Your bundle of joy is coming soon and you’ve booked a professional newborn photo session. Congratulations! You won’t regret investing in your memories. But now what? It is normal to have questions and to be unsure of what to expect. All babies are different, but being prepared can be the difference between a frustrating session and a perfect one. Here are five ways to prepare for your newborn session that will help you and your photographer get the most out of it.
Communicate with Your Photographer
I like to talk with my clients before the session to answer any questions and to hear expectations. Some parents want to be in the photos, while others do not. Perhaps they want a photobook, perhaps they have an empty wall they want to fill with beautiful imagery. All this makes a difference when planning for a session. Many details are chosen depending on what you would like. Talk to your photographer about what you expect.
If your baby was born with some complication, don’t be afraid to tell your photographer. You have to tell her. Photos can still be taken, but she needs to know so she can plan for poses that will not compromise your baby’s safety.
Watch What You Eat
If you are breastfeeding, everything you eat goes to your milk, thus to your baby. Babies’ stomachs get upset really easily, so watching your diet for a few days before your session is important. Avoid eating spicy food, along with these others:
– Vegetables and Legumes: Broccoli, garlic, tomato, artichoke, cabbage, beans.
– Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, any product containing casein.
– Allergens: Fish, eggs, corn, wheat, peanuts and soy.
Avoid Doctors Appointments
Try not to book a doctor’s appointment the same day as your session. It can be too much for baby and for you. It is best to have that day clear so you can relax and focus only on your session. Although it is a beautiful and fun experience, it can be tiring too for both you and your baby.
If you have a boy and plan on circumcising him, wait after the session to do so, or have the surgery planned for at least five days before the photos. Your baby will be very sensitive and the outfits and wraps can hurt him. Otherwise, talk to your photographer so she can plan for a session with diaper on the whole time.
Keep Baby Items Handy
Pacifier. If you are comfortable using a pacifier, they can help sooth a baby once they are posed. Sucking calms them. Having a pacifier handy can help your photographer put baby to sleep without moving him, thus allowing time for more pictures.
Feeding Bottle. If you are bottle-feeding with formula or breast milk, keep one handy. They are great to top off baby if he starts to wake up in the middle of a pose or set.
Burp Cloths. Spits happen, and having burp clothes nearby can be the difference between quickly cleaning and continue shooting, and having to skip the set altogether.
Relax, Be Flexible and Enjoy the Session
A photography session can be stressful. If baby is your firstborn, everything is new for you. If you have toddlers running around, you’ll be worried about them not behaving for the photos. We are newborn photographers. We know how it is. We love what we do and we deal with it all the time. Pee and poop will happen. Crying siblings and fussy babies will happen. We are prepared for that. So don’t stress over it. We have our dose of patience and some tricks under our sleeve to make everything run smoothly.
Try to be a little flexible with feeding breaks. Just as when we need more water when we exercise, baby will need more milk this particular day. Allow this day to be a little different from your regular routine.
And the most important advice of all: Enjoy the session. Your newborn images will be beautiful. They will be happy memories of this very special moment in your life. You chose your photographer for a reason, so sit back, relax, and enjoy watching her work her magic and create art for you. Art you’ll cherish for generations.
This blogpost has been featured in APNPI's website (Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International). This site is a great resource for parents looking to hire a newborn photographer.