How to Prepare for Your Newborn Portrait Session

February 01, 2016  •  4 Comments

How to Prepare Your New Baby For His First Portrait Session

how to prepare for a newborn baby photography session raleigh cary apex holly springs fuquay varina nc photographerhow to prepare for a newborn baby photography session raleigh cary apex holly springs fuquay varina nc photographerhow to prepare for a newborn baby photography session raleigh cary apex holly springs fuquay varina nc photographer

I am sure that I have quite a few clients who get a little worried before their session, wondering if their baby will cooperate at all.  It is hard to know exactly how a newborn session works when you've never been through one before.  When I show up, I look like I'm moving in.  I bring in so many boxes and props and equipment.  Try not to feel overwhelmed.  In the end, it's your baby who's in charge of the photography session.  In my 4 years of doing newborn photography sessions, it is very rare for a baby to be miserable and cry the entire time.  Most sleep and don't bat an eye at all the camera clicking.  There are some things that you can do to help things go smoothly.  The main theme here is getting the baby to fall asleep.  That is the goal.  Sleeping babies are happy, comfortable, and easy to work with.  Here are a few tips to consider on the morning of your session:

Please, please, please do not feel like you need to clean up your entire house for your newborn session!  You have better things to do than clean for a newborn session.  Trust me, as a mom myself, I understand what it’s like to bring a newborn home.  Just a little preparation is needed to have a successful session.  I recommend enlisting a family member or friend to do the work for you.


Before the session:

-Find a room that has a door so that we can trap heat in the room easily.  It doesn't have to be a huge room.  A bedroom usually works fine.  

-Clear major furniture from this area, if needed. We’ll need a space that’s about 5x8 ft or larger to set up our “portable studio,” which includes things like a bean bag chair and a backdrop stand. 

-Gather any family heirlooms, such as special quilts, blankets, bonnets, etc that you’d like your baby photographed in.  This is not required.  I bring plenty of props.  

-If possible, try to play with your baby and have him or her awake up until the session.  One trick for getting baby awake and alert is with a bath about an hour before I'm due to arrive.  We want him to be awake with you so that by the time I get there, he's tired and ready to eat and fall asleep.

-Right before the session, or while I’m setting up, feed the baby.  Babies sleep best on a nice full belly.

-Make your home nice and toasty.  Somewhere around 80 degrees is ideal.  It might seem hot to us, but babies don’t like having their clothes off unless it’s very warm.  Only the area where we’ll be working needs to be super warm.  I will bring a space heater just in case it is needed. 

-Since it’ll be so warm, dress accordingly, although in most cases I do family portraits at the end so we can turn the heat down for that part.  If you’d like to be photographed with your baby, I recommend solid, neutral colored clothing (grays, creams, tans, but not bright white).  You might want to have two outfits picked out (see warning below about naked babies and pooping/peeing!) 

-Portraits of you with your baby can be taken on a bed in your home, on the living room couch, in the nursery, on the front porch, etc.  Have an area in mind.  It doesn’t have to be spick and span, but it’s nice to remove any distracting objects from the area. 


While I set up: 

-When I first arrive, it’ll take about 15 minutes to get the equipment set up.  This is a great time to feed the baby and take off all clothes other than a diaper.  Full belly= sleepy, cooperative baby.  It also helps to loosen the diaper slightly so that it doesn’t leave lines on the skin if we have to take it off.


During the session:

-Newborn sessions can be messy.  It’s almost guaranteed that someone or something will get pooped or peed on.  I’m prepared for this.  I wash all props, blankets, and wraps before and after every session.    

-Have some extra baby wipes handy.  I will have lots and lots of burp clothes and rags handy also.

-Because safety is my top priority, I will often need someone to watch the baby during the session.  Dad or another family would be a great helper (while Mommy goes off to take a nap).  

-Patience is key with newborns.  There will be times when your baby will let us know that he or she needs a break.  This is OKAY.  We will take our time and take breaks to comfort or feed the baby.  Posing a newborn is a very time-consuming process.  Be prepared for a session that’s at least 2 hours long and possibly up to 4 hours long.


Last of all, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.  Even if it's the day before or the morning of your session, give me a call or send an email if you have any questions.  My number is (919) 346-4723.  





These are such great tips! Thanks for sharing!
Awesome tips for newborn photography sessions!
Great tips! I wish I had known this for my son's newborn photography.
Katherine Jackson(non-registered)
These are some great tips for an parent of a newborn to know exactly what to expect when they are getting ready for one of your newborn sessions! I also love the adorable sweet newborn at the top of the post!
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