Newborn lifestyle sessions
how to make the most of your newborn photography session
If you are reading this postpartum, I hope you are enjoying this special time with your little one in your arms. If you are yet to deliver your newest family member, I hope that everything goes well and that you're feeling as prepared as you can be.
Preparation is my middle name, I like to know exactly what I can do and how best to do it. That's why I have put together this blog post for you!
By following these five tips you will have a stress-free, beautiful session with stunning images to hang proudly on your walls.
1 . Your house doesn't need to be perfect!
I don't know if you needed to hear this today but PLEASE don't go around tidying your entire home for our session. It's likely that we will end up in the room with the most natural light which tends to be the nursery, bedroom, and or lounge. It's no joke that the newborn season is a messy time, a lot of undone dishes and loose burp cloths are littered around the house. Please don't get stressed worrying about the state of your house, I've been known to move couches and rearrange furniture to catch the perfect light beam and I will happily slide a load of washing out of the shot if need be.
I am so not expecting you to have it all together but what I do need are those rooms with lots of windows and natural light. Feel free to give me a quick tour when I arrive so we can scope out the best light for your session.
If you have a special space that you really want to be photographed in, take a look throughout the day to see when the light is coming in the best so we can try and schedule your session accordingly..
2. Keep your clothing relaxed and comfortable
When you ask me what to wear for your newborn session it's always a little bit tricky to answer because I don't always know your style, personality, or preferences. However, I always recommend neutrals if you don't already have an outfit in mind because they are simple and easily compliment any home decor and style. If neutrals make you yawn then base the outfits off what makes you feel the most. comfortable and beautiful. Once you have this base outfit you can easily add other outfits in by following my Style Guide, also on the blog.
I like to start with the baby in a plain solid onesie or just in a diaper. Don't worry about getting the baby into their outfit before I arrive. I find that while getting the baby dressed and having a chat while I start photographing brings a sense of calm and nerves disappear.
For partners or siblings, just keep things simple. I love those soft cotton on linen solid color tees or even an easy button-down. No need to get fancy but feel free to dress as you feel fits best with your home and especially with what you decide to wear.
3.Getting the Baby ready
I find feeding the baby 20-30 minutes before I arrive to be the easiest way to transition the baby for the photo session. Feeding and burping your baby right before your session begins means less crying, better sleep, and relaxed parents. So if at all possible get them into the plain onesie, and yourself dressed for the session. Then feed them so they can hopefully be asleep when I arrive. Of course, things do not always go as planned so no stress if the baby isn't feeding or if you need to change in a hurry afterward. I leave a buffer of half an hour for unpredictable circumstances so we can be flexible and take breaks if need be.
Due to my style of shooting, it's perfectly ok for the baby to be awake and engaging with you during the session. Because I do not pose or swaddle babies there is no expectation for them to be still or asleep. In saying so, if your baby is sleepy during the session we can absolutely get some beautiful shots of them asleep in your arms!
Also, feel free to feed the baby throughout or prepare a bottle to keep on hand to help soothe a fussier or clustery babe. I am there to capture your connection and feeding is a beautiful way to be photographed, please let me know if this is something you would like captured.
Keeping the home semi-warm also helps the baby from getting woken up or startled since they will be in limited clothing, I always suggest keeping the home or specific room warmer than you usually would.
4.Prepare the siblings
Documenting the addition of a new sibling is very important but could also be… yep… stressful! One of the biggest things I recommend, depending on the ages of your other children, is taking time to talk to them about the importance of the session, what they can expect to take place, and setting some expectations for them. Kids often just need to be warned, prepared, and informed. If you'd like a guidebook (social story) to read through with them about what the shoot will entail I'd be happy to provide one, just let me know before our pre-session consultation.
Their clothing too should be light neutrals, free of characters and sayings, and well-fitting. Truly, that well-fitting part is most important. Be sure to try on the intended outfits before the session day comes to ensure the clothing fits (they grow too fast!) or if they are yet to grow into it and you need another option, you'll have time to find something else.
Age depending, it can be helpful to also have children set up with a snack and maybe one of their favorite activities or movies waiting for after their role in our session is over with. Giving them something immediate to work towards is handy! Having bribes for smaller children is totally okay too. No judgement whatsoever!
5.Allow yourself time to relax
The beautiful part about in-home sessions is that you can truly be yourself while also capturing the beauty of this season in an authentic way. There are no long hours of delicate posing or blank backdrops that feel sterile. These sessions are laidback and flexible so that we can capture all the beauty that parenthood is. I love delivering to my clients a diverse gallery of moments from naturally posed to documentary style. The gallery you receive is a little time capsule into this small window of time that often flies by in a haze.
So take this as an excuse to get in a long (child-free) shower and feel refreshed. Maybe even spend a moment to put on some makeup or blow-dry your hair. My wonderful makeup artists and hairstylists would be more than delighted to come to your home and help pamper you for your session if you're feeling overwhelmed, just ask.
If you are worried about siblings running free or not listening, just know that it's completely normal as they adjust to a new person in their life and home. We will play games and have some snuggly cuddles as a new family unit!
Just know that there is no need to apologise for anything during your session because this season and these photos are for you. I hope that this session can be used as a time to reflect on settling into your home with your new baby and everything it took to bring them into this world. I hope that the images captured during your session are treasured for generations to come and displayed proudly in your home.