SO…LET’S GET STARTED!
LET’S PENCIL YOU IN!
We recommend that you schedule your newborn session PRIOR to your baby’s birth to ensure a spot on our calendar. I only take on a handful of newborn sessions per month to ensure I am readily available around your due date. Contact us during your second trimester and we’ll pencil you in on the calendar. Then, shoot us an email soon after you deliver so we can arrange a time for the session. (And we always feel super special when dad’s put us on the official “baby is here!” call list! ...Just sayin'! ;-)
Newborn sessions MUST be scheduled within the first 10 days of life. However, the BEST time is between 4-7 days after their arrival. We’ll be moving them around and scrunching them into those sweet sleepy newborn images, so we want to make sure they’re sleepy enough to allow us to handle them. Plus, babies just tend to do a lot better with the session within their first 7 days. Somewhere around day 8 they discover the joy that is stretching! Once that happens…they’re not about to let us get them into those curly poses without a fight! After day 10, it’s almost impossible to get baby into that deep sleep that came so easily in their first few days…so it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to get them into any of the more bendy newborn poses. And, keep in mind that newborn acne (and sometimes colic) is likely to flare up after day 10. While we can easily edit problem areas, we prefer to do as little retouching as possible to baby’s skin.
The majority of our newborn sessions take place in your home. If the weather is warm enough and you’re comfortable with the idea, we can take the session outdoors. (Baby being all pose-y and cute in a big, open field or at the base of an old tree? SWOON!) Worried because your house is a mess? Don’t even stress out! You just had a BABY! If you didn’t have dishes piled in the sink, dirty clothes and baby items strewn all about, we’d think you were weird. Clutter is definitely expected! We’ve shot in-home sessions in the middle of moving in/renovating and in some very tiny spaces…and rocked them! We really don’t need much space and can shoot around any problem areas. We’ll also probably be moving furniture around if we need to make room for ourselves, but don’t worry – we’ll put it all back when we’re through!
We ask that you open all of the blinds and curtains in your home prior to our arrival. This enables us to find the best source of natural light in your home, so that we can set up our “mini studio” in the best possible location. Nothing flatters like natural light, so we prefer to use it whenever possible. For this reason, sessions are normally done mid-morning to late-afternoon when window lighting is as its best. When we arrive, we’ll walk through your home looking for the best light and that is where we’ll do a majority of the shoot. Sometimes the best location ends up being a foyer, by the backdoor or kitchen…usually wherever there is a large window. We’ll also bring additional lighting equipment to help out when needed.
CRANK THE HEAT!
We recommend that you keep your home a bit warmer than normal during the session. (Like a toasty uncomfortable warm!) Newborns are used to being all bundled up,warm + cozy…and then we come in and yank off all their clothes for those adorable naked baby shots. They tend not to like that too much! Pushing up the thermostat is guaranteed to make the session flow more smoothly and help them sleep better. We may be sweating, but baby will be nice and warm…and that’s really all that matters! Crank the heat 30 minutes before our session to ensure that it’s warm enough in time for the clothes yanking…and we’ll bring along a heating pad to help keep baby in a steady warmth while posing. Bonus points if you’re willing to make a few back and forth trips to the dryer to keep baby’s blankets warm! They love that!
Please loosen your baby’s diaper, socks and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those little imprint marks time to disappear. (You baby will be naked in most of the shots, but we pose them so that all the “important bits” are not on display.)
Most of the images we’ll be shooting work best if the baby is in a deep sleep. To encourage this, we recommend that you do whatever it takes to make sure baby is nice and exhausted. Keeping your little one awake on top of your own sleep deprivation might feel like torture, but we think it will be worth it in the end!
A well fed baby is a happy baby! Please feed and burp baby right before our session to ensure a happy, sleepy (“milk drunk”) baby. We’ll also be more than happy to take as many breaks as needed to help him/her re-fuel. It’s tough work being a model!
Please do whatever you can to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session. If you have other children that might create noise, try to find a sitter or family member to take them away from the home for a few hours. If you have a noisy pet, you may want to do the same. White noise machines are encouraged. *If you have children and would like them to be included in some photos, we recommend bringing them in at the beginning or end of a session and then having someone take them. Only those being photographed should be present to help maintain a calm environment.
PATIENCE IS KEY!
Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Unfortunately…this isn’t something we can predict! We ask that everyone remain calm, should he/she not want to sleep. Babies can pick up on any frustration in the room. And if sleep doesn’t happen, that’s okay! Wide-eyed newborn photos are beautiful too.
Let me say it again… Relaxxx! Really, mom, if you need a break use this time to go relax and take a shower! Your baby is in great hands, just make sure to leave a body in the room to assist me with posing. A lot of my newborn photos are actually composites, which means one hand will be holding up the baby, you will then switch to the other side and I will make a composite out of the two photos.
IN CASE YOU MISSED THAT: RELAX!
Moms tend to stress out because this is a new experience…and they aren’t used to the waiting game that is newborn photography. They see their baby being fussy or having a difficult time getting settled and panic. “This is a disaster! They aren’t going to get ANY good photos!” It isn’t ...and we will! We take the baby’s lead; getting them to sleep before posing takes time and they may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. In fact, we’d say that a good 50% of your session will involve feeding, diaper changes, and cuddling to get baby comfortable. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what baby is giving us. Sometimes that best photos happen when baby isn’t doing what we want. Just remember: Babies can sense stress and anxiety (especially from their mommy’s!) It’s super important that EVERYONE remain calm and relaxed during this session. Keeping the environment as mellow as possible is pretty much the only way we’re going to get the shots we’re looking for.
Your baby is going to be in the buff for the majority of this shoot. Please don’t panic if your baby decides to use our blankets (or us) as his/her own personal potty. This is natural and we expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it. We wash all of our baby props and blankets between each session with un-scented Honest Company baby detergent. It would definitely be helpful if you had a stack of old towels, extra wipes and blankets available for when things get messy though. *If you would like shots in a diaper, it’s a good idea to have a cloth diaper, diaper cover in a solid color, bloomers, or something to put over the diaper. Diapers on their own tend to look a little messy and distracting in photos, but throwing a cover over it cleans things up.
We have a collection of bowls, baskets, blankets, knit hats and headbands that we’ll be bringing to your session. You are also, of course, encouraged and welcome to use any of your own props. Look for items with texture and color to help make your images unique. www.Etsy.com has a ton of awesome newborn photography props and outfits! If you have any family heirlooms, toys, hats, props, etc. that you would like me to use in your session, please gather them before we arrive. We may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but we’ll look through them with you to determine what will work best. *We also STRONGLY recommend that you discuss any ideas, props or poses you have in mind prior to your session, the sooner the better. We start planning out your session months in advance, so dropping a huge idea on us mid-session (that requires an unavailable prop) can cause stress on everyone! So talk to us early on and let us know what you have in mind!
THE NOSE KNOWS!
As a mother, your smell is so recognizable to your baby, that it may be necessary for mom to step out of the room for a portion of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, only to allow us to help the get baby thinking sweet, sleepy thoughts…instead of “where’s my milk?!”
Your baby’s safety comes first! If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let us know! We take every measure to ensure that your baby is never in any danger. For that reason, we will always make sure that a parent or assistant is nearby to lend support if needed.
MAKE THE BED!
Is there anything more simple + gorgeous than a new family cuddled up in bed together? The answer is no!
So we might suggest that we move the session to your bedroom at some point. If that’s something that appeals to you, a few tips:
1. Make the bed, just this once.
2. A solid blanket/comforter (or something that isn’t TOO busy is best.)
3.We highly recommend white to light cream bedding to keep things light and airy. (And are more than happy to bring some along if needed!