Getting ready for baby can feel like a very long list of to-dos! I remember feeling overwhelmed with all I had to do (or make decisions about) when I was pregnant the first time.
Fortunately, I’m here to make planning your newborn photo session is one of the easiest tasks you’ll have!
First, let’s cover some of the basics:
Traditional vs. lifestyle newborn photo sessions
You’ve probably seen tiny babies in cute poses and tiny outfits on Facebook. Traditional newborn sessions are typically held the first 7-10 days after birth in a studio. You usually don’t have to bring anything – the photographer has all of the props you need.
Lifestyle newborn sessions are held in your home, instead of in a studio. I love this option for new parents because you don’t have to go anywhere. It was intimidating to even think about leaving the house at first with my newborn. I was so tired those first few months and nervous about nursing in public. I worried about being able to soothe my daughter if she got upset, and what if I left something essential out of the diaper bag and didn’t figure it out till we were out?
From one mama to another, here’s my best advice: schedule a newborn session at your house. All you have to do is get yourself and baby dressed for photos. In the early days of having a newborn, sometimes that’s all the effort you want to make!
Timing isn’t everything
The timing of a lifestyle session is a more flexible because there isn’t much emphasis on posing baby. I actually prefer to schedule sessions between two and six weeks after birth for a couple reasons. First, especially if you’re a new mom, those first weeks at home with baby can be challenging. You’re adjusting to so many things at one time, usually on little sleep.
I think photo sessions go smoother when new parents are more relaxed and have somewhat of a routine down after bringing baby home. By week three or so, you and baby are more familiar with each other. Also, your newborn can hold better eye contact at this point, which can make for some really sweet photos.
What to expect during a newborn session
I typically photograph in rooms where you’re likely spending tons of time with baby anyway: the nursery, the living room and the master bedroom. It’s best if these rooms have lots of windows so we can utilize natural light, but it’s ok if it’s a little on the darker side.
When I arrive, I always ask for a tour – this helps me make a plan for where to start your session. That’s because the light in each room changes during the day. It might be best for us to start in your nursery and then move to the living room (or vise-versa) to best take advantage of the light.
Flexibility is the name of the game
Photographing newborns means you’ve got to be flexible, and luckily I’ve had plenty of experience at this with three girls of my own! Sure, we’ll discuss a general plan for your session, but ultimately, we follow baby’s lead. This means we pause when baby needs to nurse – I can snap a few breastfeeding photos if you’d like, or I can sneak off the nursery to get some photos there. While baby sleeps, we fit in photos of just him or her, along with family photos and individual shots of each parent with baby.
I only schedule one newborn session per day so that we’re never rushed to capture your special moments.
Spending time with siblings
If you’ve got other kids, they’re making a big adjustment, too! It’s generally pretty easy to work with kids who are about 5 and older. The younger ones sometimes take a few minutes to warm up to the camera. Don’t stress over how the kids will handle the photo session – we can make the magic happen under pretty much any set of circumstances (fussy toddlers included!).
We had a lifestyle newborn session done after our second daughter was born. It was wonderful to keep our toddler home where she was comfortable, especially after all of the recent changes had totally confused her. When she needed a break from photos, my husband could take her to the kitchen for a snack while the session continued with me and our newest daughter.
I’m also thankful we did it that way because we’ve welcomed another baby since then, and that means we’ve had to make some changes to the bedrooms upstairs. The nursery that we were in for our lifestyle session is now a spare bedroom, and that means it looks completely different! With all of my girls, I invested hours in decorating the perfect rooms for them, and I’m not quite so sad about changing the rooms around since I have photos of Emily’s nursery.
Before you go, watch this absolutely beautiful in-home newborn session celebrating twins Cade & Arabella. Grab your tissues and hit play!
I specialize in maternity, Fresh 48, newborn and family photo sessions in Houston, TX and beyond. I provide a luxury photography experience for my clients – you don’t have to worry about a thing! Let’s celebrate together all the beautiful moments of your life right now.