How To Prepare For Your Newborn Photography Session
Newborns are the sweetest and cutest things ever, then let me dress them up and put them in a basket with sleepy sweetness and I’m in HEAVEN. It’s such an amazing honor to be your child’s first photographer and be a part of their lives from just a few days old.
Newborn photography can be incredibly challenging so I like to prepare my clients for a successful shoot.
I have put together this post to do just that. I have some tips on what to expect during the session, how to prepare for the session, and even wardrobe and styling tips. I hope this helps you feel as excited as I am!
SCHEDULE GUIDE: WHEN DO I SCHEDULE THE SESSION?
We recommend pre-scheduling your newborn session during your second trimester so we can pencil in a tentative date for the week of their due date.
Otherwise, our schedules can completely fill up and we won’t have time to fit you in last minute. When you book with us we place a marker for the babies due date so we make sure we have at least one date a week for 2 weeks before and after your due date. We are creating a placeholder essentially. I know you cannot control when baby comes but this way we have space and flexibility for you.
We like to schedule the shoot in the first 7-14 days of your babies life if possible.
At this age, they are much more compliant in positions and are a good sleeper plus they are still used to being swaddled up tight. After 7 days they tend to figure out their freedom and start stretching out so that first weeks is really magical if possible. The sleepier they are the better for positioning them and moving them around a bit. Also, baby acne usually flares around 10-14 days.
LOCATION GUIDE: WHERE SHOULD WE GO FOR THE SESSION?
1. The Great Outdoors- Nature Parks, Gardens, Resorts, Venues
We can do them outdoors most of the year as well here in Arizona. Which is AMAZING swoon worth light EVERY time! The best newborn photos in my opinion are outdoor. You get beautiful skin tones and flattering dreamy light. So any location with plenty of shade because of course no sunburn for baby!!!
This includes popular resorts – some are fee based and some are free access!
- We can rent a darling airbnb to get the prettiest light and a home environment without worrying about cleaning your house up just after having a baby!
- We can rent a white studio for that clean editorial look!
- We can rent a decorated studio too!
- We can also use our mobile pop up studio anywhere with great light or in a rainy day I have lighting!
3. YOUR HOME
I can come to your home! But do keep in mind that we need a good source of natural light and some beautiful floors for the most idea photos. More about lighting later but you can see below the difference between indoor & outdoor light.
4. MY HOME
You can come to my home. I have a master bedroom, a small office daybed room and an outdoor space with lots of greenery. I do have 2 cats & a dog however! So keep in mind to sign a pet waiver.
DAY OF SHOOT GUIDE: HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE SESSION?
ALL LOCATION TIPS:
1. LOOSEN THE DIAPER
Loosen your babies diapers and any tight clothing at least 30 minutes to my arrival this way they don’t have indentations in their skin.
2. KEEP THEM AWAKE
We want your baby sleepy for the portion of the newborn shoot that is just your wee one (remember our newborn sessions usually include lifestyle images of your whole family. So adults and siblings too) So I would recommend keeping your baby up longer than normal prior to my arrival so they are awake and ready for family photos when I arrive but then ready to eat and be exhausted by the time we start messing with them.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Have yourself and family members prepared 30 min prior to the session arrival time so you can drink some water and relax before I arrive.
We will swing right into family photos when I arrive. (More on outfits and adult tips below).
We have time scheduled in to get the wee one ready after family photos.
So after we are done with you and baby photos – you can let your hair down and relax for the second half of the session.
We can also play the session by ear and start with newborn photos if your baby is sleepy and then you can get yourself and siblings ready while I shoot those too! We want this session to be as stress free as possible for you!
IN YOUR HOME TIPS:
1. TURN UP THE HEAT
You will want your home warmer than normal for the session as newborns cannot warm themselves yet and they will be naked for many shots. Turn down your air, or turn up the heat about 30 minutes prior to my arrival if we are shooting inside.
2. NOISE CONTROL
Babies LOVE white noise but not random noise. If you have other children or pets we want to have them go somewhere that they are quiet as possible during the newborn section. We can also turn on a white noise machine or a hairdryer nearby for constant white noise.
3. BUT MY HOUSE IS A WRECK…
It’s cool I wouldn’t expect anything else- you have a newborn! But it really doesn’t matter. We just need to prepare a few areas for the session so only clean those spots.
- Outdoor area for family shots
- Well lite area with as much possible natural light as possible. So find that place and just clear it of clutter* more below
- Make your bed-or crib… Many families love to use the master bed for group family shots. So just make it nice and put a solid white or cream comforter on It.
4. OPEN THE CURTAINS
We want all the blinds and curtain open in the area we will be shooting before I arrive to provide the most natural light available and warm the area. Natural light is SO much better for baby skin tones. It’s the most flattering light possible. I will most likely find an area as close to a large source of natural light as possible or simply use an outdoor area- so try to clear a large area that we can shoot in or find a good outdoor clutter free but shaded area we can use.
DAY OF EXPECTATION GUIDE: WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE SESSION
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Normally newborn sessions will last between 1.5-2.5 hours.
We like to spend the first hour as journalistic family images then transition into the newborn session itself. Or if baby is sleepy and you aren’t ready we can start with baby alone shots. These take the longest.
We obviously cannot control your babies mood or sleepy level but we will be patient and prepared for the normal process.
- Your baby will cry- It’s cool it doesn’t bother me a bit. I’m totally used to it. I won’t be frustrated or in a hurry. It’s a part of the process.
- Your baby will poo and pee- Yup- as soon as that diaper comes off… so have wipes handy and give them a little naked time before shooting.
- Your baby will get hungry– we will stop and feed whenever they need comfort or food 🙂
- The umbilical cord could fall off during your session. Be prepared. The cord normally comes off naturally between 1-3 weeks . However, due to movement and fabrics, the cord could come off early and/or bleed if bumped. It’s never happened to me but it’s well known amongst newborn photographers. I advise taking your baby by the pediatrician if it happens to watch for any infection.
About half of your session will be downtime and transition times for the above reasons. This is why we schedule double the length of a normal shoot. So I’m not in a hurry and we can all relax and play it by the babies needs.
Be ready to select your props if you are opinionated. Otherwise, we are MORE than happy to select props from our collection and yours that we think work well together. We aim to do about 2-3 different setups pending on the package you booked.
Remember these images are going into your house and we want them to be good for you and your family.
I take every measure to be safe and use positions I am comfortable with and have researched, but if for any reason you feel uncomfortable to a position we are attempting please speak up.
It is always good to have a parent or helper nearby for some poses.
If you are breastfeeding sometimes the mother might need to step out of the room if we cannot get the little one asleep. They can literally smell you, wrinkle their noses, or not sleep soundly, or even not sleep at all if they smell you!
We will work with you and your baby and the level that you feel comfortable.
WARDROBE GUIDE: Oh, Dear, But What Do I Wear?
If It Makes You Happy! There is no right or wrong with clothing choices. Don’t be afraid to wear what you love and showcases who you are! But REMEMBER
Your wardrobe is what makes the mood and feel of these images. If they hang in your home remember the colors, fabrics, props and location will be like hanging decor on your walls… So make sure you LOVE it and the colors work with your location you are hanging these images.
Above all else make sure you LOVE it.
- If you enjoy a fancy shoot in the middle of the desert, wear that favorite bow tie or ballgown! (FYI I LOVE A FANCY DESERT SHOOT!)
- If you want a casual look then coordinate with a color theme, without all matching or wearing the exact color.
- ABOVE ALL ELSE: Wear outfits you feel beautiful/handsome wearing- not what you think people expect you to wear.
If you feel beautiful when you put on your outfits and want to put that photo in your memory book -it will definitely show in your photographs. Have fun, be creative, but be happy with what you are choosing because happy is what happy does? What? That doesn’t even make sense… but you get the point.
If you want to be you but you still want a little help selecting what to wear then here are some ideas:
- Black/Navy/dark colors tend to be slimming and classic but also make an image sleek, editorial, edgy, or moody/dark.
- White is brightening and flattening to almost all skin tones.
- Soft Neutrals (such as creams, tans, pinks,) are really popular and give your shoot a really light and airy feeling. This is pretty dreamy & popular.
- Colors are fun just be aware of primary, supersaturated or bright colors will create a COLOR cast on your skin and do not photograph very well in my opinion. Especially since we have to do a lot of color correcting on newborn skin to make it not too red. Stay away from bright primary colors unless they blend well together in a pattern. Choose an off shade or muted tone like olive green, or muted blues instead of bright blue or green. Etc
How Can I Coordinate?
Think about your home again, specifically a room. You would not paint all the walls the same color and match all the decorations exactly, but rather you would mix and match patterns, textures, and several colors to create a theme to the room. That is how you want to view your outfits from group photos and even for your own outfit. Fabric textures are AMAZING for photography to help you not appear flat by the way!
Consider the mood you want when you print these photos as well. Do you want them colorful or calm and monotone? Remember to plan where you might want to hang them in your house when selecting your outfits and colors.
CHECK OUT MY PINTEREST WHAT TO WEAR BOARD
I am more than happy to help when it comes to choosing outfits and you can schedule a pre-production call with me! You are welcome to send me ideas or questions when selecting what you will wear
Makeup, Chapstick, and Glasses OH MY
I recommend getting your hair & makeup done by a professional.
You will feel like a MILLION bucks! I promise. I was never much of a makeup girl but once I had it done once I was hooked. It is SHOCKING how beautiful you feel when it’s done. I have several artists that come to you that I have personally worked with and recommend. They also give a nice discount when booking with me. If you want that list please reach out ASAP so we can get them scheduled.
Make Those Eyes Pop
Photography tends to flatten life, so don’t be afraid to up the ante a little! Eyeliner and good mascara are a must, also do not be afraid to get some realistic false lashes! They are the KEY to success. Take extra care on your mascara and really separate your lashes. Your eyes will be the most important factor in many of your images, so spend extra time making them look beautiful!
Not Clowning Around
Now you don’t need to put so much makeup on that you look like a clown, so dpn’t worry. Professionals know how to give you enough oomf to pop on camera when it flattens but not so much you look like a clown. I promise!
If you are doing your own just apply the your makeup like you normally would, but just a tad heavier on the foundation maybe to smooth pores. And don’t forget the eye pop tip above! You might also pack the basics and bring them with you on the shoot in case you need a quick touch up.
HYDRATE & Moisturize those lips
Be sure to moisturize your lips well before your photo shoot. Dry, cracked lips are really hard to touch up later in the pictures. This also means HYDRATE for the few days before your shoot like CRAZY. It will make your skin and lips so happy!
If you wear glasses, they could reflect light and cause glare and shadows across your eyes. (even anti-glare glasses do this in photography) Editing out glare and shadows takes an enormous amount of time and is very expensive and doesn’t always work.
We don’t want you to have to change the way you look so you might consider talking to your optometrist. Most eye doctors have a spare pair of frames without glass you can borrow for your session. You will probably need to go in and see your eye doctor at least a week or two before your session to make sure they can help you and that they have a similar pair of frames in stock.
Be sure to bring some things to do quick fixes to your hair between locations (hair spray, brush, comb, etc) If your hair is very long, you might want to bring some clips, bobby pins, hair bands, or cute headbands to pull your hair back if it starts bugging you or if you just want to change up your look.
Thanks again for letting me be a part of your lives! I want you to remember the joy and treasure of life as it is, not how you wish it would be -so try to relax and let life. Because your life is wonderful and a treasure. Embracing your life is what Fully Alive Photography is all about.
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll see you soon!