Birth

For New Moms // Newborn Photography Session Tips

Photographing couples is such a passion of mine, and I'm so lucky that I get to capture the love that couples share with their new babies through newborn and Fresh 48 sessions. It's so important for me to make a new mom feel comfortable and supported for these sessions, because I know exactly how those early days can be - messy, chaotic, tiring and overwhelming. It's my goal to not only capture sweet photos of your new babe, but to leave you feeling calm and happy after a session. Here are some ways you can prepare for a newborn session with me or any photographer, so we all feel calm and supported in your newborn photo experience.

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Just Relax

The internet is not always our friend in the early days of motherhood. We can be overwhelmed with beautiful photos of babies sleeping soundly through their newborn sessions, in what seem like perfectly styled and cleaned houses with well rested, calm parents. This is an illusion most of the time, and I want you to let go of that false reality in preparation for our session. Focus on tidying the areas you want to shoot in, put on some light makeup and just wear something you feel pretty in - even if that's a t-shirt and leggings. If baby is fussy, you'll snuggle them for as long as you need to and we will take our time to calm them down.

The biggest obstacle to being relaxed during a newborn session is feeling rushed, so I always give us plenty of time to capture the photos that represent this time of your baby's life.

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Feeling relaxed and calm is a big reason why I only offer lifestyle newborn or Fresh 48 sessions now. It allows us to take our time and make you and baby feel most comfortable, while capturing real moments for your family to cherish forever.

Feed the Baby

One of the first things I tell moms when we begin our session is that if the baby is showing you hunger cues, we can pause for whatever amount of time they need to get satisfied! I know personally how nothing good comes from being hungry or wanting a snack - I believe it's called "hangry". And, if breast OR bottle feeding is part of the journey you would like to capture, please let me know! Don't feel rushed - we will resume our shoot whenever you and the baby are ready.

Have Swaddles and Props Ready

Because I feel it's important to capture your family as naturally as possible, I don't usually bring props or blankets of my own - unless we discuss it first. I suggest having at least two cotton swaddle blankets handy to wrap the baby in. One color, patterned, neutral or bright - they're all awesome and will make your session unique! It's also a good idea to have some throw blankets handy to use as easy backgrounds that we can change out with the swaddles. This way, you have a big variety of photos to choose from.

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Also, if there are any heirloom or fun objects you want in the photos it's a good idea to have them out and ready, so when the opportunity strikes I can just grab them and add it to the photo!

Prep your Partner

Many times, these photos are not as exciting for your better half as they are for you. Chances are, they're supportive because they should be at this time of your motherhood journey - woohoo! It's good to let them know that all they're expected to do is snuggle the baby (and you!) I am very careful to capture both parents alone with the baby to make sure everyone feels included, so if this makes your partner feel nervous, just let them know it will be quick and again - just focus on the baby!

Wear Something Neutral

I mentioned before that you should take the pressure off yourself to look like a model right now. Chances are, I'll walk in and be shocked at how amazing you look AND your partner thinks you look like a million bucks anyways, so just keep that in mind if you're feeling less-than. Do your hair and makeup minimally and naturally, and wear something simple and neutral in color so that no matter what the baby is swaddled in or wearing, everyone matches. As far as what you're wearing, think about what you will feel most comfortable in. If that's your favorite maternity jeans and a pretty blouse - great! If that's leggings and a t-shirt - awesome! Motherhood looks great on you, no matter what. Tell your partner the same!

Fresh 48

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Ohhh how I love these sessions. If you haven't seen one or don't know the difference, I suggest you check out this post, this one, and this one! The difficult part of these sessions is when there are interruptions from hospital staff and family. Of course if these are necessary, that's fine but try to let people know beforehand that you plan on having a photographer in your room for about an hour at the time we agree on, so there are little to no interruptions. This is not because I'm selfish and want you to myself, but because introducing more people to the room makes things chaotic and overwhelming for everyone - yourself and baby especially! I want to get in and out as soon as I can so you can go back to bonding and visiting with your family members.

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Siblings

Many of my clients are not first-time moms, and older siblings will be part of the baby's shoot too! This is such a vulnerable time for them, regardless of their age. I try to be sensitive to that and will make sure to get permission from your child to take their picture - especially if it means asking them to do something specific to get "the shot". The last thing I want is for this to be a traumatic experience for them! If they're just not having it, we will let them go do their own thing until they're ready to come back and try again.

I know sometimes what you want most a this time is the sweetest photo of your little loves together, and we will try until it happens. But, keep in mind that this may be overwhelming for the older sibling and kids will not do anything they don't want to do. I feel that at this time of their life, it's important to respect that boundary and settle for whatever we can get!

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So, overall if there is anything you should take away from these points, it's to just stay calm, keep your expectations somewhat low and go with the flow! The MOST important thing is to trust me, and trust when I say this : you'll love these photos so much because when you look at them for years to come, you'll be transported back in time to this incredible time of life for you family.


Grady // Syracuse NY Fresh 48 Newborn Photography

It's been awhile since I've had one of these sessions to share! Fresh 48 newborn photos are my personal favorite way to document welcoming a new person into the world. These sessions are usually simple, easy and just tug on my heartstrings. Looking back at these sessions truly transports you in time, to some of the happiest days of your life as a new parent.

Thanks for popping by to take a look! Interested in more of my newborn photography work? Check out these posts:

Lillian Rey Fresh 48 Hospital Photography // Crouse Hospital, Syracuse New York

Fresh 48 sessions are really probably my most favorite things to capture. I loooove births because it's just so amazing and empowering, but I really love Fresh 48s because of how happy, loving, tender, and new it all feels - even if it's not the first baby! Plus, there's not as much of the element of surprise with a Fresh 48, of course.

I'm so glad I got to photograph this sweet girl, who is my cousin's first baby! Welcome to the family, Lilly!

Saylor's Birth // Auburn, New York Hospital Birth Photography

So far, this year has brought three birth photography sessions to me, which makes me SO happy! I have been lucky to have had all five of my births so far go pretty smoothly. The parents have been so wonderful and appreciative of my presence and the final result, the care providers have been so receptive to me being there, and it just fills my heart up witnessing such an amazing time for a family. Women will never cease to amaze me in their abilities, and childbirth is no exception to that.

When I arrived to the hospital for Saylor's birth (how cool is that name!!), her mama was trying to rest after a full day of passive labor. She had been induced about 24 hours before I got there, and was so tired. She slept on and off while the nurses came in and out of the room to make sure she was still progressing. She's a nurse in the L&D unit, so it was amazing to see her colleagues and friends surrounding her. The mood throughout her delivery was so loving, gentle, and really just fun - as fun as it could be.

The midwife was an absolutely amazing caregiver. She was constantly suggesting new positions to help guide the baby down and keep things progressing, and when mama started feeling nauseous, the whole team was there to help her through it. One of my most favorite photos from this birth is one where the midwife is kneading mom's back. So, so incredible. It's those small things that elevate the entire experience.

I'm always so surprised when it comes time for a mom to start pushing. So far there hasn't been a "Ok, it's time!! You're going to push!" No, it's usually the case that if I wasn't paying attention, I might miss it altogether! I think if it was made to be a big deal, it would make a mom anxious or nervous. The gentle transition is really wonderful.

The delivery team had mom moving and trying all sorts of positions for pushing. She had a pretty strong epidural, so at first she was limited by her leg strength. But after it was turned down for a while, she was able to push on her knees. So far, the births I experienced were captured from the head of the bed, which is a beautiful thing because I basically captured things from a mom's point of view. For this birth, I suddenly found myself stuck at the foot of the bed, and at first I was nervous and apprehensive. But really, it was the most incredible experience. I don't really know what to say about it besides that, but if you've ever heard or read "I Was In The Room", which is the last monologue in The Vagina Monologues... that's me. 

"First the little head, then the gray flopping arm, then the fast swimming body, swimming quickly into our weeping arms."

I'll let these photos tell the rest of the story...

Thanks so much for stopping by to read and look at this birth story. The words here are all my experience of this birth. I always say that if I could only turn my camera on for one purpose for the rest of my life, it would be to capture births. Not only do I just love babies and the whole birth process, but witnessing the strength of the women who birth them and the people who help her do it will always impact me so, so deeply.

Wondering what capturing a birth is like? This post may be helpful! You can see one other birth I've captured here

Silas + Ezra // Newborn Twins Photography

The end of 2016 went so fast and was such a busy time that I hardly blogged any of the sessions I did in December! So, today I'm finally sharing TWO sets of photos from December, when I got to photograph these twin baby boys. Silas and Ezra are already almost 2 months by now - I bet they look so much different than they do in these photos!

The first session was done while they were still in the hospital, at about 2 days old. These guys came out at wonderful birth weights and their mama did such an amazing job through her birth. I loved hearing about how it went and recall feeling so proud of her. How funny it is to be proud of someone you barely know... I think as a fellow mama I just know how difficult labor and delivery can be, so for her to give birth to TWO boys with such "ease" ('cause is it ever easy?) really warmed my heart.

During this session, Silas and Ezra met their big brother, Asher, and I was so happy to have witnessed such an amazing experience for their family. At first, Asher was not to excited but as soon as he got into bed with his mom and held his brothers, he literally didn't want to let go.

Once the boys were home and settled in, I went over to their home and photographed them again, this time without their big brother. This newborn session was a mixture of lifestyle and some styled shots of the boys, but I wanted to keep it mostly natural, to fit the look of their Fresh 48 session. The boys switched on and off with needing to be soothed during the session, so we didn't have many opportunities to photograph them together here. But, that's fine because although they're twins, they're still their own people! I think it's great that they will have some shots of themselves as newborns separate from one another. Here are some of my favorites from their newborn shoot!

Thanks for popping by to see these special photos! I'll be sharing a few other favorite sessions from December this week!

Giovanni // Birth Photography

After photographing my first birth last January, I just knew I needed to do more and more of them. So when this mama contacted me to photograph the birth of her son, Giovanni, I was so, so excited! She had her daughter's birth photographed last year and was so appreciative of having those images to remind her of the special moments that happen during labor and delivery.

I arrived at the Upstate Hospital Community Campus around four, after being in contact with Lindsay all day about the progression of her induction. It was slow moving to begin with, but as the afternoon passed, she started progressing at an increased rate. I got there when she was around 7 cm dilated, and we hung out, got acquainted and chatted a little bit as contractions continued to roll through her. She took them so well, breathing deeply and keeping her cool through every single one even though her epidural wasn't working on one side!

A nurse checked her one time and mentioned that she was pretty much ready to go and that she would have the doctor come in to see for herself, and that baby Gio was coming very very soon! We were all so surprised that things had gone that far in such a short amount of time - which is why once a mama is 6 or 7 cm dilated, I hustle to get to the hospital! Lindsay was starting to get nervous, given that her epidural wasn't working the best and things started happening so quickly. Within no time, her doctor had come in, taken the bed apart (it always surprises me how fast they do that) and got everything ready for Lindsay to start pushing.

And just like that, with only about ten minutes (if that!) of pushing, Giovanni was out! The nurses prodded and rubbed him as he took his first breaths and got some good cries out of his fresh lungs, and mama and dad just marveled over their brand new boy and how well Lindsay did with her delivery. The staff delayed Giovanni's cord cutting for as long as possible to give him all the nutrients and blood that makes a baby's entry into the world just a little bit better. And doing this is such an amazing way to give the new family some peaceful, slow moments together after the whirlwind that giving birth can be.

Once everything was finished and cleaned up, Giovanni tried out nursing for the first time and was a natural! As nurses came in and out of the room, they all commented on how wonderfully he was doing, how cute he was and how great of a job Lindsay did. It was such a relaxed, joyful environment.

Giovanni's siblings and maternal grandparents came to visit while they were still in labor and delivery, so I captured some photos of their first moments as a complete family. Lindsay is nursing her daughter so she was really interested to see how she would accept having to share her mama in this way! She did really well, and I think she's still handling it pretty well after three weeks of sharing.

I have been so lucky to now have captured two births which, from my side of it, were so "easy" (for lack of a better word) and beautiful. Sometimes they don't happen as quickly as these two have but I'm hoping my luck continues in this direction - for both me and the mamas that I capture!

When I leave these special sessions, I just feel so filled up with positive energy and creativity. New life is so inspiring and amazing, and reminds me that I'm so lucky to have been given the opportunity to capture memories for people that they will cherish forever.


Did you love these photos? Is birth photography something you or someone you know may be interested in? Contact me today so we can talk about the investment, how the process works, and to reserve my time for the arrival of your newest addition. Or, read this post with some FAQs about birth photography!

You can also purchase a gift certificate (I advise you to talk with mom first!) and give the gift of precious memories.

Everly // Fresh 48 Photography

I have been wanting to photograph a newborn within the first few days of their arrival in the hospital setting for so long! I've now photographed two births, but a Fresh 48 session is different because I arrive after baby is born, usually a day or two afterwards, and don't capture any of the labor or birth. The benefit of this is that new parents get to remember those early days through these images, without the sometimes scary idea of having a photographer actually attend your birth. I know that turns lots of dads - and moms - off, so this is a great compromise. Mom gets to ensure that she looks the way she wants for this session, the lighting is more predictable since it's not usually at night, and there's no bodily fluids involved in the final product!

I love birth photography so much, but I loved capturing this special time almost just as much! Here are some of my most favorite photos from meeting Everly for the first time.