.TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL NEWBORN IN-HOME PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION.
It's important to schedule your newborn's photo session within their first 14 days. Really...the most ideal time to schedule a shoot is between 4-7 days after they're born. Newborns tend to sleep longer and perform a lot better when their session is taken within their first 7 days.
Be sure to get in touch with me sometime during your 2nd trimester, that way I can pencil your family in. From there, we can stay in touch via e-mail [especially soon after your little one is born] to arrange a specific date/time for the session.
Your newborn's session will take place in the comfort of your own home. I know, I know...the first thought that just popped into your head is your messy kitchen counter! Luckily for you that doesn't matter to me [or to baby!] Your little one is the focus of this shoot, and trust me when I say that I can shoot almost ANYWHERE, especially if my focus is on a teeny-tiny newborn! I really don't need much space and that 'clutter' in the background won't ever be seen!
If you'd like a few family photos, I might suggest that we move the session to your bedroom at some point [so be sure to make the bed prior to my arrival and have a solid color blanket or comforter for us to use - light cream and grey tones work really well for these kinds of shots!]
I tend to prefer to shoot newborn sessions either mid-morning or late-afternoon. I ask that you 'invite' as much natural light as possible into your home prior to my arrival. This involves opening all curtains, blinds, window shades, etc. Doing this will allow me to find the best source of natural light [the best kind of light for portrait photography] in your home, so that I can get my little "travel studio" set up properly and ready to go! Once I arrive, I’ll take a quick walk through your home to look for the best light [usually this happens to be wherever there is a large enough window]. But don't worry if natural light isn't that easy to find in your home, I'll be sure to bring additional studio lighting with me.
Try to keep your home a bit warmer than you normally would for the session [70 degrees or higher would be ideal] Newborns are used to being warm and cozy, so bumping up the thermostat will make the session flow smoothly and help your little one to sleep better.
CLOTHING (OR NOT)? Super cute baby outfits [teddy bear ears, burlap sacks, swaddle blankets, etc.] are a MUST! Feel free to use your own, I'll bring some of my favorites along as well. Your baby will also be naked in a few of the shots, but never fear, I'll always pose them so that all their little 'sweetie parts' are not on display!
AWAKE OR SLEEPING? Many of the images I'll be taking work best when your baby is fast sleep. To encourage this, I recommend that you do whatever it takes to make sure your baby is nice and exhausted prior to my arrival. [So do your absolute best to keep that baby awake and/or on top of their brand new schedule so that they are practically wiped out for our shoot].
FULL OR HUNGRY? A full stomach always makes for a happy baby! Feeding your baby right before our session will ensure for a happy, sleepy 'milk drunk' baby. I know how important it is to take breaks in between shooting, in fact, I encourage it! So be sure to take as much [or as little] time as you need to re-charge your little one.
SILENCE OR MUSIC? Please try your best to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session. If there will be other children and/or animals present that might create noise, try to find a sitter or a family member to take them away from the home for a few hours or maybe try to keep them occupied in a room away from where we will be shooting. I will bring some soothing music along with me, but that definitely won't block out loud barking or a tantrum! Haha! ***If you have other children and would like them to be included in some of the photos, we recommend bringing them in at the beginning or end of the session and then having someone take them or finding a way to keep them occupied when they aren't being photographed. Only those being photographed should be present to help maintain a calm environment during the shoot.***
SHORT OR LONG SESSION? These type of photo sessions typically last anywhere between 2-4 hours. It all depends on your baby’s mood and willingness to sleep that day. Unfortunately…this isn’t something neither you or I can predict. The more relaxed and calm you remain [even if baby isn't cooperating as much as we would like] the more likely they are to rest peacefully while I'm there. Wide-eyed newborn photos are beautiful too, so don't stress if we're having trouble rocking your little one to sleep!
POSING, RELAXING, SNEAKING AWAY...Getting baby to sleep before posing them will take time. They may need to be fed or cuddled a few times beforehand, so be prepared for this. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take a break and when we come back, I'll do my absolute best to work with the vibes your little one is giving me to get the best shots. During our time together, I'll be moving your little one around and doing my best to 'mold' them into those super-cute, super-sweet, sleepy newborn positions. I'm comfortable holding and posing newborn babies, so just know that your baby is in good hands! Also, feel free to leave the room and rest for a bit. Your scent is EXTREMELY recognizable to your baby, so at some point during the shoot, I may ask mom to step out of the room. This will allow me to get your baby to think of sweet, sleepy thoughts instead of just milk! If I have a quick question or it seems like feeding time is approaching, I'll be sure to come find you!
DIAPER CHANGE! Please don’t panic if your baby decides to go to the bathroom during shoot! [I can almost guarantee you that it's going to happen at some point while I'm there...especially if the baby is well fed prior to our shoot!] I clean all of my props and blankets between each session and I ALWAYS bring a spare change of clothes for myself along with me [yes, I've been pee'd on...and my guess is that you have already too!] If you can - try to have some hand towels, wipes and extra blankets nearby - just incase things get messy!
PROPS! Over the years, I've gathered a small collection of crates, baskets, swaddle blankets, knit hats, headbands and more - I'll most likely bring some of these items along with me to your session. You are always encouraged to have a few of your own props on hand. When shopping for props - be sure to look for things that have nice color and texture. Family heirlooms always make for excellent photo props as well!
WHAT TO WEAR? [If your planning to be in any of the shots] This is the most perfect time to pamper yourselves! Get your hair + makeup done, schedule a massage or have your nails done! The more YOU look and feel your best, the more comfortable you'll be. Try to keep your clothing simple. A pop of color is always nice, but skip the patterns. 'Skin-on-skin' portraits [the ones you see where the parents are holding the baby against them or in their arms] are timeless and simple, so consider wearing a strapless tank/top and be sure to trim and tidy your nails and apply lotion to dry skin. As for the men...your hands [and possibly even your feet] will play a major role in this session if you choose to be in any of the photos, so it’s important that you tend to yourself, too! Be sure that any t-shirts are free of logos and text. Wrinkles DO show up in photographs, so be sure that your clothing is neatly pressed.
RELAXXXXXX...New parents often tend to stress out a bit during these types of shoots...but trust me when I say...there really is no need to! After all, we're in the comforts of YOUR home for a reason...and at the end of the day, I'm just here to take some pretty pictures of your pride and joy! You may inevitably see your baby 'fussing' or having a bit of a difficult time relaxing and yes, your mind will race will all sorts of thoughts...mainly ones like "My photos are going to come out looking horrible!" Well...they're not going to. I will get some beautiful shots, trust me. Depending on how the session goes, I may not get as many as I'd like...but that's just the nature of the game! Just try to remind yourself that babies can sense stress and anxiety like no one else [especially if it's coming from their parents!] so it’s very important that EVERYONE that's around during the shoot remain calm and relaxed during the session.
Newborn photoshoots are precious, exciting, sweet and fun - they can also be a little stressful, but just try to remember that at the end of the day - this is an extremely exciting time for you and your loved ones...so just take a deep breath - and be ready to SWOON!
Have a question about something that wasn't answered here? Don't hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!