Everyone is welcome, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – even pets! – in your gorgeous, relaxed in-home newborn photo session
The arrival of a new baby brings so much joy and excitement – and not just for new parents! In about half the in-home newborn sessions I photograph, extended family – and even pets – are on hand to help welcome baby. If you’re thinking about inviting parents, grandparents and other loved ones to your newborn session, here are my best suggestions to ensure a smooth, joyful photo session and photos you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Tip #1 – Plan for a morning session
I know that when you have a newborn, you’re running on very little sleep. It seems like you never get enough rest, and you’re running on caffiene most days.
It might seem counter-intuitive to plan a morning photo session for a family who has just welcomed a baby, but this truly is the best time for the most important person – your baby! I typically begin newborn sessions at 10 a.m. for a three key reasons.
Babies are typically rested, and not over-tired or over-stimulated yet
In the first couple of weeks, babies tend to sleep a lot, usually during the day. I only photograph new babies early in the day because this gives us the very best chance at a smooth, easy session with a happy, content baby. Sometimes they’re awake, other times they’re sleepy; typically, I see a little bit of both.
The closer you get to early evening, the more likely you are to run into the witching hour. It’s when babies are harder to settle, often fussier and overstimulated from the day. Witching hour can begin as early as around 4 p.m. and last for a couple of hours.
Even when babies are unsettled during morning photo sessions, they’re usually easy to satisfy with a good feed and a swaddle. Sometimes we add white noise and snuggles in the rocking chair to help your tiny love relax. During witching hour, even these time-tested tricks to settle babies don’t work well, creating a stressful situation for new parents. You don’t want photos of your baby crying, so a fussy little one brings the session to a stop.
Morning sessions are usually easier for working parents
I often photograph at least one parent who has to work on the day of the newborn photo session. We can even move back the session start time to 9 a.m. so that you or your spouse can be present for photos and then head to the office early, if that’s best for your schedule. If you let me know before the session that you or your husband have time limitations, we’ll first fit in all the essential images with the parent who needs to leave, and I work with the rest of the family when we aren’t working against the clock quite so much.
You have the rest of the day for whatever!
In the days leading up to your in-home newborn session, I’ll send you tips for smooth, hour-long newborn photo session! When I arrive at your home, I’m fully prepared to capture the most precious memories in just 60 minutes; however, we move at baby’s pace. Sometimes newborns sleep most of the time and I’m done within the hour; other times I’m in your home a little longer to accomodate baby.
Once your newborn session has wrapped up, you have the rest of the day wide open for snuggles, naps, or whatever else is on your calendar!
Tip #2 – Photos of extended family members are taken first
When I am working with grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members, I always photograph babies with these loved ones first. Most parents have fed and swaddled baby just as I arrive, meaning he/she is content and settled, hopefully for quite a bit. This allows us to quickly and efficiently capture photos of grandparents, etc. with baby so that I can spend the bulk of the time with immediate family.
Except in rare situations, most babies tend to get fussy and need a break/diaper change/feed toward the end of our time together. Often, all we have left when this happens is baby-only photos. Parents can relax and focus completely on settling their child, knowing that I’m only working with baby once he/she is ready. They don’t feel the added pressure of fitting in must-have photos with extended family when baby is unhappy, which makes for a more enjoyable experience!
If your loved ones live in this area, they are welcome to stay for the remainder of the session or go home while I work with you and your immediate family. Remember you’re running on less rest than you’re used to, and sometimes it’s nice to get these important photos taken and then hug family goodbye so you can enjoy the remainder of your photo session without worrying about anyone else!
Tip #3 – Ensure everyone follows my suggested wardrobe guidelines for beautiful photos
I send every client my Celebrate Motherhood magazine, a 76-page style guide that tells you exactly how to get absolutely stunning photos! A key aspect of beautiful images is wardrobe choice, and that goes for extended family who will be present for your session, too.
My best suggestion is for everyone to wear neutral colors. This keeps the focus on baby and your faces, and not on busy patterns/prints or bright colors. Lots of colors/prints/patterns are very distracting in photos, and you want to ensure baby is the star!
Neutral colors photograph well no matter how you’ve decorated your home, meaning we can use the space that has the best light and know that everyone will look great in that room. We don’t want your mother’s bright pink shirt or your sister’s yellow dress to clash with the decor in your living room and steal attention from your newborn!
I LOVE to incorporate pets in your newborn photos! While dogs are usually easiest to work with, I’m happy to work with your cat, too. You are the expert on your pet; if you are comfortable with them near your newborn, we can absolutely capture sweet memories with your fur baby included.
Pet + family is the safest, easiest option
Your pet is adjusting to a lot when baby comes home. This means it’s safest to include your fur baby with you and your spouse in the frame, too. Mama typicaly holds baby, while dad keeps a calming hand on pets, especially if you have a young/hyper dog.
We let pets sit where they want and showcase their unique personality!
This is my sister-in-law and youngest nephew, along with Trixie and Ollie! While the pups are good friends, they were more comfortable sitting apart for photos and we didn’t push things by making them crowd in with Kelsey and Maverick.
Kelsey and her husband, Jaxon, have 100 percent confidence in Ollie’s kind, calm disposition, so they felt comfortable photographing these two together. Kelsey is on one side of me, just outside the frame, and Jaxon is on the other; all three of us could jump in to grab baby Mav if needed!
Expect lots of laughs (and a little chaos) when pets are present!
This is one of my most favorite newborn photos ever – with this adorable boxer placing his paw on mom and dad’s hands to welcome baby! Honestly, we simply lucked out with adorable engagement from the white pup. It’s probably a one-in-a-million shot!
I’d love to help you plan a stunning, memorable in-home newborn session with your loved ones! Just head to the contact tab at the top of the page and tell me when you’re due!