What to expect (and how to prepare) for your newborn’s baby photo session
Many clients are surprised to learn that it can take up to four hours for a newborn or baby photo session. It is a big investment of your time, but there is plenty you can do to make it a relaxing and enjoyable experience for you and your little one(s).
At Truly Madly Deeply, we schedule all newborn baby photo sessions for four hours, although we’re often done in less time if the little subject is super sleepy.
In fact, sleep is the second-most crucial factor (after safety) to capturing beautiful baby photos. To achieve the curly, serene newborn poses that so many clients desire, the newborn must be in a very deep sleep. Most of your newborn’s portrait session is actually used to encourage your baby into a state of deep sleep, then pose them safely, and encourage them back to sleep if they stir…only then do we click the shutter button on the camera. So while four hours might seem a long time for a photo shoot, most of the time is dedicated to making your baby comfortable, rather than actually taking photographs. Of course, some of the session time is also be used for changing outfits, sets and props, and feeding the baby.
What should you do: Think of your newborn’s baby photo session as an opportunity for you to put your feet up for a while and relax while your baby is in the hands of a trained and experienced professional. To ensure this is a relaxing experience for you and your family, consider the following:
- Dress in layers: For your baby’s comfort, a new born photography studio is very warm (think about the internal temperature of you baby’s accommodations for the past nine months, and you’ll understand why), so grown-ups should come to the studio dressed in layers so they can shimmy out of a layer (or two) as necessary. At Truly Madly Deeply we set the room temperature at a toasty 78 degrees for newborn photo sessions, which is consistent with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
- Communicate with everyone involved: Make sure everyone attending the session, especially your partner, knows to expect a four-hour session and a pretty warm room temperature. If they’re surprised by the environment or how long they need to be there, it can have a negative effect on the session.
- Stay nourished: Most photography studios will have light refreshments available, but do bring your favorite snacks and drinks to keep you going.
- Bring some entertainment: Bring along magazines, books, iPad, etc. to keep yourself entertained…or use the session as an opportunity to put your feet up and rest while your baby is in the safe hands of a trained and experienced newborn photographer.
- Schedule the siblings: If you plan to include older siblings in some of the baby photos, talk with your photographer about when best to have another trusted adult bring the siblings to the studio, so they can be there when they are being photographed but not be there longer than necessary. I usually prefer to create the parent and sibling shots first, while everyone is feeling fresh, then let the kids go home so we can focus first on the newborn images.
- Prepare for your baby’s feeding: Read this article to learn what you can do to ensure your baby stays full and sleepy throughout the photo session.
Have a question or want to help others by sharing your newborn portrait experience? Please leave a comment below.