Newborn babies have this wonderful habit of being up all night then having a restful period of sleep between 8am-midday. It is for this reason that we always schedule newborn sessions in the early morning when babies are most likely to be sleepy. I do ask if possible that baby has some awake time in the hour before the session begins to help get them nice and sleepy, a nice way to do this is a warm bath before the session. Keep them unclothed and just in a loose nappy then a nice big feed before the session begins.
The beginning of my newborn sessions usually start with baby being wrapped so a room between 20-23 degrees is ideal, after parent/sibling portraits and wrapped newborn portraits we go into traditional poses with baby nude so a warmer room around 25-27 degrees is essential. Newborn babies are used to a 36 degree internal temperature during gestation, so in order for them to be cosy and calm while nude a very warm room is required. During the winter months please do let me know if you would like me to bring a heater to the session if you don’t have fast heating available.
I bring a studio light with me to the full posed sessions to create consistant lighting, I do require a space to work in where we can block the natural light coming in, i.e. curtains or blinds over windows, so please let me know in advance if this is not available so we can make alternative arrangements.
A settling tool I use often and will bring with me is white noise. My preference is to have the white noise fairly loud (about the volume of a vacuum) to imitate the noise baby experienced during gestation, this also helps calm babies startle reflex with a studio light flashing and the click of the camera shutter.
Another helpful settling tool during a session can be a pacifier, if you use one do let me know and have it on hand, alternatively if you do not use one but are open to using one during the session I do provide brand new pacifiers and have them available to try. Being a newborn model is hard work and babies will get hungry and fussy, during the session be prepared to pause for frequent feeding breaks.
The whole family
I always include parent and sibling photos as part of my workflow so don’t forget to prepare yourselves as well! Dress in neutrals if possible, avoiding bright colours, heavy stripes, patterns, logos, pictures or words on clothing. Clean, neutral coloured nails avoiding any bright or neon coloured nail polish is best. Hair is best pinned or clipped back to prevent it covering the face in side profile images and make up (if worn) can be slightly heavier that normal as this photographs well. Some clients choose to get this done professionally with a hair and make up artist or at a retail cosmetic counter.
Please do not schedule any visitors or appointments for the day of your session, having people other than immediate family members present can be distracting and add time constraints which can impact on achieving a full gallery for you. After the session baby and mum will also need a rest as a 2-3 hour session in a warm room is very tiring.
Most importantly, on the morning of your session – relax! These preparation recommendations are just guidelines, having had newborns myself I understand how being prepared can sometimes be impossible and we just have to go with the flow!