How to Prepare for Your Family Newborn Photos
Finally, an answer to one of my most asked questions- “How to Prepare for Your Family Newborn Photos?” As I enter into a new season of life personally and professionally, it feels like the right time to serve you guys by sharing tips and tricks to how to have an amazing photo session. With opening this lifestyle newborn studio in downtown Salem, Oregon (a life dream realized and discussed here) and just having my first baby myself four months ago, this topic feels especially timely! So let’s get into it!
First Things First- My Newborn Photo Philosophy
First things first- you should know my heart behind newborn sessions and my baby led, relaxed, lifestyle approach these special sessions.
I believe strongly if you are on the fence about newborn photos- it’s time to make the leap over that fence. The big reasons I hear for why moms avoid newborn photos are the following:
- You don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, especially postpartum.
- The financial decision to book a newborn session feels overwhelming.
- You aren’t sure if you really want to go through a stiff, posed, stressful experience. Is it even worth it?
- You didn’t do photos with your older kiddos and it feels wrong to do them only for the younger kiddos.
Let me tell you though, I hear ALL THE TIME from clients that they deeply regret missing the maternity or newborn photography experience. Typically these mamas tell me that by the time they realized they wanted these photos and that they were valuable, it was too late. It makes me so sad- and I hear this so so often.
So hear me as someone who photographs these sessions all the time and JUST went through it. Power through feeling uncomfortable, the photos of your baby are so worth it. Financially, ask me about packages and payment plans, let’s make it happen. These photos are baby led lifestyle images, so they aren’t stiff and they ARE authentic to you and your family. And lastly, it is so natural and normal that after parents miss doing photos with one baby that they change that for the next. You aren’t alone. But definitely don’t keep missing out on newborn photos for each child moving forward. These photos are too precious to miss
My Own Newborn Experience
Since it’s fresh, here’s what I did! I did two newborn sessions. One session at 2 weeks old and one session at 3 months old. I love both for completely different reasons. I love having my daughters 2 week photos because they capture a fleeting season for her. Babies really do grow out of their newborn stage fast! However, if we are being honest, that stage of life I was dealing with A LOT of really heavy personal stuff- so parts of me don’t like looking back at them. I am still so grateful to have them- and I know as the months and years pass, my gratefulness will only grow. That season of life though did prompt me to get more “newborn” photos done at 3 months. And let me tell you, these photos are worth 100x the price I paid for them. They are one of the most precious things I own. Not only is my baby girl’s personality more apparent in them (and quite frankly, she’s even cuter now) but they tell a whole different story of where I am in life and hold a whole different meaning.
Both sets of newborn photos I personally paid for mean a lot to me for very different reasons. I share this, because of two reasons.
- Since I just had my first daughter, I now understand on a whole new level how fast time really goes and how special these photos truly are to me. What they say about photos being priceless- it’s too true. I’m here to vouch for that not only as a newborn photographer, but as a mom.
- I wanted to share a small insight on my understanding that life isn’y always rainbows and butterflies. I still value both newborn sessions I have had in different ways. I don’t regret the ones taken in the midst of the worst season of my life and I don’t regret the ones I had to help redeem that season. Both were valuable stages of life for my daughter that I would have been destroyed for not having. Both are a window into what life was- and I know, even the tough one, I’ll be grateful for regardless as time moves forward. So, if you’re walking through a really hard season trying to determine if you should even bother with newborn photos- know that I’ve been there. I feel you. I can empathize and help document this season in the most gentle and honoring way. I can tell you, you won’t regret it.
Without Further Ado- How to Prepare for Your Family Newborn Photos
- Come relaxed! Newborn sessions are longer than regular sessions for a reason. There is time and space for you to breathe. To rest, to take a minute, to feed the baby however you need to and even to comfort your baby when they need you. These sessions are meant to be relaxed and there is time and space for you to be able to do that! Plus, these are lifestyle newborn photos. That means we are free to go with the flow of your family!
- Bring snacks or a toy for the older siblings! We get their photos out of the way first- so bringing them something to do after they aren’t needed for photos is a good idea! It keeps them entertained and allows you to relax more during the rest of your session family newborn photos!
- Bring whats meaningful to you! A special blanket, book or stuffy is usually a great idea. I love adding in what is sentimental to you.
- Bring multiple outfits for baby and a favorite swaddle! For outfits, I recommend neutrals and textures. If using a color- go with a dark or muted color. Here’s an Amazon list of some that I love for photos!
- I recommend two outfits for mom + dad! One dressier, one cozy! Neutrals are highly recommended. Muted colors work too! Think Forest Green, Burnt Orange, Pale Blue, Maroon, Pale Pink, Mauve. I recommend avoiding overly bright and neon colors. Think sweaters or a nice blank tee for your laid back look and a flowy dress for a fancier look! Two outfits aren’t required but give you more options.
- Feed your baby right before you leave your house! You’ll have space to stop and feed but having them dressed in their first outfit with a full belly is a great way to start!
- Come full yourself- fed parents are also happy parents!
- If older siblings are coming, talk up the session in advance! Use my name so they feel more familiar right off the bat and tell them how fun it’ll be! Prepping them this way makes a huge difference!
- Honestly, get yourself a coffee on your way in! There’s time for you to just sit back and enjoy parts of the session and you totally deserve a break! My studio is right across the street from Isaac’s Coffee and it’s worth grabbing a coffee first. I personally recommend a London Fog and a warmed chocolate chip cookie!
- Be ready to have fun! These photos are about remembering your baby’s little details and your connection in this season of life with your new baby and each other!
I hope these tips for how to prepare for your family newborn photos is valuable to you! Ready to book your newborn session? Fill out my contact form to get the process started. I would love to walk through any questions you have about your session and how to make it relaxed + fun! If you are going through a tough season, let’s chat. I understand life is full of peaks and valleys- knowing what you’re going through helps me serve you best and be sensitive to what you need in your session. I’m here to help just as much as I am to capture this once in a lifetime season of life with your sweet new baby.