Newborn Session Prep Guide

Congratulations, you did it!


Bringing new life into this world is HARD, but here you are! Whether you're a postpartum mom reading this with a baby tucked in her arms, an expecting parent, a new dad wondering if you'll ever sleep again, adoptive parents marveling that your miracle is ACTUALLY here, IVF parents, first-time parents, or tenth time over parents...I am so proud of you!


Having the honor of documenting your newest family member for the first time isn't something that I'll ever get over -- even after hundreds of newborns!


Over the next few pages, I'll help get you ready for our session, along with walking you through my process so you can relax and enjoy this magical time in your life!



LOCATION

My studio address is 70 Oakwood Lane, North Clarendon VT 05759. My cozy little studio sits next to my home. Feel free to park as close as you need. Please call or text any time if you get lost 802-353-400.

Immediate family only, please. Please only bring along those that will be having their photo taken. My studio is cozy, so there is no room for extra guests.


BEFORE THE SHOOT

Please plan feeding times based on your session arrival time. It is most helpful to have baby hungry at the time of your session and feed them as soon as you arrive. Its best to start the session with a nice full tummy. A full belly at the start of the session is KEY. If you do feed baby right before leaving, plan to top them off when you arrive. It is my goal to have you feed baby, baby falls asleep and we start with them alone in the bean bag posing (baby on their belly, hands on chin pose, etc). This is my preferred way to start the session. If baby is fed and happy, yet awake, I start with some gorgeous awake shots and then wrap them up and we will start with any family shots. This is a game time decision that is really up to baby on where we start.


Please do not let them sleep beforehand, instead try giving them a bath, let them kick with only a diaper, tickle their toes, and even let them fuss for a little bit (no pacifiers) for the few hours beforehand. This will ensure those squishy, sleepy newborn pictures! I can't stress that it's so important to do your best to keep them awake. Believe me, I know first hand this will not be an easy task. Many parents come in saying "baby has been sleeping all morning, but trust me, he sleeps SO good this time of day!" only to have baby wake up, since they will be unclothed and unswaddled. I will be touching them, straightening clenched fists, etc. Sessions last between 2-3 hours, sometimes longer if baby is a light sleeper, or is hungry! The easiest way to ensure a sleepy baby is the willingness to nurse/bottle-feed off and on.


If you think that you're experiencing some problems with breastfeeding (tongue/lip tie, low supply, shallow latch), it's never a bad idea to bring a bottle or two of pumped breastmilk or formula. Really, the most essential part of our session will be a full belly for your baby.


Even with all these tips and tricks, sometimes babies just don't want to miss their session and are awake the entire time! That's perfectly fine with me. We will keep baby wrapped nice and snug to avoid flailing limbs. I will not and cannot force a baby to sleep. Sometimes all my tricks just don't work and baby is awake the whole time. You will still get a beautiful gallery!


Please avoid using diaper rash cream the morning of your session. It is impossible to edit out of the photos. If baby has very dry skin, lotion the morning of the session is never a bad idea! But please refrain from aquaphor as it makes baby very greasy and slippery for me.


***IMPORTANT***

My studio is a safe space. I support all ways of feeding your baby. If you want to nurse, please don't feel like you have to cover yourself for me. If that's what makes you comfortable, that is totally your choice. You also never need to ask if you can pump. Please do whatever will make you feel comfortable!


THE PACIFIER

A pacifier can help so much during the shoot and really makes a difference. Babies have a natural need to suck and their need to suck doesn't always mean they're hungry. It's so soothing for them and there are many times during sessions that a pacifier has saved a pose or set-up. Even if you've never used one or they don't take one well, they won't develop a habit in the short time we will be photographing, if that's a concern. I have some on hand that are sterile and ready to use, if you forget or if baby seems really unsettled. However if you really prefer that we don’t use one, that’s fine as well

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

I keep the studio very warm, and my shooting area is usually around 84 degrees. This is because your baby will be nude (or close to it) pretty much the whole time and they can't regulate their body temperature. So, this is necessary. Especially if we need baby to sleep, which is the case for any posing. 


Please dress in layers that you can take off and dress on the lighter side. I will be dressed lightly as well. Please remember that your baby just spent 9 months in a womb that was 98.6 degrees, so this is comfortable for them.


I have tons of prop options! Hats, headbands, wraps and blankets! I have everything needed for a perfect session, so there is no need to worry about bringing anything. I am happy to use a personal item or two in your session, but it is important that you let me know ahead of time so I can plan that into your session. Please email pictures of any items at least one week before your session, and if bringing any outfits/hats, please try them on baby ahead of time to ensure proper fit. If they don't fit properly, it's best to use that at a later session.


You may also want to bring food for yourself. We work right through lunch, and if you’re nursing, you’re likely to be quite hungry! I do have some snacks and drinks for you to enjoy but if you have allergies (some of my snacks do contain nuts!) or you like something specific, you might want to bring something of your own. 


SOME DO'S & DON'T'S

I love incorporating personal items and family heirlooms into sessions! But not all items are actually appropriate sized for tiny babies!



Feel free to bring a sentimental family heirloom such as a small blanket or a special piece of jewelry.

Please don't bring "newborn sized" crocheted hats and outfits from big chain department stores. Spoiler alert: they aren't newborn sized. Also, please don't bring any diaper covers or props you find online. If there's any specific theme or prop you're interested

in, let me know and I'll check to see if I already have something we can use.


POSING

Not every baby will do every pose. If I feel like your baby is not up for a particular pose, I will skip it and move on. You will soon see that most of our time together will be spent posing your baby. To get these sweet and adorable poses, it requires time and patience from both you and me. The session is 90% posing and soothing and 10% actual shooting. I can usually tell within minutes of holding baby what they will and will not do. All poses and setups are ultimately at my discretion to keep your baby safe and happy. I am very selective on which babies do certain poses. Due to the extremely unpredictable nature of babies sleep and moods, I can never guarantee a certain number of posed images


WRAPPING

Wrapping is an essential part of my workflow! Babies love to be snuggled up in a warm wrap. 9 times out of 10, it sends them right off to sleep. I am well trained in various types of wrapping and assure your babies comfort. Wrapping makes the sleepy, naked poses attainable - most times. Baby is moved and touched a lot throughout the session. They may not be as cooperative as they are at home, bundled up and dressed. You're likely not straightening clenched fists, posing their hands under their chins or cheeks or curling up their little legs and tucking their feet. Some babies are more temperamental and don't like to be touched. They may not sleep at all, unfortunately I can't guarantee that your baby will sleep. This is where we just roll with the punches! I can't stress enough that not every baby sleeps the whole session or even part of the session. That is ok! You will still receive beautiful images! Sleep is our goal but it's not necessary for a beautiful gallery


PARENTS

My goal when photographing parents is to show connection. I encourage plain, neutral tank tops or a white dress for mom, and neutral shirts for dad. Keep it really casual. No dress shirts needed but please refrain from wearing shirts with logos or large lettering and bright/neon colors. I am well versed in posing and promise to flatter you! New moms are often very self-conscious about having extra weight. Please don’t let this deter you from being photographed with your baby! In twenty years, these photos will hold so much sentimental value for your children! 


SIBLINGS

Sibling shots take a lot of planning. First, we need to give your child an age-appropriate pep talk. Older children are often easy to work with... but children 3 and younger can be quite difficult. For a couple of days before the session, it’s good to mention and act excited about how much FUN pictures will be! Please avoid giving your children brightly colored juices before their photos, as the dreaded juice mustache is nearly impossible to edit out! Also, we want them to be calm, so sugary treats are best saved for a reward given to them after they cooperate for their photos. Plain jeans and white tank tops are best for both girls and boys! Girls are also cute in a soft colored dresses. Boys are also great shirtless! We don’t want their clothing to distract from their cute little faces so please avoid busy patterns and character tees!


If your older child has never held the baby before, they with certainty, will not hold them at the studio as their first time. I'm a stranger to them, the studio is big and dark and can be very scary to them. It's important to remember that their world has been rocked and is now full of huge changes. Patience and low expectations are so key with sibling photos. Practice with your older child holding baby in a laying down position. This will help some and make them feel more comfortable come picture time.


If the sibling is not cooperating, we will give them a break and try again later. Another option, plan B, is to put baby in a prop, take a photo, take baby out and put their sibling next to the empty prop and take another photo and I merge the two in photoshop. This is almost exclusively offered for siblings under 2.


**IMPORTANT**

I ask that you have someone available to take your older children somewhere after they’re done getting their photos. Sessions tend to run up to 2-3 hours long, and children easily get bored, restless and hungry! I really need a quiet and peaceful working environment for your baby.


LASTLY

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this prep guide! I know it seems like a lot, but trust me - in my years of experience, following this guide as closely as you can will give us the best chance at a great session. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any concerns or questions. See you soon!


Behind The Scenes