How to Prepare for your Newborn Photos

So – the big day is quickly approaching and very soon you will have a new member in your family. Congratulations! You are almost there! As a mother of two myself, I know all the feelings you are going through right now. While you are waiting for baby to arrive is actual the ideal time to start preparing for your newborn photos, but where do we start?

Why are newborn photos so important?

Your new little bundle of joy has arrived home, you have had a few days of adjustment. Now you can start thinking about all the practical stuff that needs to be done, but one of the most important things to do in that moment is keeping all of these memories for the future. Let’s face it. They don’t stay little for long and in just a few days/weeks, that little one isn’t going to look like the newborn you brought home.

It’s easy to think about doing it yourself but let’s face the facts…. babies are cute, but they are not the easiest model to work with.

This is the reason why you will always hear me say – hire a professional. By leaving this task to a professional, you can sit back, relax and soak in every moment while we do all the work.

That being said… there are a few things you can do to make the session run smoothly and get that image you’ve been imagining in your head for months.

The best time to schedule your newborn photos

Book your session in advance. This one is a biggie. I know it’s hard to say with certainty when baby will arrive, but it is still super important to schedule with your newborn photographer early. Why? Well, most of us book our sessions at least 2 months out, and it is not uncommon for us to limit the number of sessions we take on any given month. By scheduling with your photographer of choice early, you reserve one of those limited spots on her schedule.

The best time to take your newborn photos is during the first 2 weeks of life. I personally recommend my clients schedule sessions during the day 3-7 of life window. This is especially important if you want any of those adorable poses showing off baby’s flexibility.

Talk to your photographer about themes, ideas, or colors

I know this may sound crazy, but I don’t have ESP. Haha! Not even close! Before the actual photo shoot, you should take some time to talk to your photographer about your vision or the ideas for the newborn photography session.

So, if you have a particular theme in mind for your newborn session be sure to mention them during the initial consultation. This helps your photographer prepare for the session and gives us plenty of time to pull all the theme or color appropriate props needed for your session.

Plan a specific time to include any older siblings

Don’t forget about the other kids! Your older siblings will want to participate and show off their new baby sibling, but they don’t always have the ability to sit through the session. Newborn sessions can be long depending on baby’s temperament day of the session and how many times we need to pause for feeding breaks, diaper changes, etc.

I normally recommend planning ahead for when siblings will be participating. Many times I will do sibling images at the beginning of the session to get them done. This allows a parent or grandparent to then take the older siblings home and out of the boredom of waiting in the studio. If they must be present for the entire session, be sure to bring activities (such as tablets or movies) and snacks to keep their attention.

Bring a change of clothing, just in case…

Things happen… spit up, diapers… I’ve seen just about all you can imagine. I highly recommend bringing an extra change of clothing. This includes mom and dad. We will have a good laugh when baby accidentally pees on dad’s shirt during the middle of the session, but I’m not sure you will want to walk out with that same shirt on after the session.

Bring your diaper bag and other supplies with you

In most cases, this is a no brainer but I always recommend bringing extra supplies with you. Sessions can last 3-4 hours. You will need supplies for multiple diaper changes, spit up rags, feeding supplies, any special diaper creams or lotions. Anything you might need, I recommend bringing.

If the baby is using a pacifier, bring that as well. While it won’t likely be making appearances in your photos, it often helps soothe babies into the poses and facilitates getting them to sleep. If your baby is not used to a pacifier or you do not feel comfortable offering one, do not worry, it is not a must.

Keep baby awake before arriving to the studio

Keep in mind that all of those classic newborn images with cute poses, curled up in baskets or blankets, that we all love, require your baby to be in his or her deepest sleep. When babies are sound asleep, those poses are much easier because they are relaxed. In order to achieve this, try keeping your baby awake 30 minutes or maybe even a full hour just before the session time. Another suggestion to keep babies awake is to give them a nice long sponge bath an hour before the session, so that when they arrive to the studio they are ready for a long nap!

Give baby time to fill up the tummy

Some photographers will ask you to feed baby right before coming to the studio. I personally suggest arriving to the studio first and then we take time for baby to feed until full. Be sure to check with your photographer to confirm their studio policies.

Why do we feed baby before the session? Much like the previous topic of keeping baby awake before the session, we want to keep baby content and create an environment where baby is ready for a nice long nap. Full bellies will help us create that environment and can help to coax baby to sleep.

What’s Next?

Are you ready to get on the schedule for your newborn session? Schedule your complimentary consultation today to discuss your vision for your baby’s newborn sessions.

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