The Most Wonderful Time of Your Life
Having a baby is both exciting and challenging, especially at the beginning. The time is so fleeting – they quickly start growing and changing. So you want to make sure to capture those early moments.
In order to get those adorable poses, your baby needs to be in a deep sleep. Over the past 5 years I have customized my preparation for parents to help ensure we get the perfect images.
I recommend having your baby photographed between days 10 and day 16. By this time, you’ve started to settle into your new routine with your new bundle of joy. If you are breast feeding the first several days are a transition from colostrum to breast milk and can be rough on both Mom and baby. Normally by day 10 you’ve both figured it out, your milk has come in, and the insanity has become slightly more “normal”. Once your baby is older than 16 days he/she will be awake a little more often and less curled in that “fetal” pose. This is just the general rule, some babies are great eaters/sleepers from the get go and some fight it all. Below are some key steps to follow the day of your session to ensure that every baby will sleep so I can “work my magic”!
The Day of your Session Prep:
1. Please bathe your newborn about an hour or two before your session. A nice warm 10 minute bath should wake them up and get them all nice an squeaky clean for their modeling debut! Don’t worry if they have flaky skin, bring lotion with you and we will slather them up with it before the session.
2. Hold off feeding time until RIGHT BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR your session. Feeding your baby before you leave can allow a relaxed feeding in your own home (especially if you are still mastering breast feeding together!). Once you have finished your feeding please put baby in their car seat in as LITTLE clothing as possible (diaper only, snap together shirt or onesie) and cover in a blanket (weather permitting).This allows your baby to enjoy the ride over to the studio and arrive in a deep sleep. If little to no clothing is being worn I am able to start the session as soon as you arrive if they are happy and asleep. If you are breast feeding please consider expressing/pumping a bottle of milk and bringing it with you so that we can quickly get baby full and happy in between set ups. If you have never bottle fed your baby this one time bottle feeding will get them what is called “milk drunk” because they will get lots of milk, very quickly, without much effort. This one time optional feeding should not cause nipple confusion. If you choose not to bottle feed (completely OKAY) then I will ask that you breast feed, you may need to do it several times during the session. If you are feeding formula or bottle feeding breast milk please bring at least 8oz of extra food. I know that sounds like a lot, but modeling is super hard work and babies tend to work up an appetite looking so adorable! The idea behind this VERY IMPORTANT step is to exhaust our little model, stuff them like a thanksgiving turkey, and allow them to drift off into a deep deep sleep that we only dream of!
3. If you are breastfeeding, I recommend that you avoid caffeine, acidic food (lemons, oranges, tomatoes) and gassy foods (beans, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) for 12 before the session so that your baby won’t be gassy.
4. Please bring a pacifier, even if you are not using it yet. The pacifier will help soothe your baby into positions if needed. Some of my clients have told me their doctors have told them DO NOT use a pacifier while breast feeding, I am not here to tell you to use it after your session but that during a 2 hour session for a few moments here and there will not cause an issue. New studies show that using a pacifier actually help to build the muscles in the jaw to assist in sucking while breastfeeding. Learn more HERE.
5. Please bring PLENTY of liquid for yourself to drink. The room gets very warm (about 85-90 degrees) so it is important that you stay hydrated, especially if you are breastfeeding. Gatorade is a great drink to consume while breastfeeding, the electrolytes help in the production of milk. If you aren’t producing lots of milk in the beginning check out these Lactation Cookies you can make!
The In’s and Out’s of Each session:
Each newborn session typically averages between 2-3 hours and are booked for 4 hours. Please allot for 4 hours. This is extremely important as we operate on “Baby time” so patience is very important for both the photographer and Mom & Dad! Poses take time to perfect (your photographer is a perfectionist) and sometimes baby will fuss a little before they relax into the pose I put them in. Please know that I will never put baby in danger or allow fussing to become anything more than that. Someone will be right with baby at all times. Sometimes I have an assistant photographer who helps me, but if she is not available then I may ask you to assist me with a hand, finger or just stand next to baby while I step away to grab a prop. For most of the session I want you to relax and enjoy the silence, the break, and your baby in the sweetest poses.
Baby is tastefully nude in most of the photographs (which is why the studio is so warm), baby can be swaddled in cloth or wear hats/leg warmers/ties/etc provided by the photographer. Baby is kept warm by space heaters, blankets and soothed by white noise or the sound of a heart beat from a sound machine. The studio room does get pretty warm as previously noted (about 80 degrees) so don’t forget water to keep yourself cool and hydrated! Because baby is nude most of the time, there is a very high chance something or someone will get soiled. It happens all the time and the photographer has been christened by tons of babies, it’s just part of the job! Linens and the photographer are cleaned prior to each session. I do keep the diaper on loosely in between shots and when moving baby around for Mom and Dad’s protection, but I can’t guarantee you won’t be doodled on if you’re in a pose with baby! 😉
I love to have both parents and any other children attend the session to capture memories of the entire family. If you have a young child then the session starts with your young child(ren) and parents. Once that has been done I ask that arrangements be made to have Dad leave with the young child(ren). Driving separate cars works best in this scenario. If that is not an option, that’s okay! Please be sure to bring plenty of activities for your other child to do quietly, lots of snacks, and juice.
Mom doesn’t have to show up all dolled up, bring you make-up bag and doll yourself up while I pose baby. Once your ready then we will take your photos with your bundle of love. You do not have to be in photographs, but I always encourage it. I recommend wearing/bringing white shirts (t-shirts are fine) and also having some plain black shirts with you. In addition, I recommend bringing a change of clothes for parents in case you get peed or pooped on. Please keep all tops simple – no logos, cartoons, words, or patterns. The focus is on your new addition and we don’t want anything to distract from the emotional connections between your family.
I also recommend that mom and dad have well groomed hands/fingernails. This doesn’t mean you need to run out and get a manicure, but your hands/fingers might be showing up in family shots so you don’t want to have any chipped nail polish or greased stained hands.
Baby spends the majority of the session asleep on a giant beanbag, in props, or wrapped up tight. Then, baby is posed with parents, and then the whole family. (The order will be slightly different is siblings are being photographed.) Finally, baby will be placed inside baskets/buckets/other props against themed background/props based on prior discussions.
That’s it, the session is over. It was a very warm, sweaty, beautiful experience for the parents. You pack baby up and head home to relax. Believe it or not your little model will most likely be starving and exhausted. Which hopefully means “nap time” for everyone!
Now the real work for me begin, which is hard to believe after watching me do yoga and sweat with your newborn for 2-3 hours. Now comes the editing. Although I use studio lighting and an expensive camera, there is still more work to be done. Scratches, blemishes, skin tone and doing special editing like composites takes time. I tend to spend about 3-6 hours editing your newborn session over about 2-3 weeks.
Safety is very important to me. I make sure that in each session my babies are safe in each pose. If that means more post work to get that shot and have baby be safe then I’m all for it! Hands are on or next to baby at all times!
Approximately 2 to 3 weeks after your newborn session, mom and dad will come back to my studio for an in person ordering session. At this session, I will show you all of your images projected on a wall. I can even show you how your own images will look like on YOUR walls before your purchase!
The Reason to Invest!
The investment of photography is worth every penny. Your baby- that little tiny thing- that you just popped out of you- that you baked for 9 months will so quickly be rolling, coo-ing, smiling, crawling, clapping, walking, talking, and stealing your heart with each new and amazing day. Newborns aren’t newborns for long. Savor it forever by booking a newborn session and capturing this once in a life time memory! Contact me today!