Newborn Prep Guide
Preparing for your Newborn Session
Newborn portraits are best created within the first 7 to 15 days of the baby being born. During this time, the baby is still very sleepy and most pose-able. I can mold them and put them in to all of the adorable poses that families have grown to love. They will not be like this for long because they change and grow so quickly. Please notify me within 48 hours of giving birth so we can set a session date in stone. You may notify me through text, email, fb, or even a phone call, which ever is best for you. Failure to notify me with enough notice may hinder our ability to schedule your session in the given time frame, so please make sure to contact me.
Before being photographed there are a few things to consider, so please read below for a few simple ideas to make the experience more successful:
1. Please keep your baby awake for as long as possible the morning of our session. This is probably the most important step you will take to prepare for your session. A bath, awake time and/or interacting with your baby for at least 2 hours if not more before the session will ensure that they are asleep during the session. Even if your baby normally is a sound sleeper, or goes right back to sleep after eating at home, please follow this step. As mentioned I’ve seen it all, unfortunately their have been a few moms that will say,” my baby sleeps through anything”. Well come to find out in a very unfortunate way, no they actually don’t.
2. Once you arrive you will feed your baby right away, once burped, we will then start preparing him/her for their session, meaning any and all clothing must be taken off, except for the diaper. Please do not overly dress baby in clothing that is hard to take off, a onesie or easily removed pajama outfit will work great so they do not have to be disturbed. No tight socks or clothing that may leave indentions in the skin. As you might know babies don’t like the feeling of being naked, they want to be warm and completely snuggled (although we will have a small heater in place to keep them warm) still, they are naked. That alone completely startles and wakes up a baby faster than anyone expected and because of that, they are now fully awake. Some babies fall into a deep sleep once picked up, or wrap in a small blanket and soothed for about 15 minutes and then there are the babies that have been asleep for 3+ hours before arriving and are now refusing to go to sleep. From experience, babies that have been asleep prior to arrival are unfortunately the babies that are more difficult to pose because as soon as the blanket comes off, they get startled again and it’s back to trying to put them to sleep. That alone can take up to an hour, if not more and unfortunately does count against your session time. Keeping in mind these two instructions will most certainly give you a well rested baby. In return we’ll be able to maximize the time you have in the studio with plenty of scenes and photos so for that reason please do not underestimate and risk how well your baby sleeps after a feeding. We need your bundle of joy to be very exhausted, tired and a bit hungry. I know it will be hard, on top of your own sleep deprivation but I promise you, it will be well worth the effort!!
3. The baby will be naked for photographs, but posed so that all private areas are covered. If you prefer not to have nude photos of the baby taken, just let me know, your baby can be dressed in all setups, I have many little pants and outfits for them to wear.
4. The shoot may last up to 3 hours; getting a baby to sleep before posing them takes time and they may need to be fed during the shoot as well. Babies usually need to eat more during a session, so even if you are on a schedule, or the baby eats at certain times, please be flexible with on demand feeding during the session.
5. If you have older children, please arrange for your husband or family member to take them home after their pictures are taken. It is very hard to photograph the newborn if older sibling are restless during the remainder of the session. Family and sibling photographs will be taken first, and then the rest of the session will focus solely on the baby. If for some reason that is not choice you can bring items from home such as a tablet ect. But please do whatever you can to keep the noise to a minimum during our session. Maintaining a calm environment is also a big key to a successful newborn shoot. I do have a white noise app that I will keep close to baby during the session to help soothe him or her. Babies love strong and rhythmic sound.
6. If you are having a C-section, and you have older siblings, it may be best to bring an additional family member to help with the children. I always require a “spotter” to be near the baby at all times, and if mom isn’t feeling 100%, another adult will have to help ensure the baby stays safe throughout the session.
7. Your little darling will poo and pee on all the props. This is natural and expected. Please do not feel embarrassed when this happens, because they all do it. Any experienced newborn photographer will be completely accepting and expecting of this fact.
8. Breast feeding mommies! There are certain foods that you should definitely avoid for a 2-3 days before the session to limit gassiness, and restlessness during your session. Foods such as coffee, chocolate, and soda can keep the baby awake because of the caffeine. Citrus fruits can cause gas, spitting up, and diaper rash. Dairy can be another culprit of colic symptoms, as well as broccoli, nuts, and wheat. Seems like a long list....But avoiding these foods will more than likely ensure a happy and calm tummy for your little one.
9. The studio will be warmer than your home is usually so that the baby is comfortable during the session, so please wear light clothes or layers to ensure your comfort. Since babies are usually photographed naked, the studio will be set at a temperature of 80F to ensure baby is warm and comfortable. If we’re not sweating, it’s probably not warm enough for baby! Parent’s please make sure to wear comfortable loose clothing. I will also provide water and snacks.
10. Please have a pacifier handy! This is another important tip. I recommend pacifiers such as the Philips Avent pacifier, or any one-piece silicone paci. I like these best because they won't leave lines on the baby's face after taking it out of their mouth. Some moms may be against the use of pacifiers, or worried about nipple confusion, but rest assured that the short amount of time that we may use it will not have a negative effect on nursing. It does not stay in the baby's mouth for long periods of time, a few seconds here or there is all we need to calm the baby. If we do not have a way to soothe the baby while posing, we may not be able to accomplish as much during the session. A bottle or a parent's finger can also be used for soothing, but the pacifier is the easiest and most effective way. It will help soothe the baby when he or she becomes restless, making it much easier to continue with the photographs. If you don’t happen to have one, I keep unopened soothies here in the studio (as well as plenty of diapers and wipes!). However if you really prefer that we don’t use one, that is fine as well.
11. Don’t worry about baby acne or little scratches. My retouching will either eliminate or drastically minimize these. If your baby has extremely dry skin, try putting baby lotion etc. on prior to coming to your session, but avoid any lotions that will leave a shine to their skin. This will help the retouching process. *please do not use any diaper creams that are white or have a color in them. Desitin is a good example of a cream that when on the skin leaves a white chalky film that is hard to wipe off. It is best to avoid these creams before and during the sessions so its not seen in photos, I can not guarantee that I will be able to wipe it off completely- they are pretty oily and thick.
12. If you are having a boy and are going to circumcise him, it would be best for us to photograph him closer to day 8, allowing it to heal before our session.
What to wear?
For newborn sessions, your clothing can play an important role in how the photos turn out. I always advise clients to wear neutral colors, and fabrics that are either solid in color or with subtle prints. Moms look great in maternity tops or blouses, maxi and knee length dresses. Dad will look great in anything from fitted t-shirts to simple button downs with the sleeves rolled up. We can discuss the best color choices once you have decided on your backdrop.
Please feel free to bring a few tops with you, we can choose the perfect outfit for your photos at the studio.
Also, I highly recommend that new mommies have some makeup on during the session. It doesn’t have to be much, blush, eye shadow, and mascara will enhance your new mommy glow. Also please blow dry and style your hair before the session. If lack of styling means frizzy fly-aways and unmanageable hair, I will not be able to fix that in photoshop. Taking a little extra time to get ready makes a big difference in the overall look of your images.
If you have other children, coordinating, not matching, is great. If you have a theme in mind, using colors that complement each other will look the best. Or if you have just had a baby girl, everyone wearing shades of pink or purple can be fun and create a really nice look to your portrait. If you do decide to have parent and/or family photos, please be sure that your nails are manicured (nothing fancy, just not chipped polish ideally :)) as your hands will make their way into the photos. Also, please know that I aim to photograph using flattering angles and light to create beautiful images you will cherish.
"HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO WAIT TO SEE OUR PHOTOS?"
That is a great question! I take great care to go over all of your images and pick out the perfect moments. When I get home from our session, I immediately back up your images so they are safe. Also, I don't delete the images from my memory card until after I have edited your pictures. Once they are safely backed up, I pick my favorites. Then I edit one or two for a sneak peek. These will be posted on my facebook page in the day or two following our session. My turn around time for your full gallery is between 3-4 weeks. Once I've finished editing your session, I will upload it to PIXIESET. This is a photo gallery hosting website. Then I send you the link and you are free to download, print, and share your images. Once you have reviewed your images you may place a product order with me to insure you're getting the top quality products for your cherished memories.
No matter what your baby does, relax. Your session should be a special experience for you and stress free. Babies can sense stress and it usually makes them cry more. I allow plenty of time for your session and if we need to take a break to feed, walk, rock, etc. we can do that. I want you to enjoy the experience of your session and this special bonding moment for your family.
It is my hope that you come to the studio feeling comfortable and at home. I am truly honored to be able to document this incredible time in your lives and look forward to getting to watch your sweet baby grow!
HOME STUDIO LOCATION:
3209 Kennebec Street Northport, AL 35473