how to prepare for your newborn session
The first few days of a baby’s life are so magical - congratulations! Being able to capture those moments for you is such an honor for me! So let's talk about how we can make this session as amazing, and smooth as possible!
I highly recommend booking your newborn session as early as three months prior to your approximate delivery date. That gives me enough time fully customize a newborn session just for you! If anything else is needed such as a coordinating headband or matching outfit, I will have enough time to research and purchase any additional items needed.
Labor + Delivery!
Now, the party has started! I know you are just excited as I am to capture those little tiny fingers and toes while they last! Sadly, they never last long enough. Once you and baby are headed home, please contact me within 24 hours to schedule a definite date and time for your newborn session. Sessions are scheduled when baby is between five and fourteen days new.
When scheduling the session, the earlier the better. The younger babes tend to do very well in the studio, they do not wake up as frequently nor easily when getting them posed for the scene. Many babies after the fourteen day mark have discovered the art of stretching! Once that happens… they sure don't want to get back into a nice cozy little ball, and put up a mighty fight!
Still need to come in after the fourteen day mark? No worries at all, I photograph newborns up until the one month mark, having had a newborn at one point myself, I know lots of tricks to get baby soothed and sleepy and ready for posing!
Where the magic happens
Newborn sessions take place in my home studio in Fredericksburg, VA. It’s a custom design private studio which holds everything needed for your little babe. Prefer a session in your home? I also offer Lifestyle sessions that take place in the comfort of your home.
Babies do very well in the studio for posing when they are in a very deep sleep. To encourage this, please stimulate babyfor at least two hours before your scheduled arrival, a bath may be a great trick! This also means keeping them awake during the car ride and to refrain from feeding for 2 hours prior to you arrival.
Sometimes we think 'my baby sleeps through anything.' And of course during the session we found out, they actually do not.
Once you arrive you will feed your baby right away, once burped, I will then start preparing him/her for their session. Any and all clothing will be removed, with the exception of a diaper. As you might know, babies generally don’t like the feeling of being naked, they want to be warm and completely snuggled. And although I keep a heater close by during the session - they sure know they are in fact, still nakie. I've seen some angry babies over being naked, but this is no worry. Some babies fall into a deep sleep once picked up, wrapped in a small blanket and soothed for about 15 minutes, and then there are the babies that have been asleep for 3+ hours before arriving and now give us all a run for our money!
Babies that have been asleep prior to arrival are generally the babies that are more difficult to pose simple because they are well rested, and will not be in as deep a sleep. They get startled once they feel the 'cool' (to them) air and it’s back to trying to put them to sleep. That can take up some time, and unfortunately does count against your session time.
Keeping in mind these two instructions will in most cases give you a well rested baby! In return I'll be able to maximize the time you have in the studio with plenty of poses and photos,.
As soon as you and babe arrive, we will fill his or her little tummy up! If you breastfeed, I do ask that you bring a bottle of pumped milk with you in case babe finds him or her little fingers in their mouth because they want more. I notice this during wrapping, this way, I can feed babe a bottle, and then get right back to wrapping!
I do recommend bringing a pacifier with you. Baby will not use this long, if at all (if we are lucky and they sleep heavily!). However, it is what we will use briefly here or there to soothe baby if he or she starts to awaken mid pose, or while changing from one outfit or wrap, to another. Sometimes, towards the end of a session, it is also approaching feed time - so baby is looking for a nipple! Any nipple (pacifier, bottle nipple, etc) will do for the last few minutes!
It happens. This is completely natural for babies to use blankets or props as there own personal potty. Please don’t feel embarrassed. Know, I have a toddler of my own, it's not the first time I've been pottied on, and won't be the last I'm sure! Don’t worry I wash all used props and blankets after each newborn session with non-scented detergent.
Please do whatever you can to keep the noise to a minimum during our session. Maintaining a calm environment is also a big key to a successful newborn shoot. I do have a white noise app that I will keep close to baby during the session to help soothe him or her.
It's Getting Hot In Hurr!
Since babies are usually photographed in little clothing/wraps, the studio will be set on high heat (even in the summer) to ensure baby is warm and comfortable. If we’re not sweating, it’s probably not warm enough for baby! Parent’s please make sure to wear comfortable, light, and loose clothing.
Safety is my utmost number one top priority when handling your baby, so either mom or dad will be my spotter. All eyes and hands are to be kept around baby during posing. During the session I will be handling and posing baby, but don’t worry I have plenty of experience handling a newborn (don’t know if I mentioned I have one of my own as well!) I will hold and care for him or her as if they were my own.
If you have booked a full newborn session, this includes family poses, including siblings. We will handle your sibling poses first, as to not make the other children wait. They can sometimes get restless, and very impatient - so let's get their heavy lifting out of the way sooner, rather than later! Family photos are taken from the waist up. Mom, you just had a baby... feel free to wear your Sponge Bob sweat pants and flip flops... just throw on a nice top - we won't even see your bottoms! Please note - if you're not feeling up to it, you're absolutely able to opt out of family photos!
*Mini sessions and model calls do not include family sessions.*
Chances are you’ll be here close to 3 hours, so I highly recommend eating a good hearty breakfast before you arrive. I know this can be a very exciting and stressful time for you, especially when adding sleep deprivation in the mix! As much as my goal is for baby to be comfortable, I also want you to be comfortable and at ease! Having me photograph this precious moments for you, means a lot to me so anything I can do to make it a smooth journey for you, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
Again thank you for giving me the opportunity to capture these unforgettable memories!