What to expect and how to prepare for your newborn session

Newborn photography can be challenging and stressful not only for the photographer, but also for the parents. However, with the right planning, all newborn sessions will be a success! I have compiled a list of tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to help your newborn session go smoothly, along with a tour of my newborn studio and props!

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Scheduling

Contact me in your third trimester and let me know when your due date is so that I can plan my schedule for the baby’s arrival in advance. When you get home from the hospital, call me and we’ll set up a day within that week. Keep in mind, all photographers are different in the way they plan and schedule for newborn sessions.

After Arrival

Newborn sessions should be scheduled within the first 14 days. However, the best time is between 3-7 days old. I will be moving them around in various positions and squeezing them into those cute little props so they’ll need to be nice and sleepy. After the 7-day mark, babies tend to get into their routine, are stretching more, and don’t stay in that deep sleep as long.

Location

Newborn sessions can be done in my studio or in the comfort of your own home. I can travel with most of my props and have a variety of things to use. If the weather is warm, we can even do part of the session outside! As you can see here, a cute little bundle, snuggled up in a basket, in a big field…SO cute!!!!

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Some folks freak out at the idea of doing the session in their home because their house is a wreck (and that’s okay!)…you have a newborn…it’s supposed to be a mess, and it’s expected! I can always find a way to shoot around cluttered areas! Often times, this is the very reason why most would prefer to do their session in my studio. Keep in mind if the session is in your home be prepared for me to move things around to get the best possible set up and lighting.

I try to use natural lighting as much as I can, but will bring some lighting equipment just in case there’s not enough natural light seeping through your windows.

Turn the heat up

I recommend turning the heat up about 30 minutes before I get there so that your little bundle stays nice and warm during those adorable naked baby poses (I promise no parts will be exposed). The baby will be naked in most of the shots so keeping it a bit warmer in your home will help the baby stay asleep and comfortable.

The Diaper

Please loosen their diaper at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those diaper imprints time to disappear before the magic happens!

Deep sleep is critical

Most of the posing and props will work best if the baby is in a deep sleep. That being said, do whatever it takes to make sure your baby is good and tired. It would also help to feed your baby about 30 minutes before I arrive. This way, by the time I am set up and ready, your bundle will be out like a light! Sessions can take anywhere from 3-5 hours, depending on the baby’s mood, so please feel free to take as many breaks as necessary!

Keep it quiet

Keeping it nice and quiet during the session will help the baby stay asleep and calm. If you have young children, please do whatever you can to keep the noise level to a minimum. Some folks get a family member to babysit for a few hours. The same goes for chatty dogs!

If you have and would like to include your children in the newborn session please plan for their shots at the beginning or the end of the session.

Stay calm

New mothers often stress out because this is unfamiliar territory. Newborn sessions take a lot of time and patience so just sit back and relax. You may start to see your baby get fussy and stress out about not getting the shots. Don’t worry, newborn sessions are a waiting game and I’ll be there to hang out and chat with you while we work together getting the baby back to sleep.

Props

I have a ton of baskets, buckets, wraps, blankets, headbands, hats and poser pillows to use for your session, but you are always welcome to use your own. If you have a specific idea in mind, like the cozy fall prop below, please let me know in advance so I have plenty of time to prepare. The only props I do not supply are outfits. You will see some super cute knit outfits at the end that the parents ordered for their session!

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Smell

I have recently learned that a mother’s scent to a baby is enough to keep them from sleeping, as the baby associates mom’s smell with feeding. If this happens, I’ll have dad (or another family member) take over briefly to help get the baby to sleep.

 Considering a few lifestyle portraits?

There’s nothing more beautiful than a family snuggled up in bed together!! If you’re interested in a lifestyle family portrait, chances are we’ll be moving things to the bedroom. If this is something you want, please choose a solid comforter and tidy up the nightstands so we can eliminate all clutter for your amazing shots!!

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Let’s take a look inside the cozy newborn studio!

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Below are some of my favorites from 2017!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Hey there!  I'm Ashley!

I'm a small-town, North Carolina wedding photographer, and a full-time spaghetti enthusiast! If I'm not behind my camera or computer, you'll be able to find me at the barn with my horses or in the garden - I'm pretty sure that I'm a wannabe plant lady at heart!

The blog is here to not only showcase weddings and portraits, but also to be a resource for clients and other photographers. You'll find session and photography tips, style guides, and so much more! If there's something specific you're interested in, shoot me a message - I'd love to hear all about it! 

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