LifestylePhoto’s Guide to Preparing for Your Newborn Photo Session
So you’ve had your newborn photo session booked for months. Your baby has finally made an appearance, you’ve fixed an exact date with your photographer and you’re excited to get some amazing shots of your precious newborn bundle. What next? Preparation before your photo shoot is key! As an experienced newborn photographer, I’ve photographed heaps of newborns here in Auckland and I’m happy to share my top tips with you so you’re relaxed and ready for the all-important shoot.
Your newborn: the star of the show
Move over mum! After being the centre of attention when you were pregnant, your newborn now takes centre stage. Here’s how to get him or her ready for the photo shoot:
Keep it simple! Dress your newborn in understated clothes that are easy to put on and take off – a babygro with poppers is ideal. Many of my clients ask if they should dress their baby in a special outfit but there’s no need; LifestylePhoto has a wide range of wraps and outfits perfectly suited to every newborn
Stock up! Make sure your baby’s change bag has plenty of nappies and wipes. We all know that life with a newborn is unpredictable and can get messy. Here at Lifestyle Photo I’ve seen it all – from explosive poos mid shoot to baby sick all over my top. Don’t worry – it’s all part of beautiful photo making here at LifeStylePhoto
Consider a dummy. Even if your baby doesn’t normally take one, it can be helpful to bring a dummy to your photo shoot to help settle the baby for a few moments. Sometimes just brushing the teat across baby’s lips is enough to settle him or her to sleep
Props, props and more props! Here at LifestylePhoto I have an entire library of props suited to newborn photography but if there’s something meaningful to you, take it along to your photo shoot. These could include a special toy, jewellery or a blanket
Keep tiny tummies happy. Try to feed your newborn at least an hour before the session. Keep the same feeding routine, if possible – for example, if you’re formula feeding don’t switch brands the day before the photo shoot as this could unsettle your baby. Similarly, if breastfeeding, try to limit spicy foods the day before your photo shoot to avoid any tummy upset
Get active! Try to encourage baby’s awake time by keeping him or her active before the photo shoot. You could try bathing baby, encouraging him to kick under a playframe, tickling his toes and generally engaging with him
Feeding time…again! Your baby should be ready for a feed and nap when you arrive for your session. I recommend that you feed your baby again just before the photography session begins. Make sure you take enough formula for a few feeds in case baby needs a top up during the photo shoot. Lifestyle Photo’s studio is fully equipped to with comfy sofas and a kitchen to prepare anything needed for feeding. After feeding, be sure to burp your baby well so he feels rested and content
Time to catch some Zzz’s. Your baby will now be ready for that deep newborn milk sleep. This is really the best time to take photographs of newborns and will allow your photographer to capture those sweet, curled up photos characteristic of newborns. It’s as if they’re still safely encased in the womb. I’m in love with this style of newborn photography and I’m an expert at gently manoeuvring babies into idyllic poses whilst they sleep so soundly. Some have even called me a baby whisperer!
Older siblings: your newborn’s partners in crime
I love photographing newborns with their doting older siblings; it is so sweet seeing older siblings kissing and cuddling their new brother or sister. To make these shoots run smoothly, here’s my top recommendations:
Rest! Make sure all the kids are in bed early the night before your shoot. Well rested kids are more likely to cooperate
Clean up! Kids like to be messy but a photo shoot is a good excuse to get everyone sparkling clean and looking their best. On the day of the photo session make sure you leave plenty of time to bathe, dress and groom your little ones. Cut their nails, wash and dry their hair and wipe their cute button noses
What to wear? Neutral, solid colours please. No logos or patterns! White, beige of pale pink work well. Girls may want to wear a pretty pink dress, and jeans and a neutral shirt work well for boys. The more relaxed your children feel in their outfits, the better the photos will be. I have some gorgeous wraps in my studio that girls may want to wear
Pack the (healthy) snacks! Children are more likely to play ball if their tummies are content. Make sure you all eat before the shoot and bring extra snacks for the session. Just save the lollies and sugary treats until after the shoot!
Keep it short! Three hours to way too long for older siblings to be at a newborn photo shoot. If possible, arrange for dad or another family member bring siblings to the photo session either for the first half an hour or the last half an hour of the session. This way, your photographer can get some super sibling shots as well as spend quieter time focusing those all-important newborn photos
Mums and dads: don’t forget about yourselves!
Parents can be so busy getting everyone ready for the photo session that they forget about themselves. Photos of you with your delicate newborn capture the special connection between you and your baby in those first few days or weeks of life.
Solid, neutral colours are perfect for both mum and dad. Jeans and a t-shirt are timeless and work well every time. As with your kids, please ensure your nails are trimmed and you’re looking and feeling fabulous
Mums – wear natural, subtle makeup to accentuate your natural beauty and wear your hair in a natural style that you’re comfortable with
Skin-to-skin contact is super important for you and baby and can make for some fabulous photos to look back on in years to come. I can provide a neutral wrap for these poses, if you wish
Despite everyone’s best efforts, sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan on the day – your newborn might decide that sleep is not on the cards or older children might refuse to look at the camera. That’s OK – as an experienced family photographer, I have lots of tricks up my sleeve. Just roll with it and enjoy the experience. And remember, I’m capturing real life - not perfection!