel free to rest and leave the room for a bit if you’d like. I’ve had parents who’ve used this time to take a nap, shower…and even run out for coffee. All totally acceptable! If I have a question or need you for feeding, I’ll come and track you down.
POOP HAPPENS! Your baby is going to be in the buff for the majority of this shoot. I sort of expect them to use our blankets (or me) as his/her own personal potty. I wash all of our baby props and blankets between each session with non-scented baby detergent, and any bodily fluids are no big deal for me! If you have a stack of old towels, extra wipes and blankets available for when things get messy, that can be very helpful! *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.
PROPS! I have a collection of bowls, baskets, blankets, knit hats and headbands that I have for you to chose from and utilize. You are also welcome to use any of your own props. Looks for items with texture and color to help make your images unique. If you have any family heirlooms, toys, hats, props, etc. that you would like me to use in your session, please gather them before we arrive. 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 and prioritize what is a "must have" vs something you just thought might work well.
BUT WHAT DO *I* WEAR? Keep it simple. Throw in a little color if you’d like, but skip the busy patterns. Cotton knit camis and knit tops work great for moms. Skin-on-skin portraits with you holding your baby against you is also beautiful and SO timeless! If you're open to doing these shots, please let me know and strapless top or tank is a perfect 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.
Did I miss anything? Have a more specific question? I'm more than happy to help in any way I can. So just shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call: 317-501-7502