Some of the most important pictures you can ever plan will be your newborn session for your precious new arrival. Here is a guide on how to plan, what to expect, and how to get the most from your session.
When planning your newborn session it is critical that you plan ahead. Some of the best newborn photographers, specifically those who specialize in just photographing newborns, will require you to book up to six months before your baby is due. So if you are wanting one of those high-end newborn photographers to capture your baby, you will need to contact them early in your first trimester.
If you would like to book your newborn session with me, I would suggest booking at least two or three months in advance to be sure I leave space in my calendar around your expected due date. This is especially important if your due date is during the fall, which is the busiest time of year for most photographers.
The best time to have your newborn photographed is during the first fourteen days of life. The absolute best time is between day three and day six. Photographers prefer this time frame because babies seem to sleep more and be more “posable.” Sometime after day six they decide that stretching and squirming is a lot of fun! While it’s fun for baby to stretch and squirm, it doesn’t make posing baby in those squishy little balls very easy and it can really extend the amount of time it takes to complete the session.
The best time of day for your newborn session is 10 A.M. You should plan on your newborn session lasting approximately three or four hours. Some babies will knock it out in two hours if they are good sleepers, but be prepared for three or four hours just in case.
Tips for getting the most out of your newborn session:
1. Try to keep baby awake for 1-2 hours prior to your session. The best way to do this is to plan your last feeding two hours prior to the session, then bathe baby. (No lavender bathwash though. Lavender will just make baby sleepier.)
2. Loosen baby’s diaper and clothing about 30 minutes prior to session time to avoid the red marks in those naked shots we all love.
3. One the ride here, plan to sit in the back seat with baby so you can talk to baby and continue to prevent baby from slippping into a deep sleep.
4. Once you arrive here, you will want to feed baby. If you are bottle feeding baby, be sure you bring enough milk/formula for several feedings. You will feed baby more often than usual during the session. Milk drunk babies are the sleepiest and seem to be more content during their session.
5. If you have other children you want photographed with the new baby, we will do that during the first few minutes of the session. You will need another adult to supervise the children and keep them quiet during the remainder of the session. Ideally, you might ask grandma or grandpa to take the other children home for the rest of the session. Keeping baby sleepy and calm is our top priority.
6. The studio space will be very, very warm to help baby keep warm, dreamy thoughts. You and your husband will want to dress for the warmth. You can bring pretty clothes along for the shots with mommy and daddy, but you will want comfy, cool clothes for the rest of the session.
7. Speaking of shots with mommy and daddy, plan on simple, soft, solid colors. Cream or chocolate colors are extra nice. No busy patterns allowed. Make sure nails are clean and neatly manicured for those close ups of babe in mom or dad’s hands.
8. Did you know that babies can smell their mothers? They can! Sometimes you may need to leave the room in order for baby to fully settle and not think about the next feeding.
9. As for props, feel free to bring special outfits, hats, diaper covers, and blankets that you would like photographed. I also have a selection of headbands, pant sets, blankets, bow ties, etc.
10. Remember to bring a pacifier (even if baby doesn’t normally take one, it is often helpful to soothe baby….and don’t worry, baby won’t get hooked on a pacifier from using one during the session.)
11. Baby will pee and poop on everything during those naked shots. Please don’t fret. I’m used to it. Everything I use in our session is washable. 🙂
12. Most importantly, relax. Babies sense stress and it makes them anxious. Everything will be alright. If baby isn’t sleeping well, we will do some beautiful awake shots. So just relax !