Seven Tips for a Successful Newborn Photoshoot from a Newborn Photographer
You’ve brought home your new bundle of joy and have settled in for adjusting to feeding schedules, multiple diaper changes, and very little sleep. These first days are dedicated to bonding and learning how to care for your sweet newborn.
This first week together will be filled with so many new experiences, even if this may be your first, second, third, (or more!) time. Every baby is different and no matter how many you have, their little personalities shine from the very beginning. The things you learn these first few days about your new little one will be helpful when it comes time for baby’s first photo shoot.
As a newborn photographer, I have learned that the best time for newborn portraits are in baby’s second week of life. This timing is crucial and can make or break a newborn portrait session. An otherwise content and sleepy newborn can end up grumpy and tearful during their portrait session.
I have put together some helpful tips to make the most of these photo sessions and result in beautiful baby photos. These tips are mainly for sessions in the home but many can be applied to any other types of newborn sessions such as posed or family outdoor.
It is best to feed baby either right before or as the photographer is arriving. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, it is important to refrain from eating any gassy/spicy foods up to 24 hours before the baby’s photo session. A gassy baby is not a happy baby.
If they are experiencing some discomfort, Mama’s Bliss gripe water is an all natural gas relief product that would be helpful to have on hand. If you are using formula and are wanting to change brands/kinds, it’s better to wait until after the session to switch.
Sleepy babies, not sleeping babies, are calm and content which helps make the session more relaxed for everyone. One suggestion would be to interact, talk, and ‘play’ with your baby, getting out all of their energy beforehand. While this is ideal, we know that newborns sleep when they want to, especially if they’ve had a rough night. This is okay! A great alternative is swaddling. Babies love it and it usually results in a very content newborn.
Diaper clad newborns and wardrobe changes are always popular photo options, but a little known fact- room temperature plays a huge role in the outcome of these photos! Babies are used to being snug and warm in the womb and get cold very easily. Regardless of the time of the year, it is important that the AC is turned off or the furnace turned a bit higher during these sessions, to make sure baby is nice and warm.
Don’t be alarmed or surprised if baby’s toddler-aged sibling(s) don’t want involved in the photo session. While this can be stressful, my biggest piece of advice, is let them do their own thing. They warm up faster, begin to understand what is going on, and they want to be included too! Give them attention, play with them, read to them, tickle them. They will feel much more relaxed if things were as normal as possible even if a big camera is being pointed in their direction. Pretend the photographer is not there and just enjoy the moments with your children!
5. YOUR HOME
Some of my favorite sessions are the in-home newborn lifestyle sessions because they really show off your home and family life. And we know it can be stressful trying to clean up before the photographer shows up! I am here to tell you not to do all of that unnecessary cleaning and stress. We usually just focus on a few key rooms like the nursery and master bedroom, and possibly the living room, as well. We, the photographers, are there to focus on your family and especially your new baby.
Instead make things easy on yourself by focusing on decluttering these rooms by tidying up a bit (no coats on couch or towels on bed – that sort of thing) and just toss the rest in a closet until the photographer leaves.
One side note though- give your windows and mirrors a quick wipe because steaks or dust on these surfaces can be very obvious in photographs.
6. DRY SKIN/BABY ACNE
Moms always seem to fret about their baby’s skin leading up to their big photo shoot and that’s completely understandable! If your newborn is dealing with dry skin, many clients have had success with coconut oil applied to the dry areas for a few days, leading up to the photo session. It is all natural and help smooth out all those little dry flakes. And if you are a breastfeeding Mama, breastmilk works great on baby acne and helps clear it up in a few days.
7. WHAT TO WEAR
As a photographer I encourage neutral colors, steering away from t-shirts with logos or bold patterns. White clothing helps to reflect light and keep the camera from having to work harder getting light into the lens (which means less grain in your photos). Moms, consider a light dress that will be both comfortable and soft while you are cuddling with your new baby.
For baby, I recommend just a diaper or in just a neutral colored onesie. I realize there are tons of really cute baby clothes out there but it’s rare to find any that fit properly or won’t be distracting in photos.
The biggest thing to remember for your session is to relax 🙂 If baby gets fussy or alert, don’t worry. Newborn photographers know this and are not in any rush. We want to make this a stress-free and enjoyable experience. These are sweet uninterrupted moments of you and your new little one, soak it all in!
Meet The Author:
Lindsey Ferrie is the photographer behind the lens at Lindsey Ferrie Photography. She is a wife, mom to 3 children and strives to be a proverbs 31 woman, seeking Christ as her guide. Her goal is to provide beautiful portraits for her clients while keeping the sessions as stress-free as possible. She is from Pittsburgh, Pa and enjoys spending time being at home with her family, playing, trying new recipes and organizing all things.