Newborn Prep Guide
I'm so excited to be working with you and I can’t wait for our time together during your upcoming newborn session! It’s normal to be a little nervous about your session. I always tell people that I still get nervous before having my photos taken - and I do this for a living!
I'm so honored to help you create and capture memories that you'll cherish for a lifetime. There is a lot to think about when it comes to planning a session, so I've created this guide to help you get the most out of your photos. By the time you've read through this guide you'll have all of your questions answered and feel more than ready and prepared for your session. Then I'll take care of the rest.
I’ll cover what to wear, whether to incorporate your pets & how to manage them, studio information and more! I can't wait to get you in front of my camera!
Time & Light
“Is there a good time to take photos?”
For your comfort and convenience, newborn sessions ideally take place in your home. If your home doesn't allow for great natural light, read the section about studio rentals!
Newborn sessions are best when they occur 7-14 days after the baby is born. This is when babies are most fresh, flexible, sleepy, and likely without baby acne.
In my experience, one to two hours is the ideal time frame for a lifestyle newborn session. A majority of your poses will include mom, dad, and siblings. Toward the end of your session I will photograph a few individual shots of the baby, then slowly unwrap him/her and grab some adorable photos with his/her eyes open.
To allow for the best light, and a sleepy baby, I like to schedule your session to start at 9:30 in the morning. If it's overcast or very cloudy that day, then your session will likely need to be rescheduled. To get the most out of your session, please plan a 30 minute buffer when getting ready so you are ready before I arrive and your session can start on time. We’ll want to take advantage of every minute we have together!
Quick Tip: Newborn sessions typically take place on weekdays so I can serve my other clients on weekends.
Styling Your Space
Choose one or two rooms in your home to tidy and style for your newborn session. Rooms with large windows, free of dark shade-screens, far from surrounding walls, and void of thick shrubbery are ideal. It could be the living room, nursery, master bedroom, or even the kitchen!
Dress up the spaces with simple, subtle touches like fresh flowers, meaningful heirlooms, or decor. Authentic and true to life is my signature style!
I usually start our session by taking some photos of the nursery while mama is finishing getting ready. Then I'll wrap Baby in a swaddle (or outfit if you chose one) and we'll take your family photos for about 45 minutes. For his/her individual, posed portraits (if you've chosen this option), I will set up my posing beanbag near a glass door or large window.
If there's anything else you'd like to include during the posed photos, please have those handy (accessories, mini stuffed animals, etc.). My style mostly relies on a laid back lifestyle feel so I rarely use any baskets, crates, or trucks.
Quick tip: Your decor will play a role in the final images. If you prefer a lighter style, white or ivory linens will keep things light and bright.
Studio Newborn Sessions (if applicable)
While I take most of my portrait sessions in my clients' homes, a studio is a wonderful option to keep in mind!
If your home lacks ample natural light, large windows, neutral walls, or you'd simply rather not have to tidy up, then a studio is the perfect alternative. Rates start at $60/hour in addition to your session fee and depend on the studio availability.
Pets are a special part of your family, which is why I love when families choose to incorporate them into their session.
I recommend planning for your pet to be at the first part of your session and then having a friend take him/her somewhere else, or keeping the dog at home but away from all the action. We won’t use the pet in every single photo so it’s also nice to have a friend available to hold him or her in between shots.
If you’re going to incorporate a pet, I recommend exercising your pet before the session and having your pet's favorite toy or treats handy! Depending on your pet’s fur type, it might also be a good idea to groom them before the shoot and have a lint roller nearby to keep your clothes looking fresh.
What to Wear Intro: Tips for Looking and Feeling Your Best
You just brought your baby home!
Whether you're a birth mom or adoptive mom, you'll be living in comfortable clothes for the next few weeks, so let's do our best to portray the authentic-ness of life with a newborn!
If you're breastfeeding, choose clothing that is nursing-friendly. Babies may want to nurse often throughout your session, so dressing appropriately will save time and frustration when he/she needs to eat. I'm a nursing mom myself, so I know how often newborns need to breastfeed. A happy and fed baby makes for a smooth portrait session!
If you would like, I am willing to take some beautifully modest photos of you nursing the baby. It's completely optional and your decision! These photos are for you only and are never shared on my blog, website, or social media without your permission.
What to Wear: Moms
Say yes to the dress or rock the leggings with a comfy sweater (jeans are totally awesome too)! Skirts and dresses can flatter every female body--especially on camera. The most important thing is that you are authentic to yourself.
If you choose to wear a dress, use these tips while shopping...
Larger patterns photograph well - just be careful not to choose a pattern that is too small - it may accidentally make your photos look a little too busy.
Softer, pastel or neutral colors are classic. These lighter shades tend to photograph better than bright colors - especially since bright colors could reflect on your skin. I love bright, neon dresses, but I don’t love the neon reflection they add to your complexion.
Keep it simple. Large jewelry pieces will distract from where we want the focus: on the baby! Wear your wedding band and small earrings only, if desired.
Hair + Makeup
Totally personal preference here!
Professional hair & makeup is something that only a handful of my client's choose. It looks amazing on camera and can take away much of the stress of getting ready on your own but isn't for everyone. Either way, I know you are going to be radiating with that new momma glow!
I have a recommendation if you would like it but aren't sure where to look who would be so thrilled to get you glammed up for your session.
Again, up to you momma!
There will definitely be times during your session when we’re shooting your hands - which means it’s a good idea to clean up your nails before your session (this applies to the guys too!).
Have your fingernails, toenails, and cuticles clean and manicured (diy or professionally) with a pale pink or neutral polish.
What to Wear: Dads
Soft and neutral solid colors photograph well. We want the mood to be calm and relaxing.
A soft t-shirt with jeans or slacks and bare feet is great. Solid shades of light gray, blue, khaki, and white are a strong compliment to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye.
I also recommend staying away from graphics, logos, and shorts. Clean jogger pants look great with a pale henley tee shirt, for example! Make sure Dad has bare feet or neutral socks. Shoes can stay in the closet for this occasion.
Don't forget to clean up those nails just like the mommas!
Flatter Your Features
In my experience, every woman--regardless of her shape--has an area of her body that she's self-conscious about, so recognizing that area in advance is key.
Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you'll love the way you look in your photos.
It's absolutely normal to still look somewhat pregnant after delivering a baby. It takes time for your uterus to shrink back to it's pre-pregnancy size!
This is why most moms choose to wear loose, flowy clothing versus tight-fitting ones (except those leggings) for their newborn photos. Plus, it's way more comfortable!
If choosing a dress, off-the-shoulder or long sleeve dresses have a slimming effect on all arms, while strapless, sleeveless, or spaghetti strap dresses have the opposite effect.
When considering your outfit, factor in whether or not you'll have young children with you. If you have little ones, you'll likely be sitting or squatting next to them. Cute, cocktail length dresses or date night outfits are adorable, but make these poses difficult, as do low-cut tops or high leg slits.
“What do I do with my hands?”
When it comes to posing for your session, you don’t need to worry about a thing! I’ll guide you through the entire process beginning with “poses” that are super easy and natural. If I tell you to do something that feels a little funny, it’s probably because I know it’s going to make the two of you laugh - and that’s the photo I'm actually looking for.
Throughout your session, I’ll keep an eye on your hair, makeup and outfits to make sure things stay in place. I want you to feel as relaxed as possible and enjoy our time together!
Prepping Your Family
There’s no such thing as too much white or neutral colors.
Don't be afraid of white! Having everyone in varying shades of white, or other very pale colors, will ensure that your images are in line with my bright and airy style. White, ivory, cream, and champagne complement all skin tones.
Yes, even if you don't have a tan! White clothing instantly brightens your images, no matter the decor or how much natural light is in your home!
Mixing it Up
Skirts, dresses, and rompers...oh, my!
If you have multiple children, don’t feel like you need to put them all in the same type of outfit. For example, one of your daughters could wear a dress, while the other wears a skirt. Bloomers are always great for little girls in dresses.
One of your sons could wear a button-down, while the other one wears a long sleeve t-shirt. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to the photos.
Prepping the Little Ones
Snacks, treats, and lots of smiles
Before your session, grab a little bag with snacks, water, and any small, neutral-colored toys that your child loves (just in case the toy ends up in your photos). Those may help to get their attention when it's time for them to look at the camera. I also suggest having your kids avoid screen time the morning of your session.
Get ready for laughs and snuggles
A lot of families discuss and choose something fun in advance as a treat or reward for a job well done, like an ice cream date or bowling adventure. They're little, and I know things don't always go as planned.
Give them (and yourself!) lots of grace. I've seen it all and will make sure to deliver some beautiful photos, regardless of their moods. My goal is to make this as fun and stress-free as it possibly can be for you and your family!
All About the Baby
The baby is the star of the show! Wraps and tight swaddles will photograph better than clothing. Bodysuits and other clothing may to look too baggy depending on your little one's birth weight and build. I will bring a swaddle (or a couple) with me and get the baby wrapped up nice and tight at the start of your session which also helps them stay sleepy.
Be sure to cut the baby's nails so he/she doesn't leave scratches on his/her face. For the posed photos (if you opted for this session), I will use one swaddle and unwrap your baby slowly in order to offer more variety in your final gallery. My goal is to shoot your entire session while Baby is sleeping, so I don't change the Baby into different outfits.
Have these items handy:
pacifier, bottle, and/or breastfeeding pillow
water for parents
snacks and water for little ones
Have these items handy:
Within a week of your session, I will edit a handful of my favorites and share them on social media (or in a private gallery if you elected for that option during booking).
I will continue to select the best of the best images from your session, edit them to perfection, and send the link to your final gallery within 30 days.
It's always my intention to get your images to you as soon as possible so rest assured that I'm going to get them to you as soon as I'm done!
One Final Note...
I know that was a lot to process and think about...especially if your little one has already arrived.
I created this guide to help make your newborn session experience something you'll look back on fondly for years and years.
It's not just about the photos for me. It's about the experience and memories you will take away from your session. Be yourself, have fun, laugh a lot and let me take care of the rest!