I absolutely adore babies. How can you not? They are so new to this world with every possibility in front of them... not to mention their skin has been practically untouched! But photographing a newborn session challenges me in all the good ways. Each baby is different, you can't really tell it what to do. They follow their own schedule in the most beautiful way. It is such an honor to be invited into the first few days of their new life. There is some planning and prep that goes into our time together to make it go as smoothly as possible. So remember the next 8 tips and I promise you will rock it!
Let's pencil you in
I definitely understand these babies arrive on their own time but I highly recommend that you book your session prior to baby's arrival so I can make sure there are no conflicts. Contact me during your second or early third trimester and I'll pencil you in based on your due date. Of course I know that things can change, babies come early or they come late. Shoot me an email or a text soon after your sweet babe is born and we can schedule a time. Oh, and I feel super duper special when the dad puts me on the "baby is here" text list. Just saying! wink wink.
Like 'Em Young
Newborn sessions MUST be scheduled within the first 10 days of life. However, the most ideal time for newborn photos is between 3-7 days after their arrival. I'll be moving them around, putting them in scrunched up sweet sleepy baby positions, so we want to make sure they are very sleepy. After day 10 it is nearly impossible to get them into the sweet deep sleep spot that came so naturally just days after the womb. It is highly unlikely at 10 days that I will be able to get them into any squishy newborn pose, they will probably fight me hard and then their faces will get red because they are mad I tried to make them do something they don't want to do. Also keep in mind that newborn acne and colic tends to flare up closer to 10-14 days. I have no problem editing it but I would prefer to not retouch that sweet brand new skin if possible.
So, with that all said, the newer the baby the better!
I ask that you loosen up your baby's clothing and diaper 30 minutes prior to our session. This will ensure that there are little to know markings on the skin from the elastic because guess what... we're taking naked baby pictures! They are probably my favorite thing ever. And don't worry if your baby pees or poops on my props, that stuff happens! There are sanitary rinse cycles for that and my washer and dryer are equipped with them.
Also I would recommend clothing that we do not have put over the head, seeing that really disturbs the baby and we could be interrupting some serious sleep. And we definitely want baby sleeping for most of these photos! So snaps, or magnetic onesies (Yes they exist! You should buy them for those late night diaper changes... add them to your registry now!)
Crank up that heat
Babies like it hot.... think hot yoga studio hot. Okay maybe not that hot, but definitely around 80 degrees. So you are going to want to keep your home a little warmer than usual during the session. I bring a space heater and a heating pad with me to keep baby comfortable, especially why taking the naked photos. I will give extra brownie points to the parents who in between shots throws the blanket in the dryer to heat them up!
Y'all, I promise this is not what first popped into your brain...
S=Sleepy + M=Milk. These two things are key for day of, moments before my arrival to your session.
Most of your baby's photos will be taken while they are in a deep sleep. To encourage this, we recommend that you do what ever it takes to make your baby nice and tired. I know this may seem like a lot to ask of since y'all are experiencing a tired you may have never experienced before, but I assure you that this will how we want your newest addition during the session.
As for that milk milk milk, a well fed baby is a happy baby! Please feed and burp your baby before I arrive. This will make baby (and photographer) very happy, milk drunk and ready to go night night. I also will be happy to take as many breaks as needed to refuel baby. Some of the sweetest photos I've taken have been while breastfeeding or dad feeding baby from the bottle. <--- those don't get shared publicly unless you give me permission.
Love That Light
I would love if if you would please open all the blinds and curtains prior to my arrival to your home. If you do this before I arrive I am able to easily find the best place for me to set up my at your home studio. Nothing is more flattering to the skin as natural light. And because natural light is the best light, I don't have any external light sources. Because of this, I recommend scheduling your time mid-morning or late-afternoon when window light is the best.
I will do a walk through of your home to discover the best spot. Sometimes it happens in the middle of the living room, dining room or even kitchen, usually where there is a large window with indirect sunlight. I do have a reflector I will bring to balance the shadows.
Dress like yourself
This sections is for both the men and the ladies (siblings, included).
As far as clothing? Keep it simple and comfortable. Throw in a little color if you’d like, but skip the busy patterns. Please don’t feel the need to match everyone in white shirts and jeans – there’s simple…and then there’s boring! A simple cotton knit cami or top would work well or you can ever go with long sleeves. Those are always flattering. I suggest you NOT wear button down shorts, and make sure your t-shirts are free of logos or too much writing. Please iron your clothes before the session, wrinkles are very pronounced in photos.
I love skin-on-skin portraits with you holding your baby against you, both for moms and dads. They’re so simple, timeless + sweet! Feeding two birds with one scone, you get bonding time with baby while taking photos! So if you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top or tank as an alternative. But there is also time for wardrobe changes since we'll be at your home. If you do have multiple outfits you would like to wear please have them laid out and ready for smooth transitions.
Your hands, and possibly even your feet, will play a major role in this session, so please tend to them with care!
Even if you aren’t planning on participating much in the session, you’ll still be handling your baby a bit, so it’s a good idea to touch up on your grooming.
Trim and tidy your nails and apply lotion to any dry skin.
Make the bed
Is there anything more simple + gorgeous than a new family cuddled up in bed together? Nope, nothing.
If the lighting is good I might suggest that we move the session to your bedroom at some point. If that’s something that appeals to you, a few tips:
- Make the bed, just this once.
- Choose a solid colored blanket or comforter. We highly recommend white to light cream bedding to keep things light and airy, plus white is a natural reflector.
If you need me to bring along a blanket to spread over the bed if you don't have a less busy or light colored blanket let me know! I would be more than happy to bring one. :)
I schedule my newborn sessions for 2 hours. That may seem like either a long time or not enough time but I assure you that I capture your new baby and family well and with plenty of options to choose from. However, I will be more than happy to stay and capture more moments, especially if your newborn is having a less than fun time modeling. Unfortunately…this isn’t something we can predict! We ask that everyone remain calm, should he/she not want to sleep, since your baby will pick up on any frustration in the room. And if sleep doesn’t happen, that’s okay! Wide-eyed newborn photos are beautiful too.
Let me say it again... R E L A X. Deep breaths my friend.
Moms tend to be more stressed out during the sessions than dad or other children. Completely understandable. This is a new experience, a strange-ish woman is putting your baby into positions that may not seem natural. If you worry your baby will notice and once that baby notices, game over. This is why I may ask family members, including mama to step out of the room for a few minutes while I position your baby and take photos. This is not meant to offend anyone, it will just make for the most relaxed photos. And don't worry, you won't miss anything because you are receiving the photos of the moment!!!!
Thank you so much for choosing Melissa Batzer Photography for photographing the growth of your family.
Did I miss anything my friends?
If you have a specific questions please contact me. I am more than happy to help you the best I can!!
Just shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I can't wait to hear from you!