Newborn Portrait Session Preparation
From the moment your little one is born, they are growing and changing. They will never be that small again, which is why it is so incredibly important to document this time. Having professional newborn photos taken of your newest addition to your family will guarantee these memories to be cherished for a lifetime. Those little rolls won’t last forever! And for as many years as you will enjoy looking back on this special time, this will be one purchase you will never regret. This guide is all about getting you ready for this very special day. All of these tips are ones I have acquired from the years I have spent photographing newborns.
Newborn sessions can take up to 3 hours as we tend to do a lot of waiting for baby to get into the deep, milk-drunk sleep that we need in order to get them to pose in the cutest ways. I have a few tips and tricks that I highly recommend in order for your little one to be rocking these poses.
5 Tips for a Perfect Session
1–Keep baby awake before the session
At least one hour is recommended to guarantee a sleepy baby! Try bathing baby during this time which will for sure keep baby up and will be fresh and clean so it’s a win-win! Don’t forget to put lotion on baby after the bath so their skin will look the best in photos!
2–Dress baby in a loosely fit diaper and in an outfit that is easy to take off
This is helpful so there won’t be crease lines from the diaper and we won’t disturb baby too much if he/she is sleeping already when you arrive.
3–Wait to feed baby until you arrive at the studio
We need baby super sleepy and that happens right after a full belly! Bring extra too as sometimes it takes 2-3 feedings to really get a curious one to cooperate.
4-Bring extra clothes for you
Baby will be naked for a decent part of the session so accidents can and most likely will happen. I always bring an extra set for myself just in case!
5–Be prepared to be hot
In order for your little one to be comfortable sleeping in the buff, I crank the heat to 85 degrees. We will be sweating but he/she will be nice and toasty warm just like in mom’s tummy making sleep just too good to pass up!
How Do You Capture That?
Here are 6 tips and tricks I use in my newborn sessions:
Patience – Every pose takes time to perfect, some more than others and sensitive babies take even longer! Usually I spend between 5 and 15 minutes perfecting each pose before even taking a single photograph. This would be why newborn sessions last 2-3 hours and my galleries are between 15 and 25 images.
Safety First – Newborns are very delicate so I am very careful when posing. When posing newborns on my beanbag, I always have someone nearby just in case. Once we move to props, I make sure my props are weighted properly to ensure they won’t tip over. And I always have an extra hand (or two) within inches of baby. Many times I use Photoshop to remove my spotter because you can never be too careful!
Accessories – We have a nice collection of blankets, wraps and headbands that we’ll have available at your session. You are also, of course, welcome to use any of your own props. If you have any family heirlooms, toys, hats, props, etc that you would like me to use in your session, feel free to also bring those with you. We may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but we’ll look through them to determine what will work best. We also strongly recommend that you discuss any ideas, props or poses you have in mind at least a week prior to your session.
Flawless Skin – Most babies do not have perfect skin. Many are born with jaundice, some have red splotches, while others have a case of baby acne (that usually fades within a few days). That is not a problem at all with the help of Photoshop!
Pose Preferences – Not every baby will love every pose. Depending on how they were positioned while in the womb, some will just love getting snuggled into a certain pose while others will cry. I let the babies dictate their poses. Once I get a feel for what baby likes and dislikes, I have a pretty clear idea of what will work and what won’t.
Noise – Newborns are used to noise. Being in mom’s belly is quite loud really. And if the environment that mom has been living in for the past 9 months is a bit noisy with kids, pets, etc., baby is already used to these sounds and probably finds them comforting. This is why I use sounds machines during my newborn sessions and I don’t worry about whispering during the session.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I book my session? I only take a limited number of newborns in one month so booking early will ensure you will get one of those spots. If you don’t decide to book a session until the baby is born however, just remember that newborn sessions usually take place within the first 10 days of their birth.
Why do newborn sessions last so long? We are running on baby time for these sessions. Some babies come in super sleepy and could care less how I move them and position them. Others are a bit more curious of the new world around them, which is why some sessions last much longer than others. In the end, my goal is to make sure you have gorgeous images of your newest edition. So in the scope of things, what is an extra hour when we are talking about images that will last a lifetime?
Where do the sessions take place? Newborn sessions take place at my home studio in Pawtucket, RI where a room is all set up with backdrops, baskets, furs, and headbands! There is no need to worry about providing anything for the baby to wear. I will have it all taken care of unless, of course, you have something of sentimental value that you would like to bring along.
What should I bring? Just bring what you would normally pack in your diaper bag and of course an extra pair of clothes (just in case). I have props, wraps, headbands and my collection is always growing! Please make sure you have plenty of milk for baby as well. Sometimes it takes an extra feeding or two to get them to be extra sleepy. Also, it will be quite warm in the room to make sure baby is extra comfy and sleepy so you may want to bring some water along for yourself.
What should I wear to the session? Keep it simple. Throw a little color in if you’re planning on being photographed but skip the busy patterns. For moms, I suggest cotton knit camis and knit tops for comfort. I’m also a big fan of skin-to-skin portraits with you holding the baby against you. So if you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top or tank or you can borrow a momma gown. Again, remember that my heat will be set to 85 degrees so make sure you dress for the heat!