- Serena Burroughs
Central Massachusetts Photographer - 10 Tips For Your Newborn Session
First of all, if you're currently expecting or just had a baby - congratulations! I am beyond excited for you and this new time in your life!
But if you're here, that most likely means you're looking to hire someone for your newborns portraits. I think that's a wonderful idea to remember your baby's first days and their cute little face and body - because we all know too well, it just doesn't last very long. So without further ado, I want to give you some great tips about your upcoming newborn session. Read on to find tips on how to prepare, how to keep baby happy & more!
1) Book Ahead Of Time - Inquire Early On
There isn't really a time where everyone suddenly has babies and photographers get flooded with work. But your photographer may be popular in the area and book many sessions in advance. To make sure your dream photographer has a spot for you in those first 14 days of your Child's life - inquire early! Tell them about your due date as soon as you know it and try to narrow down the best possible time frame together.
A photographer can only take on so many families within a 14 day window. Being proactive here is key.
2) When To Book Your Newborn Session
The best time for your newborn's portraits would be between 7 and 14 days.
A little after 14 days works, too as most baby acne will have cleared up by then. Just keep in mind that anytime after 14 days will risk your child being more awake and possibly more fussy during their session.
3) What Should You Bring?
Less is more. That sounds simply but it's a great tip. Depending on your photographer you may not need much at all. Some carry wraps and props en masse. I for one am very simplistic with my work. I find myself distracted with props and prefer baby just the way they are. So keep it simple and bring a few neutral wraps. A white or off-white muslin blanket, jumper/onesie or diaper cover would already go a long way.
If you're a fan of patterns, I want to suggest to keep it soft and more on the quiet side of things. We want to be sure your child is the center of attention, am I right?
4) Talk With Your Photographer
When in doubt - reach out! I feel like I say this in nearly every blog post, but I'll say it again here. If you have questions or you can't decide between outfits or just need a second opinion, don't hesitate to fire off that email.
5) Keep Them Awake
To make sure baby is sleepy for their session, there are a few tricks you can fall back on.
One of them is to make sure they don't sleep for hours on end before their session. Keep them up if you can, so they can sleep throughout their session. If your photographer is not coming to you, chances are your baby can sense that they're in a new environment.
6) Feed your Baby Before the Session
Timing is crucial here. Try to feed baby 20-30 minutes before their session. 20-30 Minutes is a good time frame, as the milk will have settled. Your newborn will likely have burped by now and will be in a great place to snooze for an hour or more. Take this with a grain of salt of course, because every child is different. You will probably know what works best here. 20-30 Minutes just happens to be my magical number with most babies.
Another tip at this point: Be sure to have a bottle with you or be prepared to breastfeed when your little one gets fussy.
7) Be Prepared - Ask For Breaks
Your photographer will try their best to comfort your baby throughout your session. But sometimes nothing works and baby just wants a parent. After all, your child is still new to our world and is relying on parents for everything. And that's ok! Crying is their only way of telling us, that something doesn't feel quite right.
To help soothe, bring a pacifier, a bottle/ or breastfeed, maybe a swaddle or two and a few clean diapers & wipes.
If you find your newborn is having a difficult time calming back down, simply ask for a break. For my own sessions, I take those moments to make some tea or coffee to give the new parent the space they needs. I'm a mom myself and want you to know you can tell me what you need. My studio is a judgment free zone at all times.
8) Sit Back And Enjoy
I know it can be incredibly difficult to let others pick up and handle your baby, especially when you hear them grunt just once. Try to resist the urge to pick your child up every time and, if you can: let the photographer run the show.
They should know what they're doing. To make sure you get someone experienced, research the photographer and check the reviews beforehand.
If you see things are going smoothly - take a seat and relax! Enjoy this little mini-break and simply watch. You may get some great pointers and photography tips here just by watching the photographer work.
If your little one is fussy, don't worry too much. Babies can sense their parent's stress or tension, so if you’re calm and collected, your infant may relax too.
Your professional should be used to both relaxed and worried parents and will know how to put you at ease. However, if at any point during the session you start to feel uncomfortable, make sure to let your photographer know. We want baby to feel comfortable, but your feelings are just as important during this session.
9) Allow For Nakey Time
All the rolls, the little fingers, the adorable double chin - let's see it! I don't need to tell you how limited this time is, so be sure you get to remember all these details by undressing baby for a few portraits. Each newborn is just perfect in their own way. Some have long legs, some chubby, some have a birthmark on their tummy, some have the cutest Michelin arms (saying this with so much love!) - You can't document these things with a long sleeved romper. So be prepared to have your little one just the way they are. Nakey.
10) Get In The Frame Too
Come prepared to hop into the frame yourself. What most parents forget is how much of a transition this time is for them as well. Sure, your baby changes quickly and that's why you scheduled these portraits to be taken - but guess who is also transforming alongside with your newborn? You! I keep looking at these photos with my children all the time and I am in awe of how much has happened and how much I have changed. I remember how harsh I was to myself during that time. I had expectations for myself, sure - but now? My son turns 7 this year, and now I look back at my photos with such awe. I was so different then. The photos remind me of both how brave and strong I was, and how much I have grown since then. So get in the frame. You're just as important. Trust me on that.
Savor This Time
I know it is hard to give up the role of the constant caregiver, even if it is just for an hour or two as the newborn portraits are taken. See it as a little break for you, and enjoy baby's first little photo op. And one day when your daughter steals mom's make up, and your son is suddenly taller than you - you'll get to reminisce over the times when they were small enough to be held in your arms.
of Serena Burroughs Photography LLC resides in Central Massachusetts and serves clients in her home state and beyond.
To inquire about a session with her today, you may reach out below.