Your new family member has arrived home, you have had a few days of adjustment, and now you can start thinking about all the practical stuff that needs to be done, but also about keeping the memories of those blessed days for the future.
Every new parent knows how difficult it is to do it themselves, because no matter how much photography experience they already might have, the fact is: babies are cute, but they are in no way easy models.
This is exactly the reason why you should leave that job to a professional: so you can just relax and enjoy your bundle of joy, while the photographer does all the work about preserving your most precious memories.
However, the successful photo shoot requires some preparation, and although there is no definitive newborn photography prep guide for parents, there are some tips and tricks that we recommend!!
In Studio vs In Home
When it comes to the style, you should decide whether they would like a candid home photo session or a posed photo studio session. These will look quite different and have a very different atmosphere, so it is best to decide in advance what suits you and the baby. If you are doing a newborn home session, you do not have to leave the house, which can take a load off, and you will end up with a very intimate scene.
However, if you would like something more posed, the studio session may be the right thing for you. In the studio you can use more props, try out a variety of different poses and different backgrounds, as well as a different style of portraits.
In Home Tips
- DE-CLUTTER – Your home does NOT have to be perfect. I promise. It’s your home and it’s supposed to look lived in. You can focus on de-cluttering your home, which means just tidying up a bit and basically putting stuff in the room where it belongs and toss the rest in a closet until I leave. This includes allll the extra burp rags, the breast pump, and extra pacifiers laying everywhere!
- LET THERE BE LIGHT – Let the natural light pour through the windows! I typically shoot a good portion of the session in the nursery, so please have the curtains wide open and the shades up to let in natural light. Go ahead and turn off ALL the lights and lamps in these rooms as well. It might seem dark, but my camera can do magical things that the lights will ruin later on!
- GET YOUR OUTFITS READY…AND A BACKUP – For my editing style, think light colors, white, and pastels. If you’re comfortable wearing a flowy sundress (even in winter), bonus point to you because they photograph the best! Make sure you have a solid outfit ready for baby (a white onesie or muslin swaddle is always a great option) and perhaps a second outfit that shows a bit more personality. Make sure you have backups on hand for both you and baby! Unexpected blowouts or a big spit up might happen!
- PREP THE CRIB – I encourage either a white or neutral crib sheet, so if you don’t own one, perhaps pick up one for $10 at Target beforehand! Crib sheets with too much color will reflect onto baby’s face, casting a colorful shadow that’s challenging to edit out later on. Too much pattern on the crib sheet will also distract from your baby in the photos, so keep it pretty simple. You’ll thank me later for this tip!
- GET EVERYONE FED AND HAPPY BEFORE I ARRIVE – Start feeding your baby 20 minutes prior to my arrival, diaper change, then into their outfit last. Be prepared to do bonus small feedings if baby gets fussy! If you have an older sibling in the family, set them up with a snack and maybe one of their favorite movies or activities before I arrive. This will keep them distracted at the beginning part of the shoot. It will keep the shoot relaxed and focused on baby (at least for part of the shoot!). Then we can welcome in the older sibling(s) after we get the shots we need of the new bundle!
- WARM IT UP!!!- Newborns love to sleep in a warm environment so don't be afraid to crank up the heat, they will sleep better and longer so we can get all of your photos while they sleep.
Shoot day Essentials- In Studio
- Bring a snack and water for yourself and any pets and siblings. The photoshoot can be long and tiring.
- If siblings are coming, bring some entertainment for them.
- Bring at least one change of clothing, just in case any accidents happen.
- Bring everything for changing and feeding the baby, including any special creams and products you use.
- If the newborn has hair, bring a brush.
- Bring any toys or props you would like to add into the photos.
- If the baby is using the pacifier, bring that as well. It often helps soothe babies into the poses and facilitates getting them to sleep. If your baby is not used to a pacifier or you do not feel comfortable offering one, do not worry, it is not a must.
- Feed your baby 2-30 minutes before arrival- or plan to feed upon arrival- full bellies sleep the best!!
Parents or siblings should wear solid colors and avoid patterns so they do not catch the attention from the main subject – the baby. Those may be gray and cream clothes, but any other color that you prefer might work as well. One of the most common suggestions is to pick one or two colors and then coordinate different tones of the colors together. For example, you can mix light and dark gray or blue together. Blankets and pillows can be draped on couches for added texture and color.
Refer to color scheme above.