Tips for how to prepare for your newborn session
Scheduling | Location | Preparing with Baby | Preparing Older Siblings | What to Wear | Wraps & Props | Other Topics
I was really nervous about doing a session with such a new baby, but Mira knew just what to do, how to wrap and pose baby (and sleep deprived parents) so that everyone remained calm and happy. She was especially good with our older daughter, who was still very much adjusting to having a new baby at home. Mira is incredibly patient, calm, and competent. I will definitely schedule another session with her. — Sara M.
Scheduling your newborn session
- Newborn sessions take place generally when Baby is 4-14 days old. It’s a hectic time, so it’s best if you reach out while you are pregnant so most of the booking process is taken care of before baby’s arrival and all you have to do after baby is born is let me know so we can pick among the days/times I’ve been holding near your due date.
- Has your baby already been born? Reach out! As a mom of three myself, I totally understand that sometimes the to-do list during pregnancy doesn’t always get dealt with! The sooner you can reach out, the more flexibility we’ll have in scheduling your newborn session.
- 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, or to do the session before the circumcision takes place.
- Newborn sessions take up to two hours. I like to leave plenty of time for feeding and changing (newborn babies’ favorite activities!) and time so that we can really be relaxed (which, in turn, helps baby relax).
Location / Preparing Your Home
- All of my newborn sessions take place in the family’s home. I find that new babies and new parents are generally most comfortable in their own space in those first few days after baby is born. If there are older siblings in the family, I find it especially helpful for them to be on their own “home turf” so they can be as comfortable as possible — the arrival of a new sibling is a huge transition for them, too!
- I also find that there is huge value in photographing a baby where they first came home to — even if you move next month, this first home often holds a very special place in the emotional life of the family.
- Often parents are concerned about the level of mess in their home after a new baby arrives — generally, as long as we’ve got some good window light and can clear a small space (a corner of a room or a bed, for instance) that’s all we need! I have three children myself, and have been in countless homes with babies and children and totally understand about how tidying can fall off the to-do list with a baby in the house! If you have a chance to tidy a bedroom and the living room, that can go a long way to giving us good space to work with, but I’m also happy to adjust on the fly if necessary 🙂 (don’t worry — anything that I move, I’ll help you adjust back to its normal spot!).
Preparing with Baby
- The most important thing to do to prepare your baby for his or her newborn portraits is turn up the heat. 85 degrees is the ideal temperature– it’s quite warm for the adults, but it’s important to keep the temperature up so baby is comfortable as we have him or her in a diaper and light wraps.
- If at all possible, please keep baby awake for the hour or two prior to the start of the session. We want baby to be nice and sleepy when I arrive so we can hit the ground running.
- Please feed baby immediately prior to my arrival. Baby will be happier with a full belly.
- Please either have baby just in a diaper, or in a loose outfit that does not require going over baby’s head so that we don’t bother baby with changing.
- If you have a neutral/white onesie or sleeper, that can also be helpful for the less posed images.
Preparing Older Siblings
- It can be helpful to talk to older siblings 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!
What to Wear
- I provide a complimentary styling service to all my portrait clients. You will receive a link and personal code when you book your portrait session.
- For parents and older siblings, I generally recommend that you wear coordinating, but not necessarily matching outfits — items in the same general color family, and at most one pattern (so the adults might be in solid colors and the kids in coordinating polka dots, or the kids are in
solids and Dad is in plaid, for instance). Soft neutrals are really nice if those are an option. Black is good to avoid if possible.
- Lay all the outfits out and take a picture with your phone to see if you like the overall look. I am happy to consult if you’d like to send me a picture of the options!
- It’s important that you feel comfortable and good in the clothes you pick!
Wraps and Props
- I am always happy to try to incorporate clients’ ideas into any session, and newborn portrait sessions are no exception! My style does tend more toward “lifestyle” newborn portraiture rather than highly posed “studio” shots. I find that often babies are happier and more comfortable this way, and we create images that more closely will mirror what you as a parent see in your baby on a day-to-day basis, as a reminder of what life was like when they were so tiny.
- Mira Whiting Photography has a wide variety of wraps — please let me know if there are particular colors you are excited about as we prepare for your newborn session.
- I will bring a basket or two, and we can also use your furniture (sofa, bed, nursery) to create your images.
- Mira Whiting Photography is always happy to try to work in sentimental items that are important to you. As a knitter, I have a particular soft-spot for handmade baby items (knit, crocheted, quilted — I love them all!) and as a historian, I love being able to incorporate things that may have been in your family that are significant (maybe your own baby blanket or the hat you came home from the hospital wearing, for instance).
Other | Odds & Ends
- If you’d like to stand back and take some “behind the scenes” shots with your camera you’re very welcome to do that. I generally ask that you not get too close so I have space to work to get the best images I can for you. If there are older siblings at a newborn session, I may ask you to put the phone away so I can get the best eye contact possible with them for your official portraits (sometimes if a phone camera is out, a child might not be sure where they’re supposed to look).