SO…LET’S GET STARTED!
LET’S PENCIL YOU IN!
I recommend that you schedule your newborn session PRIOR to your baby’s birth to ensure a spot on our calendar. Contact us during your second trimester, and we’ll pencil you in for two tentative dates. Then, send me an email soon after you deliver so we can arrange an exact time for the session. (And we always feel super special when dad’s put us on the official “baby is here!” call list! Just sayin’…)
Newborn sessions MUST be scheduled within the first 14 days of life. However, the BEST time is between 5-8 days after their arrival. I’ll be moving them around and scrunching them into those sweet sleepy newborn poses, so we want to make sure they’re sleepy enough to allow us to handle them. Plus, babies just tend to do a lot better with the session in their first 10 days.
Somewhere around day 8, they discover the joy that is stretching! Once that happens…they’re not about to let us get them into those curly poses.
After day 14, it’s almost impossible to get baby into that deep sleep that came so easily in their first few days…so it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to get them into any of the more bendy newborn poses. Newborn sessions are not impossible after 14 days but sleepy posed photographs might be so we tend to plan for a different style of photographs. Also, keep in mind that newborn acne (and sometimes colic) is likely to flare up after day 14. While I can easily edit problem areas, I prefer to do as little retouching as possible to baby’s skin.
The majority of our newborn sessions will take place in my home studio, because of the amount of equipment I have I prefer not to travel but I can travel to your home if absolutely needed at an additional fee and If the weather is warm enough and you’re comfortable with the idea, we can take the session outdoors.
CRANK THE HEAT!
We keep our studio a bit warmer than normal during the session. (Like a toasty 80 degrees or so.)
Newborns are used to being all bundled up, warm + cozy…and then we come in and yank off all their clothes for those adorable naked baby shots. They tend not to like that too much! Pushing up the thermostat is guaranteed to make the session flow more smoothly and help them sleep better. We may be sweating, but baby will be nice and warm…and that’s really all that matters! If I am coming to your home please turn the heat up to 80 degrees at least one hour before our session.
Please loosen your baby’s diaper and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those little imprint marks time to disappear. (Your baby will be naked in many of the shots, but we pose them so that all the “important bits” are not on display.) Please bring baby in a loose fitted pajama style outfit and avoid anything that we will have to pulled over their head.
Most of the images I’ll be shooting work best if baby is in a deep sleep. To encourage this, we recommend that you do whatever it takes to make sure baby is nice and exhausted. Keeping your little one awake on top of your own sleep deprivation might feel like torture, but I think it will be worth it in the end! I recommend you keep them up for at least an hour before their session.
A BATH! A sponge bath can be a great way for baby to stay awake and calm before their session and can also help with those little skin flakes. A bath can be both exhausting and relaxing to a little one and is the perfect way to prep baby before their session. It is a great Idea to give baby a bath, lotion them up nice, put them in there easy access zipuo or button up sleeper and then feed right before you head out the door for the session.
A well fed baby is a happy baby! After baby is bathed just before you are about to head out the door you should take the time to make sure baby is good and full. When you arrive at the studio baby should be already to go, I will take your new little bundle out of their carrier and start right away. I'll also be more than happy to take as many breaks as needed to help him/her re-fuel. It’s tough work being a model! If you are formula feeding or using expressed breast milk please make sure to bring extra along with you to your session.
AVOID GAS! Nursing mamas try to avoid foods known to cause gas in newborns for at least 48 hours before your session. These foods include citrus fruits (lemon, lime, pineapple, mango, oranges and grapefruits) also peaches, plums, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower, onion, corn, garlic, and chocolate, and LIMIT caffeine and dairy.
PACIFIERS. We do recommend using a pacifier during your session to help sooth baby between poses and to avoid comfort nursing through out the session. We understand that many new moms worry about nipple confusion and if you do not wish to use a pacifier that is perfectly fine but we assure you that the pacifier use would be very limited. Using a pacifier can help bring comfort to a little one who might be slightly awakened while posing them. If you don't have a pacifier we keep extra brand new pacifiers in the studio. If you are against the use of a pacifier I will ask Mom or Dad to please wash their hands and keep their pinky finger close by to sooth the baby during posing.
Please do whatever you can to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session. If you have other children that might create noise, try to find a sitter or family member to take them as soon as we finish the sibling and family portraits. If you have a noisy pet, and I am coming to your home you may want to do the same. I’ll have a white noise machine, but it doesn’t always block out tantrums and playtime.
* If you have children and would like them to be included in some photos, we recommend bringing them in at the beginning or end of a session and then having someone take them. Only those being photographed should be present to help maintain a calm environment.
PATIENCE IS KEY!
Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Unfortunately…this isn’t something we can predict! We ask that everyone remain calm, should he/she not want to sleep, since your baby will pick up on any frustration in the room. And if sleep doesn’t happen, that’s okay! Wide-eyed newborn photos are beautiful too
Let me say it again… Relaxxx!
I am pretty comfortable holding and posing newborns. Your baby is in safe hands, I promise!
So yes! Feel free to rest and leave the room for a bit if you’d like. We’ve had parents who’ve used this time to take a nap. If I have a question or need you for feeding, I will come and track you down.
IN CASE YOU MISSED THAT: RELAX!
Moms tend to stress out because this is a new experience…and they aren’t used to the waiting game that is newborn photography.
They see their baby being fussy or having a difficult time getting settled and panic.
“This is a disaster! They aren’t going to get ANY good photos!”
It isn’t, and we will!
We take the baby’s lead; getting them to sleep before posing takes time and they may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. In fact, we’d say that a good 50% of your session will involve feeding, diaper changes, and cuddling to get baby comfortable. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what baby is giving us. Sometimes that best photos happen when baby doesn’t do what we want.
Just remember: Babies can sense stress and anxiety (especially from their mommy’s!) It’s super important that EVERYONE remain calm and relaxed during this session. Keeping the environment as mellow as possible is pretty much the only way we’re going to get the shots we’re looking for.
Your baby is going to be in the buff for a good portion of this shoot. Please don’t panic if your baby decides to use my blankets (or me) as his/her own personal potty.
This is natural and we expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it.
We wash all of our baby props and blankets between each session with non-scented, dye and paraben free detergent. (This is why I only schedule one newborn session per day!)
It would definitely be helpful if you had a stack of old towels, extra wipes and blankets available for when things get messy though.
*If you would like shots in a diaper, it’s a good idea to have a cloth diaper, diaper cover in a solid color, bloomers, or something to put over the diaper. Diapers on their own tend to look a little messy and distracting in photos, but throwing a cover over it cleans things up.
PROPS! I have a collection of bowls, baskets, blankets, swaddle wraps, outfits knit hats and headbands that will be available to you during your session. You are also, of course, welcome to use any of your own props. Looks for items with texture and color to help make your images unique.
If you have any family heirlooms, toys, hats, props, etc. that you would like me to use in your session, please gather them before hand. I may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but we’ll look through them together and 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.
We start planning out your session weeks in advance, so dropping a huge idea on us mid-session (that requires an unavailable prop) can cause stress on everyone! So talk to us early on and let us know what you have in mind!
THE NOSE KNOWS!
As a mother, your smell is so recognizable to your baby, that it may be necessary for mom to step out of the room for a portion of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, only to allow us to help the get baby thinking sweet, sleepy thoughts…instead of “where’s my milk?!”
Your baby’s safety comes first! If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let me know! I take every measure to ensure that your baby is never in any danger. For that reason, I will always make sure that a parent or assistant is nearby to lend support if needed.
BUT WHAT DO *I* WEAR?
I know! You just had a baby and aren’t feeling your best. But I think this is the perfect time to pamper yourself!
Go have your hair + makeup done (or better yet, have someone come to you!), schedule a massage or have your nails done. Looking super relaxed and at your best will make you feel more comfortable during the session. This is an exciting time in your life and we want to capture all of that…so take care of yourself first! And feel free to tell your husbands that we’re making you if they need a little convincing!
As far as clothing? Keep it simple. Throw in a little color if you’d like, but skip the busy patterns. (And please don’t feel the need to match everyone in white shirts and jeans – there’s simple…and then there’s boring!)
For moms, we suggest cotton knit camis, knit tops or lose fitting maxi dress.
We’re also big fans of skin-on-skin portraits with you holding your baby against you. They’re so simple + timeless!
So if you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top or tank as an alternative.
LASTLY I ask that my camera be the only camera in use during our session, including phone cameras. I work very hard to pose baby for various photographs, so please refrain from taking your own photos after all that is what you hired me for.