Newborn Session Prep Sheet

Congratulations on the arrival of your newborn baby

Newborn sessions take place in my home studio when your baby is between 4 and 12 days young. The session itself can take onwards up to 3 hours which allows plenty of time for feedings, cleaning up accidents and most importantly, sleep.

In order to make the most of our time together, I will need your help with the following:

Before you leave the house

  • The majority of the pictures will work best if your baby is asleep. Playing with your baby and keeping them awake prior to your arrival to the studio is helpful. The goal is to have your baby awake at least an hour prior to when you need to leave for our session.
  • The key to a successful newborn session is milk, milk and more milk. If formula is an option, it is ideal as babies will be in a deeper sleep than breastfed babies. 
  • Try and avoid feeding your baby up to two hours prior to when you need to leave your home for our session. Just before you leave, feed your baby (either breast or bottle). Most babies will dose off in the car, when you get to the studio I will ask you to get the baby down to a diaper and top them off, this will reset the babies sleep clock. 
  • While you are keeping the baby awake at home, a lot of families will give their baby a sponge bath 30 minutes prior to arriving to the studio which will help with keeping them calm baby/keep awake. This is also useful for dry, flaky skin and milk that is left over (normally under the chin and around the mouth area).
  • Dress your baby in something easy to get off like zip up or snap front pajamas, skip anything we need to take off over the head.
  •  During the session your baby will eat more than they normally do as I will be messing with them (swaddling, un-swaddling, getting dressed, un-dressed etc). Although your little one is sleepy at this stage, it is different then when someone is consistently moving them around. A bottle of expressed breast milk or formula will help for when the baby wakes up I can give them a quick snack to allow them to dose off to sleep again. If a bottle is not an option, please be prepared for breast feeding double what you normally would do in a 3 hour period.  
  • A favorite trick to help create a successful newborn session is using the green (sometimes pink or yellow) hospital newborn pacifier. This is also known as respitonics soothie pacifier, and with a few tiny sucks, little ones can drift back to sleep if they begin to wake up. Some parents worry about nipple confusion and prefer not to use a pacifier during the session. However, I personally find that in a newborn session a pacifier such as the hospital recommended "soothie" brand is used as a placeholder and is not confused with feeding. Newborns express pain, happiness, sadness, frustration, and comfort orally. Using a pacifier can helps bring comfort to a little one who might be slightly awakened when I pose them. If you happen to use one already, please bring it with to our session. If you are not comfortable with using one, I will ask one of the parents wash their hands and we will use their finger to sooth, similar to the nurses in the hospital. 
  • Collect any items you want to be used in the session beforehand – family heirlooms, monogrammed blankets, etc. I’ll go through these with you to determine what will look best in the photos.
  • My studio will be very warm. I’ll have the thermostat set between 75 - 80 degrees. For the adults, it will be hot and I will be glowing as I work, but your baby will be toasty and happy. This is because at their age they are unable to regulate their body temperatures yet and if the air around them is too cool, they will be uncomfortable and I will be unable to achieve our goal poses. With this said, I recommend bringing layers.
  • For parent photos, I find it looks best if you wear basic earth tones, dark blue, white or black in either short sleeve, cami or long sleeve shirts. I recommend not to wear the same solid color as your partner as it can look dated. Instead, for example, have each of you wear a version of the color in one wearing a solid and the other with the same color just in a pattern. Another thing to keep in mind, your fingers will be in the photos, please be sure your nails are freshly trimmed. Unless there is sentimental value, please remove any bulky jewelry or watches as they can imprint babies skin.

At the studio, what to expect 

When you arrive at the studio your baby will be freshly bathed, dressed in an easy to zip/snap outfit, still a little hungry and hopefully awake. It is my goal that when you first arrive you can feed them to make sure your baby has a full belly. Be sure to burp baby really, really well after the feeding. Gas can take a sleepy, happy baby to an uncomfortable and irritable one in seconds.

Below is an idea as to how our session will be:

Start with baby wrapped/swaddled in a bed, crate or a bowl
Move over to the posing area where I have up to three different blankets
Photo with Mom
Photo with Dad
Photo with Mom and Dad

Photos with sibling (if they have one)
Photo with sibling (if they have one) Mom and Dad

My main focus is on the baby, however, I always like to have more of a "lifestyle" type images of the baby with the family. If it takes your baby takes longer to fall asleep sometimes the family photos at the end can feel more "rushed". I always like to forwarn my families of this.

A few tips 

Be patient. If your baby gets fussy or alert, don’t stress out. Your newborn can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. We will try and get your baby comfortable again, but if that just doesn’t seem possible, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what baby is giving us.

Safety is always my highest priority. Be assured that if there is ever a point where you’re uncomfortable with the poses, simply let me know. I only want to do poses and shots that you are comfortable with.

And lastly, I ask that my camera be the only camera in use during our session, including cell phone cameras. I work very hard to pose baby for the various shots, so please respect my artistry. If you would like to take photos of me in action, you are welcome to take a few pullbacks. Thank you for respecting my work, I’m honored

I am looking forward to being part of this very special moment in your life.


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