So you have a baby on the way (yay!) and have booked a photographer for newborn portraits…. how do you prepare for your session once baby is here? I sometimes get questions or concerns from parents about not having the perfect nursery, or their house is a mess, or they don’t have much space for newborn portraits… but I’m here to assure you that I’ve worked with a variety of spaces and lighting situations, and I can always find a spot to work with. My goal is to capture this special, awe-inspiring time in your lives — so while the backdrop is a component of your photos, it’s certainly not the focus. I’ve compiled my top tips for parents to help make your in-home newborn session as easy and seamless as possible.
- Before the session, walk around your house to determine which rooms have the best natural lighting during the day. Sunlight provides a beautiful, natural-looking light for photographs. So turn off the overhead lights and lamps (I know you think that’s crazy, but I promise it’s the way to go!) and open up those blinds and curtains. When I arrive, I’ll do a walk-through to find a couple spots that work best for lighting. Even if it’s just a hallway or a guest bedroom, we can set up shop and you’ll never know the difference in your final images. I do have a special love for shooting in the nursery to capture some shots of baby in his or her own space, even if it’s just using the crib or glider for some solo shots. If you don’t have a lot of natural light streaming into your home, don’t worry — I can bring along some extra lights in case they’re needed.
- How should you dress your family? For parents and siblings, there’s no need to match — coordinating colors/patterns are best for photos. Neutral colors are great because they are pleasing to the eye and don’t compete with the focus of the photos, which is your family! The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and look like yourself. If you can have the baby in just a diaper (swaddled up is fine), then we can easily start photos without having to disturb them by removing clothing. I also love a baby in a plain white or light-colored onesie, so having one on-hand is great.
- I will provide a few neutral-colored blankets for backdrops, various colored wraps/swaddle blankets, headbands, hats, and a large basket for photos. You are more than welcome to provide anything else you like — a family quilt, a special stuffed animal or outfit, swaddle blankets, headbands, etc. I also have a white noise app that I can play from my phone, but if you have a noise machine or soft music, we can play that to keep the baby calm.
- An hour prior to the session start time, turn your thermostat up to about 85 degrees. It’ll be quite toasty for the adults, but baby will love it and be nice and cozy, especially when partially or fully unclothed.
- Plan to feed your baby just before the session starts in order to help induce sleep. A full baby is a happy, sleepy baby. It’s also a good idea to have an extra bottle on hand or be prepared to nurse in case they get hungry mid-way through.
- It may be easier said than done, but try to relax and just enjoy your session celebrating the newest member of your family! You’re here to soak in the newborn smell, the baby snuggles, and the love that created this new life. I’m here to take care of the details and create beautiful images for you to cherish forever.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I can’t tell you how much I love photographing my clients in a beautiful, light-filled studio! I typically shoot outdoors (and I love that for different reasons), but I am just in love with the bright, classic, and timeless photos that are the result of shooting at Park Studios in Buckhead. I met of my adorable client families there last week on a very dreary, rainy winter afternoon. I’ll be honest — I was a little worried that the weather was going to make the studio a lot darker than usual and that I’d have trouble getting those light and airy shots that are synonymous with the studio. I did have to up my ISO a lot, but you’d never know otherwise that it wasn’t a beautiful day when we shot these. Ahh, the magic of the camera!
This sweet family is doing a series of milestone sessions for their son Connor’s first year. Since we’d shot his 4 month session outdoors, his mom opted to do his 8 month session at the studio to change things up. I am SO glad she did! We didn’t have to worry about weather issues for this late January session, and they could play and twirl and crawl and cuddle to their hearts’ content — all with a simple, clean, distraction-free backdrop. This family is bursting at the seams with love and joy, and I think we captured just that. I absolutely love these images… especially those hilarious expressions of Connor’s!
I love a good nickname for babies… I mean, we jokingly started calling our daughter LL Cool Hayes as soon as we decided on her name a couple months before she was born, and what do ya know, it’s stuck with her ever since. Baby M was affectionately called “Apple Pie” while she was in mama’s belly, and I’m betting this adorable (yummy) nickname is something her family is going to associate with her for a long time. I loved getting to photograph Claire with her big sister, Meredith, who was so great at giving her kisses and head pats. Sibling shots are some of my absolute favorite during a newborn session. While toddlers are pretty unpredictable when it comes to sitting still and holding babies, they almost always come around, and the result is the sweetest moment filled with the most real love, adoration, and curiosity at this new family member. Welcome to the world, Apple Pie! We’re glad you’re here.