Tips for a Successful Lifestyle Newborn Session
A LITTLE NATURAL LIGHT HOMEWORK
After my clients officially book a newborn session with me, I give them a little homework. It’s really easy homework. I ask that you watch the natural light in your home so we can determine what time of day it is best to photograph your newborn session. Because I am a natural light photographer, I prefer using natural light over the use of any artificial light like overhead lights or flash. It is really helpful that we schedule your newborn session at a time when it is the brightest in your home. To prepare, please shut off all of the lights in your home for a day or two and watch the natural light for me. I photograph mostly in the master bedroom and in the nursery, so watch those particular rooms for lighting. When you notice a time of day that it is the brightest, we should schedule for that time! Having great natural light is one of the most important parts of a successful in home newborn session.
I ask that you open all of the blinds and curtains in your home prior to my arrival. Sometimes my clients’ homes are still rather dark, even during the brightest time of the day. And sometimes it is just a darker day in general, and the natural light decreases indoors. Because I would rather be safe than sorry, I always bring lighting with me, just in case I need to use it in low light situations.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The first thing I do when I arrive at your home, after I gush over your newborn, is get a house tour. Having you show me the master bedroom and nursery area upon arrival really helps me plan out the session right at the beginning. During the tour, I can check out the natural light and quickly determine what photographs I want to photograph in what areas. I also keep my eye out for other areas in your home that have great light, such as on the staircase or the living room, and am mindful of other photography opportunities that the uniqueness of your home allows.
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, I’d think you were a little weird. Clutter is definitely expected! I’ve shot in-home sessions in the middle of moving in/renovating and in some very tiny spaces…and rocked them! I really don’t need much space and can shoot around any problem areas.
MAKE THE BED
Is there anything more simple + gorgeous than a new family cuddled up in bed together? The answer is no! So I often 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. I highly recommend white to light cream bedding to keep things light and airy.
CRANK UP THE HEAT
I recommend that you keep your home a bit warmer than normal during the session. (Like a toasty 80 degrees or so.) Newborns are used to being all bundled up, warm + cozy…and then I 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 up 30 minutes before our session to ensure that it’s warm enough in time for the clothes yanking. 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!
ALLOW YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME
I highly recommend purchasing the Extended Session for 90 minutes that allows enough time for feedings and changings throughout the session and keeps the atmosphere relaxed and everyone happy and comfortable. One of the things I have found most helpful is that it is easier to allow time for the baby to be fed and changed throughout the session than to try and photograph a fussy baby.
Please loosen your baby’s diaper and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those little imprint marks time to disappear. (Your baby will be naked in some of the shots, but I pose them so that all the “important bits” are not on display.)
Most of the images I’ll be shooting work best if the baby is in a deep sleep. To encourage this, I 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 I 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 wasted”) baby. I’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!
WHAT TO WEAR?
I know! You just had a baby and aren’t feeling your best. But I think this is the perfect time to pamper yourself! Go have your hair + makeup done (or better yet, have someone come to you!), schedule a massage or have your nails done. Looking super relaxed and at your best will make you feel more comfortable during the session. This is an exciting time in your life and I want to capture all of that…so take care of yourself first!
As far as clothing? Keep it simple. Throw in a little color if you’d like, but skip the busy patterns. (And please don’t feel the need to match everyone in white shirts and jeans – there’s simple…and then there’s boring!)
For moms, I suggest cotton knit camis and knit tops. I’m also a big fan of skin-on-skin portraits with you holding your baby against you. They’re so simple + timeless! So if you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top or tank as an alternative.
FOR THE MEN - Your hands, and possibly even your feet, will play a major role in this session, so it’s important that you tend to them too! Even if you aren’t planning on participating much in the session, you’ll still be handling your baby a bit, so it’s a good idea to touch up on your grooming. Trim and tidy your nails and apply lotion to any dry skin. (It also never hurts to dab a little moisturizer on your face to help you look more refreshed. Those late nights can take a toll on your skin!) A little clothing advice? Long or short sleeved knits are best. (Make sure there isn’t too much bagginess in the sleeve.) Undershirts also work well. I suggest you NOT wear button down shorts, and make sure your t-shirts are free of logos or too much writing. *Wrinkles do show up in photos, so please make sure all clothing is ironed or steamed.
PHOTOGRAPHING THE NEWBORN WITH PARENTS
You have waited an entire nine months to meet your baby, so I make sure to photograph the parents (together and individually) with your new little one. Having you cuddle your baby really close, with his/her face right next to yours and simply have you gaze lovingly at your little one. Keeping mama and baby posed close creates a very maternal photo. I love having daddies hold their new baby in their hands, as it creates a special photo that shows a brand new bond and also shows just how little the newborn is in their father’s hands. It’s a great way to show perspective!
CAPTURING THE DETAILS OF THE NURSERY
Parents put a lot of care and planning into their baby’s nursery, so I make sure to take photos of your newborn within those precious four walls. Whether it is on a changing table or in their crib, I make sure to capture them in their new room. When you look back on your collection of newborn photos in the years ahead, you will be happy I took the time to photograph that room that you spent months perfectly planning.
Let me say it again… Relaxxx!
I’m very comfortable holding and posing newborns. Your baby is in safe hands, I promise! So yes! Feel free to rest and leave the room for a bit if you’d like. I’ve had parents who’ve used this time to take a nap, shower…and even run out for a quick dinner. All totally acceptable to me! If I have a question or need you for feeding, I’ll come and track you down.
Again, I say… Relaxxx!
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! You aren’t going to get ANY good photos!”
It isn’t, and I will!
I take the baby’s lead; getting them to sleep takes time and they may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. In fact, I’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 the best photos happen when baby isn’t doesn’t 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 I’m going to get the shots we’re looking for.
Again thank you for giving Clicks 2 Pixels Photography the opportunity to capture these unforgettable memories for a long time to come! ♥