I adore newborns and I absolutely love being a Macomb Newborn Photographer. But, newborn photography is also really challenging. I can’t even tell you how often parents say “wow, we had no idea what this involved.”
I’ve pulled a few tips together, to help you know what to expect at your newborn session:
- Book your newborn photographer early. Start reaching out to photographers 3-4 months into your pregnancy. Often, we book up during the busy months (fall is busiest here in Michigan), and its harder to squeeze in those last minute babies. Send me an email early to make sure I save room for you on my calendar.
- Baby has arrived!!! I love being on the “announcement list.” It makes me feel special. I’ve had moms text me on their way to the hospital; I’ve gotten selfies with a freshly-born baby. Whatever way you want to let me know, I look forward to your announcement. As soon as he/she arrives we need to finalize your session date. I actually love babies to be between 2-3 weeks, but I’ll schedule sessions between 6-14 days new to work with Dad’s work schedule.
- All newborn sessions happen in my Mt. Clemens studio. I am a Mom as well, so sessions are done Monday-Friday in the morning. I like baby to be ready to nap – after all, they’ve been up partying with you all night!
- Heat! I have the studio super warm. A lot of the images are done with baby naked. I never want them to feel chilly, so we run heaters to keep the studio between 78-80 degrees. I dress comfortably, and you should as well. I have a spare room you can escape the heat if you get uncomfortable, or if you want to change your outfit, or do your hair/makeup before your portion of the session.
- How to dress baby: I suggest loosening the diaper, and putting them in a zip up pj outfit. Having the diaper loose (not too loose though!) helps the marks they create on baby’s skin to disappear before they arrive. A zip up pj set instead of a onesie helps get them undressed quickly without annoying them by taking a onesie off over their head.
- Sleep! I love a good sleepy baby. But sometimes they come in awake, and that’s okay too. I suggest my parents give baby a bath before their session, let them be awake and alert for those few minutes. Once out of the tub and dressed, a big feeding and the car ride should lull them into slumber.
- Siblings. I welcome parents and siblings into the session. The new baby should be celebrated with the whole family. However, my studio is small, and the session can be a while. I like to get the images of baby alone first. If your older children aren’t able to sit for extended amounts of time, consider leaving them with a sitter that can bring them to the studio when their time is coming up (I can let you know about half an hour before I’m ready for them.)
- Pacifiers. I know many parents are overwhelmed by the advice given to them constantly. That includes pacifier use. I love a pacifier. I’ve had babies that wouldn’t take them for Mom or Dad take them from me. I’m folding them into all those adorable positions and sometimes they need that suck reflex soothed so their little bodies can relax and keep them asleep. If you don’t want a pacifier used, I understand, but please be aware that I won’t push a pose on a baby that can’t settle into it without a pacifier.
- Patience. Newborn photography is a waiting game. Sessions can last 2-4 hours. There is no way to predict how long a session will go. I invite parents to enjoy a cup of coffee or a snack and just sit back and relax. There are restaurants within walking distance of my studio; you are welcome to bring lunch in and enjoy a quiet meal together. I promise, I am super comfortable handling and posing babies. You and your new bundle of joy are in safe hands. Newborn sessions are a lot more posing and waiting than actual photographing of baby. I have a posing flow that really suits me well, and once baby falls into a deep sleep we will cruise through. But having everyone in the room calm, quiet and relaxed is key. I’ve had parents lay down and take naps too! I promise not to fold you up and pose you if you take a nap though
- Poop (and pee) happens. I get asked this all the time, “What if they poop on your stuff?” It’s part of the job description. A good portion of the session the baby is naked, and its a natural process, so I expect it at some point. I get pooped on all the time by my tiniest clients. It’s OK! No need to feel embarrassed or worry about it. All my posing blankets are washed between babies with a gentle detergent and come back to the studio nice and clean.
Let’s take a look at Emerson’s session:
She set the standard for newborn sessions really high. She was so sleepy and just look at that gorgeous head of hair! She was so good for me. We jumped right into the posing:
I laughed so hard when I saw Dad walking down the street carrying this giant teddy bear. My first thought was “oh no, please don’t let that be my client.” But I honestly think of all the props parents have brought, it sure turned out awfully cute. And now we can celebrate all her birthdays with that bear. What a great way to watch her grow!
A few other props we got to incorporate into her session included the bucket shot (one of my favorite props at the moment) and a big comfy bowl that allows baby to just curl right up and get snuggled in.