- Newborn portraits are unique in that they can’t be scheduled months out, but you can line up a photographer months out who will build time into their calendar around your due date for your session. If you are scheduling your birth, let your photographer know that as soon as possible.
- Call your photographer soon after you deliver so you can arrange a time for the session. Ideally the session should take place within 5-10 days after birth, and no longer than 2 weeks after.
- The session will take place at your home – do not worry about the state of your house. You just had a baby. I do not care if dishes are piled up the sink and clothes baskets runneth over. I have a job to do, and I’m not there to care about how clean your house is.
- Loosen the the baby’s diaper about 30 minutes before the session. This allows time for the diaper’s imprint marks to disappear.
- Have your house warm. Ideally, you’ll want the thermostat set around 80-85. For the adults it will be hot, but the baby will be toasty and happy.
- Collect any items you want used in the session beforehand – family heirlooms, toys, monogrammed blankets, etc. I’ll go through these with you to determine what will look best in the pictures.
- If you’d like pictures taken of the baby in the nursery, be sure all the curtains and shades are open to let in lots of natural light. No need to clean, but just try and make sure the clutter has found its way to a closet.
- Decide if you’d like pictures taken with your baby, or if want pictures of only the baby.
- Make sure the baby has a full belly before I arrive. Aren’t we all happier with a full belly?
- After the baby is full, make sure they are burped really good. Gas can take a sleepy, happy baby to an uncomfortable and irritable one in seconds.
- A mother’s smell is so recognizable (and sometimes distracting) to a baby, that it may be necessary for the mom to leave the room for portions of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, but only to allow me to get the baby thinking sweet sleepy dreams, instead of hungry “where’s my milk?” dreams.
- Be patient. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t stress out. A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. We will try and get the baby comfortable again, but if that just doesn’t seem possible, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what he’s giving us. Sometimes the best pictures are ones when the baby isn’t doing what we want.
- Be assured that if there is ever a point where you’re uncomfortable with the poses, simply let me know. I only want to do poses and shots that you are comfortable with.
UPDATE: After one of my newborn sessions, the mother gave me these suggestions to add to the list:
- Unless the baby sleeps very good through the nights do not schedule the shoot in the morning.
- If you breastfeed and can, have at least one bottle pumped for feeding.
- A majority of the pictures will work best if the baby is asleep so anything you can do in advance to encourage this is recommended. I assumed he should be awake and alert which probably made your job a lot harder.
Thanks again Laura, for sharing such great advice with new moms everywhere.