Preparing for Your Newborn Portrait Session
Newborn portraits are different than any other portraits your new baby will ever have. Photographing in the first two weeks of life allows me to capture your baby's newness. You will treasure these memories of just how little your baby was. The peach fuzz. The squishy folds. The sleepy face. And yes, the first cries, too. Your newborn session is scheduled in advance, based on your due date. Once you're on my books for a newborn session, it's a floating appointment. The final date and time gets set once you've had the baby. My clients have found it best to call before they leave the hospital, while they still have a little time to themselves. This way, the newborn session doesn't get put off until the baby is a month or two, because by then, the babies have changed so much it's no longer possible to capture how they were when they were brand new. Most likely you'll find that you want many sessions of your baby throughout that first year, which is normal because every month brings so many big changes. If you have an interest in that, ask me about my Blessings plan, which offers sessions throughout the year.
Taking care of yourself can be difficult when a new baby arrives, so don't be shy to accept help from friends and family so that you can get yourself ready for your session. If possible, even details like grooming your hands are a good idea before your session, as your hands will play a big part in newborn portraits. And don't forget that this is important for the father of the baby too, if he will be participating in the session. Not necessarily a manicure, but clean hands, and lotion applied to any dry skin. Feet are also fun to incorporate into the portraits, because it's amazing how small a newborn's feet are to ours. Makeup should be applied the way you normally wear it.
At least an hour before I arrive, please remove any clothing from your baby that may cause lines in the skin: such as socks, outfits with elastic, etc. If you would like some "madonna" type portraits without clothing, holding your baby against you, keep your own skin free of lines too. Wearing a loose-fitting nightgown or robe prior to the session is best.
Preparing your baby
If your baby is sleeping when I arrive, that's wonderful. Please do not try to wake your baby up. Sleeping is the best way to photograph babies at this age as their eyes are not yet focusing, their eyes get crossed when open, and they cannot hold their head up and make expressions yet. Don't worry...the babies do wake up during the session, and I keep photographing during that part too.
Clothing is not something I recommend for your newborn's portrait debut. The baby's birthday suit is best because we're trying to capture that new baby, and all the fuzzy, squishy folds that your baby is going to grow out of in just a few weeks. If you have an outfit you want the baby photographed in, please limit the clothing selection to one outfit, as clothing changes tend to upset them.
For the session, some great things to have ready are: a favorite blanket, baby wipes, several extra diapers, a binky if your baby uses one, and some cloth diapers or burp rags.
Preparing your home
Please adjust your thermostat to 75 degrees before I arrive. I know that's warm, but when removing blankets and clothing from babies, they will get fussy if it's not warm in the room. You can turn it back down when we're finished.
Because your home will be the backdrop for many of your photos, please ensure that your home is clean and free of distractions. I will walk through your home looking for the best light and the best settings, and normally use the following rooms: a living room, family room, or great room, the baby's nursery, and the parent's bedroom. In the parent's bedroom, we normally use the bed.
Only those being photographed should be present, with the exception of a helper if you'd like. If you would like your children to be included in some of the photos, childcare is a must for the remainder of the session.
I often use mom or dad as a background to hold baby, and for this, I'll need you both to be wearing a black top. Also have ready some light, airy clothing for some images with a softer feel. For moms, I especially suggest cotton knit camisoles, and long or short sleeve black knit tops. Jeans, or other comfortable pants or skirts are fine. For dads, I suggest they do NOT wear button down shirts. The best type of black top they can wear is a long or short-sleeved knit, without too much bagginess in the sleeve. They should also have ready a white t-shirt (with no logos or writing) or undershirt. Please make sure all clothing is either ironed or steamed. Wrinkles do show up in photographs, and the retouching involved is extensive and will incur an extra fee.
Beyond the basic clothing items, we will provide fabrics to drape over you for those images where we need your clothing to disappear from the image.
All content Copyright 2004 Lauri Baker Photography. All rights reserved.
Preparing for your Maternity Portrait Session· Preparing for your Child Portrait Session
Lauri Baker is an award-winning portrait photographer specializing in maternity, baby, and children's portraits. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, she is available for commissioned travel throughout the United States. You can browse her portfolio at www.lauribakerphotography.com