Newborn Session guide for parents

Ben, 10 days old sleeping soundly.  Half Froggy composite shot

If you've come accross this post then the chances are you’re expecting a baby?! Maybe you’ve just had a new baby and are looking to book your new bundles first photo session? I am sure that you have so many questions surrounding that first session. Can I bring my own outfits? Can I be in the pictures with my newborn? What is expected from me during the session? The most common question of all: What if my baby poops on the photographer during the session?

I hope that I am able to answer your questions here and hopefully put your mind at ease when I am sure it is already buzzing with baby themed thoughts already. So here goes...

When should I book?

Book your appointment in the beginning of your 3rd trimester if you can. I book my pregnant mums by their due date. This gives me a good idea of how many newborns I have at a given time. Once you deliver, pop me a message and we’ll finalize your appointment! If you’ve already delivered your baby don’t worry, I always leave a day open each week for last minute appointments. Your baby will ideally be UNDER 10 days old for her newborn photography session. It seems that once they hit 14 days old they start to get baby acne, they aren’t as deep of sleepers, and they aren’t as flexible. This doesn’t, however, mean that if your baby is over 10 days old that we won’t do a session. No matter the age, babies are beautiful. We just might have to work a little harder to keep baby asleep!

The main stuff

Location – 99.9% of my newborn sessions are shot in the clients home with my mobile studio. I schedule all sessions in the morning so that we have optimum natural light. Please do not worry if you feel that your home isn't bright enough. I will have an artificial light with me if necessary. Babies can sense when mum is nervous. It is so important to remain calm and relaxed before and during the session which is the main reason I do home sessions.

Time – Expect your newborn session to take anywhere between 2 -3 hours. Babies are on their own schedule with eating and sleeping, so it’s my job to just be patient with them and enjoy rocking them to sleep! You may see me rocking, and rocking, and rocking and rocking your baby. While I rock, I’m watching your baby for the signs that they are entering the deep sleep that I need for a lot of the newborn poses. On average, it takes about 20-30 minutes of swaying and rocking to get baby into a deep, deep sleep.

Unpredictability – I think we all know that babies are very unpredictable. I’ve had a handful of my own babies, and I’ve been studying them for the past 7 years. I’ve learned a lot of little tricks to soothe your newborn. I’m going to very respectfully ask you to sit back and let me do my magic, I’ll let you know when I think baby needs to be fed, otherwise, it is easier if I don't hand baby to mum too much. I actually enjoy “dancing” your newborn to sleep, and it eliminates the hand-off when mum gets baby to sleep and hands baby to me … and …. baby ends up waking up.

Jaundice – What if your baby has jaundice? Should you reschedule your session? If your doctor has prescribed that your baby spend some time in a bili bed in hospital, then we can definitely reschedule. If your doctor has deemed your baby healthy enough to be at home let’s keep our appointment, I can edit out jaundice skin color.

Poop/wee - Guess what, your baby will poop. Probably more than once. Sometimes once per set-up! I’m used to it, I expect it, I dress for it! All of my fabrics are specially made for newborns, they are all washable and get washed between each session! Everybody poops! Wet – The one thing I can almost guarantee will happen…. I will be peed on multiple times in a newborn photography session! I am prepared for that. Towels, wipes, rags all within easy reach for a quick clean up! We laugh it off and continue.

What should I have on hand?

Dummy – Babies need to suck to soothe. Sometimes the difference between nailing the pose and missing it is as simple as that dummy. Studies show that babies need to suck to soothe. Please consider bringing a dummy to use in the off chance that my soothing techniques aren’t effective. I understand that some parents prefer to not give a dummy, but for the short time that the shoot takes place will not create a dependance on it and it will make for a much smoother shoot.

Nappies - Put baby’s nappy on loosely right before the session. That will help minimize any marks on the baby’s skin from the elastic. I would recommend having a few spares on hand too to save any running about fetching during the session.

Snacks - FOR MUM! You can diet AFTER the newborn session! It is imperative that you eat enough calories to help establish your milk if you’re nursing. Lots of milk = full tummy = happy, sleepy baby.

Milk - Before your session, feed your baby a full feeding plus some! The term often used is milk drunk! We’ll take as many pit stops during the session as needed to fill baby back up if they’re running on low. Make sure and burp your baby after her very full feeding. A gassy tummy can make a very sad baby. If your baby tends to be very gassy, you can look into options like gripe water. You can also try avoiding caffeinated beverages {gasp} for a few days before the session. Dairy has also been thought to be the cause of a gassy baby. Sometimes just being posed on their belly in those squishy newborn poses will help work the bubbles out on their own.

What I bring with me

Props – I have many, many props, baskets, fabrics, wraps, hats, headbands, bows, backdrops etc. If you have something special you would like used in your session, let me know in advance so I can create a set up for you prior to the session.

Heater – It’s going to be warm. Very warm during your newborn’s session. I will bring a fan heater to heat the room and would recommend you close the windows in the room the shoot will take place in. Dads are usually the most uncomfortable out of everybody in the room. They are welcome to escape the heat and sneak into a different room for some t.v. if they prefer.

Patience/Skill - I don't schedule other shoots on the same day as a newborn. I have nowhere else to be. I have my own childcare sorted and am not in a rush. Your job during the session is to rest mostly or perhaps catch up on some social media! I may ask you or dad for the use of your hands during composite shots, but I explain everything and will answer and questions you might have. I am fully insured also and trained in newborn posing.

Value – What do you receive for your investment? Your session comes with 20-25 edited images in a gallery. You will receive both the LOW resolution digital images for use on social media as well as HIGH resolution digital files via download from your secure online gallery. You will receieve a print release. Expect a 3 week turn around time from the day of your session to the day we deliver your gallery.

Harvey, sleeping soundly. Naked newborn

Other things to consider

Outfits – My style of newborn photography is sleeping, naked/wrapped baby! If you have a wardrobe full of outfits you want to use in your session, please pick ONE of your favorite outfits. We’ll use it at the end of the session if baby is still sleepy. Each time we change an outfit, we wake up the baby and run the risk of not getting her back to sleep. Most of the portraits you see on my website and facebook page are of sweet naked/wrapped babies. Don’t worry, I take every precaution to make sure that all private areas of the baby are hidden.

Siblings– If you want siblings in the session, please let me know in advance. I hold the sibling shots off to the end of the session. If someone is available to bring the siblings into the room toward the end of the session, it makes them so much happier (it’s quite boring for a 2 year old to sit in a warm, quiet environment for 2 hours), it also helps the session go smoother.

Social media request - Sometimes I know it is so tempting to whip out your phone and capture a photo of the set up. I know your baby looks adorable in those curled up poses. I will ask that you please refrain from this if possible. The real thing will be so worth the wait, I promise you.

I am happy for you to do a few shots of behind the scenes to show friends… just remember to tag me first…and let me know when your going to snap a shot, so I can suck in and smile lol! I love it when you tell your friends what a great time you’re having – real time – during your newborn session!

I hope that this post answers all of your questions and I look forward to hearing from you regarding a booking soon.

Happy pregnancy/birth!


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