PREPARING FOR A NEWBORN SESSION
Congratulations on the new arrival! We are so happy to capture babies first family memories: all the snuggles, cuddles, love and emotion of this special and fleeting time in your life.
In home nursery sessions make it convenient for parents and comfortable for everyone, including baby. It also gives us the chance to capture all the important parts of real life for your growing family: sibling interaction, a quick nursing session, daddy practicing his diapering skills, or baby exercising their lungs and ... ahem... "singing" for the family! Now that you're home and things have started to settle, you might be feeling less euphoric and more exhausted. Know that feeling overwhelmed is natural - but also, not necessary! Allow me to help put you a little more at ease. I'm a mom - I've been there: worn out, adjusting and totally imperfect! So, from a place of experience, we put together a few notes to help you prepare yourself and your home for a relaxed and smooth newborn nursery session.
WHAT TO WEAR – Make sure you have a solid outfit ready for baby (a white onesie or muslin swaddle is always a great option and perhaps a second outfit with a bit of personality. For adults, think tame solid colors and outfits without logos, tags or bold patterns. Make sure you also have backups on hand for both you and baby! Expect blowouts and/or lots of spit up!
THE CRIB – I encourage either a white or neutral crib sheet as sheets with too much color tend to reflect onto baby’s face, casting a colorful shadow that’s challenging to edit out later on. Too much pattern on the crib sheet will also distract from your baby in the photos. Don’t buy more if you don’t have a set, but if you do - it might be a good time to put one out!
TIDY UP – You just had a baby, no need to pressure yourself to making an immaculate home! Please don’t! Just tidy up, basically putting stuff in the room where it belongs and toss the rest in a closet until I leave. This includes all the extra burp rags, diaper boxes, the breast pump, and extra pacifiers laying everywhere!
LIGHT IT UP – Natural light is BEST! Since we will be spending most of our time in t he nursery, have the curtains wide open and the shades up to let in natural light. Turn off ALL the lights and lamps in these rooms as well. It might seem dark, but trust me, natural is best!
WARM IT UP - Baby just arrived and is still getting used to the outside world - specifically the temperature! We swaddle babies because they love the warmth. If we are photographing any naked baby or swaddle baby photographs, the area we photograph in will need to be WARM. You could cut the AC down in the house to warm it up a bit, but that will make the shoot uncomfortable to the entire family. We find what works best is a small space heater placed in the nursery (or main room we plan to shoot). Crank the heat up and let the room get nice and warm. You can also place a heating pad in the babies crib to give it a head start on warming up. When I arrive we would be starting with baby’s individuals first - when I’m half way through and before family photos, we turn off the heat and start getting the air to normalize before family photos. (Usually about 30-45 minutes after we begin).
FULL + HAPPY FAMILY – Start feeding your baby 20 minutes prior to my arrival, diaper change, then into their outfit last (only if you are not planning on nude baby shots). If you expect any naked baby shots, just leave baby in their diaper swaddles up until I arrive. Be prepared to do bonus small feedings if baby gets fussy! If you have an older sibling in the family, set them up with a snack and maybe one of their favorite movies or activities before I arrive. This will keep them distracted at the beginning part of the shoot. It will keep the shoot relaxed and focused on baby (at least for part of the shoot!). Then we can welcome in the older sibling(s) after we get the shots we need of the new bundle!
MOST IMPORTANTLY, EXPECTATIONS - So often, we see Pinterest perfect photos, all these adorable poses, expressions, and a huge variation of styles. What we don't always notice is that each of those photos comes from a different session and assuredly weren't all photographed in one day. While I always plan to shoot for the stars and achieve a huge variety of unique and amazing shots, we are candid in our approach and promise, above all, to deliver a gallery that is realistic, pure, and true to life. Babies cry, they get restless, and modeling is a LOT of work. Siblings are also adjusting to a lot of change and may be excited, nervous, confused, temperamental, or on rare occasions, perfect angels.
Either way, relax. The goal is to make memories and provide images that will retell real stories. Even if it your session feels less than perfect, I assure you, looking back, they will be!
Take it from me, a momma who's fussy first born either stayed awake or cried while a fellow friend and photographer worked her magic and I SNORED from the nursery ottoman I'd fallen asleep on!
Owner of Evermore Stories
Soon-to-be Mommie of two!