A Concise Guide to a Fantastic Newborn Session

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Seems like there’s something in the water lately – everybody’s having babies! I suppose that comes with the start of spring, the beginning of new life, and all that good stuff. I’m not complaining – this season brings some of my favorite work as a photographer – newborn sessions!

But since you’re a new mommy or daddy, newborn sessions can be an overwhelming prospect. It’s not always as easy it seems. When do I schedule a newborn session? How do I keep my baby happy, sleepy, or cooperative throughout this process? Should I feed him/her before the shoot or not? And hey, how do we get into those cute poses I’ve seen all over pinterest?

To answer all those questions and more, here’s my concise guide to a successful newborn session:

1. Book your shoot as soon as your baby is born for the first 3-14 days. 
Babies under 2 weeks old are usually sleepier and more cooperative – after 14 days, your baby is going to discover that stretching is SUPER COOL, and they’ll be slightly more alert as time goes by. It might be harder to get them into those adorable newborn poses.

2. Keep the house nice and toasty.
If we’re doing the photoshoot at the nursery (which most parents prefer) – you’ll want the house WARM. As in set your thermostat to 80,or keep a small heater running in the nursery for a good while beforehand. It’ll be a little hot for the grown-ups, but baby is going to be much happier if it’s warm (especially if they’re in the buff for a bit!)

3. Your House Doesn’t Need to be Spotless
Hey, you just had a baby! If you’ve got dishes in the sink, it’s not a big deal. The only thing I suggest to most families is to make the bed. A fluffy bedspread is a great backdrop for some photos. Other than that, you just bask in the glory of being a new parent and let me worry about the rest 🙂

4. Feed & Burp Your Bambino Beforehand
Babies are usually most cooperative when they’re happy and full. Go ahead and feed them about 30 minutes before we get started, and make sure you get a good burp – gassy babies have a tougher time sitting still. Just in case, have an extra bottle prepared in case they get fussy halfway through, or if we need to take a break for mom to breastfeed, that’s fine! Happens all the time – I promise. We’re on their schedule.

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5. If Baby is Going to be in the Buff….Loosen up their diaper about 30 minutes before we start. It allows some time for the diaper imprint to disappear. Photographers can edit out imprints on the skin if needed, but I know I always appreciate when it’s taken care of! If you’d prefer for baby to keep the diaper on, have a diaper cover handy or we can wrap a drape around it. No worries either way!

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6. Pee Happens
Especially if your baby is in the buff, he or she will probably pee all over the place at some point. Don’t worry about it! I guarantee it happens during almost every newborn session I do. Any blankets or drapes that I bring are washed between shoots with hypoallergenic detergent, and as a new parent you probably know that getting peed on is just a new part of your life.

7. Collect Important Items Beforehand
Before the photoshoot, gather together any things you’d like to include in the photos like family heirlooms, headbands/hats, monogrammed items, etc. I’ll bring some props as well so we’ll have lots we can sort through and use. If a specific item is super important to you, please don’t hesitate to let me know! I don’t want to miss anything you’re hoping for!

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8. A Boppy is Your Best Friend
‘Nuff said. They make great posing pillows! If you’ve got one, great! If not, I can bring one, so let me know.

9. Be Patient – Don’t Freak Out!
If your baby is restless, fussy or just won’t go back to sleep, don’t get stressed. Babies can sense your anxiety and if you feel anxious it may even help for you to leave the room for a few minutes (babies have super smell when it comes to mom) or to drape you so baby can stay in your arms for a few shots while you lull him or her back to sleep. If the baby just can’t get comfortable, we’ll take a break until they settle down! No big deal.

10. For Your Photos With Baby
If you decide you’d like some photos with your baby, decide that beforehand and pamper yourself! A lot of mom’s will have a friend come over to fix their hair or help with baby duty. But don’t be too concerned about dressing up and looking perfect – keep your outfit simple. Solid colors work best as opposed to busy prints or logos.

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If you follow these steps, I guarantee your newborn session will go swimmingly. And if you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask! Bringing a new baby into the world is a big job, and I want to be here for you in any way I can to make your newborn’s photography as stress-free and fun as possible.

To schedule a newborn session with me or if you have any other questions about your newborn session, email me anytime! heather@heatherclemons.com

 

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One Comment

  1. Angela Steelman March 22, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Awesome information!

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