newborn boy sleeping in a basket
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What To Expect During Your Newborn Photo Session

Newborn Photo Session

Newborn photos sessions are not like any other photo session. They are different in almost every way. Many new parents aren’t sure what to expect during their baby’s very first photo shoot.

While every photographer has their own workflow and their own way of doing things, we all have the same goal…to get you amazing photos of your newborn while ensuring the baby’s safety at all times. Let me say that again. We want to ensure the baby’s safety at all times.

Newborn photographers go through extensive training to be able to safely get those adorable photos you’ve seen online. We study up on proper posing techniques and make sure the room is just the right temperature. All of us invest in props that are safe for newborns and soft fabrics that won’t irritate sensitive baby skin.

Hopefully, all newborn photographers spend hours learning how to comfortably get the baby into the positions we need for that perfect picture. Newborn photographers have practiced on many, many babies before they were able to perfect the pose. We spend hours rocking babies to sleep and waiting for them to get into that deep sleep state that is needed for most poses.

Let’s just say there is a LOT that goes into newborn photography. And let me tell you, newborn photographers love it all! We love everything about babies and photographing them. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t do it!

So let’s take a look at how a newborn photo session works.

newborn boy in a basket

Before you arrive

Before your baby’s newborn session, I’ll have you fill out a short questionnaire asking what colors you would like for your session. Based on your answers, I’ll design several mini sets for your baby. There will be several prop options and we’ll work with whatever your baby is comfortable with. Not every baby likes to be positioned in every pose and I’ll never force a pose on an unhappy baby, so there are always several options in case your baby doesn’t like the pose or the prop is uncomfortable for any reason.

Coming to the studio

Because of the extensive setup involved and prop selection, I only offer traditional newborn sessions in the studio. When you arrive, I’ll have you undress your baby and feed him/her to help them get sleepy. It will be rather warm in the studio as this helps your baby stay asleep a little better, so be sure to dress in layers.

I’ll have water available for you and anyone that comes with you, so don’t worry if you forget your water bottle at home.

The first newborn pictures

Once your baby has had enough to eat, I’ll have you pass him/her to me and I’ll gently rock him/her to sleep. This can take a while, depending on the baby. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes and other times it can take 30-45 minutes. Every baby is different, so there’s really no way to predict how they will feel.

If you would like family portraits, we’ll do those first. After those are done, I recommend young siblings go visit Grandma or head off to day care as it can get quite boring for them in the studio with our focus on the baby.

If you’re not up for family pictures, that’s fine too! I’ll simply get started with the baby by posing him/her on my special newborn posing table. It’s layered with blankets to create a super soft surface for your baby. I’ll position your baby for the photos and start getting some pictures. Here, I’ll add different props around your baby to give you several different looks without having to move him/her much, if at all.

I’ve got hats, coordinating fabrics, mini stuffies, flowers and all kinds of little items that will give you variety in your pictures. These are typically done with the baby either naked or with just a diaper (that will be covered).

newborn feet with parent's hands around them

Larger props

Once the poses done on the posing table are finished, I’ll get your baby nice and comfy in a swaddle. Babies LOVE to be swaddled and they usually sleep quite well for me during these pictures. I’ll wrap your baby over the swaddle in some different colored wraps, depending on the scene and your color choices.

As I position the baby on the larger props like the bed, a basket or bowls. I’ll have you stay very near. As soon as the baby is in position, I’ll have you keep your hand on the baby to make sure they stay put, no matter what. Safety is my number one priority…not getting the shot.

I’ll have you pull your hand away and put it back quickly a few times as I take the pictures. We can add hats or props as needed to give variety to these pictures. This is also a great time to introduce any items that you brought with you. A lot of parents will bring an heirloom item or a blanket that Grandma made.

These pictures tend to go a little faster than the previous set because baby stays wrapped and sleeps much better during the newborn photo session.

Final images

After the props area, I’ll move the baby back to the posing table for the final photos. By this time, the baby is usually ready to be awake for a bit. If he/she is a little fussy, I’ll have you try to feed him/her again before getting the last few pictures.

Since the baby is usually awake here, I’ll get some pictures of those beautiful big eyes. Then I’ll get the little details like feet, toes, fingers and little button nose. It’s okay if baby is moving here and I don’t need a sleeping baby for these pictures.

By the end of these pictures, baby is usually ready to be done and go back to Mom. So that’s what we do! You are welcome to feed one last time before you go or if you’re anxious to get home, that’s okay too!

A few final thoughts

Not all babies sleep well in the studio and that’s okay! We adjust to the baby as we go and only do what the baby is comfortable with.

It’s not unusual for babies to be extra hungry during their photo session. If you are formula feeding, be sure to bring extra formula and bottles to be ready for any extra feedings that baby might want.

Without a diaper, don’t babies pee and poop on everything? Yep! Sometimes that happens. It’s normal and I’m ready for it! Most of the poses I photograph don’t require that the diaper be off, so it doesn’t always happen. Everything we use that touches a baby gets washed between sessions no matter what, so if baby soils a blanket, that’s okay! That’s what babies do and it’s completely normal.

Most newborn photo sessions take 3-4 hours, so be prepared to hang out for quite a while. You’re welcome to take a nap, have some coffee or we can just chat during your baby’s session.

I look forward to seeing you in the studio soon!

Wondering what happens next? Check out ” What To Expect After Your Newborn Session” to learn more.

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