Preparing for a Newborn Session
As you welcome your new little one into your family, you may decide you want to capture this special moment with some photos. These moments will go fast, and we want to help you stop this moment in time, even if only for a short while. Whether you have many ideas for how your newborn session will go, or you are booking last minute, not thinking this is something you would want to do, we are here to help the session go as smooth as possible. Here are some of the things we have learned through the years that may help you feel prepared when you come in for your session.
1. The first 2 weeks of life are the best time for newborn photos!
We understand there is a lot going on right when the baby is born, but this is when we have found it is the most ideal for the photos we take. Everyone wants to meet them and hold them, but the longer you wait to take these photos, the less we will be able to do. Past the two week mark, they are much more awake, aware and mobile. They like to be held more, fed more, and clothed more. They usually will spend more of the session crying, and fall asleep as soon as you leave (Yes! Every time!). Now, is this every baby? Not at all. Occasionally, we get that perfect 4 week old baby that sleeps the entire time and will do most of the poses we put them in, but this is rare. Maybe you do not want your baby to sleep the entire time, and that is okay, too. Just keep in mind that most of the time, newborns are asleep, eating, or crying. Also, they have trouble focusing and are usually cross eyed in many photos when they are awake. If they wake up and are calm, we will continue taking photos for as long as they allow us to. Remember, we are all on their schedule now.....
2. Nothing ever goes as planned!
You may be one of those people who like to plan everything out. That is an excellent way to be! Everyone wishes they could be more organized and prepared, but your little one may have another plan in mind. Sometimes they will decide they don't want to sleep the entire time they are here. "But, don't newborns sleep
all the time?" you may ask.... Not when you want them to. If you want them to sleep for 2 hours so you can take some adorable photos of them, it will be the only 2 hours of that day that they will refuse to. We set aside plenty of time to try and get everything done, and sometimes all the photos get taken in the last 15 minutes. And all those outfits you brought and prepared? We used one because the baby wanted to be naked, or you wanted naked and they screamed every time we took the onesie off. None of this means that we won't get beautiful photos, they just may not be exactly what you saw in your head and planned out before. Sometimes, we think they are even better!
3. Bring extra......EVERYTHING!!!!
The one thing that seems to be the most common across all photo shoots is the amount of...fluids.....that come out at what feels like the worst time. While we are quite used to it, by the third or fourth accident, you may start wondering if you have an outfit for them to go home in. I always tell parents, we are going to give your newborn quite a workout. As we pose them, they will try to get more comfortable. We work together to find a balance between the "pose" we want them in and how they feel comfortable laying. All of these little movements take a lot of energy for your little one, so even though they ate an hour ago, they are hungry again. And, because they are eating again and burning calories, they have to....go....again. So make sure you are prepared for a lot of....messes. Bring extra bottles (...if you are using them. We have a microwave available for use), extra diapers, extra wipes, extra clothes, extra clothes for the extra clothes, extra clothes for you (parents are sometimes at the other end) and extra blankets to wrap the baby in between shots while setting up the next one (it will help keep them warm and comfortable if they are still naked).
4. Limit the amount of people that are present.
A lot of times, the entire family wants to be present for the newborn session. This is a great thing! We love when families are close and want to be involved, just maybe not during the photo session. The quieter it is, the better it will be for the baby. This does not mean we cannot have both parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and anyone else who wants to be in photos at the studio during the session, but we do recommend that they do not stay. If there will be family photos of any size, we do them first. They are usually the easiest to do because the baby is being held and will be the calmest. Siblings will also be happier with the entire family there, then when they are with the baby alone. Some siblings love to hold their new brother or sister, and some have no interest. That's ok, we understand that they can be heavy and stinky and loud at times. After these photos are complete, we like that everyone leaves to make sure we get it nice and perfect for the individual photos. We raise the heat, sometimes lower the lights, put on some soothing music. It becomes like a spa. Most mothers love it, too. We do have a waiting area that dads and grandparents are welcome to hang out in during this time. Siblings can have some time to color or have a snack, or maybe a quick trip to the store. This time is all about the baby.
We have a large assortment of newborn props. After all, this IS what we do! Still every family is different and some like to make their newborn session more personal. We have newborn beds, nests, hats, headbands, boats, suitcases, baskets, wraps, blankets and more..... but sometimes items from home can make it a little extra special. This doesn't mean go crazy looking around the house for things to bring. Less things to add to what you have to carry the better, but maybe think about anything that may be important or special that you may want included in the photos. Maybe dog tags from a close family member, or your wedding rings. A uniform or sports gear (clean, of course) or a handed down stuffed animal. Whatever it is that you are into and want to incorporate in, please feel free to bring with you. We will do our best to accommodate all special requests.
And.... Last but not least.....
Do not stress about your newborn session! This is a fun, go with the flow, enjoy it while you can session! So what if it doesn't go as planned. So what if they cry the whole time. So what if you ended up being in every photo when you were not planning on being in any!! (oh yea.. bring makeup.... you never know!!) It may not be the easiest moment of your day, or week, or month... but, when you see the final photos you will fall in love. That is your baby! That nose, those toes. The little hands and feet. He has my ears, she has my eyes. Or maybe even.... we waited forever for this and they are all ours. Take it all in. And remember, you will always have the photos to look back at when they are big and grown.....