Tips for Preparing for Your Newborn Session: Part 1
This may be a new and exciting time in your life, if it’s the birth of your first child. You’ve now got this adorable, precious little person and you want to document his or her first memories in photographs. I want to make this a joyous experience for you and your family. Trust me, Michele and I know how nerve-racking picture day can be for parents, especially when you’re running on little, to no, sleep. To help you out with this process, we’ve compiled a list of preparation tips to ease some of your stress. If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact us and we can get you the answers you need.
What to Bring
If we are doing a session in your home, you don’t have to bring anything. However, we suggest that you take a look at this list and have these items readily available in case we need them during the session. If you are doing a studio session with us then follow the checklist to make sure you don’t over or under prepare.
We often try to keep our sessions pretty basic and focused in on your new little bundle of joy and therefore take a minimalistic approach to prop usage. Especially when we are traveling to you, we do not bring too many props with us. We will take care of the backdrops and headbands, etc., but we tend to pack light prop-wise. If there is something you’ve either purchased, or already have ready to include in your photos – a special outfit or blanket, a stuffed animal, heirlooms, etc., we’ll make sure to use it in your session. The more personal items we use in your session, the more unique these photos will be in expressing you and your family.
To ensure that your baby is happy and calm during the session, we suggest bringing a blanket that we can swaddle him or her in, as well as a pacifier. Also be sure to have fresh bottles — if your child is currently using a bottle — and diapers ready to go.
Anticipate a newborn session to move at a pretty slow pace. This is normal. We usually need to allocate 2-4 hours during a single newborn session.
This is why newborn sessions are STRONGLY encouraged to be scheduled within the first 2 weeks of life outside the womb. In order to move them around and pose them with props and wraps it’s vital that they’re sleepy enough to allow us to handle them, and they’re usually the most compliant and sleepy during this short time frame.
Besides taking advantage of their sleepiness, one other issue that is mitigated by photographing earlier is the appearance of newborn acne and possibly colic, which is more likely to flare up after two weeks. If we happen to be there at a time when skin issues are present, I can retouch them, so don’t let this concern you as this is somewhat anticipated.
In a posed newborn session we focus on taking pictures of the newborn alone in various arrangements, which take a little bit more time (3-4 hour range) depending on the child, versus lifestyle sessions (2-3 hrs).
In a lifestyle newborn session we spend time working with the parents and the child together. Working with the parents and child together allows us make use of the time s/he’s not sleeping or particularly quiet, but can still be held by either parent.
What to Wear
Newborns are not very patient when it comes to outfit changes. We suggest having your child in an outfit you’d like him or her to wear for the photos before you get to the session, covering the outfit with a bib or burp rag in case of little incidents. After we take a few photos in this outfit, we prefer to take the rest of the photos in just the diaper, or completely in the nude. In our opinion, babies photograph best this way and they will also cooperate longer if we are not constantly changing their outfits. If you’re not comfortable with this, we can stick with just one to two outfits for the session.
If you are going to be in photos with your child, we suggest bringing a backup shirt, just in case. We also suggest that you wear a white or black shirt in case we need to photograph parts of you with your child on the backdrop (for example, just your hands holding the baby) so you don’t stand out. For mommies, we suggest keeping jewelry to a minimum, as babies like to grab hold of these items.