Top 10 Tips for a Successful Newborn Session
Newborn sessions have always been at the top of my favourite sessions to shoot. How can you not love spending time with a cute little brand new bundle! Newborn sessions can be so much fun and great memories can be created both from the images and from the experience of capturing them. If you are looking for a great newborn session experience with your new or soon-to-be new little one here are my Top 10 Tips for a Successful Newborn Session!
#1 - Feeding the Baby
Feed baby just before the session so they start off nice and happy and ready to sleep for a bit. Most newborn sessions take several hours and one reason for that is because you'll be taking feeding breaks as needed to help soothe baby back to sleep between poses. Remember to bring anything you need for feeding baby such as a nursing cover if preferred, bottles, formula, burp cloths, etc. Check ahead of time if your photographer has a bottle warmer at their studio if that is something you will be needing.
#2 - Come Prepared
Whether your session is taking place at the photographers studio or in your home, make sure you do a bit of prep work in advanced to help things go smoothly. Have diaper changing supplies, a bottle and/or pacifier if used, and any special items you want to incorporate into the photos (like that special blanket Grandma knitted, or the little headband you bought right after you found out you were pregnant etc.) all ready to go. It's also a good idea to have an extra change of clothes for yourself and for your significant other since spit up, poop and pee can (and often do!) happen during the session.
#3 - Don't Worry About It
Speaking of spit up, pee and poop...do not, I repeat, do not worry if your little bundle of joy spits up on, pees on or poops on your photographer or the props, blankets and wraps. This is part of the territory! Anyone with newborn photography experience is ready for this and its really no big deal. I remember being mortified when one of my newborn twins pooped on our photographer. He just laughed and assured me it was no problem and that it happens all the time. Now from the other side of the camera I know he was completely correct, so don't even worry about it. You're a new mama, you have enough to worry about already!
#4 - Relax
This one goes hand in hand with #3. Babies respond to tension. I've seen it many times. The baby is fussy and struggling to settle and the parents start to get anxious and concerned that they're taking too much time or that their baby is being difficult etc. The baby can pick up on that tension and it just becomes a cycle. There is a reason newborn sessions are so long, its so we can go at baby's pace. I never want a newborn session to feel rushed. Newborn photographers are like baby whisperers. We come with a bag of tricks to help baby settle and feel comfortable and one of the best ways to do this is to keep calm and relaxed ourselves. Remember that this session should be a fun and positive experience. So don't stress! Sit back, relax and know that your baby is in good hands.
#5 - Be In The Photos
You're a new mommy and it can be hard to feel good about how we look when we are getting no sleep and when our bodies are recovering from pregnancy and birth. Many moms decide to opt out of being in their newborn photos. Please please don't do this. This is a rare moment in your life. This is the only time your baby will be this new and tiny. For some this may even be your only baby. Please don't miss out on this memory! This is one of those special times when there is no do-over. If you truly don't like the photos of yourself with your newborn you can always hide them in the depths of a memory card hidden away in a drawer. There's nothing saying you have to display them or show them to anyone if you don't want to, but you can't go back in time and take these photos again if you end up changing your mind and wishing that you had captured those memories. So make the effort to get ready for the camera that day. Don't miss out on this moment! Embrace it!
#6 - Plan Your Session With Your Photographer
There are many different styles of newborn photography. Everything from very simple and minimalistic, to elaborately themed and posed with props and backdrops, to the more candid lifestyle images. What is your style? What is it that you're looking for? What do you like? Make sure you not only choose a photographer whose style matches your vision, but also discuss the session with your photographer ahead of time. Make sure they know your expectations so they can do everything on their end to help make it happen. Newborns are unpredictable and you can't always get the poses or images exactly as you hope to, but if your photographer knows your style and knows what matters most to you then you have a much better chance of seeing that vision become a reality,
#7 - Have a Backup Plan for Other Children
As previously mentioned, newborn sessions are typically several hours long. If you have other children who you'd like to include in the photo session, its a good idea to bring help. Its unlikely that a toddler, for example, is going to be able to sit quietly through 2-4 hours of shooting and its very important during posed newborn shots to have a calm and quiet environment to avoid baby being startled. Having a friend or family member who can take older children home or away from where the session is taking place after the sibling and family photos are done can be a big help.
#8 - Timing
Newborn sessions will go most smoothly and give the best possible results when they take place during the first 1-2 weeks after birth. During those first days your baby is at their most cuddly, squishy and sleepy and all of those make for easier posing, which in turn allows for the best photos possible. Keep this in mind when scheduling your newborn session. Most newborn photographers will recommend this and some will even require it so be sure to plan ahead when booking.
#9 - Hire An Experienced Photographer
Make sure your newborn photographer has a good amount of experience working with and photographing newborns. There are many safety concerns with newborn photoshoots and you want to feel confident that your precious baby is safe and in good hands. If you have any concerns over how your baby is being handled or posed please speak up. Educate yourself on safe newborn photography practices and know what to watch out for.
#10 - Enjoy the Experience
Remember to have fun during this whole experience. Smile, laugh, have fun and don't sweat the small stuff. Your little bundle is going to change and grow so quickly it will make your head spin! So cherish this moment and hold on to these beautiful memories for years to come!