Newborn Session Tips
The first year is one of the most precious times in your child's life. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to capture moments during this fleeting time for my clients to treasure for a lifetime. I like to break the year into milestones and do a session for newborn, sitting and the first birthday. Of course, you are welcome to schedule additional sessions as well.
For clients looking for multiple sessions throughout the year, Baby's First Year plans are available. I offer a wide selection of artwork, including something for your walls, keepsake boxes to store the precious moments of your baby's first year, or a gorgeous album to be treasured for a lifetime.
I prefer that newborn sessions be scheduled within the first 14 days of life. However, the BEST time is between 7-12 days after your baby’s arrival. I’ll be moving your little bundle of joy around and scrunching him/her into those sweet sleepy newborn images, so I want to make sure he/she is sleepy enough to allow me to do this.
After day 14, it’s a little more difficult to get baby into that deep sleep that came so easily in those first few days…so we may not 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.
Most of the images I’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 it will be worth it in the end!
A well fed baby is a happy baby! Please feed and burp baby when you get to your session to ensure a happy, sleepy “milk drunk” baby. Let him/her eat until he/she doesn’t want another drop. If you are bottle feeding, don’t worry about measuring this time. You won’t spoil baby and they will be so full and happy, they’ll be out in no time. Aren’t we all happier with a full belly?
After the baby is full, make sure to burp really well. Gas can take a sleepy, happy baby to an uncomfortable and irritable one in seconds. I’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!
PREPARE FOR THE WARMTH!
The room will be 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!
I will do whatever I can to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session. I’ll use a white noise machine, and try to keep it quiet. If you have children and would like them to be included in some photos, I 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! I ask that everyone remain calm, should baby not want to sleep, since he/she 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.
Let me say it again… Relaxxx!
As a mom and aunt myself, I’m very comfortable holding and posing newborns, and I would never put your baby in an unsafe position. Your baby is in safe hands, I promise! So yes, feel free to rest and leave the room for a bit if you’d like.
IN CASE YOU MISSED THAT: RELAX!
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! We aren’t going to get ANY good photos!” It isn’t a disaster, and we will still get great photos!
I take the baby’s lead; getting him/her to sleep before posing takes time and he/she may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. In fact, I’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 the best photos happen when baby isn’t doing what we want.
Just remember: Babies can sense stress and anxiety (especially from their mommies!). 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 some of this shoot, please don’t panic if your baby decides to use our blankets (or us) as his/her own personal potty. This is natural and can be expected. Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it. I wash all of my baby props and blankets after each session with non-scented detergent. 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.
I have a selection of baskets, blankets, knit hats and headbands for your session. You are also, of course, welcome to use any of your own props. Look for items with texture and color to help make your images unique.
If you have any family heirlooms….toys, hats, stuffed animals, blankets, props, etc. that you would like me to use in your session, please bring them with you. We may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but I’ll look through them with you to determine what will work best.
I also recommend that you discuss any ideas, props or poses you have in mind at least a week prior to your session. Feel free to email examples of photos that you come across that you love and want to replicate!
I start planning out your session weeks in advance, so talk to me early on and let me know what you have in mind.
THE NOSE KNOWS!
Mom’s smell is so recognizable to 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 me to help get the 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, and understand those feelings of being a parent to a newborn.
BUT WHAT DO *I* WEAR?
I know! You just had a baby and aren’t feeling your best. But I think 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 we want to capture all of that…so take care of yourself first!
As far as clothing? Keep it simple. Throw in a little color if you’d like, but skip the busy patterns.
For moms, I suggest cotton knit camis and knit tops. I’m 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 DADDY.
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. Those shots of the protective Daddy’s hands holding baby are so precious!
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.
We suggest you NOT wear a button down shirt, and make sure your t-shirts are free of logos or writing. Wrinkles do show up in photos, so please make sure all clothing is ironed or steamed.
I look forward to capturing some beautiful memories of your baby in his/her first few days in this world! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions!