Having a baby is a whirlwind of emotion, exhaustion, and celebration. Sometimes getting things together to just put pants on is a struggle, and I completely understand that! So I thought I’d share a few easy tips to preparing for your session at home. I want having these precious and fleeting moments captured to be the easiest thing on your list of things to do postpartum.
I typically book moms when they are 3-4 months pregnant just so I can be sure to have room for them on the calendar. We then try to schedule the exact day and time once baby has arrived within the first 3-12 days of life. Once you’ve gotten home and settled but while baby is still sleepy and around the clock snuggly. Don’t worry if we are shooting you session a little later. The great thing about lifestyle sessions is, there are no real rules to them. I’m just there to capture all the little things that make up your life right now.
PREPARING THE SPACE
The newborn season is a messy time, a lot of undone dishes and loose burp cloths are thrown about. So I definitely don’t expect a perfectly tidy space. What I do need are rooms with lots of windows and natural light. Feel free to give me a quick tour when I arrive but we usually settle in the nursery, living room or master bedroom. And if they all have stunning light, then we may capture a few moments in each.
If you want to tidy up those rooms a little before our session that would be great but again not necessary. I do my best to remove distracting clutter if necessary for the particular moment but oftentimes I leave it too because it tells the story of your family.
I personally prefer rooms where the bed or seating is facing the window light rather than behind, but in most cases, we work with what we have in the space. Keeping things flexible and improvising in the moment is my main mantra when it comes to in-home photography. Now if you have a special space you really want to be photographed in, take a look throughout the day to see when the light is coming in the best so we can try and schedule your session accordingly.
GETTING EVERYONE DRESSED AND READY
I get asked all the time, “what should we wear to our newborn session?” Well, honestly the answer looks a little different for every family and their personality. I always recommend neutrals if you can’t think of where to start because they are always simple and easy compliments to any home decor and style. But I also understand that neutral may not be apart of your vocabulary or closet so what’s most important to me, is that you feel beautiful and comfortable. Let the rest of the family plan according to the thing that makes mamma feel freshest and most relaxed. If that means a colorful floral dress with easy breastfeeding access or a set of comfy white PJs, you do you!
I also recommend having a backup outfit on hand too! Usually a black tank or nursing bra so we can do some more intimate, skin to skin moments if you are so inclined. I find that precious skin on skin moments to be some of my absolute favorites but it’s always up to mom and what she is comfortable with. But having a back up of any type is always smart because accidents are always happening with babies :P
For baby, I like to start with baby in a plain solid onesie or just in a diaper. Diaper covers are also a favorite if the diaper pattern is not quite your style. Feel free to pull out your favorite outfit or two to change baby into later, too. We will also use a favorite swaddle or blanket for solo photos so if you have a favorite be sure to have that on hand.
For dad or siblings, keep things simple. A good cotton, solid color t-shirt or even an easy button-down. No need to get fancy but feel free to dress as you feel fits best with your home and especially with what mamma decides to wear.
A good rule of thumb, for any session, is to do you best to avoid clothing with graphics or words on them, as these can be distracting.
Preparing baby for our session
I find feeding baby right before I arrive to be the easiest way to transition baby for the photo session. If possible get him/her and you dressed for the session first and then feed so he/she can hopefully be asleep when I arrive. HOWEVER, newborns are unpredictable and this shoot is all about them. Please do not worry about your baby crying or needing to eat during the shoot—newborn sessions are purposely longer to allow for plenty of breaks, feedings, and diaper/outfit changes.
Keeping the home semi-warm also helps baby from getting woken up or startled since they will be in limited clothing, I always suggest keeping the home warmer than you’d want. If your newborn photographer is a little sweaty then it’s probably just right :)
WHAT WE NEED FOR SOLO BABY MOMENTS
For the solo baby photos we can use either two pillows or a boppy pillow under a larger blanket or solid colored sheet, if we need to, just to allow us to prop baby up in front of some natural light. My motto is to always “keep it simple and natural.” A comfy blanket and simple swaddle are really all you need to grab timeless moments of your precious newborn and their details.
if you have any favorite gifted or handmade items, let me know so we can find creative ways to include them as well. I always love using the grandma made blankets and grandpa built cribs when possible.
LASTLY, JUST RELAX!
The beautiful part about in-home sessions is that you can truly be yourself while also capturing the beauty of this season in an authentic way. There are no long hours of delicate posing or blank backdrops that feel sterile. These sessions are laidback and flexible so that we can capture all the beauty that parenthood is. I love delivering to my clients a diverse gallery, filled with natural and memorable moments The gallery you receive should be a little time capsule into this small window of time that often flies by quickly!
So take this as an excuse to get a long shower and feel refreshed. Maybe even spend a moment to put on some makeup or blow-dry your hair.
Try to only invite others over during the session if it would help you to relax or you really want to include them in the session. I love grabbing images of grandma and grandpa right at the end if they happen to be there.
If you are worried about big siblings running free or being hard to handle, just know I love that part of newborn photography. We can do our best to wrangle them into the photos but I also capture the childlike beauty that is bringing a new baby home and the big siblings being wild. No need for apologies because this season and these photos are for you. So you can bottle up this very precious time with joy and storytelling.