NEWBORN PREP GUIDE
Let me begin by first saying: congratulations! This is such an special time in your life, and no doubt the coming year will be filled with amazing experiences and precious moments as you welcome a new little one into your family. I’m so excited and incredibly honored that you booked your newborn session with me. This Prep Guide has some important information about the newborn photography experience, as well as details and some tips to help you plan and prepare for your session. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to let me know
Please keep in mind...Newborn sessions are typically done within the first 14 days of being born for several reasons: They are more likely to stay nice and sleepy, they still like to be curled up and don’t mind being posed. After 14 days old, it tends to be more difficult to get those "sleepy baby" images.
Before being photographed there are a few things to consider, so please read the following points for a few simple ideas to make the experience more successful:
1. Please keep your baby awake for as long as possible the morning of our session. This is probably the most important step you will take to prepare for your session. A bath, awake time and/or interacting with your baby for at least 2 hours if not more before the session will ensure that they are asleep during the session. Even if your baby normally is a sound sleeper, or goes right back to sleep after eating at home, please follow this step. You can plan to either feed your baby right before our session, or as soon as I arrive to your home. Full baby = Sleepy baby!
2. Please do not overly dress baby in clothing that is hard to take off, a onesie or easily removed pajama outfit will work great so they do not have to be disturbed. No tight socks or clothing that may leave indentions on the skin.
3. The baby will be naked for photographs, but posed so that all private areas are covered. If you prefer not to have nude photos of the baby taken, just let me know, your baby can be dressed in all setups. I like to do a mix posed portraits and lifestyle portraits.
4. The shoot may last up to 2 hours; getting a baby to sleep before posing them takes time and they may need to be fed during the shoot as well. Babies usually need to eat more during a session, so even if you are on a schedule, or the baby eats at certain times, please be flexible with on demand feeding during the session.
5. If you have older children, Please make sure their bellies are full and that they are well rested. Let me know the best time for your family. For lifestyle sessions, it is always fun to have a little activity for the older children (ie, finger painting/small-low stress craft, favorite toys to play with, baking cookies). Your whole family will be included in the session so lets make it fun for everyone. Use this as a time to bond.
6. For posed shots I always require a “spotter” to be near the baby at all times, and if mom isn’t feeling 100%, another adult will have to help ensure the baby stays safe throughout the session.
7. Your little darling will poo and pee. This is natural and expected. Please do not feel embarrassed when this happens, because they all do it. Any experienced newborn photographer will be completely accepting and expecting of this fact.
8. Breast feeding mommies! There are certain foods that you should definitely avoid for a 2-3 days before the session to limit gassiness, and restlessness during your session. Foods such as coffee, chocolate, and soda can keep the baby awake because of the caffeine. Citrus fruits can cause gas, spitting up, and diaper rash. Dairy can be another culprit of colic symptoms, as well as broccoli, nuts, and wheat. Seems like a long list....But avoiding these foods will more than likely ensure a happy and calm tummy for your little one.
9. It good to keep the home warmer than your home is usually so that the baby is comfortable during the session, so please wear light clothes or layers to ensure your comfort.
10. Please have a pacifier handy! This is another important tip. I recommend pacifiers such as the Philips Avent pacifier, or any one-piece silicone paci. I like these best because they won't leave lines on the baby's face after taking it out of their mouth. Some moms may be against the use of pacifiers, or worried about nipple confusion, but rest assured that the short amount of time that we may use it will not have a negative effect on nursing. It does not stay in the baby's mouth for long periods of time, a few seconds here or there is all we need to calm the baby. If we do not have a way to soothe the baby while posing, we may not be able to accomplish as much during the session. A bottle or a parent's finger can also be used for soothing, but the pacifier is the easiest and most effective way. It will help soothe the baby when he or she becomes restless, making it much easier to continue with the photographs.
11. Don’t worry about baby acne or little scratches. My retouching will either eliminate or drastically minimize these. If your baby has extremely dry skin, try putting baby lotion etc. on prior to coming to your session, but avoid any lotions that will leave a shine to their skin. This will help the retouching process. *please do not use any diaper creams that are white or have a color in them. Desitin is a good example of a cream that when on the skin leaves a white chalky film that is hard to wipe off. It is best to avoid these creams before and during the sessions so its not seen in photos, I can not guarantee that I will be able to wipe it off completely- they are pretty oily and thick.
12. If you are having a boy and are going to circumcise him, it would be best for us to photograph him closer to day 8, allowing it to heal before our session.
What to wear?
For newborn sessions, your clothing can play an important role in how the photos turn out. I always advise clients to wear neutral colors, and fabrics that are either solid in color or with subtle prints. Moms look great in maternity tops or blouses, maxi and knee length dresses. Dad will look great in anything from fitted t-shirts to simple button downs with the sleeves rolled up. We can discuss the best color choices once you have decided on your backdrop.
Also, I highly recommend that new mommies have some makeup on during the session. It doesn’t have to be much, blush, eye shadow, and mascara will enhance your new mommy glow. Also please blow dry and style your hair before the session. If lack of styling means frizzy fly-aways and unmanageable hair, I will not be able to fix that in photoshop. Taking a little extra time to get ready makes a big difference in the overall look of your images.
If you have other children, coordinating, not matching, is great. If you have a theme in mind, using colors that complement each other will look the best. I am happy to provide more guidance on outfits if needed.
About your Home
When working in your home, I prefer to use natural light, and I strongly encourage a room that has lots of yummy sunlight near an open window or sliding glass door.
Arrival time should be during your little ones sleepiest time. This is usually in the mid morning.
If this session in in your home, Please make sure the room that has your most amount of light is free and clear from any obstacles. Make sure your nursery or bedroom is spiffy clean so we can take photos in their new room.Babies sleep best when the room is nice and warm.
I will have you turn up your heater to approximately 80 degrees in that area. I will also bring a small space heater to warm blankets and alleviate air drafts.
-I encourage parent portraits with the new baby. A white/cream short sleeve shirt is suggested for Dads and a white/cream tank or blouse top is suggested for Moms. For more artistic shots, Dads may choose to remove their shirts and Moms may choose to be wrapped in a scarf, wrap or other stretchy material available in my studio. These can make for some very tender images.
**A note to Mom: I know that you may not feel like yourself right after giving birth, but I strongly encourage you to have a portrait taken with your new baby while they are still so young and fresh. He will grow up and will want to know what his mother looked like holding him close to her heart as a newborn. I will shoot you in flattering angles, so don’t worry! Worst case scenario is that you don’t like the image and never look at it again, but at least your child will have this moment documented.
-If you have older siblings that you would like photographed with your newborn we will do these shots FIRST. Cream, ivory or white (without patterns or logos) is recommended for older siblings (tops with jeans or even dresses for girls). The more texture the better (knit, lace, etc). They’ll be barefoot, so no need to look for clean shoes.
PROPS and ‘Pinterest Requests’
my style tends to lean more toward simple photos that focus on baby and family. I focus on lifestyle photography that showcases your daily life. I am always open to new ideas but also like to keep true to my style of work. If you see something you like in any of my galleries, be sure to mention it before your session. I am open to suggestions on poses that you may have seen from Pinterest but please understand that every pose we do depends on how well baby cooperates and how safe the pose is for your little one. I cannot guarantee any pose for this reason.
No matter what your baby does, relax. Your session should be a special experience for you and stress free. Babies can sense stress and it usually makes them cry more. I allow plenty of time for your session and if we need to take a break to feed, walk, rock, etc. we can do that. I want you to enjoy the experience of your session and this special bonding moment for your family.