Prepping for a Successful Newborn Session
WHEN TO PHOTOGRAPH:
-Newborn sessions are recommended to be done before 2 weeks of age (preferably between 4-7 days) while they are still in that sleepy and curly stage. After two weeks of age, they tend to be disturbed more easily while sleeping and it is not as easy to get the true newborn poses and look. They can also become colicky or baby acne can start to flare.
In order to ensure that the newborn session runs as quickly and as smoothly as possible, please follow these steps:
1. If nursing, try to avoid eating anything spicy (ie. pizza, hot sauce, etc) or anything that will cause gas and might upset baby’s tummy for 24 hours preceding your scheduled session. A gassy baby will not pose well during the session due to their little tummy being upset.
*Some other foods that may cause gas are dairy products- milk, cheese, yogurt, pudding, cream, or any food that has milk, milk products, casein, whey, or sodium casein it, as well as foods with caffeine, soy, fish, peanuts, chocolate, wheat, beef, nuts, eggs, corn, or citrus fruits (Courtesy Babycenter & ModernMom parenting).
*If baby happens to be gassy the day of your session, Oval or Gripe Water can be used to help ease baby’s discomfort.
2. Interact with and keep baby awake for 1-2 hours before your session to ensure he/she is good and sleepy for the session. This is very important. Without this, we spend too much time getting them to sleep and not as much time photographing them.
*Stimulating baby with a bath or by doing ‘naked time’ prior to the session are some tricks that you can use!
3. Please make sure your little one has a full belly for the session. Please feed baby just before you leave for the studio. I have many clients who arrive at the studio saying that they gave baby a small feeding about 45 minutes ago and need to feed baby upon arrival. Baby usually wakes up during this feeding at the studio and has trouble falling back into a deep, restful sleep. If baby is bottle feeding, please bring extra bottles and milk (formula or breastmilk) – (babies work up quite the appetite being constantly moved around in the warm studio). Also, baby should be fed as much as possible in the 12 hours that precede the session. This will allow for baby to sleep as deeply and as long as possible.
*A full baby = a sleepy baby, and we need a very sleepy and calm baby in order to achieve the sweet, flexible poses you see in my portfolio. I may ask you to ignore a strict feeding schedule for the 2 hours at the session. The only way we will achieve calm, flexible poses is if baby is fully satiated and sleeping. I would rather have you give baby an extra feeding than have you worry that baby isn’t sleeping and we’re missing out on some cute poses.
4. Dress baby in loose fitting clothes to avoid any lines on baby’s skin and to also avoid disturbing baby when getting undressed. A simple sleeper is best. Please avoid onesies or anything that has to be pulled off over baby’s head.
5. Bring a pacifier – they can be very helpful during the session!
6. The studio will be kept at about 80 degrees F to keep your little one warm while being photographed. For nursing moms who may need to step inside the studio to nurse baby, I recommend dressing in layers.
7. When you arrive, please leave baby in the car seat when bringing him/her into the studio. I will remove baby very slowly in the warm studio to avoid disturbing them as much as possible.
8. During the session, sit back and relax. I won’t need much assistance, so take advantage of this time to rest in my sitting area (I’m sure you need it!). Parents will often answer emails or read in my sitting area while I work with your new little one.
9. This is a full service studio meaning that I will be changing baby’s diapers, cleaning up any messes, and feeding baby when required during the session. I usually ask that Moms stay outside of hearing and smelling range; Once baby has that connection with mommy in the middle of the session, it’s sometimes hard for them to get back into a deep sleep or if mommy’s milk has not come in all the way baby may want to use mommy to snack on and pacify frequently. I have always had the most success by being the only one to interact with baby during the session. If you’re breastfeeding and are open to bringing bottles with breast milk, great! Of course if you are exclusively breast feeding then .
10. Remove all bandages (from shots, etc) from baby’s skin at least one hour before arriving to the studio. These bandages cannot be removed in post processing and, if left on, will show up in the final images.
-I encourage parent portraits with the new baby, and these are usually done at the very end. A white/cream short sleeve shirt is suggested for Dads and a white/cream tank or blouse top is suggested for Moms. For more artistic shots, Dads may choose to remove their shirts and Moms may choose to be wrapped in a scarf, wrap or other stretchy material available in my studio. These can make for some very tender images.
**A note to Mom: I know that you may not feel like yourself right after giving birth, but I strongly encourage you to have a portrait taken with your new baby while they are still so young and fresh. He will grow up and will want to know what his mother looked like holding him close to her heart as a newborn. I will shoot you in flattering angles, so don’t worry! Worst case scenario is that you don’t like the image and never look at it again, but at least your child will have this moment documented.
-If you have older siblings that you would like photographed with your newborn we will do these shots FIRST. Cream, ivory or white (without patterns or logos) is recommended for older siblings (tops with jeans or even dresses for girls). The more texture the better (knit, lace, etc). They’ll be barefoot, so no need to look for clean shoes.
*Due to the nature of the session we ask that your spouse/partner take the older siblings home or out for something fun to do while we finish up with the individual newborn shots.
Notes to consider:
–I spend a lot of time getting every little finger and toe positioned perfectly when photographing your little bundle. First and foremost, it is important to me for your baby look comfortable and peaceful in the photographs and for each image to be a piece of art. I have a lot of experience and patience with newborns. I have 3 kids of my own and have photograph many Newborns. My motto is safety first. I will never put your newborn in an unsafe pose/prop.
-Be prepared to spend between 1-2 hours at my studio. I am a perfectionist and I want to capture your baby in every way that I can even down to their little lips and eyelashes.
-Parents often ask ‘Can I circumcise my baby before the session?’ and the answer is ‘Please, no!’. Circumcision can often leave the area raw and painful for a few days after the procedure. It is important to note that newborn photos should be done either before the procedure takes place or at least 5 days after the procedure to ensure the area is healed. In fact, we feel so strongly about this that if baby arrives with a fresh circumcision (within 5 days) we will send you home and reschedule.
PROPS and ‘Pinterest Requests’:
-I supply all of the backdrops, furniture, hats, headbands and wraps for the session, and my style tends to lean more toward simple photos that focus on baby. I am always open to new ideas but be aware that I will not use anything that will harm, irritate or look awkward or controversial (guns, deer antlers, etc) on your newborn. If you see something you like in any of our galleries, be sure to mention it before your session. I am open to suggestions on poses that you may have seen from Pinterest but please understand that every pose we do depends on how well baby cooperates and how safe the pose is for your little one. I cannot guarantee any pose for this reason.