Newborn sessions are among my most favorite. I love being welcomed into a family’s home just after they’ve brought home a new snuggly little baby so that I can capture this fleeting time in their life together.
But when I think back to the days after I returned from he hospital with my own babies, and the haze and exhaustion I felt, well… I’m kind of amazed that anyone wants to have their pictures taken at this time! So, I realize that we’ve got to make this easy, stress-free, and fun for new parents.
As I share this family session from last May, introducing beautiful baby Powell, Here are my top seven tips for a stress-free newborn session:
1. Choose your session time wisely.
Morning often works great with newborns but definitely think about baby’s feeding/sleeping pattern (plan to have them eat once while I’m there because that makes them nice and sleepy!), your older kids’ schedules, and when your home gets the best light. I try to stay flexible on the day of newborn sessions, as I know things come up and you might not be ready when you think! Also, don’t worry about time once I get there. I don’t schedule more than one session on the same day as a newborn so if it takes a little longer than normal, I’m OK with that!
2. Take a couple of minutes to de-clutter, but don’t try to compete with a magazine shoot
I know you have your hands full and I’m used to shooting in clients’ homes and around all kinds of things! However, a couple of minutes spent removing clutter (water glasses, remote controls, alarm clocks) from night stands or coffee tables helps a lot! It’s also helpful if you shut off all lights (overhead and table lamps) and open up all your blinds before I arrive so I have a good sense of where the natural light comes in. Most importantly though — do NOT feel like your house needs to be magazine-shoot-ready before I arrive. We’ll go with the flow and work around whatever we have to.
3. Dress comfortably.
Here’s the thing. You just delivered a baby! You might not be back into your skinny jeans QUITE yet, but I promise, you look beautiful. You are a mom and you created a amazing life, and I am here to capture all the love that exists in your family right now. Do not feel like you have to put on an adorable outfit and do your hair and make up like you are going out on the town. Yes, you are having your picture taken and you should probably step beyond the yoga pants and t-shirt (let’s face it — what new mom doesn’t actually want to be in that all day?). But you can still be comfortable and look great. Boho type tops are fantastic because they are nice and loose, and in style. Or black leggings and a cute top always do the trick. Do put on some make-up, but keep it natural. Remember — in the end these photographs are for YOU to remember this time — not for the rest of the world. So just put on something you feel great in and that will make all the difference.
4. Have a plan for the older kids.
Who can blame siblings for feeling a little off just after a new baby arrives. After all, the baby is pretty much the center of attention, and their little world has been rocked a bit. I always make sure we include siblings into newborn sessions — in photos of the family as a whole and with the new baby. But it’s extremely helpful if they are engaged in an activity while we are doing solo photos of the baby. Sometimes a grandparent is visiting and they can heap loads of attention on the older kids, or dad can keep them occupied for a bit. And then we’ll wrangle them and get some great sibling shots and photos of the whole family.
5. Pull together family heirlooms.
Do you want to be sure I capture the hospital bracelet, or a blanket that Auntie Bea knitted for the new baby? I can absolutely do that as these items are an important part of your story! Pull them together ahead of time, and we’ll find a way to incorporate them into the session
6. Keep baby’s wardrobe simple.
Newborn girls in frilly dresses or boys in little suits or button downs often look like they are swimming in the clothing. Honestly, the best thing to put baby in is a simple white ones-y. This way we can swaddle them if we decide to, take it on and off easily, AND see their adorable baby toes of course! That said, if there is a special sweater that grandma knit, we’ll absolutely incorporate it into the session!
7. Just relax and love your family.
I’ll give you some gentle direction during the shoot, but the best thing you can do is be yourselves, have fun together, and show your family how much you love them. That’s what I most want to capture.
Cristen Farrell is an Andover Newborn Photographer. She specializes in natural light photography and travels all around the Boston area for newborn, family, and childrens photography. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or the contact button above for more information.