Congratulations on your precious new baby! I know how exciting this time in your life can be. It is also very fleeting and I’m grateful that you chose me to capture these precious moments. Sessions with newborns are very different from regular sessions in that the session is completely scheduled around your baby’s needs, such as feeding, nursing, napping, or just cuddle time with mommy.
It’s important to note that the scheduling of your newborn session within 10-14 days of life will produce the most beautiful work. Things like baby acne, jaundice, and flaky skin start to set in soon after birth. They are also very sleepy during this time, which makes for great sleepy poses. With their looks and demeanor changing so much within these first few weeks, you’ll be so grateful that you captured this time in their little life.
I’m open to any ideas for your session, but I tend to shoot simple images. That means no big props, no flashy backdrops, and not much extra fluff. I love to swaddle babies in blankets, and prefer to use blankets that belong to the baby to add a personal touch. I do have a setup of different blankets as backdrops, and I welcome any small accessories that you may want to use (i.e. headbands/bows, ties, hats, etc.). I try to discourage clothing items like tutus (scratchy and bunches up), full outfits, or a combination of too many pieces, as we want the baby to be comfortable, sleepy, and most of all, happy. The fewer changes of clothing, or moving around, the better. I also shoot lifestyle/documentary-style images, so this will be the perfect time to get those new family images.z
I prefer to shoot newborns in as little clothing as possible. This is because they are simply new babies, and I want to capture as many details of their sweet bodies as possible without the interference of clothing. In addition, having to remove clothing and dress newborns will disrupt them, with the possibility of them getting very upset. Trust me, these images make for timeless artwork, not to mention the feeling it evokes of their first few days of life.
Dress baby in a button down sleeper with no onesie so we won’t have to pull anything over baby’s head when we undress her, or just loosely swaddle in a warm blanket. If you have a special outfit for your little one to wear, we will start out with that and then undress for other shots, so please have baby dressed in outfit when I arrive. I recommend no more than one outfit per session to keep baby happy.
For parents, I recommend lighter colors without distracting or busy patterns. For you, be sure to dress in layers, preferably a tank top, as it will be warm in your home. If mom and dad are comfortable removing their shirts, we can get some skin to skin shots (mom would be covered with a special stretchy fabric).
I also love shooting lifestyle images, such as Mom and/or Dad holding the baby, spending quiet moments together. If you are a breastfeeding mother, I’m more than happy to capture these tender moments between mother and child in a private, unobtrusive manner. Siblings are more than welcome to participate in the session, but you may want to have someone there to help with older siblings after including them, as posing a newborn baby takes patience and a quiet area to work. I also enjoy incorporating the baby’s nursery as part of the session, usually shooting intimate moments between parent(s) and baby.
The Night Before | Try to get a good night’s rest. Try to wake up 2-3 hours prior to your session. This gives everyone a chance to fully wake up, reduces red eyes, and the puffiness in faces.
The Morning | On the morning of the session, beginning about 2 hours BEFORE the session, give the baby a long, luxurious bath. Keep this long bath going for as long as possible (and it’s going to probably make that little one pretty mad). After the bath, change the clothes periodically to keep the baby awake as long as possible. Dress baby in a button down sleeper with no onesie so we won’t have to pull anything over her head when we undress her. Just make sure baby is in loose clothing, even a loose diaper and wrapped in a blanket will be fine. Keep baby’s diaper loose so that there are no red marks on her skin. Every time baby begins to fall asleep, change her diaper and/or clothes to wake her back up.
An Hour Before | Set the temp in your home to around 80 degrees. It will be almost uncomfortable, and since baby will be naked, we want her to be nice and toasty warm outside of her clothes. Remove all elastic and socks from baby at least an hour before I arrive. This will ensure there are no marks on baby when we take pictures.
Just Before | Start feeding(bottle or breast) your baby about 10 mins. prior to your session. This gives the baby enough time to get full, burp, and hopefully, sleep peacefully through our session. Sleepy baby + full tummy = Success! Don’t worry if I get there before you’re done feeding/nursing, as it will take a little while to set up. Please don’t try to wake baby as I’m arriving. We want her to be nice and sleepy for posing. Keeping baby awake and warm for the hours leading up to the session, as well as keeping her fully fed and warm during the session, are the keys to a successful and quick shoot.
During the Session
I recommend that mom and dad take some time to relax while I am working with baby. Babies can smell their moms and often fuss if mom is within smelling distance (it’s true!). Please don’t worry if baby grunts or fusses. I have extensive practice soothing newborns, as I’m also a mom to 5 children. If you are relaxed, baby will be relaxed. Try not to have any visitors during the time of our session, unless they are there to help with older children. The fewer distractions, the smoother things will go during the session.
Keep in mind that newborn sessions typically take 2-3 hours. We take many breaks for nursing, diaper changes, and to get baby to sleep. Please make sure to plan accordingly. Please remember I have a strict NO CAMERA/VIDEO CAMERA POLICY while I am shooting. I assure you I will get all the shots you need.
These are just few tips to help you prepare for your session. I look forward to photographing your you new baby and please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me @ 573.724.9202 if you have any questions about your session!