HOW TO: PREP FOR YOUR NEWBORN SESSION!
When I book a newborn session, the most frequently asked questions are…
“how do I prep for my newborn session?”, “what is the best time of day to do our newborn session in home?”, “how long does the session last?”, “will we be photographing only in the nursery?”
After 6 years of photographing newborns and families, I finally decided to make a blog post to help out my clients, and hopefully other photographer’s clients!
So let’s jump right in!
I will be using more rooms than just the nursery. Sometimes, the nursery doesn’t have the best light. I’ll still get shots in there, and of course detail shots, but I also want to use the living room or another bedroom that has beautiful light! That being said, make sure your rooms and living room are organized. This is so important because when I show up I don’t have to move things around, we can just jump right in. Another thing to keep in mind is having a white duvet or comforter on the bed, and stick to neutral colors of pillows and throw blankets. Nothing with too much print or too much going on. This helps keep the focus on the baby and your family in the shot, and no other distractions. Since my photography is light, bright and airy, white and neutrals are key!
Feed baby and change diaper before I arrive! This is so important! Newborn’s tend to get fussy if they aren’t full and if they’re being moved around, changed, swaddled, unswaddled, diaper changed, etc. I tell mom’s to feed baby until they are “milk drunk” and sleepy. Once baby is in the “milk drunk” stage, it is so much easier to photograph the baby and get all the important family and detail shots (eyelashes, lips, hands, feet, ears, etc) done and over with before baby needs the next feeding! A diaper change is always good too. Whether you are nursing or not, keep a bottle around or just “be ready” to feed baby as soon as they feel hungry again!
side note: make sure to always burp baby too! Sometimes, they’re really fussy because they have a burp that needs to come out after being fed to that “milk drunk” stage. :)
Keep outfits and swaddles to a minimum. Like I said above, babies will get fussy if they continue to be changed, left undressed, put in uncomfortable clothes, hats or tutus, etc. I always recommend to keep it to a white or neutral colored onesie, 1 or 2 printed or solid colored swaddles and beanies or headbands, and if there’s a special outfit that someone gifted you (example: grandma, aunt, etc) limit that to one as well. The less we bother baby, the better! As for your outfits, keep them neutral as well! Since we are in home, keep them comfy, or a flowy dress, not matching, but definitely coordinating, and the less print the better as we want to make sure baby is really the center of attention ;)
I do not offer/bring props. Since I’m a lifestyle photographer, I don’t bring props, but I do encourage my clients that if they want props to make sure they have them ready to go and ready for the shot. I love “natural” props, such as greenery (eucalyptus is great), florals, woven basket, etc. Natural elements that are able to be brought into the photograph are really beautiful and unique.
Lastly, be ready to shoot for an hour to an hour and a half at most. I always schedule my newborn sessions 60-90 minutes because they take the longest with having the feed the baby, change the baby, photograph the nursery, get family shots in, get individual shots of each parent/sibling with the baby, etc. It’s good to plan for that amount, but I also will leave when I feel like I got all the shots I needed to get (especially when baby was super cooperative)! The best time to shoot because of lighting, is usually in the morning, but you know your home best. Take a look around your house and rooms to see what time of day offers the best light, and also see what time is best for your family and your baby!