The Who, What, When and Where for the Newborn Photography Session
Your Newborn Session should include you, all of your children and your partner. Yep, even the siblings. It is so important they be there. You are all there every day loving this little baby that is causing major sleep deprivation so you should all get credit! I have written an article on how to prepare your toddlers for a photography session you should take a moment to check out if you have one.
For the Men: Simple is best. A lot of times when I arrive to do newborn portraits the men are dressed in a button and polished shoes. This is not normal unless you are going to work. I have many times asked the men to strip down to their white undershirts. If you want ideas to check out some award winning Newborn Photography – nobody is in a dress shirt or dress shoes. White undershirt and jeans no shoes. This means it may be time for your first manicure and pedicure. Your hands and feet will be in focus; we want them to look sharp. Lotion is helpful for dry skin and don’t forget to shave or trim your beards.
For the Ladies: Simple is best, I cannot express that enough. Simple white camisole, if you have a white sun dress. A mom once put a white maxi shirt on as a dress it was stunning! Soft off the shoulder sweaters. You probably aren’t feeling super sexy or great; you just had a baby, after all. Now is a great time to pamper yourself – if you want to go all out get your makeup and hair done. I am again a huge fan of simple soft pastel makeup that is natural and mascara come out best in photos with newborns. The more relaxed and calm you are during this session the better the photos come out for you and baby. So do whatever it takes to take care of you first, the other cards fall into place after. We will do lots of skin on skin shots so lotion up! Please, no busy patterns.
Siblings: Yep, again – simple is key. Also, read this article on how to prepare them for this session.
Well, the Newborn, of course! This little one just came from a dark, consistently warm quiet place to earth. That has to be a little jarring. We want to create a soothing atmosphere as much as possible. Soft music if they like it or a white noise machine work great. Dim lights (until I get there). Don’t worry about baby acne or redness. It’s really important that if you read nothing else that you read this part… Please cluster feed your little one at least 2 hours before we get there. Please turn up the heat to 85 degrees at least 2 hours before we get there. Really. We should all be super sweaty when this is all over. We want the Newborn, above all else, to be really comfortable naked and in a satisfied milk coma. (You know that small smile they get after a long meal and they softly close their eyes) . That is our goal. Feed and Heat.
Poop. It happens a lot. There is no reason to get stressed out about it. Having a naked baby that is super full of milk, well its bound to happen. On you, me and my props. That is okay. What helps a lot is a pile of clean hand towels, wipes or cloth diapers around? All of my props are washed with non-scented baby detergent before every session.
I may ask Mom at some point to leave the room to get the baby’s mind from Mom and her milk. This will help him or her focus on sleep!
Newborn Photography is best within 3-7 days old. Yep. Really that soon. Once they get a little older they start to know they are the center of the world, want lots of milk, stretch and reach out for all that is around them. I like to make sure we get in there before that! Don’t worry about baby acne or redness. It’s really important that if you read nothing else that you read this part… Please cluster feed your little one at least 2 hours before we get there. Please turn up the heat to 85 degrees at least 2 hours before we get there. Really. We should all be super sweaty when this is all over. We want the Newborn, above all else, to be really comfortable naked and in a satisfied milk coma. (You know that small smile they get after a long meal and they softly close their eyes) . That is our goal. Feed and Heat.
As a lifestyle photographer, it is really important for me that all newborn photography be in your home. That said, I do have a studio which is open and available for your use. Reasons I love to do the Newborn Session in your home is because that is where you, your family and baby are most comfortable. The smells are familiar and everyone tends to be more at ease. The biggest reason for me, a super nostalgic photographer, I want that baby to see where he or she came from. The chair you spent hours nursing him in. The bed they took over and you stared at them endlessly. For me; putting a newborn in a basket and taking a photo is just not the same. I am huge on family snuggles and making these brief moments in time captured for endless enjoyment.
Where will I shoot? I will always shoot in your room on the bed and where you spend most of your time with your little one. That said; it’s time to make your bed. Just this once. Also a soft white or cream colored sheet for the top would look great! I may do the rest of the shooting in your foyer or kitchen… honestly whichever room has the best lighting. When I get there I will look for your biggest brightest windows. Please make sure the home is warm or there are space heaters. I am happy to bring some if you don’t have any.
Even if all of this is done, 50% or more of your session is not taking pictures. It’s just not. We are there for baby and making sure he or she is happy so a lot of these sessions are feeding, moving, cleaning poo, soothing… and well feeling really hot. This is not reason to panic instead relax and know it’s completely normal.