1. Baby’s Age is Important
The best time to photograph newborns is between 10-14 days of age. This is my preferred age because the baby is usually more sleepy and flexible for those sweet newborn poses. Another reason is because around 3-4 weeks of age, newborns begin to get baby acne and this is extremely hard to edit out completely. Also, by 10-14 days of age the circumcised baby has had time to heal.
We book all newborn clients for their due date. Then, once baby arrives, contact Cat. We schedule you on a date and time that is close to the 10-14 day mark. Typically newborn sessions are done on weekdays, but if a weekend is preferred, just let us know.
2. Themes, Props and Stuff
The studio is full of props, wraps, and outfits for baby. A lot of my props match my style which is simple, clean and soft. I have several military outfits for baby. A few themed props, but for the most part my prop supply is non-themed or organic in style.
When you book a newborn session with me, there is a questionnaire you fill out. You can let me know your theme ideas there, but I would also love an email or text message with your theme ideas. If you’re wanting to incorporate a special heirloom blanket or maybe Dad’s firefighter jacket or anything from home, let me know.
With themes, I recommend asking me first if I have the props/outfits before buying. If I don’t have what you want on hand, you’re welcome to purchase and bring along. For whimsy newborn sessions we plan out a custom set, where I purchase props/supplies a themed set.
3. Session Prep Starts at Home
About an hour or two before you leave for the session, try to keep baby awake. Sometimes this means talking to baby or giving them a bath. If they fall asleep on the car ride over to the studio, that is fine.
Feed baby about 30 minutes before you leave for the session. A full belly will keep baby sleepy.
Pack a pacifier, pretty please. Even if baby doesn’t take a pacifier normally, a pacifier during the studio session won’t have lasting effects and will make the session go so much smoother. Especially during transitioning from one pose/prop to another.
Be prepared to feed baby during the session.
4. Siblings and Family Poses
Sibling and Family poses are done at the beginning of a session. The reason is because the lesson is long and burning for most kids. If a parent or grandparent can take the kids home, or somewhere for a bit, then we can finish the session without distractions.
It’s not required that younger siblings leave the session, but I will say that a noisy toddler crying or being loud can disrupt the session. If there isn’t an option for leaving the studio, consider bringing some entertainment or snacks to help keep them busy.
5. Just Relax
The session can take up to 3 hours. Normally, it’s around 1.5 hours. However, it is 100% dependent on how baby does during the session. Every baby is different. I keep the studio warm and cozy for newborn sessions to help baby sleep. I have a sound noise machine to help with sleep. Everything I use is clean and soft for baby. It’s all about the baby’s comfort.
There are a few things out of my control. Sometimes baby is super gassy. Sometimes they aren’t tired. Sometimes, they don’t like certain poses.
No need to stress or freak out. I’m not stressed if baby is taking longer to get to sleep or get into a pose. I can spend a while trying to get the perfect pose and allowing baby to relax into that pose.
Worse case scenario if baby is very fussy and won’t allow me to pose them is trying again another day. The little girl above was super fussy, gassy and wouldn’t sleep during our first session. We spent over an hour trying to get her sleep and comfortable. She had just changed formula. Her body was still adjusting to the changes. I think she just wasn’t having a good day. So, we scheduled another date a few days later and she was a completely different baby. She slept. She was great. The session was done within an hour. So, as much as I hate to suggest coming back, sometimes it happens and the results are usually good.
Check out another cute newborn session here!
Cat Herndon started photography in Corpus Christi, Texas in 2011. Since then, she has spend time learning her craft, mentoring with the countries top photographers and teaching others.