As a Philadelphia newborn family photographer, I get asked so many questions by potential clients as to what to expect during their newborn portraits. Keep in mind, every newborn photographer does things differently and some of us change things to work for us. Let’s look at 10 things to know before your newborn photo session.
1. WHEN TO BOOK WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
This is a big one for me! The best time to book your newborn session is when you hit your second trimester. It’s best to book months ahead to ensure that I have open availability. Like most photographers, we take soft bookings with newborns. Because of the unpredictability of a baby’s birth, we only take so many babies a month.
Book early to secure your baby photographer has the availability and you get the photographer that you really want.
2. THE AGE OF THE BABY MATTERS
Studio baby photography is so different than lifestyle newborn photography. If you asked my clients what my favourite time is, they will all say day 7 of birth. I do have a sweet spot for day 7! Most babies are best photographed before the 2 week window, but are considered a newborn for the first month. In between those two weeks there are days, I prefer not to photograph baby. You know the days…. when baby is cluster feeding. The slightest move and they want to feed as if they have not fed in 10 days. lol.
I have photographed babies older than a month, but your expectations have to shift. The older the baby the less curly they are. They are also less sleepy so it makes it harder to transition from pose to pose. Of coarse there are always exceptions, most important you have to know all babies are different.
3. STAY OFF PINTREST!
As a child and baby photographer, I can not stress this enough. The age of Pinterest has changed our expectations so much, sometimes I feel..too much! But we forget that you are looking at so many different babies from different families. We can not expect one baby to accomplish all of those poses in one session. I always tell my parents, pick a few inspiration poses, that you like: one or two. We can start there and create something beautiful just for you. Also if you have siblings, keep in mind your inspiration picture to the real age of your child. Do not expect a toddler to do what you see an older child doing in a photo.
4. WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU
I always photograph my little babies at 830am. Baby is the most sleepy in the morning. I ask my moms to please if they can feed baby upon arrival. But if baby is hungry, please feed your baby. We can attempt a feed again once you arrive to the studio. My studio has everything you need for your baby including: bottle warmer, diapers, cream, blankets, changing table, chucks, hand sanitiser, snacks, coffee, drinks, water, and more. If moms want to wear something from the closet, please feel free to do so. Many of my moms meet the make up artist at the studio and while I work with baby they have some mama pampering and get hair and make up done.
You and I can discuss what to wear, but you will want to bring that with you. I suggest packing it separately as the studio is kept warm for your baby’s comfort.
Once you book your session with me, I provide a detailed list of what to expect, what to bring and how to prep.
5. POSING YOUR BABY IS A GENTLE PROCESS
Don’t rush your session. A session usually takes up to 3 hours. That is including family photos. I always attempt to pose babies in my workflow, but sometimes they just do not like a pose, I will never force a baby into a pose for the sake of a picture. I always keep your baby’s safety and comfort as my first priority.
6. YOUR BABY MIGHT CRY!
Yes, even for my parents that say their baby sleeps so sound at home and does not make a noise. Keep in mind, when you lay your baby to bed at home, you are walking away. In the studio, I am posing your baby from pose to pose, they might wake up occasionally or give a small cry- many just want to let me know they are not happy with me moving them around. Just know it’s totally normal. If baby does persist to cry, I will pick them up and sooth them till they are all calm.
7. ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN
If you are getting those naked baby pictures, know that your baby will pee and sometimes poop on me, on the blanket and sometimes on you. It’s totally normal. My staff and I are totally use to it.
8. WHAT KIND OF PHOTOS TO EXPECT
I keep a workflow for baby’s comfort. I always start with baby upright, because baby usually eats in the studio before we start. I slowly transition through props and poses to keep baby comfy. If your baby is gassy, they usually do want to be on their belly. I always offer family and siblings portraits in the session. I always ask my clients if they would like Macro photography during the session.
9. WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE SESSION?
I will take your baby and wrap and transition from prop or pose. Throughout the session, you are welcome to watch. Pull up a chair. We keep the studio quiet, and we use sound machines to sooth the baby when needed.
If you have younger kids with you, many of my mothers arrive with the baby alone and then have dad bring the kids later. this minimises the amount of time the toddlers are kept in the studio so they do not grow restless. My Philadelphia studio is equipped with toys if you need to preoccupy the kids.
10. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SESSION
After your newborn pictures with me in the studio, I will go over your images and pick out the best ones. I will complete my edits in a timely manner. Keep in mind, babies with a lot of flaky skin will take me longer. Once I edit your newborn gallery, I will present them to you. This is a great time for us to discuss your wall art, create those photo albums, and grandparent gifts.
In sum, it’s so important to communicate with your photographer as we all do it differently. Don’t be afraid to ask me a million questions, I love to chat about your session. Most of all above all of these, don’t forget to enjoy the moment. Your little baby is just small for a moment. You will want to remember all of it. If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to me. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here. My studio is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I look forward to meeting you and your growing family.