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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.