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  • Writer's pictureNancy Dinsmore

How To Prepare For Your Newborn Photo Session

Congratulations, you're having a baby! You've got your birth plan, you've got the nursery set up, you even have baby's first clothes folded up in the drawers of the changing table. But there's something else...what was it again? Oh! Right! BABY PICTURES!

Whether it's your first baby or your third, that period of time when they're brand new and so stinkin' tiny you can't stand it goes by in a flash, and you want to freeze those moments before they're gone. And that's where I come in.

Newborn baby with curled fingers
Tiny Fingers

You might think the pictures are the easy part - and in a way, they are. But there's a little work to be done beforehand - things to ensure the smoothest session possible, and to prepare for the unexpected.

To make it even easier for you, I've got your To Do List right here!

1) First things first: Don't fret over scheduling. Ideally, you want to get these photos done within the first seven days, but it ends up being closer to ten, that's cool, too. Life happens, and when it comes to this, we're on baby's schedule, and that's okay!

That said, you want to get your session on the books as soon as possible to secure the date, but what if baby comes early? What if baby comes late? Don't worry! When you schedule your session we can always put down some backup dates just in case.

2) Style: For baby, select up to 3 outfits (or no outfit at all) and if you plan to be in the photos with baby, choose colors that go well together. If you'd prefer to have baby unclothed, make sure the diaper is fresh (but loose if you plan to have any pictures of baby completely bare - this way we avoid red lines from the diaper).

For you, wear something that makes you feel comfortable & confident! Just remember that patterns don't photograph well, and you want to consider the overall color scheme. If you're unsure of how to dress everyone, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations. I love getting to help with outfit inspiration!

3) Sleep: As hard as it is to keep a newborn baby from sleeping, it's recommended that you keep them awake for at least an hour before the session. This helps to ensure that baby sleeps during the session - which helps everything go smoother. However, if baby insists on being awake, that's okay too! Some are just naturally alert, and there is no hard and fast rule that says baby must be asleep for the entire session.

Alert newborn baby on a white run
Wide Awake

4) Feeding: Try to time it so baby gets fed right before the session. Full tummy equals sleepy equals easy breezy photos!

5) Keep it warm: Turn up the temperature. Babies can't regulate their body temps the way we can, and will wake up if they're tired.

6) Nurseries and Natural Light: Any photographer will tell you there's nothing more beautiful than natural light, and we like to take advantage of that in the lifestyle shots as much as possible, so if you have an area in your home with a nice big window that gets a lot of light, make sure you can get to it because I promise you want some window light pictures! Nurseries are a great spot for pictures, too, so try to have it as ready as possible. And if the nursery has nice window light? WOWZA. You're in for some truly amazing pictures.

7) Soothers: Bring a couple of pacifiers. It may be the best way to call a fussy baby between shots.

8) Prop it up: If you have any plush toys, bonnets, or blankets you want included, have those ready.

9) Pets: For the most part, we don't want pets in the same room during the session - at least for the posed pictures. Pets are naturally curious and may want to check everything out, which at best could slow things down and at worst upset baby. Of course, if we're aiming for a Lifestyle vibe, or gathering everyone for a family picture, we can absolutely include the family dog or cat.

Newborn baby girl on a white rug with a small black dog at her side
Pets Are Family Too

10) Give yourself time: Don't schedule anything prior to your photo session - no appointments, no visits, or anything that will excite baby (or you!). We want this to be a calm, enjoyable experience for everyone.

There is no way to be completely prepared for anything, and as I've said, baby runs the show now, so the best we can do is go with the flow. Diaper incidents, crying fits (that goes for baby and parents alike), wardrobe malfunctions - it's all part of the experience, so don't worry about being perfect. There's no such thing.

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