Newborn sessions are fun, but they do take it out of ya. They are on the long side, or so it seems, but when you add up all the feeding, changing, topping off, etc. we basically have just the right amount of time, because let's face - babies don't just have a mind of their own as to the timing of their earthly debut, they also kinda drive the session. We're at their beck and call. ;) Here is the scoop on what to expect, how to prep, and overall having a good time with your little bundle of joy :)
Scheduling a Newborn Session - I generally put your due date on my calendar, schedule a tentative session for a weekday morning (10am, day 5-9 after due date), and we get in touch as things get closer. Day 5-9 are generally what I shoot for, since that's when the newborns are still most sleepy. Makes it a bit easier to work with since they tend to be cross-eyed when they are awake ;)
Location: My sessions are very much of the 'lifestyle' variety, and take place at your home. I don't invade the household with a studio setup, we work with what you have - use the bed, couch, a pretty chair, etc. and I really just try to capture you in your element rather than stiffly studio-posed. You just enjoy your baby and I'll be there to capture those sweet moments. How and where I photograph really depends on where the best light is in the house. The photos of the baby alone also vary, depending on what I'm working with. I make the call once I have a chance to look around.
Your House = Studio for the day – Please make sure it’s somewhat clean, and picked up, and ready for action. That means toys put away, beds made, mostly de-clutter as much as possible so we don't have a ton of re-arranging to do. I do need to mention that I charge a $50 cleaning fee if your house is extremely messy and I have to spend extra time cleaning it up.
**PS. Moms and Moms-In-Law are generally just dying to feel helpful when the baby arrives, so this can be a great way to get them involved.
:: NEWBORN SESSION PREP ::
Session duration - 2-3 hours, depending on baby.
Goal – Keep the baby fed, changed, warm, and comfortable so. Sleeping is the end goal.
Awake Before – Keep your baby awake before the session, as much as possible
Longer Feeding – Plan on feeding your baby longer (even 40 mins) RIGHT before the session –
think “milk drunk”. This one is important and the best tip to get the baby sleepy for the pictures
Change the baby right before the session. And don’t worry – there’s time for changing, topping off, etc. so relax, we’re not in a rush.
TEMP inside the house – If your house if on the cool side, please warm it up a bit. Around 72 degrees helps get a comfy sleepy baby. If a space heater is available, have it at the ready. I’ll help pick the best spot based on the light in the house and etc. Plan your own outfits accordingly - i.e.: Dress lighter, it will get toasty.
Baby Outfit – I don’t generally photograph babies naked, but we can get a similar effect by swaddling in a diaper, or using a diaper cover. Etsy is a great source if you’re looking for ideas. Have a couple alternative outfits and a couple white onesies at the ready (white photographs best!)
Baby Outfit No No's - Avoid really bright, neon colors – they cast a tint onto faces, necks, etc. and they are out of gamut for all currently available printers (i.e.: don’t print well).
Baby Props - I’ll bring a few things with me, but I’d love to see what you’ve got that’s unique. Think fringy blankets, wooden crates, knit hats and simple knit outfits, headbands, tulle, etc. Quick note – Quilts are cute, but they don’t really photograph well inside of boxes because they’re not very pliable, fringy blankets are best. Show me what you’ve got and I’ll help combine into cute ensembles. Textures are amazing and better than pattern (sweater knit, furs, lace bonnets, etc.)
Parents Outfit – Layering neutrals works great and photographs really well. Solids are better than patterns (pick one person in pattern). Sounds simple, but it’s a classic look you won’t likely have regrets over. Textures are great too! (lace, fur, knit, etc.)
Dressing the Family - Same as parents - solids and neutrals work very well. Try to avoid clashing patterns and too much pattern all together, as well as very dark or very bright colors (whites, greys, beiges, ivories, etc. work really well).
Bedspread / Bedroom Prep - If your bedroom has good window light, the bed can be a great place for some photos. White on white is dreamy if you have or can arrange for that kind of bedspread (otherwise light neutrals are best). If your bedroom has great natural light (as in window light), just make sure it's picked up (i.e.: everything off the dresser and nightstands, declutter, kleenex boxes and water bottles hidden away, etc.)
SNACK for you (i.: the husband) and the kids - Newborn sessions do take a while, so it’s really helpful to have a snack at the ready in case anyone gets famished, and before they get hangry.
Most important – Relax and have fun!! – There’s time, the baby’s safe, we’re here to have fun. So enjoy the moment, nibble and sip on something delicious, and go with the flow. Be ready to interact, play, snuggle, and have many sweet moments together of taking it all in, rather than mentally prepping for a photo shoot. :)
And, a quick last note... Rather than always being concerned with where I'm at, try to forget that I'm even there. I'll help you know what to do, but I want you to just be yourself, allow for those beautiful moments to happen, and let me capture all that for you. No cheese. No posing. No fakeness. Just all that sweet intimate stuff that goes with being at home with your new baby. :)
You've got this!!! :) Absolutely cannot wait to meet your new family member!