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 for yourself and siblings. The photoshoot can be long and tiring. I do keep cold waters on hand.
- 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.
The biggest thing you need to bring is patience! these sessions can last a while. Every baby is different!
-What to wear -
Family clothing choices are best if plain colored, (cream,white, grey, black is best) but as long as you don’t have patterns or plaid, you’re good! no large jewelry is suggested especially necklaces
-Before the Session-
Start with feeding baby approx 3 hours before the session. After fed, bathe baby to try and stimulate them to stay awake. After that, keep baby awake until it is time to leave. I know it’s hard to control what a newborn does, but tummy time, going for a walk around the house and talking to baby will help with that.
******Please Feed baby again right before leaving your home to come to your session and I’m talking *feed, jump in car, and go!
(unless you are more than a 30 minute drive to my studio, in which case you can feed there at the time of arrival. If you must do that, it’s totally fine but this should be discussed prior to your apt as it takes some time and your apt may need to be pushed up 15-20 minutes early.)
Dress baby in a one piece zipped sleeper if you have it in order for me to get baby out and undressed with as little movement as possible and without waking!
-Upon Arrival to the studio-
Bring a drink, book, whatever you need to last you up to 2-2.5 hours. Relax! You are welcome to watch and stay in the newborn room, it just gets hot! You are also welcome to take a nap on the couch or bed
**********Once there, please leave baby in car seat and allow for me to remove baby, undress, and get started. If any young siblings are coming along, please arrange for the other parent/grandparent/friend to take them away once the family/sibling shots are finished. I don’t want kiddos bored, and we can’t have them making noise and waking baby! ***********
-During your session-
*******Please do NOT pat,hush,kiss,talk to your baby during the session! These are lovely gestures, but best for times outside of the studio. There are special tricks and tips to keep your baby good and asleep, and I’ve mastered them all! There will be white noise playing to help baby sleep. If we must talk, please do so at a whisper.******