I absolutely love working with newborns and their families — there is something really magical about this period, which goes by all too fast! Your newborn session with me is all about capturing the details of your tiny new baby and his or newness, as well as your newly re-configured family, whether that’s baby & parents or includes older siblings as well. I generally budget about 3 hours of time for these sessions to ensure that we are never rushed or stressed — I know that as exciting as the newborn period is, it can also be stressful and exhausting, and I want your newborn session to be a bit of an oasis of relaxation. I often get asked questions about how to prepare for a newborn session, so I thought it might be helpful to put together a quick guide. You may find some of this more helpful than other parts, and that’s fine — each family has unique needs!
When should I schedule my newborn session?
When a baby is born, it seems like there are a million things to do, and very little energy and time to do them with. Because of this, if possible, I recommend getting in touch while you’re pregnant to reserve space on my calendar — when you do this, I block off several times around your due date, and we don’t set a particular date and time until baby arrives because babies often have minds of their own about when they want to make their appearance! Ideally, your newborn session will take place within the first 14 days or so of baby’s life — this is when baby is sleepiest and most amenable to posing and being moved around for different setups. If you’re breastfeeding, it can help to schedule the session for after your milk comes in (generally by day 3 or so, but this varies). If you’re having a boy and planning on circumcising him, it can be helpful to wait 5 days or so after the procedure to allow some time for healing to make sure baby is comfortable during the session.
Where will my newborn session take place?
I do all my newborn sessions on location, generally at the family’s home. In the very height of summer, if it’s warm enough, we can try a few shots outside, but I generally find that both babies and parents are most comfortable in those early days in the familiar surroundings of their own home.
Who should be there?
The focus of the session will be on your new baby, but I also encourage parents, and grandparents if they are around to be involved as well. Siblings are always welcome. I generally like to do portraits with family members at the beginning of the session, especially when older siblings are involved — that way if they get wiggly, we’ll have what we need and they can go play.
How can I prepare siblings to take part in the session?
If older siblings are going to be involved, depending on their age(s), it can be helpful to talk to them ahead of time about what’s going to happen, and, if you’re comfortable with it, set up some sort of reward for cooperation (it could be something immediate, like a small pile of m&ms, which can be doled out throughout the session for cheerful cooperation, or for an older child, a slightly bigger treat to be given at the end like a cookie or a small toy). I recommend *against* using electronics to keep kids happy during the session — I find it’s often hard to pull their attention away from the screen once its been given. For a small child who might be nervous in front of the camera, it can be helpful to let me know ahead of time what sorts of things they like (really into Elmo? Dinosaurs? etc) and what sorts of tricks YOU find work well for them — you know your child best! Once we’re in the middle of the session, it’s very helpful if the adults can keep the pose I’ve given while I take over the kid-wrangling so that when that perfect moment happens for the kids, everyone else is ready! Most importantly, it helps if the adults in the room can remain relaxed 🙂
How should we dress the baby?
It’s helpful to dress the baby that day in loose clothing so there aren’t any marks on baby’s skin. Beyond that, it’s really up to you! I have a few little hats and outfits that I will bring, and if you have anything that has a lot of sentimental value, I’d love to work it into the session if I can! It’s those personal touches that I think really help make the session truly yours.
What should we wear?
For parents and siblings, I generally recommend that you wear something that’s a solid color — it can help to have all the family members within the same color family, but you don’t have to match. When thinking about colors to wear, think about what your plans are for the images and where they might be displayed so you can wear something that will fit in well with your decor. Other than that, you should wear something that you are comfortable in and feel good about yourself in.
How should we prepare our space?
This is a question I get a lot when going into the family’s home for the portrait session! For the best newborn portraits, it can help to open up all the curtains to let lots of light in (I can adjust this when I get there if I need to!) and, most importantly, turn up the heat! Ideally, it would be best to get the space to 85 degrees (I will also bring a space heater to get the immediate area we’re working in nice and toasty) — this helps get baby nice and sleepy for those sweet newborn shots.
What about feeding?
It can be helpful to plan to feed the baby right before I arrive, but I know newborns are generally not in any kind of routine yet, so don’t worry if you don’t manage this! One of the reasons I allocate so much time for the session is to allow plenty of time for feeding when the baby wants to eat (as well as the ensuing diaper changes).
Is there something I haven’t covered that you’re wondering about? Please don’t hesitate to let me know! I’m happy to answer any questions! Most of all, I’m looking forward to working with you and your baby and giving you a nice relaxing experience which will yield images you’ll treasure forever!