The Blog Carousel – How to Prepare for Your Newborn Photography Session
I am very honored to be part of a project taken on by some of the finest children’s photographers in the world called The Blog Carousel. Once a month a theme is chosen and each participating photographer creates a blog post based on her interpretation of the theme. This month’s theme is Informational/Tutorial. I decided to focus on how to prepare for your newborn photography session. Much of this information applies for preparation for a newborn shoot with most professional newborn photographers.
As a professional newborn photographer, I am often asked how to prepare for your newborn photography session. It is always an honor and a privilege to be the newborn photographer chosen to photograph your newborn baby. I would like this experience to be as stress free and calm as possible. Here are some tips to help you be as prepared as possible.
1. When should I schedule my newborn photography session?
It is always best to have your newborn photo session scheduled during the last trimester of your pregnancy. Having advanced, approximate notice is important so that I can keep my workload manageable around your due date. I will be able to “pencil” you in on my calendar according to your due date and then ask that you contact me as soon as possible after baby’s arrival to firm up the date and time. Sometimes clients do not think of doing a newborn session until after baby arrives. There is just so much to think about during pregnancy! This is fine too and I will make every effort to accommodate you in my schedule.
2. How old should baby be?
Newborn sessions are best during the first two weeks of life, preferably days 5-10. Newborn sessions can be done later, but sometimes they can be trickier. During the first 10 days, baby is the smallest she will ever be and also very sleepy. Baby will still have that newborn curl that helps make for some very cute poses! I will attempt newborn style sessions for babies up to six weeks old, though the sessions will be a little different and will require additional time and patience.
3. How long will the newborn photo session last?
This varies greatly. Every baby is unique and the baby is in charge. A newborn session cannot be rushed. For the best results, baby should be relaxed and content which can often take time. Baby may need to feed or may need a diaper change or perhaps a snuggle. Some babies sleep through the entire session. A session can take two hours or up to four hours. It is important to schedule accordingly.
4. What should we wear?
Most of my newborn images are done with baby in a diaper cover, a swaddle or naked. If you have an heirloom piece, some cute hats and/or blankets we can try to work those into the photos as well. I have a collection of blankets with different textures as well as hats that I will bring with me. Mom, dad and sibling(s) look best in neutral toned clothing. We don’t want the clothing to distract from the baby.
5. Where do the newborn sessions take place?
Newborn sessions take place in your home. You and baby will feel most comfortable in your own surroundings with all your needs close by.
6. How can I prepare my home for the newborn session?
Although newborns generally aren’t on schedules yet, please try to feed baby right before my arrival. A full tummy makes for a sleepy and content baby. We can give baby some time to get into a deep slumber as I set up. If baby wakes up that is okay too. I have experience working with a lot of newborns and tend to just go with the flow.
If baby takes a bottle and/or pacifier please have those ready. A pacifier can be a tremendous help in the newborn session.
Please have all the blinds open if possible. Sometimes the best light is in the most unlikely places.
Baby is used to being in a 98 degree womb and not used to be naked or near naked. It is important to turn up the heat so baby is comfortable and happy. I will bring a space heater to help, but please turn up the heat 30-45 minutes before my arrival. If we are very, very warm then baby is comfortable.
If you have a white noise machine and/or the sleep sheep I see at so many sessions, have it on hand. If not, I have one myself.
Wipes and towels are helpful for whatever messes we might encounter.
If there is a sibling(s), having some help keeping him/her entertained during the session is a big stress reliever.
Please do not fuss if the house is untidy. I am a mom myself and I know how tough it is to even take a shower in the early days. We may need to move some things around to utilize to the best light. I have made plenty of beds in my years as a photographer.
7. How can I prepare myself for the newborn session?
Try to have your nails neat because I often take photos with hands.
I will help soothe your baby as necessary. If Dad or a baby nurse is there, we can have one of them help out too. Babies are very sensitive to the scent of mom which can often make them less relaxed and more anxious to feed again. Because of this it may be necessary to ask mom to step away from the immediate shooting area when individual photos are done.
It is not unusual for baby to feed at some point during the session so please do not feel that it is an inconvenience. We want to keep baby happy and calm. Being patient and flexible are key.
This is such a precious and fleeting time in life. It is my goal to create beautiful newborn portraits that you will cherish forever.
Next stop on the blog carousel is the very talented Dena Robles Grand Rapids baby and Child Photographer Please stop by to see her interpretation of the theme, you are going to love it!