Have you already scheduled a session with Tina Caron Photography? Thinking about it? Either way, this might be the first time you've done professional photographs with a newborn baby. Having a new baby is overwhelming enough without adding stress about how to prepare for a successful newborn photo session. Follow the tips and guidelines in this post to help make the day as smooth and stress-free as possible!
I recommend that you schedule your newborn session well in advance of your due date. Once you start your second trimester is the perfect time to give me a call to get on my calendar. I schedule newborn sessions for the first or second weekend following your due date as a placeholder. Keep in touch with me as your due date approaches. Once your baby is born, the date will be finalized - don't forget to notify me as soon as possible after the birth to ensure proper scheduling. I only book a limited number of newborn sessions each month to ensure previously scheduled early or late arrivals can be accommodated. It's best to conduct your session in the first 14 days, when baby is sleeping the most.
Scheduling Your SessionPlan ahead, and schedule early! Contact me in your second trimester to secure a place on my calendar.
As you can imagine, this makes baby boy very sensitive for a couple of days. If you are planning to have your baby boy circumcised, please ensure it is not done within 3 days of your session. I'll be moving baby around in different poses and positions, and even with a diaper on, this movement may make him uncomfortable and unwilling to settle in.
Bring a Hungry and Sleepy Baby!
Everyone loves those angelic curly sleeping baby poses. Me too, and once we have a content, relaxed baby, the magic will happen. I know it may feel like torture to try to keep your baby from sleeping for a little while, but I promise it will be worth the effort. Try to time feedings and nap time such that once you arrive at the studio, you have a hungry little bundle that will be eager to eat and then fall asleep.
Sleepy Time for PerrinNewborn babies sleep the most in the first 14 days. Having baby asleep is a key aspect to being able to pose in those curly sweet shots.
Watch What You Eat!
Although science generally says that a balanced diet is best for breastfeeding Moms, and that consuming things like gassy or spicy foods won't affect baby through the breastmilk, many Moms may disagree. It's probably a more rare occurrence that baby would be sensitive to something consumed by Mom, but we're doing your session when it's probably too early to tell. Just to be safe, it's best to avoid potentially gassy or overly spicy foods for at least 48 hours before your session. Caffeine may also be something to restrict. I'll let you do your own research, but consider limiting soda, coffee and tea intake in the 24-28 hours before your session as well.
Dressing Baby for the Session
I will be undressing baby very soon after your arrival at the studio, so it may be best to travel with baby wrapped up for warmth, but not dressed in layers that will need to be taken off. This also helps avoid marks on the skin from elastics in clothing. During the session baby will be in a diaper under swaddles or studio props, or naked. I generally start a session with a swaddle as the first thing we do, and then give baby back to Mom for feeding. This allows us to start photographs as soon as baby is fed and sleepy.
Sleeping SwaddledI will often do a basic swaddle on a newborn as soon as they arrive in the studio. This makes it easier to transition from feeding and soothing right into the photo session.
Plan to arrive at the studio 30 minutes before the scheduled time of your session. This will give you time to get comfortable in the space, and to attend to the all important feeding of your new little one. I'll wrap up last minute details such as pulling out the furs, props, and backdrops we will use for your session, and answer any questions you have. Please know that timing with newborn sessions is somewhat flexible, but late arrival at the studio may cut your session short if there is another session scheduled after yours. If there is an extenuating circumstance, give me a call so we can adjust as needed.
Arrive 30 Minutes Before Session TimeIn order to maximize the time for your session, please arrive 30 minutes prior to your session start time to feed baby and get comfortable at the studio.
Relax And Don't Worry
Sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on how quickly baby settles in. Every baby is a little different, and being in a new environment can be unsettling or overstimulating for baby. It can be frustrating to wait out baby's reluctance to sleep, but try to stay calm. Babies are sensitive little subjects, and they will pick up on the energy in the room. Sometimes getting to the right level of sleep and relaxation is the longest part of the session. I have lots of patience and soothing techniques, including white noise, warm temperatures, and swaddling. Wide awake shots are beautiful too, and many sessions start out with these.
Mom helps keep baby calmBabies can sense and smell their Mama, but sometimes it's helpful to have the comfort of Mom's hands to keep baby calm. Mom helps keep baby calmBabies can sense and smell their Mama, but sometimes it's helpful to have the comfort of Mom's hands to keep baby calm.
Wide AwakeThis little doll just didn't want to sleep at all during her session. Don't stress if that happens - I'll still do everything I can to capture beautiful portraits of your newborn.
What To Bring For Baby
The good news here is - NOT MUCH! I hope that sounds like a little music to your ears :) Please bring your diaper bag of course, with anything you will need to attend to baby during the session. Bring plenty of formula, or consider pumping an extra bottle or two of breast milk. We'll take plenty of breaks to soothe and feed baby as necessary. Sometimes all it takes is a tiny top off to get baby back into the groove (aka, milk drunk and sleeping!), and having a bottle handy can simplify the process. Bring a soothie style pacifier, even if you don't generally give baby a pacifier all the time. Research has shown that using one intermittently during such a small period of time as a photo session won't build a dependency for baby, and they really can work wonders for a baby that just doesn't want to settle.
Newborn Girl And FriendThis little angel is all tucked in with her purple blankie and hat, and a sweet stuffed bunny to match. Sweetness in a BucketI love posing babies in props. Once they are in a nice comfortable sleep, they allow me to pose them without a fight.
What to Bring For Everyone Else
Don't get stressed out over this one either. I always recommend to keep it clean and simple when it comes to dressing the rest of your family for a newborn session. If you are doing a newborn only session, this one is easy of course. But if you wish to have yourself, and other family members, participate in the shoot, you definitely want them to look like a complimentary bunch! If you have chosen woven fabrics like button down shirts for Dad and kids, I suggest coming in more casual clothes and changing once it's time for the actual photos. No one wants to iron clothes at a photo shoot, and the wrinkles will definitely show in your images. I have a style guide available that will help you along the way as you choose what to wear. As a general rule, remember white or light colors, preferably neutrals, and skip the stripes, prints, patterns, and logos. I definitely encourage Mamas to take some time to do a little pampering before the session - hair, makeup, and nails. It will give you a chance to relax and you will feel so amazing, which comes across in your images. Remember that Dad's hands, feet, and grooming will also be important. You may want to consider bringing something for young children to occupy them when it's not their turn to be in photos. They are welcome to watch TV too.
It Will Be Warm In The Studio
We have to make sure the star of the session is comfortable, and new babies like it WARM! Remember that for a good part of the session, baby may not be tightly swaddled or wearing clothes and blankets like at home. For this reason I raise the heat inside, and use a space heater near baby in the studio space. Please bring light, loose, comfortable clothes to wear for the portion of the session that you are not being photographed. Unfortunately the temperature that feels great for baby is going to feel very warm to the rest of us.
Keep Baby WarmThe temperature in the studio will be very warm, to ensure baby's comfort throughout the session.
Poop Happens! And So Does Crying!
Both of these things are perfectly normal. Please don't be upset or embarrassed if your baby resists sleep, or pees or poops on me or the blankets we are using. This is completely expected, and every baby does it. Everything will be washed after your session, and anything soiled will be removed and replaced for the remainder of your session. Poop could happen to you too - bear this in mind for going home after your session!
Swaddled And Screaming!Little Presley didn't seem to be a fan of having her photo taken! This happens A LOT, especially at the beginning of a session. Don't stress about it, it's normal. Most babies shake it off and go to sleep just fine.
Props - Can I, or Should I, Bring Any?
I have a photographic style, which I hope is what drew you to hire me, and I design your session to fit best in your home, within my unique style. I have a wide selection of blankets, bowls, baskets, hats and headbands (to name a few things), and I'm constantly curating or creating new ones. I prefer to use handmade props that are designed and selected to complement each other. With that said, you may have seen this amazing Pinterest idea, or a special relative may have given you an adorable little hat and cover set for a shower gift. Or maybe you have something very sentimental or special to your family that you would like to incorporate into your session. Please share these items and ideas with me ahead of time so I can best work them in. I am happy to see your Pinterest inspiration boards, because they help me understand what types of colors and poses you are drawn to, but please bear in mind that I generally won't try to replicate images from other photographers, or produce images that are widely outside my style. Please understand that my goal for your session is to produce a consistent, harmonious set of beautiful images of your new family that will be timeless in your home. Not all props will photograph well, or contribute properly to the vision I have for your session. Discussing these types of items or ideas ahead of time will help avoid frustration or disappointment on the day of your session.
Newborn in Mom's Christening DressThis new Mom talked to me before her session about posing for a portrait with her newborn in the same Christening Gown she wore as a baby. I love these ideas, so let me know ahead of time if you have something special in mind. Prop Shelves at The StudioA sampling of the props I use during many of my newborn sessions. I have a wide array of colors with coordinating backdrops, furs, and other soft layers. Wraps, hats, and tiebacks are carefully curated to match the overall look of your session.
Do you have any other questions, or interested in booking a maternity or newborn session?
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Images in this blog post are © Tina Caron Photography unless otherwise stated. Desktop and Clock photos are courtesy of Pexels. Images and content may not be shared outside the context of this blog post without proper attribution back to Tina Caron Photography. Be nice, don't steal.