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Five tips to prepare for your in-home lifestyle newborn session

Filed in: Advice, Portraits

Congratulations on the birth of your baby! I am so excited for you as you adjust to the newest addition to your family. Your newborn is finally here, your body is beginning to heal, you are settling into a new life with your little one, and now it is time to capture the true beauty of your growing family. It is my honor to preserve every detail and remind you of these first few weeks at home long after these days have passed.

To help you prepare, here are 5 of my best tips for in-home lifestyle newborn sessions:

Tip #1: Feed baby about 30 minutes before your session

Babies follow their own schedules. Some newborns are content and quiet, and others are fussy and restless throughout their session. It can be challenging to predict how your child might respond to their photo debut, so I recommend that every baby be fed and changed about half an hour before I arrive. I have found that most babies do better if their diaper is dry and their tummies are full. We may still need to take a break during the session to have a snack, but starting with a full meal will (hopefully) give us a sleepy, content baby. Be prepared to offer the breast/bottle/pacifier about halfway through the session if the baby needs a snack.

Tip #2: Swaddle baby before I arrive

After feeding and burping the baby about 30 minutes before I arrive, I recommend changing your newborn’s diaper and swaddling her in a neutral wrap. I tend to photograph individual images of the baby first, so the less clothing she wears, the better for capturing the little details. After her photos, you can put her in a neutral onesie or whatever outfit you prefer. It is a good idea to have a backup outfit picked out just in case there are some accidents along the way.

Tip #3: Look for the light

When you get a chance, please take a moment to watch how the light falls in your home around the time of our scheduled session. We will need to be in a room with a good window and adequate sunlight. No need to clean up for me! Just a quick tidying of the space (think no charging cords, diapers, or bottles in the background) should be sufficient. Rooms that get great light are often bedrooms, living areas, and nurseries. I can help identify a good spot when I arrive as well!

Tip #4: Siblings may need some extra care

If you have other children at home, especially younger ones, they might need some time to warm up to the photographer before smiling for the camera. I often save sibling photos for the end, so they can have some special time with mom or dad while their younger sibling is being photographed. Prep your older sibling beforehand so they know that someone is coming over to take their photos. You can even give them a sweet treat or a short movie to reward them for being a great older sibling!

Tip #5: Trust the process

Newborn sessions are always different. Sometimes it takes less than an hour to get the best images, and other times it takes an hour to calm down the baby enough even to take one photo. You can’t tell how it will go, so I have learned to trust the process. We will take our time and follow the baby’s lead for the session. Be prepared to give your newborn lots of snuggles, hugs, and gentle kisses. It is truly a sweet time, and I hope you can enjoy every minute!

Bonus Tip: Dress in neutrals or colors that compliment your home

I always recommend wearing neutral colors (like creams and mild tones) and some complementary colors for your home. For example, my living room is grey, cream, and blue with hints of yellow, so my wardrobe would likely stay within those colors. Wear something you feel comfortable in (especially as you recover post-partum). I am always happy to help you pick your wardrobe and suggest color palettes.

And that’s it! I am so looking forward to our time together soon. Snuggle that baby for me!

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