Your new baby is about to be born, and you know you want newborn photos. But when should you schedule a photo session, and what do you need to know beforehand? Keep reading for 7 tips for scheduling your Lifestyle Newborn Family Session.
"Every child begins the world again." - Henry David Thoreau
#1 - Be Flexible!
I advise my families to do what is best for them with scheduling. If it reassures you to have something on the calendar before your baby is born, then go ahead and schedule ahead of time. But be flexible. Newborn sessions can always be moved around, depending on life circumstances. It is also possible to schedule once your baby arrives and everyone is ready. That time of family bonding is so important! One huge advantage of lifestyle photography is that we don't have to get the pictures done within a certain time frame. Baby can be awake and alert, interacting with the environment and encircled with loving family. If your baby doesn't want to leave your arms, we can still get beautiful newborn portraits.
Newborn sessions often go best if scheduled in the morning hours. But you know your baby best! Schedule your session for the time of day that your little one is generally more content. Avoid scheduling on days that are not otherwise relaxed for the family. The best family newborn sessions feel like a lazy weekend morning filled with the joy of family and the wonder of a new life.
#2 - Choose Your Location
Newborn sessions can be done either outdoors or in the comfort of your own home. And both have their advantages! If you are an outdoorsy family and the weather is warm enough to be comfortable for your baby, an outdoor session can be magical. Just remember to bring extra blankets and layers in case the weather turns colder suddenly. Baby should be kept warm and comfortable for the entire session. Also be prepared for spontaneous feedings and diaper changes.
Indoor sessions have the advantage of really capturing everyone in their element, welcoming a new baby into the heart of the family. Think pancake breakfast, baby snuggles, and everyone barefoot while huddled on the couch. Older siblings can run off and play when they need a break. Everyone knows where the snacks are. And the change of clothes for the surprise spit up mess is just across the room. If you have at least one window that lets in good natural light and a couch, master bed, or baby nursery area that you want to highlight, indoor newborn sessions can be the perfect location for your newborn photoshoot!
#3 - Baby Led
My lifestyle family newborn sessions are completely baby-led! This means that you should expect it to take the full 2 hours scheduled. It is possible for the session to be done faster, but allowing the full 2 hours gives a relaxed atmosphere and space for all of the surprise feedings and changes that might be needed with a new little one. The last thing that we want is for the session to add stress for you or your little one. I will not put the baby into a pose or position that they are uncomfortable with. And if baby is upset and crying the entire time, we can get images of the comforting and nurturing that help your baby through their tears. This season is special. It is full of blessings and challenges, different for every family. As your baby grows, you will want to remember all the details: the tiny fingers and toes, the little lips and funny faces, and the ways in which mama's arms were the only thing to bring a cry to a contented sniffle.
#4 - Priorities First
For any session, but especially for newborn sessions, the high priority shots will be done first. I like to start with the full family while everyone is fresh and ready to go. Older siblings often only have a good 15 minutes of fully cooperating with directions for poses. Once we get the most important combinations out of the way, we can focus on portraits of baby and baby with each parent. And you never know when those older siblings might want to jump back in for one more picture!
#5 - Dress Comfortably
As a new mama, your body has been through so much! Be easy on yourself and pick something to wear that you feel comfortable in. Find something that makes you feel beautiful. I like to suggest that you dress the entire family around a special, flattering outfit for mom. It is normal to feel emotional during this time. Communicate with your photographer if you have things that you want them to look out for. As a mom myself, I totally get it! And there are so many ways to work around insecurities with photos that highlight the connection you share with your newborn.
#6 - Be Prepared!
As much as possible, try to prepare for your session beforehand. Gather anything special that you want in the newborn portraits, changes of clothes, neutral-colored blankets, swaddle blankets, pacifiers, and snacks for everyone. Make sure everyone is fed and hydrated as you head into the session. It is better to be over-prepared than to be caught without something and unable to continue the session.
#7 - Sit Back and Enjoy!
Now that you are ready for your session, just sit back and enjoy that newborn! The best pictures tell the story of your family and the bond that you share. The more that you are able to relax and enjoy each other, the better pictures I will get. Focus on your new little baby and the wonder of every little detail. Soak it in. Encourage siblings to sniff the baby, kiss the baby's fingers or toes, or be a helper in some way. As you relax together, I will keep snapping away, documenting this very special season in your lives.
I hope this has equipped and encouraged you for your next lifestyle family newborn session. These sessions are some of my absolute favorites, and I feel honored to be trusted with such a special time for your family!
Thinking about including pets in your Newborn Session? Check out this article about when you should When to Include Pets in Your Family Portraits - Grateful Moments Photography.