We LOVE newborn sessions!
Newborn photography is incredibly challenging, but it’s so amazing to be a part of baby’s life when they are just days old. There’s a bit of prep and planning that needs to go into newborn sessions to make them more successful though and that’s why we have put together a few tips below to help us get the very best out of your upcoming newborn session.
We recommend that you schedule your newborn session prior to your baby’s birth to ensure a spot in our studio. Contact us during your second trimester and we’ll pencil you in. We will stay in touch all the way through to delivery so we can arrange the best time for the session. (And we always feel super special when Dads put us on the official “baby is here!” call list! Just sayin’ :^J)
Newborn sessions should be scheduled within the first 14 days of life. However, the best time is between 3-7 days after their arrival. We’ll be moving them around and scrunching them into those sweet sleepy newborn images, so we want to make sure that they are sleepy enough to allow us to handle them. Plus, babies just tend to do a lot better with the session within their first 7 days.
Somewhere around day 8 they discover the joy that is stretching! Once that happens they’re not about to let us get them into those curly poses without a fight! After day 14, it’s almost impossible to get baby into that deep sleep that came so easily in their first few days so it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to get them into any of the more bendy newborn poses.
And, keep in mind that newborn acne (and sometimes colic) is likely to flare up after day 14. While we can easily edit problem areas, we prefer to do as little retouching as possible to baby’s skin.
The majority of our newborn sessions take place in our Newport studio. If the weather is warm enough and you’re comfortable with the idea, we can take some of the session outdoors. (Baby being all pose-y and cute in a big, open field or at the base of an old tree? SWOON!) You don’t have to worry about the dishes piled in the sink or the dirty clothes and baby items strewn all about. Our studio offers plenty of space to allow you and the family to just relax for his/her session complete with a diaper changing area.
If you prefer to have a more lifestyle session in your home, we can definitely accommodate, however, please take into account the home space, lighting and overall aesthetic you are wanting. The bedroom makes the perfect location for lifestyle sessions!
Please loosen your baby’s diaper and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those little imprint marks time to disappear.
Most of the images we’ll be taking work best if the baby is in a deep sleep. To encourage this, we recommend that you do whatever it takes to make sure baby is nice and exhausted at least 1-2 hours prior to the session. Keeping your little one awake on top of your own sleep deprivation might feel like torture, but we think it will be worth it in the end.
A well fed baby is a happy baby! Please feed and burp baby right before our session to ensure a happy, sleepy “milk drunk” baby. We’ll also be more than happy to take as many breaks as needed to help him/her re-fuel. It’s tough work being a model.
We will do whatever we can to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session. If you have other children that might create noise, try to bring some activities to keep their attention occupied or bring a family member to bring them to the studio later during the session. We use a white noise machine, but it doesn’t always block out tantrums and playtime.
* If you have other children and would like them to be included in some portraits, we recommend bringing them in at the beginning or end of a session and then having someone take them. Only those being photographed should be present to help maintain a calm environment.
Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Unfortunately, this isn’t something we can predict. We ask that everyone remain calm, should he/she not want to sleep, since your baby will pick up on any frustration in the room. And if sleep doesn’t happen, that’s okay. Wide-eyed newborn portraits are beautiful too.
Your baby is going to be in the buff for part of this session. Please don’t panic if your baby decides to use our blankets, or us as his/her own personal potty. This is natural and we expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it. (Adam gets peed on at least ONCE at every session.) We wash all of our baby props and blankets between each session with non-scented baby detergent. This is why we only schedule one newborn session per day! It would definitely be helpful if you brought in an old towel or had extra wipes in case things get messy though.
As a mother, your smell is so recognizable to your baby, that it may be necessary for mom to step out of the room for a portion of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, only to allow us to help the get baby thinking sweet, sleepy thoughts instead of “where’s my milk?!?” We completely understand if you don’t feel comfortable with that idea. Some of our mothers decide to stay in the room. The only thing we ask is to give some distance while we’re shooting.
Let me say it again… Relaxxx! We’re pretty comfortable holding and posing newborns. Adam is a Dad himself and has several years of experience working with special needs babies and toddlers. Your baby is in safe hands, we promise! So yes! Feel free to rest and leave the room for a bit if you’d like or relax on our comfy couch. We’ve had parents who’ve used this time to take a nap, get some work done on their laptops and even run out for a quick meal. All totally acceptable to us. If we have a question or need you for feeding, we’ll come and track you down.
Moms tend to stress out because this is a new experience and they aren’t used to the waiting game that is newborn photography. They see their baby being fussy or having a difficult time getting settled and panic. “This is a disaster! They aren’t going to get any good photos!”
It isn’t, and we will!
We take the baby’s lead; getting them to sleep before posing takes time and they may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. In fact, we’d say that a good 50% of your session will involve feeding, diaper changes, and cuddling to get baby comfortable. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what baby is giving us. Sometimes that best photos happen when baby isn’t doing what we want.
Just remember: Babies can sense stress and anxiety especially from their Mommy. It’s super important that everyone remain calm and relaxed during this session. Keeping the environment as mellow as possible is pretty much the only way we’re going to get the portraits we’re looking for.
We have a collection of bowls, baskets, blankets, knit hats and headbands for your session. You are also, of course, welcome to use any of your own props. Look for items with texture and color to help make your images unique. If you have any family heirlooms, toys, hats, etc. that you would like us to use in your session, please feel free to bring them on the day of the session. We may not get the chance to use all of the items, but we’ll look through them with you to determine what will work best.
*We also strongly recommend that you discuss any ideas, props or poses you have in mind at least a week prior to your session. We start planning out your session weeks in advance, so dropping a huge idea on us mid-session (that requires an unavailable prop) can cause stress on everyone! So talk to us early on and let us know what you have in mind!
I know! You just had a baby and aren’t feeling your best. But we think this is the perfect time to pamper yourself! Go have your hair and makeup done, or better yet, have someone come to you! Schedule a massage or have your nails done. Looking super relaxed and at your best will make you feel more comfortable during the session. This is an exciting time in your life and we want to capture all of that, so take care of yourself first! And feel free to tell your husband/wife that we’re making you if they need a little convincing.
As far as clothing? Keep it simple. Throw in a little color if you’d like, but skip the busy patterns. And please don’t feel the need to match everyone in the same outfits.
For Moms, we suggest cotton knit camis and knit tops. We’re also big fans of skin-on-skin portraits with you holding your baby against you. They’re so simple and timeless! So if you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top or tank as an alternative.
Your hands, and possibly even your feet, will play a major role in this session, so it’s important that you tend to them too. Even if you aren’t planning on participating much in the session, you’ll still be handling your baby a bit, so it’s a good idea to touch up on your grooming. Trim and tidy your nails and apply lotion to any dry skin. It also never hurts to dab a little moisturizer on your face to help you look more refreshed. Those late nights can take a toll on your skin.
A little clothing advice? Long or short sleeved knits are best. Make sure there isn’t too much bagginess in the sleeve. Undershirts also work well. We suggest you not wear button down shorts, and make sure your t-shirts are free of logos or too much writing.
Your baby’s safety comes first. If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let us know! We take every measure to ensure that your baby is never in any danger. For that reason, we will always make sure that a parent or assistant is nearby to lend support if needed.
We hope this helps in the planning process!
Creative. Clean. Different. We are a team of creatives in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky specializing in maternity, newborn, and family photography. We want to be here to document major moments in your life as you extend your family tree and lay down your roots. We’d love to show you our studio and walk you through our albums, canvases and other print photography products. We can also provide more information on our collections and introduce you to our team! We’d love to help, connect with us now.