Inviting a photographer into your home to capture your newborn just a few days or weeks after giving birth, may sound overwhelming to you. You may have other kids and the idea of wrangling them into nice clothes and asking them to pose in front of a camera while they're still adjusting to a new sibling, may seem like a daunting task. You're sleep-deprived, your house may be a mess, and your newborn may be cluster feeding around the clock. Yet you really want to capture your newest edition in those first few fleeting weeks of life because you know babies don't keep!
Today, I want to share with you how you can prepare for your newborn session, so that it's an enjoyable and laid-back experience for everyone.
1) Treat Your Session Like a Cozy Saturday Morning
My newborn sessions typically take place in the comfort of your home. I do this for several reasons. One, I know what it's like to recover from childbirth. Getting out the door with a newborn and possibly other children is a feat in an of itself, especially while you're still healing from delivery. I want mama to feel comfortable throughout the entire session and not be exhausted like she might be if she was arriving at an outdoor location. Secondly, I want my newborn sessions to be as relaxed and laid-back as possible. My main goal is capturing your love and affection for the newest member of your family and what better way to do that than curled up in your bed or cozying up with your family on your couch? Finally, I believe newborns do better when they are in a familiar setting that doesn't have a lot of stimulation. Sleeping in their crib, bassinet, or in mama's arms without having to leave their home is a great way to capture them in a calm and peaceful state.
2) Dress You and Your Kiddos Comfortably
Like I've said before, I want my newborn work to be as relaxed and laid-back as possible. While I don't recommend wearing sweats, I do recommend wearing something that you feel comfortable yet beautiful in. Comfortable joggers, stretchy jeans, or cute leggings paired with a soft neutral top, are wonderful wardrobe choices for your newborn session. Similarly, I would dress your kids in something they are comfortable in so they don't feel as though this is a formal photoshoot but rather a simple time at home, loving on baby sister or baby brother while a really nice lady captures them with their family. :)
3) Feed Baby As Much As He/She Wants Prior to My Arrival
While I don't personally care if baby is awake or asleep-I'll capture them in either state-I do want them to feel content. One way to achieve this is if they have a clean diaper and a full belly. I always recommend that mamas feed baby as much as he/she wants up until 15 minutes before I arrive. That way baby is full, has had time to burp and let all of that good food settle into his/her stomach. I set aside a good chunk of time for my newborn sessions (90-120 minutes) so if baby needs to eat again during the session there's plenty of time for that. But it's always best to start off with a baby that's not hungry.
4) Prep Siblings in a Relaxed Way
I'm a mama of 4 and have a camera in my hand 90% of the time. I have found that the more pressure I put on my kids to smile and say "cheese", the more they resist me taking photos of them (anyone else??) For my outdoor sessions I always tell my clients to treat it like a fun family outing. For my newborn clients, however, I treat this as a big family snuggle session where we're oohing and ahhing over their new baby. Let your kiddos know that someone is coming to capture their baby sister/brother before he/she isn't a teeny tiny babe anymore (cue the mama tears!). Tell them they're going to get to hold their new sibling and tell the photographer what color eyes he/she has and what they smell like and how soft their skin is. My sessions are very interactive and prompt based, so if your kids know ahead of time what to expect, it typically goes much smoother. I don't like to offer treats or bribes during the session, but rather have a snack or a treat available afterwards or while I'm capturing baby alone or a parent with baby. This keeps kids engaged and not distracted while I'm capturing the entire family or siblings together.
5) Focus On The End Product
My number one goal for your newborn session, as I've said before, is to capture your love and adoration for your newborn. The more you focus on loving and cuddling your people, the more relaxed your session will be and the more you will love your images. I guarantee it.
Are you having a baby in the new year? I would love to chat about capturing your newborn in his/her first few weeks of life!