Newborn Prep Guide
Congratulations on scheduling your newborns first portrait session. I cannot wait to meet him/her and create beautiful images that will last a lifetime!
Newborns require very specific preparation prior to their session to help them to have a comfortable and successful session that produces the most variety of poses and setups. For this reason, I have created the list below to help walk you through the best tips and tricks for you to use prior to coming in the day of your session.
2 Hour Rule– I will generally have my newborn clients come in at 9:30 am. This means that prepping should begin between 7:00-7:30am depending on your particular baby’s schedule. If your baby eats every 2 hours, plan for 7:30, every 3, plan closer to 7.
Feeding:Feed baby at this time, as much as they are willing to eat. Try to get a good burp out of them to avoid a gassy tummy at their session.
Keep baby awake:After baby is finished eating, it’s time to keep them awake! Easier said than done, I know, but here are some tricks that help!
– Bath time
– Play time
– Tummy time
– Nakey time
Why do we do this? We want baby slightly hungry, and very tired when they come in for their session. Yes, they may be a bit grouchy, but once you arrive at the studio we will get them swaddled up and fed. With a nice fully belly, they will typically fall in to a nice deep slumber and we can begin!
Hand & Feet Sensitivity– From the day your baby is born until you come in for your session, play with their hands and feet. Hand placement especially is an essential part of posing and some babies are very sensitive about their fingers being touched, which can result in baby fussing or poses looking unpolished. Playing with their hands regularly can make a big difference.
Circumcision– If you are planning to circumcise, please wait at least 5 days before bringing in baby for their session. If baby’s bits are still looking tender, please let me know and we can certainly push your session back a few days to let him heal.
What to bring
Pacifier:A pacifier is one of the most vital things you can bring for baby. The green soothie pacifiers from the hospital work the best. I typically only use pacifiers very briefly while transitioning between poses or if baby starts to fuss to help them settle. A short suckle can mean the difference between them calming and slipping back to sleep and them fully waking and losing the pose. It won’t cause nipple confusion when used very briefly. If you forget, I do keep brand new, packaged pacifiers at the studio.
Diapers: Be sure to bring plenty of diapers. Many of my poses allow for diapers to be left on, while remaining unseen, so extras are always a good idea.
Extra bottles/milk/formula/nipple shield:We will break as many times as baby needs to feed or snack, so it’s important to have enough extra milk to meet their needs. I do have a refrigerator to keep milk chilled and a sink to warm bottles.
Props/Accessories: If you are planning to bring any of your personal props or accessories to the session, please let me know in advance so that I may plan them in to my setups.
Preparing mom, dad, & siblings
Mom: In many cases, this is the first time mom has a chance to pay herself some attention since baby arrived. Take this time to take a nice relaxing shower and do your hair and makeup. You are invited to use one of my gowns/shirts, but you are also welcome to bring your own clothing. Neutral colors are key. White & cream typically look best. Keep it simple or incorporate textures like lace or chiffon. Clean nails, freshly painted.
Dad: Dad needs only to bring a coordinated neutral shirt. A tee is always classic, but he is welcome to wear a button up, polo, etc.. to fit his style. No wording or patterns. No hats, please.
Siblings:As with dad, coordinated colors are important, but with a little more freedom. Girls can go simple, or dresses/skirts. Boys should wear a tee, sweater, vest, etc.. I do provide outfits for limited sizes. Clean faces and hair are much appreciated.
During your session
When you arrive, I will undress baby down to their diaper and wrap them up comfortably. I’ll then have you feed and burp baby before we get started. If you are doing parent/sibling poses, I typically try to do these in the very beginning or very end of the session. We will arrange the exact time at your consultation.
Once in the shooting area, I will take baby through as many poses and setups as they are willing, stopping periodically to feed or soothe baby as needed. Plan to be at the studio 3-4 hours.
I keep snacks and drinks in the sitting area, where you can relax and watch TV or take a nap! Baby is in the safest hands. Please avoid bringing sticky drinks/snacks or any food that may stain furniture or faces.
I do keep the shooting area very warm during newborn sessions and although I try to keep the sitting area cooler, dress lightly just in case you get a bit toasty.