You’ve done it! You have brought the little life you created into this world! Let the picture taking begin! From now on you will be capturing pictures of absolutely everything they do. To kick start that tradition, you have chosen to get your baby’s first images done by a professional photographer. Now, we need to get you prepared and help you with what you should expect.

1. Scheduling Your Newborn Portrait Session

Book Your Session In Advance
The first step in preparing for your newborn session is actually hiring the right photographer and scheduling your newborn session. Your session should be booked around 20-25 weeks (or earlier) of pregnancy to ensure availability. Usually, my parents book their newborn session at the same time the maternity session is booked or shortly after. Booking ahead of time will give you priority over anyone who books last minute and guarantees your session. While I certainly try to get everyone in, I have had to turn last minute parents away on occasion.

Plan Your Session For 5 -14 days After Birth
Newborns have been in your womb for nine months, but they are ready to stretch out those little arms and legs soon after. To get the best images, I will schedule your infant session for 5-14 days after your due date. This date will be tentative until your beautiful new addition has arrived. As soon as the baby comes home from the hospital, contact your me immediately and I will confirm your date. A good rule of thumb is to put me on your call list for the day you deliver. I only photograph newborn sessions up to 14 days after birth, so this call is an important one. Keep in mind that the longer you wait on the session, the more awake your little one will be, which can limit the kind of poses you will receive.

Your Session Is Scheduled In The Morning

Your newborn will typically be the sleepiest in the morning, which is what I want! Your session will be scheduled for 10 AM.

2. Don’t Forget To Bring These Items

Bring Your Baby Bag With Extra Items
Pack your bag the night before! Be prepared with 1-2 extra bottles, diapers, wipes, and pacifiers.

Bring A Pacifier! Bring A Pacifier! Bring A Pacifier!
Pacifiers are so important to help your little one relax. There are many parents who have a “no-pacifiers” policy at home to avoid the trouble with weaning their baby off of them later. If this is you, I totally understand; however, I highly recommend breaking this rule just once for your session. Remember, your little one has only short term memory at this point. In all the years I have photographed newborns, I have never had a parent, who decided to make a “no-pacifier” exception, report back to me that there were any issues later on. 

Bring Extra Clothes
Bring an extra set of clothes for baby, mommy, and daddy. Accidents do happen, and we do not want you having to drive home “accident” covered.

Bring Items That Are Special To You
I will have most of the items you will need for your newborn session, but feel free to bring one or two items which are special to you. Family heirlooms such as quilts and baby blankets are great examples. Whatever it may be, I will do my best to incorporate these items into your session. Do not bring clothing with wording on them.  These do not photograph well as a baby naturally holds their arms across their chest, making words unreadable.  Most of the time, the baby will be nude. Most clothing does not fit properly, so I use blankets, wraps, and other items which will allow the focus to be on the baby. Occasionally, I have custom fitting items on hand.

3. Avoid The Following

Perfume or Jewelry
Due to the delicate nature of their skin and unknown sensitivities or allergies, you should avoid wearing perfume or heavy jewelry to the newborn session so your little one does not experience rashes or scratches on their skin.

Limit Session To Immediate Family Members
Immediate family members, your spouse/partner and siblings to be included are more than welcome, however, please do not bring friends, extended family or grandparents unless previously agreed or if they are needed to take a sibling elsewhere after their part of the session. Be aware that the real focus is on your newborn so only a few images with others will be in the final results. 

4. What To Do On The Morning Of Your Newborn Session 

Bathe Your Little One
Give your newborn a bath on the morning of the session. This will help to remove some flaky skin and hydrate. Make this the last thing you do before leaving your home. This keeps your baby awake for a little while, making them nice and sleepy for the session.

Hold Off Feeding For Two Hours Before The Session
If possible, hold off on feeding the baby for two hours before the session and keep the baby as awake as possible. Upon arrival at the studio, you will relax and feed your newborn. The goal is to get them full, sleepy and happy. During a session is not the time to be on a rigid feeding schedule. You should feed your little one as much as necessary to calm them. This is a special day and event so you will need to be flexible so we can capture your images.

*BONUS TIP! – If you are breastfeeding, AVOID EATING SPICY FOODS AND CAFFEINE THE DAY BEFORE YOUR SESSION. Remember that whatever you eat gets passed to your baby through your breast milk. So if you eat something that might give you gas or an upset stomach, chances are even higher they will have even worse gas or an upset stomach, which makes for a very restless baby at the session.  Skip that coffee or espresso in the morning, too!  

Remove Elastic Clothing One Hour Prior
Remove any elastic clothing, bracelets or socks that may leave elastic marks at least one hour prior to your session so skin will be naturally smooth. I recommend a button or zip up sleeper to reduce marks on your baby’s skin. Baby should not wear anything that pulls over the head to the session.

Apply a Non-greasy Lotion Before the Session

This reduces the appearance of uneven dry spots or other skin problems.  It will not help with everything, but it is a little effort that goes a long way.

5. Know What To Expect At The Session 

What Your Experience Will Be Like

You should know before you book what your newborn session should look and feel like. This is very important so there are no surprises on the day of. Be sure to check out my article on the TOP 6 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER BEFORE BOOKING. 

The following are things you can expect when booking with Fine Art Newborns:

Newborn Sessions Start At 10am
ALL newborn sessions are done at 10am on weekdays. I know it is hard to get out of the door with a new one in tow (probably the first time) so if you are a little late, do not stress or worry about it. I’m OK with that! Just get to the studio as close to your appointment time as possible without rushing or stressing. Having mom, dad or baby feeling tension shows in images and we do not want that. However, if you will be late, please notify me as soon as possible to ensure that this will not interfere with other sessions booked on the same day.

It Is Best If You Do Not Plan Anything Else On This Day
Newborn sessions last approximately 2-3 hours, but the baby is in charge! I will stop as often as necessary to allow you to feed, change or cuddle your little one. I try to only book one newborn per day, so do not worry about me if the session is lasting a bit longer. The goal is to get beautiful images and I will take my time to do it. It is best if you do not plan anything else on this day. It can be exhausting for both baby and mommy. Someone other than mommy should drive on this day.

Mom and Dad Should Be Prepared To Be In The Images
For mom, either loose and flowing white, black or creme colored shirts, dresses or maxis and for dad colors that match mom, but don’t forget a dark gray or black form fitting t-shirt.

Someone (i.e. Dad or Grandparent) Should Be Prepared To Leave The Studio With Siblings

Young children can grow restless extremely fast and will not have the patience for a 2 – 3 hour photoshoot. If siblings are included, I will focus on these images first and then have someone leave the studio for a fun little play date while we finish the rest of your session.

It Will Be Very Warm In My Studio
With multiple naked poses to capture, we have a little one we need to keep warm. I have extra blankets and a heater to help keep those baby fingers and toes warm. Be prepared to step into the reception area or just take a break if necessary.

Do Not Worry If Your Baby Seems To Not Be Cooperating
Posed sessions work best for newborns as they are still moldable into different fetal positions. It will take a few moments between set ups to calm and pose your little one. Do not worry if it seems your baby is not cooperating. Truly, they usually are perfect models at this age. I can not guarantee a certain number or type of poses. I do rely on my best judgment and experience in determining whether your wee one will be able to sustain a certain pose safely and comfortably.

So there you go everyone! My five steps on preparing for the best newborn photography experience. If you have scheduled a Maternity Session, be sure to check out my article on How To Prepare For My Maternity Session.

If you are expecting and have not booked your newborn photographer yet, I would love to hear from you. Fine Art Newborns is a professional photography studio located in downtown Columbia SC on Assembly St. We offer Newborn Sessions, Maternity Sessions and Fresh 48’s. If you live in or around Columbia and would like to book your session, please give me a call at 803.530.9767 or visit my BOOK NOW PAGE to reserve your date!