Tips for a Successful Newborn Session

I just love the sweetness of Newborn Sessions!  My approach to photographing newborns is organic and based on connection and natural details. It is such a special experience.  Little ones grow up so fast, and the first few months of their life is such a blur of sleep deprivation!

I often get questions from clients about how to best prepare for their newborn session, so I wanted to share some tips for making your newborn session a success.

When Should Newborn Photos Be Taken?

I know you are just excited as I am to capture those little tiny fingers and toes while they last!  Once you and baby have been given the green light to go home from the hospital, please contact me right away to schedule a definite date and time for your newborn session.  Sessions are typically scheduled 2 to 4 days following your release. The best time to capture your new baby is within the first 10 days of life, when baby is the most sleepy, flexible and the most calm.

What Can I Expect at the Session?

Newborn sessions typically last from 2-3 hours. While that might seem overwhelming, this is to allow plenty of time for baby to fall asleep, as well as time necessary for feedings and diaper changes. In order to capture the photos we are after, baby must be very sleepy and calm, and this often takes some time and coaxing, both initially and as we change poses. 

When you arrive and get settled, I will take baby from you and let them get used to my smell. Consider this a BREAK!!! You get to kick back and put your feet up while I work my magic! If baby needs to eat or be changed, no problem! If baby wants to be awake and takes some time to get back to sleep, no problem! Please know that is is completely normal.

If you plan to bring siblings along for to be photographed with baby, I always recommend that when possible we do those photos first. Then, if you wanted siblings to leave with Grandma or Dad, they can. They are always welcome to stay for the full length of the session, but I will say that they don't tend to find photographing babies for a couple of hours nearly as fascinating as I do! :)

Where Will We Shoot?

Studio newborn sessions are held in my studio, located at 1018 W. Saint Maartens Drive in Saint Joseph. My studio provides us with lots of natural light, making for gorgeous photos! When you arrive at my building, you will use the parking and entrance on the West side of the building. Follow the entrance hallway to the end, and then turn right, and you will see my studio!

If you choose to hold your session in your home, we will most likely photograph wherever the light is best, as well as in the nursery.  Do not worry about your house being a mess—you just had a baby!  The majority of the shoot will most likely take place in the nursery, or near a window in your home with nice natural lighting. Trust me when I say that we only need a small space, so please don't panic about having your whole house "picture ready." All you need to do to prepare is open the blinds/curtains to let in as much light as possible.  I also love to shoot in the master bedroom.  There is just something about a new family cuddled up in bed together that is just beautiful.  No need to do any heavy cleaning—just make the bed and open the curtains!

How Can I Make Sure My Baby is Comfortable & Cooperative During the Shoot?

Newborns are unpredictable and this shoot is all about them.  Please do not worry about your baby crying or needing to eat during the shoot—newborn sessions are purposely longer to allow for plenty of breaks, feedings and even diaper/outfit changes.  It’s a good idea to try and feed your baby right before the session so they’re sleepy and content.  In order to keep baby nice and warm, I will crank up the heat!  Even though it may be warm outside, babies tend to be most comfortable at the shoot if they’re nice and toasty warm. It is likely that baby will be undressed during some of our shoot, so I will probably have a small heater to keep them to be nice and warm.  If you and I are sweating, it’s probably perfect! :)

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What Should Baby Wear?

Having baby dressed as simply as possible is usually best. At just a few days old, newborns still love to curl up into a little ball, making it difficult to see most special outfits anyway. I have a selection of wraps that I will use for your photos, and I will do photos of baby with no clothes or just a diaper as well, making it easy to get great little pictures of those sweet tiny toes and feet! In case baby is already sleeping when we are ready to begin, it's a good idea to have them dressed in an outfit that is easily removed without waking them, like something with snaps down the front instead of having to be removed over their heads.

What Should My Husband & I Wear?

You just had a baby—this is the perfect excuse to pamper yourself!  If you feel up to it, go have your hair and makeup done (or better yet, have someone come to you!).  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 goes, keep it simple. Skip the bold colors and busy patterns.  A simple white top looks great for these photos, and allows all the focus to be on baby. 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 beautiful and timeless.  If you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top, cami or tank top.  For your husband, the same rules apply.  Solid tops work best.  Try to stay away from prominent logos or writing on clothing.

Do You Use Props or Specialize in Stylized Newborn Poses?

The style of newborn photography that I specialize in is very natural, minimalistic, and focused on the baby rather than props.  Rather than utilizing props for my newborn work, I lean towards "baby led posing." I love to capture natural poses of your baby as they truly are.  Your gallery will include a wide variety of images, including full body shots, close ups, and detail shots of his/her little toes and fingers.

What Can I Do To Prepare For the Session?

This is such a special time in your family’s life.  There will be so many emotions during the shoot—love, excitement, wonder, amazement.  It will be tough, but try to relax!  Moms tend to stress out because this is a new experience and because they want things to be “perfect.”  I will take your baby’s lead and allow him/her to be the focus of the shoot.  If your baby cries, or poops, it’s okay.  I promise!  Just focus on relaxing and cuddling with your sweet new addition and I will create images that you will cherish forever!

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