I love photographing newborns! Newborn photography sessions can be challenging, but it’s so amazing to be a part of a baby’s life when they just days old. There are many factors that have to come together for the session to go smoothly. Patience is very important for both photographer and the parents. Babies can pick up on anxiety or nervousness. A session can go quickly and be done in an hour, or it can take 3 hours to get beautiful images – the end result is totally worth it.
There is lots of preparation I go through to get ready for a newborn session. From looking for unique props to cleaning all my equipment and loading up my car, I can assure you that your session isn’t viewed as “another session” just like your baby isn’t “just another newborn”. I prepare differently for each session and I hope it shows.
Here are somethings you can do to help and prepare for your session.
Turn up the heat
First and very important the room or rooms we are planning to photograph your new little one in must be VERY WARM. The warmer the better, 80+. For the adults it will be hot, but the baby will be toasty and happy. Space heaters are a great way to warm just one room. Another great thing to have on hand is a heating pad. I always try to remember to bring mine just in case.
Clothing (or not)
Baby in the buff
If you are interested in having nude shoots done, baby should be put in a cloth diaper about 30 minutes before their session. A cloth diaper will help prevent the lines usually left behind from other typical diapers. If you don’t have any on hand, try not to put the regular diaper on too tightly. Then dress baby in loose fitting, easy to remove clothes. That way if they are sleeping we can still take photos without disturbing them too much.
I think babies cloths are just about the cutest things ever made and there are a ton of great options.
My suggestions when choosing an outfit for your newborn:
- make sure it fits snugly
- if incorporating a blanket, either the outfit or the blanket should be simple in color and design
- accessories add a lot (yes even for boys, perhaps a little stuffed frog peeking out of bib jeans)
- dress to match the sofa
What I mean by the last one is you should keep in mind where the images will be hanging on your walls. If you living room is decorated in soothing blue and greens and now you baby has gorgeous photos dressed in red, it may not fit the space. There are always options if you have your heart set on an outfit that doesn’t match the room you plan to have the image in.
Nappy, diaper, cloth, disposable… which ever you are using can make for adorable photos when paired with a loved blanket. This is the image you will see a lot over the next couple of years as your little one grows. Capturing it when they are young makes for great memories.
Feed me Seymour
Well not me, but your babe. Feed the babe. I plan on there needing to be feeding time during the shoot. I have two little ones of my own and I know some babies eat every hour, not every 3 hours like some people will tell you. If you can have baby fed before we start, things will go just that little bit smoother. And if 5 minutes after I walk in they need to be fed again, no worries. If you breastfeed and can, have at least one bottle pumped for feeding. After the baby is full, make sure they are burped really good. Gas can take a sleepy, happy baby to an uncomfortable and irritable one in seconds.
Do Not Disturb
If the baby is sleeping, great! They are very angelic at this age and capturing that happens best while they are sleeping. If they are awake, great! Open eyes show how aware they are already at this young age.
11 other things to keep in mind
- Newborn portraits are unique in that they can’t be scheduled months out, but you can line up a session with me months out so I can build time into my calendar around your due date for your session. If you are scheduling your birth, let me know that as soon as possible.
- Call me soon after you deliver so you can arrange a time for the session. Ideally the session should take place within 5-10 days after birth, and no longer than 2 weeks after.
- The session will take place at your home – do not worry about the state of your house. You just had a baby. I do not care if dishes are piled up the sink and clothes baskets runneth over. I have a job to do, and I’m not there to care about how clean your house is.
- Collect any items you want used in the session beforehand – family heirlooms, toys, monogrammed blankets, etc. I’ll go through these with you to determine what will look best in the pictures.
- If you’d like pictures taken of the baby in the nursery, be sure all the curtains and shades are open to let in lots of natural light. No need to clean, but just try and make sure the clutter has found its way to a closet.
- Decide if you’d like pictures taken with your baby, or if want pictures of only the baby.
- A mother’s smell is so recognizable (and sometimes distracting) to a baby, that it may be necessary for the mom to leave the room for portions of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, but only to allow me to get the baby thinking sweet sleepy dreams, instead of hungry “where’s my milk?” dreams.
- Be patient. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t stress out. A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. We will try and get the baby comfortable again, but if that just doesn’t seem possible, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what he’s giving us. Sometimes the best pictures are ones when the baby isn’t doing what we want.
- Be assured that if there is ever a point where you’re uncomfortable with the poses, simply let me know. I only want to do poses and shots that you are comfortable with.
- Unless the baby sleeps very good through the nights do not schedule the shoot in the morning.
- A majority of the pictures will work best if the baby is asleep so anything you can do in advance to encourage this is recommended.
Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org