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Newborn Session tips for Parents

Some parents could expect that newborn session would have the same timeline as when shooting adults. In reality, shooting babies takes more patients and time, even compared to toddlers. It can take up to 3 hours, I might need parents to help for a little during the session, but most of the time you could just sit back and relax or even take a nap. After the session, I will do the skin retouching just for the baby, so I will need extra post-processing time for the pictures. I have basic workflow for the newborn studio session, but you could pick 1-3 photo scenes through my profolio that you like.


These tips in this Newborn Session Guide will help you prepare for your newborn shoot and ensure that your session runs smoothly so we can focus on capturing your newborn baby’s portraits.


Before the session:

-For the baby, clean away flaky skin and eye boogers with a wash cloth. Trim those tiny fingernails and toenails with baby trimmers. If your baby has any band-aids on the foot, thigh, etc., please remove them as soon as you possibly can to allow the imprint marks to disappear.

-Do not change the baby’s diet the day before or during the session. Continue to feed your baby how you normally do (breast-feed, formula-feed, or both). Your baby will need to eat more often during the session than they normally do. Do not make any sudden changes to the baby’s diet that may contribute to fussiness.

-Try to keep your baby up, preferable 2-3 hours before coming, that helps for a sleepier session. Try giving a bath, let baby kick with only a diaper on, tickle their toes, and let them fuss for a little bit (no pacifiers) for the few hours beforehand. Recruit your spouse or family to help you with these tasks.

-Before you leave to come make sure to feed and burp your baby, gas can make a sleepy, happy baby into an uncomfortable one in seconds. The car ride to the studio will help to get the baby in a deep sleep. We want the baby feels nice and full to ensure those curly, sleepy newborn pictures.


At the session:

-The studio will be very warm. I suggest parents to come the session dressed in layers so they can remove some clothing.

-Be patient. If your baby is fussy or alert, do not stress out. Your newborn can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible.


What should you bring:

-Pacifiers and extra bottle of milk or formula (Most Important!)

-Some entertainment, snacks and water for yourself and siblings. 

-Everything for changing the baby, including special creams and products you use.

-Any toys or props you would like to add into the photos.

-An outfit or other accessories for babies, let me know in advance, so I can decide the palette for the scene.

-An extra set of clothing. Be prepared for messes of all kinds. Babies do not care where, when and who they pee, poo, spit up or vomit on. That is why I will be dressed in comfy sweats as I work and why you (if you want to be in the photos with your newborn) would want to bring an extra set of clothing. 


Wardrobe:

-Mom: A subtle application of makeup can soften your skin and accent your facial features.  Keep your the color of your outfits neutral and design simple. Be sure your nails are tidy and clean.

-Dad: Be freshly shaved with a new razor, shaving cream and moisturizing after-shave lotion to avoid bumps and redness. Trim your beard, sideburns, mustache or goatee. Look especially for wiry stray hairs. Make sure your nails are clean and trimmed.

-SIBLINGS  Clean, clean, clean- clean nails, clean hair, clean feet, fresh scrub teeth, and wipe away eye boogers and snotty noses. The cleaner the child, the better their photos will turn out. If your child is still of napping age, make sure they nap before the shoot. It is perfectly okay to bring bribes to a photo-shoot–some cereal, snacks or candies that won’t stain their teeth. Avoid colorful drinks or lollipops within 24 hours of your shoot. Do not let them eat or drink anything will stain their cheeks, mouths or teeth.  Due to the duration of the newborn session, I do family with young children in the beginning of the session for about 30 minutes. Please arrange for childcare for them when they are not being photographed. Young children do not have long attention spans (3 hours are way too long for them). They may not do well in unfamiliar places and will disrupt the environment in the studio necessary for newborn photography. They should wear solid colors and avoid patterns so they do not catch the attention from the main subject-the baby. One of the most common suggestions is to pick one or two colors and then coordinate different tones of the colors together.


You can never know how a newborn photo session will go. Babies are pretty unpredictable models (but the true is they all so adorable! ) Don’t hesitate to bring up any concerns or suggestions.