Over the course of your child’s life, you’ll capture hundreds – if not thousands – of photos. However, only the most miniscule percentage of those are as precious and timeless as the newborn photos. It takes an extra special setting, tone and the right newborn photographer to ensure those photos are as worthy as they deserve to be for coffee table albums, mantle displays and large wall canvases. It also takes a handful of simple tips and tricks.
As you know, your little newborn doesn’t always flow with the original plan or schedule, which is why we always provide the ideal environment and attitude to allow baby-led sessions. Believe it or not, your willingness to allow your baby to “be” his or her own self, in the moment - smiles, grimaces, squints and even a good ol’ fashion fuss - ultimately leads to photos that will charm you and family members for a lifetime.
Tips and Tricks for Enjoying a Fulfilling Newborn Photo Session
Let’s talk about what baby-led actually means. Baby-led photography means that if your original desire was to capture a totally content, still and sleeping baby - - but all he does for that part of the session is curl up tight with his head to one side, I’m going to immediately switch gears and optimize that pose for a perfect capture. It also means that when baby cries, and you need to breastfeed or give her the bottle, that’s absolutely fine - and no reason to feel stressed or apologetic. Your baby’s primary needs for nourishment and comfort always comes first.
With that concept in mind, let’s move on with some of the tips I’ve found increase our chances of experiencing a smooth session – and incredible photos.
Let go of attachment to poses and focus on the outcome
There are thousands of breathtaking newborn images out there and it is very easy to fall in love with a particular pose or prop. I understand your desire to try to replicate that same outcome, this time with your baby. But the truth is, your baby will be the boss during the session, so s/he might want to go into that pose or s/he might not. Stressing out over achieving a particular image can result in an overall negative experience for both you and your baby. I never force a newborn baby into a pose or prop s/he’s not comfortable in, but I do have a plan for fuzzy babies. What I can guarantee is that, no matter what, you’ll have a beautiful gallery with images you’ll adore for years to come.
Clear your schedule
Schedule the photos on a day when you have nothing else to do – no meetings, no doctor’s appointments, no somewhere-else-to-be-at-a-specific-time. The internal stress rigid schedules or expectations create for you transmits to your baby. A clear, spacious schedule makes for stress-free mamas, papas, and babies – a great start to a successful newborn session.
We’ll start in the late morning and the session will run about three hours – plenty of time for anything you or baby need, and for us to capture magic in print form.
Heed the calls and emails from your photographer
We want to communicate with you ahead of time – beyond the date and the time. This is so we can find out about:
· The space(s) we’ll use (hopefully an 8-foot by 8-foot space is available so we can have plenty of space for our props and our lights)
· Color schemes
· The fluidity of furnishings (we may need to move things around – but promise to leave with everything back in its proper place)
· Ensuring your session is booked at least a day or two after (or before) baby’s shots and at least five days after a circumcision.
· Other details that are best to prepare for ahead of time
If your photographer doesn’t have the chance to impart this and other important information, it can detract from the time, space and emotional well-being of you and your baby during the session.
Avoid spicy foods or foods that upset baby’s tummy
Depending on how newborn your newborn is, you may not have correlated that certain foods you eat are more likely to upset your baby’s tummy. Things like garlic, onions, cruciferous veggies, spicy foods and even dairy products come through your breastmilk and can lead to an uncomfortable newborn. Therefore, we suggest avoiding:
· Cruciferous veggies (kale, broccoli, cabbage, etc.)
· Heavy garlic or onions
· Spicy foods
· Common food allergens, like soy, dairy, peanuts, etc.
Keep your diet relatively simple the day before and morning of the session.
Have your routine, infant care and comfort items on hand
Make sure to keep a basket handy with all of the things you use to comfort and care for your newborn, including a pacifier (if you use one, a breastfeeding-friendly shirt if you don’t), soft blanket, a favorite lovey, baby wipes and diapers.
Time feeding and bathing with the sessions start (if possible)
We know that things don’t always go according to plan (understatement of the year for those with newborns). However, if at all possible, feed your baby two to three hours before the session and put him/her down for a nap. When she or he wakes up – give the baby a warm bath, put on a fresh diaper, and wrap him/her in a warm, soft blanket. Then we’ll hope baby is ready for a feeding right when we get there. There’s nothing sweeter than photographing a milk-drunk baby!
I also recommend reading, Five Ways to Prepare For Your Newborn Session, for more tips and tricks for newborn photography that gets memorable results.
Ready to use a Bay Area newborn photographer who loves to let your baby lead the way, capturing the very essence of newborn-ness? Contact me here at Lemonshoots.