Prep Baby For A Newborn Photography Session
One of the most asked questions I get as a Minneapolis newborn photographer, is about how to prep baby for a newborn photography session. Almost every family that books me for a newborn session for the first time will ask if I have advice for their session.
Families that book a newborn photography session with me get a detailed What To Expect Guide, and a Newborn Session Prep Guide. These two documents are filled with both advice on how to make the session easier on parents, along with lots of tips for how to prep baby for a newborn photography session.
While my client how to prep baby for a newborn session are something available just for clients, I wanted to share some how to prep baby for a newborn session on my blog too. It’s kind of like a little preview of what to expect when you book a session with me as your Minneapolis newborn photographer.
Before we get into how to prep baby for a newborn photography session, lets talk about the actual session first. Taking the time to book your session in advance will end up being one of the best things you did for your family. For parents looking for how to prep baby for a newborn photography session, I cannot stress enough the need to book a session in advance. By scheduling your session before baby is here, you can guarantee that the newborn photographer can fit you in for a session.
Some newborn photographers will only photograph babies that are between 4-14 days old. That isn’t a very big window of time for families to research photographers, book a photographer, and try to get on their schedule. Experienced Minneapolis newborn photographers like myself are not worried about the standard “14 day rule” of only photographing newborns within their first 14 days of life. Experienced newborn photographers are comfortable with babies that are a little older, and newborn photographers like myself will often photography babies up to 6 weeks old in newborn poses.
A good time to book your photographer is at the start of your third trimester. This will give you more than enough time research photographers, find the photographer with the style you like, get to know them a little better, and then book a session. Some mothers choose to book their session even earlier, when they are entering their second trimester. It is all up to you when you book your newborn photography session. I would just suggest taking the time to book your session in advance so you are not rushed once baby is here
Let’s get started, and look at the top 5 how to prep baby for a newborn session.
Prep Baby For A Newborn Photography Session | Feeding Baby Just Before Session
An important tip for how to prep baby for a newborn session has to do with feeding baby. Anyone that has feed a newborn baby will tell you that “milk comas” are real. Those little newborn babies, get a belly full of food and they are fast sleep in no time.
Feeding them just before the session lets them get all nice and full, and ready to sleep the session away. Some parents will not feed baby for an hour or two before they feed just before the session. This makes baby extra hungry, and basically guarantees they will sleep well. Personally, I hate giving advice of how to prep baby for a newborn photography session that includes not feeding your baby when they are hungry. Probably because I had a colicky baby, and feel for any parent that has to listen to a screaming baby.
Newborn sessions are the longest of the sessions offered, and last 2-3 hours. In those 2-3 hours, we will probably feed baby a few more times. I have also found that babies seem to eat more than usual while at the session. I’m not sure what causes it, but it’s very common for babies to drink more than their usual amounts on the day of the session.
Prep Baby For A Newborn Photography Session | Outfit Planning
Another common question from moms looking for prep baby for a newborn photography session include questions on what baby, and the rest of the family should wear.
Chances are if this is your first baby, that you will have tons of outfits that were gifted to you, or if you were like me, you started buying as soon as you found out about baby. Chances are you have great outfit options in your closet now. Babies are expensive, so save the cost of buying a new outfit for the session.
I recommend keeping things simple. A solid colored, light neutral shade onesie, is always a safe bet. Stick to tight fitting outfits, with minimal design elements, and ones that let their sweet baby feet peek out. Established newborn photographers like myself will usually have a collection of newborn baby clothes available for the session too. I have a variety of outfits that fit newborns well, and photograph well.
If you are unsure what to put baby in, remember that swaddled poses and poses of newborn baby diaper less are popular. And if a diaper less photograph isn’t your thing – wraps and layers can be used at the session to cover baby in some poses where their bottom would be exposed.
Prep Baby For A Newborn Photography Session | Loosen Up Baby’s Clothing
Before the session, putting baby in outfits that are loose fitting is a great tip for how to prep baby for a newborn session. Lots of newborn outfits have tight waist bands, sleeve ends, and pant leg ends. These can leave red marks on the skin. By putting baby in something loose fitting, it can eliminate these marks. Doing what you can to prevent red marks in the skin is a key way to prep baby for a newborn photography session.
If you are feeling risky, you can also loosen the diaper up on baby too. Diapers will leave redness along the waist and legs. Hopefully baby doesn’t take advantage of the loose diaper situation. That could be a mess.
Prep Baby For A Newborn Photography Session | Sit Back and Relax
An important thing to remember when thinking of prep baby for a newborn photography session is to relax. Professional newborn photographers like myself will send out prep information before the session. My goal is to make the session as stress-free as possible.
The session will start with family poses first. After that, we will move into poses of baby alone. That’s when you can really relax. The studio will be warm, you are exhausted, and it’s super common for moms (and more likely dads) to squeeze in a cat nap. I’ve had so many parents doze off in the studio, that I almost expect it now.
At this point, most of my parents will comment on how they know I will take care of baby based on the family portion of the session. They are comfortable enough to trust me with baby, while they nap on the studio couch or bed. Part of me wished I had a collage of pictures of all the sleeping parents.
Not one to nap, no problem, I have you covered. I have streaming services in the studio, refreshing drinks, and snacks. The studio is also located close to Downtown Northfield restaurants and bakeries. Feel free to have your partner run and grab lunch, and enjoy a kid free meal while I photograph baby.
Prep Baby For A Newborn Photography Session | Babies Will be Babies
I learned early on in my photography career that babies run the show, and they just let me feel like I am in charge. There will be times when baby cries or will take a little time to settle. Baby items like bottles of extra food, pacifiers, swaddled, and diapers will come in here.
We will take a lot of breaks for baby, and most of them will include baby feeding. If baby doesn’t need a bottle, they could just need a pacifier. These little pieces of plastic are golden at sessions.
Sometimes babies have other plans for the session, and need some encouragement to fall asleep or settle enough to be poses. Swaddled and wraps are the best way to get baby on board. Depending on baby’s attitude, we may need to incorporate more wrapped poses than originally planned. But like I said, these newborn babies run the show.
And diapers, we will need them. I have only had one baby in the last 12 years that has not dirtied on a prop. Most end up wetting. Some do more. This is all part of photographing babies, and it planned for in the studio. Don’t feel bad if it happens. Chances are they are not the first and will not be the last baby to dirty on that prop. It’s a risk I take at every session.
Prep Baby For A Newborn Photography Session | Final thoughts
Little things can make a big difference when you prep baby for a newborn photography session.
I also want to let you know that I have photographed a bunch of babies that didn’t read the detailed prep information I sent, and just show up for the session. Guess what – it all worked out. You just had a baby, you are beyond exhausted, and dealing with the physical side of having baby. Sometimes the best way to prep baby for a newborn photography session is to just focus on your family and show up.