What is the best age to photograph newborns?
Newborns are best photographed within the first 2 weeks of birth, when they have been out long enough to loose a bit of their startle reflex, but young enough that they are still super sleepy and bendy. We suggest within the first 9 days if you are looking for a posed newborn session.
Where do you photograph newborns?
I have two types of newborn sessions. A posed newborn session or a lifestyle newborn session. Posed newborns will be held in my studio. Lifestyle sessions are held in your home. We are able to mix the two sessions however, all posing must be done in the studio, where I have all my equipment set up.
What do my baby and I need to wear to our session?
For posed sessions, all you need is your baby! No clothes are needed unless you have something you would like he or she photographed in. Mom and dad should dress natural. Bring two outfits as one may get pooped on. For siblings dress them in natural colors as well. Jeans, white shirts, solid colors, etc. Ask me for more details about this and we can discuss more options. I have a countless number of items/props/wraps/head pieces and even outfits for your newborn session in our client closet. No need to bring anything unless there is something you want photographed. Please take a look at my portfolio so you know what to expect with the simplicity of the session. I do not use many objects in my images besides a simple basket, wraps, blankets, hats, etc., as I believe the baby needs to be the focus of the image and not a prop. I tend to use more neutral colors, with of course the fun color pop or pretty headband, bonnet, hat, etc (which I have a ton of). I am happy to photograph something sentimental, loved, etc that you want to bring, just let me know before our session.
What days do you photograph newborns?
I photograph all newborn sessions on Monday-Thursday and we typically start at 10am or 1030am. This is the time where you can keep your baby awake long enough before you come to ensure they are sleepy for the session. I do not shoot newborns on weekends as those days are reserved for other types of sessions. About half of my clients have older siblings which are in school and while I understand you do not want your child missing school, I just ask that you pull them out for the end of the day for your session if you are wanting to include siblings. Thanks for understanding!
How do we pick my session day?
I ask that you call or email me in the first 2 days of life so we can pick the best day for your session. There are certain times of the year that I have an influx of newborns, weddings, mini sessions, etc. and I want to make sure I book your session on the best day possible from when baby is born.
What can I expect at my session?
When you arrive at your session, I will have the studio set up to start with the posed shots. It’s VERY important to read the below info before you come. We will do all of the posed shots of your baby then move onto family and sibling shots at the end. Typically, mom will call dad about an hour before we need him so he can grab the kids at school or leave work for a bit. My studio is tight and we like it to be super quiet and calm in there during the posing session. For Lifestyle Sessions, we can photograph newborns outside during the hot Summer months only. For in home Lifestyle, I will bring a few key equipment items but most posing is natural (Examples below).
How long will my session last?
Newborn Shoots typically take 2.5-3 hours (sometimes longer). I always say quality over quantity with newborn sessions. Some babies like to sleep and some do not. We just go with the flow! The sibling portion lasts about 15 minutes. I like to grab the 1-2 epic sibling shots, the 1-2 great family shots, 1 or 2 mom and dad shots and the rest we focus on the baby.
On the Day of Your Shoot & a Few Days Before
If at all possible, try to keep baby stimulated and awake an hour or so before the session (CRITICAL); a bath usually helps in keeping them awake. It’s very important your newborn is sleepy so the session goes smoothly and I’m able to capture plenty of adorable images.
It’s best to start on a full belly so feeding her right before you put her in the car seat to head my way is best; please make sure your baby has a good burp before placing her in her car seat so gas doesn’t settle on the drive here. Please dress her in a button down outfit (pajamas are preferred, no onesies, please) so I’m not having to pull anything over her head while undressing her. We will do parent shots at the end of your session.
If you are rushing out the door, I would much rather you be a tad late and feed your baby before you come instead of right when you get there as it helps the gas settle over the drive. Just text or call me and let me know.
Please file the baby’s nails to ensure that they don’t scratch their little faces. The best files are the cheap emery boards you can get Walmart, Target or Walgreens. Because baby’s nails are so thin and fragile, I do not recommend you clip them with clippers.
The room will be set between 80-85 degrees for baby so please dress accordingly. I will also play a white noise machine to mimic the sound of the womb.
I have water bottles there for you as well as a few snacks but you may want to bring more food in case we are there for a bit. Sessions typically take 3 hours even with a very sleepy baby. I work VERY slowly with your baby to ensure they are always cozy and comfortable. There is a sofa in the studio for you, outside of the shooting room and all of our parents take this time to sit back, relax and enjoy a small break.
Once you get to the studio, I will happily take over, and only need you for skin to skin during the times your baby may not want to sleep and/or for nursing.
If your baby has jaundice or is still yellow from jaundice it is best we wait until it is out of baby’s system. Jaundice is very hard to edit out of skin due to the yellow/red blotchiness it causes as it is leaving their system. Jaundice is typically gone by week 2.
If you are breastfeeding and your baby has gas issues (most do), please abstain from eating the following 72 hours before your session; dairy products — milk, cheese, yogurt, pudding, ice cream, or any food that has milk, milk products, casein, whey, or sodium casein in it. Other foods that may cause gas and fussiness include anything with caffeine, soy, fish, peanuts, chocolate, wheat, beef, nuts, eggs, corn, citrus fruits and prenatal vitamins containing iron. –Courtesy Babycenter & ModernMom Parenting
Please DO NOT drink caffeine 72 hours prior to your session if you are breastfeeding. I have photographed MANY newborns and have seen a difference in those that are getting caffeine through mother’s breast milk. Babies who are affected by caffeine tend to be very jumpy, tense and alert.
What to Bring to Your Session
Pacifier – Please bring a Soothie brand pacifier (no animal pacifiers, please). We recommend a Soothie pacifier so it does not leave red rings around baby’s mouth. Even if your baby does not take one from you (specifically if you are nursing, they can smell you and will want to nurse over soothing with a pacifier), they will usually take one from me. A baby’s natural born instinct is to pacify and typically not having a pacifier to help your baby soothe off the breast, will make or break a session. Don’t worry, they won’t get nipple confusion as it’s not a food source. This will be totally your call and I will respect your decision.
Gas drops – To ensure your baby remains comfortable throughout their session, please pack a bottle of gas drops just in case, safe for the newest of babies. I will only ask for gas drops if baby is very uncomfortable and cannot release gas thru self-release or burping.
Bottled Milk (not required) – If you have introduced a bottle to your baby, this is the preferred method of feeding during the session so we are certain how much baby is receiving (babies tend to wake a lot and root, and they really want to be pacified, not fed, so this way we know we are not overfeeding which causes extreme gas and discomfort). If you are pumping, feel free to bring your pump to the session. We have outlets located near the sofa for your comfort and convenience. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, that’s perfectly fine. We will take breaks as we need to.