What to Expect at Your Newborn Photo Session

By the time you book a newborn session, you may feel like an expert at posing for professional photos. From engagement shoots to wedding photos, from maternity sessions to Christmas card pictures, many parents walking into a newborn photographer’s studio have a half-dozen or more professional photoshoots behind them.

But, no matter how often you’ve had photos taken in the past, you’ll soon discover that a newborn session is quite different from any other photoshoot. Even the studio will look different from the commercial photography spaces or high-traffic mall studios you may have visited. Filled with adorable props and outfits, it may remind you of a boutique more than a photography studio. Here are 9 things to expect when you bring your new baby in for his or her very first close-up.

1. The studio might be warmer - and noisier - than you’re used to To keep babies happy, a newborn photographer’s studio will be warm - perhaps as high as 85F. Other strategies for creating a baby-friendly environment may include a white noise machine running in the background.

2. The pacifier is your friend! Pacifiers can be lifesavers during newborn sessions, even if you don’t use them at home using them for just the session will help everything move smoother. A pacifier helps keep a baby calm when the photographer moves him or her from pose to pose or changes their outfits. If you have a pacifier, don’t forget to bring it with you! I often try to have some on hand, but it’s best to bring your own just in case.

3. Baby may need to be fed mid-session During the session, baby might get hungry; if this happens, the photographer will take a break for a feeding. If you’re nursing, you will feed the baby. If baby is on formula, the photographer will probably ask to feed him/her. This is standard practice among newborn photographers: it helps them make sure baby stays sleepy throughout the session rather than perking up in your arms. You will be by the photographer’s side watching the entire time.

4. Family photos come first If siblings and parents are participating in the shoot, many photographers will want to do these photos first, before turning their focus to the newborn. After family photos are done, it is best for one parent to take older children to the nearest cafe or playground or even home if you brought two cars instead of keeping them in the warm studio for hours. You can ask your photographer to recommend kid-friendly places near the studio.

5. Accidents happen

Babies cry, pee, poop, and spit. This is all totally normal. Don't worry about the photographer’s outfits or blankets! Professionals have seen it all - and have a plan in place to wash and sterilize the props and the space after each baby.

6. A quiet, calm environment is best

Many newborn photographers don't talk much during newborn sessions to keep a positive, calm energy in the studio. As a parent, you can help by keeping your phone on silent, making any phone calls outside the studio, and just relaxing! Remember, your baby can feel your mood.

7. You may need to help with posing

It is essential to have a spotter for some poses. While some I may have an assistant at times, most often I will ask parents for a little help to ensure baby's safety.

8. You may not be allowed to take photos during the session I do request that you do not take photos of your baby during the session. Please remember: you’ve entrusted me to capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments, so allow me be the one taking the photographs! I will allow only behind-the-scenes shots of me working with your baby, but please ask first.

9. Patience is key

Sessions usually last 2-3 hours, so be patient, relax, and enjoy this special experience with your newborn. In just a few weeks, your baby will seem like a whole different person, so savor these moments!

If you have further questions about what to expect during your session, please reach out to me at amber@pixelperfectphotographywi.com

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