Newborn photo sessions can seem daunting to any parent, even if this isn’t their first child. Which is why my goal is to create a comfortable and stress free experience for mom and dad (and baby!). In my 10+ years as a professional photographer specializing in newborn portraits, I’ve learned a thing or two about what to expect from a newborn session. Here are 10 tips to make sure you’re able to get the most out of your newborn portrait session.
1. Avoid Stress and Book Early
The last thing you want to be doing from your hospital bed when your baby arrives is scouring the internet for a quality newborn photographer. Avoid stress by booking your session early. Since Baby is boss, we won’t know the exact date of the session yet, but that’s okay! I’ll pencil in your baby’s due date with the knowledge that this date isn’t set in stone. You then contact me once baby is here and we set the date. Newborn sessions are typically scheduled for between 6-16 days after birth. This is a good “sweet spot” age because it gives baby time to get home, learn how to eat (and for mom to get comfortable nursing if that’s the plan), and gives mom and dad time to get settled in a bit.
Worried that this timeframe won’t work for you? Don’t worry, I am completely flexible. Just know that in the end, we will capture beautiful portraits of your baby.
2. Know What to Pack
While there are some things you’ll need to make sure you bring along (food for baby, clothing for the adults, any personal (optional) touches to add to your photos), most things you don’t have to worry about bringing with you. In the studio is a fully stocked changing table with diapers and wipes, extra unopened pacifiers, blankets and tons of props and accessories to choose from.
3. Take Advantage of Our Clothes and Accessories
Most of the time for newborn photo shoots, your baby is either naked or wrapped in a swaddle. That doesn’t mean you can’t add accessories. Not only do I have wraps in a variety of colors and textures (I might have a slight etsy addiction!), but I also have an abundance of headbands and hats for teeny newborn heads. Bringing along a big sibling? I even have some bigger kid clothes and accessories!
4. Bring A Book
With a new baby at home, there isn’t much relaxing. This is a good time to sit back, relax and read a book. Your book can even be a front for taking a quick snooze (!). We won’t judge. Trust me, you would not be the first parent to take a nap in the studio. I’m told the couch is very comfy.
Of course if you’d rather, you can pull up a chair and enjoy the experience of watching your baby being photographed.
5. Decide if You Want to Bring Along Reinforcements or Not
Figuring out who you’re going to bring along for the ride can be tricky. After all the only person required is your newborn … and at least one parent to drive them (ha!). But who else comes with you can vary depending on your family.
I always welcome and encourage bringing older siblings along for the session. I do like to suggest that a person come along to entertain any toddler siblings. Another option is to have someone bring older siblings home once they’re done in front of the camera. Grandparents are also invited as this can be a great opportunity for me to capture multiple generations.
However if your worry is about having extra help for your newborn, don’t be concerned. Not only will I be there to help, I always have an assistant who is trained and experienced in dealing with newborn babies. Read this post to learn more about why to hire a newborn photographer, and especially about safety in the studio. Safety is always the number one priority.
6. Wear Layers
The studio is kept at a warm and toasty 80+ degrees to make sure that baby is always comfy and cozy. But this means the rest of us can get a little warm. So, layers are key. The heat in the studio makes it ideal for sleeping babies.
Just consider this a complimentary sauna experience 🙂 !
7. Grab A Coffee and A Snack
I know how those sleepless nights can take a toll on a new parent. So take the chance to enjoy a cup of hot coffee or tea, a can of seltzer, or just a nice cold water. Whatever your preference, you can finish the whole thing without having to worry about your baby. There are at least two sets of hands that are just there to care for your little one.
Wondering where to stop on your way? Read this blog post for our coffee shop suggestions. Don’t have time to stop on your way? No worries, we have refreshments! Just like finishing that cup of coffee while it’s still hot, many new parents can’t manage to eat a snack in one sitting. Like with drinks we have a large selection of snacks for you and for any hungry big siblings. (And a quick note, snacks also make good bribes for big siblings to sit and smile during photos!)
8. Speak Up
These portraits are for you, your little one, and your family. If at any point you feel uncomfortable with a pose or prop, let me know. I only want to take photos that you are completely happy and comfortable with. This tip actually starts before you even step foot in the studio. During the scheduling and planning process, I send out a questionnaire to open up communication about poses, colors, themes, and anything else that you like or dislike. But even with all the questionnaires, sometimes during a session you’ll decide you aren’t loving something, which is totally fine. Just let me know and we can make the changes we need to make sure you’re happy.
9. Stay Calm
Newborn sessions can be two hours long. This gives us ample time for all of baby’s needs, including feedings, snuggles and diaper changes. If your baby wakes up or fusses, it’s important to keep calm. They feed off of your stress, so take a deep breath, it’ll be okay. We will work to get your baby calmly sleeping. After 10+ years of photographing newborns, I’ve learned quite a few tricks, so you’re in good hands.
10. Prepare For After The Session
What would you like to do with your photos? Session albums are a very popular choice and are custom designed. Wall art (either canvas or framed) can be a fantastic way to enjoy your new art and decorate your home. Don’t forget gifts for grandparents! Digital files are very popular and make for easy sharing. There are lots of options and we are here to walk you through it, every step of the way.
When welcoming a new baby into the family, there are a lot of factors to stress about. Newborn photos shouldn’t be one of them.
Crabapple Photography is a full service photography boutique located in Andover, Massachusetts serving Greater Boston, all of the North Shore and Southern New Hampshire. Contact Kate today to book your own newborn session.