Preparing for your newborn portrait session
When & where
Newborn sessions are best scheduled within the first 14 days after your baby is born, ideally between 7-10 days. I’ll be moving them around and curling them into those lovely sleepy newborn poses, so at this age they are usually sleepy enough to allow us to handle them.
By the time baby is 14 days old they have embraced the joy that is stretching. Once that happens, they put up a bit more of a fight to get them into curly poses. It becomes more difficult to get baby into that deep sleep that came so easily in their first few days so we may not get them in to the more bendy newborn poses.
Newborn sessions take place in your home so that your baby and you are as comfortable and relaxed as possible. Please don’t be worried if you think your house is a mess. 1) You’ve just had a baby – I’d be surprised if there’s not piles of baby clothes and nappies around the place and you’ve had a chance to get to the dishes; 2) It’s almost certainly not as bad as you think!
No light is as nice as natural light so we’ll use the room with the best source of it, usually the one with the biggest window. If you’re not sure which room in your home is best then it’s a great idea to open all of the blinds and curtains in your home prior to my arrival. I can then set up my little studio in the best location.
For this reason, sessions are normally done mid-morning to late-afternoon when window lighting is as its best. I’ll also bring additional lighting equipment to help out if needed.
Cosy and warm
Newborns are used to being all cosy and warm…and then we get them all ready for those adorable naked baby shots. For this reason, I recommend that you keep your home a bit warmer than normal during the session; pop it up about 30 minutes before I arrive so it’s perfect for the start.
Most of the images work best if the baby is in a deep snooze. Try to do whatever it takes to make sure baby is nice and sleepy. Keeping your newborn awake when you are sleep deprived is tough, but it should be worth it in the end. Loosen your baby’s nappy and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. The little imprint marks take some time to disappear.
Newborn sessions last between 2-4 hours; it all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Hopefully all the steps above should help baby relax and sink in to a nice deep sleep. I’m very patient so please don’t get anxious if baby takes some time to settle or cries. Stay calm and relax.
I’ve worked with children for nearly a decade and I’m comfortable holding and posing newborns. Getting them to sleep before posing takes time and they may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take a break or work with what baby is giving us. If baby doesn’t sleep we can still get some lovely alert, awake shots. Newborn photography is a waiting game and that’s why I put aside plenty of time to be with you.
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.
Things to remember
Babies sleep best when they are ‘milk-drunk’… I’ll arrive about 45 mins to an hour before we get started so please feed baby when I arrive so that we have a happy, sleepy baby for the start of the session.
We can take as many breaks as needed to top up the milk and change nappies.
Although babies are used to noise (it’s not exactly quiet in the womb), it’s usually best to keep the volume to a minimum during the session. I use white noise to encourage the deep sleep, but it doesn’t always block out tantrums and playtime so you may want other children in another room with an adult. If you would like your children to be included in some photos, we’ll usually get them involved at the end of a session.
Props and Outfits
I have a collection of bowls, blankets, hats and headbands that I’ll bring to your session. If you have any family heirlooms, toys, hats, props, etc. that you would like me to use in your session, please gather them together before I arrive. We may not get the chance to use all of them, but we’ll look through them together to determine what will work best.
Mums and Dads
Even if you aren’t planning on participating much in the session, you’ll still be handling your baby a bit. If you’d like to be in pictures as well, make sure t-shirts are free of logos or too much writing. Wrinkles do show up in photos, so please make sure all clothing is ironed. Block colours are best but avoid busy patterns and baggy clothes.
Your baby is going to be undressed for the majority of the shoot. Please don’t panic if baby decides to use our blankets (or me) as their own personal nappy. It isn’t the first time! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens. I wash all of my baby props and blankets between each session but it’s helpful if you have extra wipes and muslins handy to clean baby up.
If you have any questions that I haven’t answered here, I’m happy to answer them. I’m really looking forward to capturing this special time in your family’s life.