You've been preparing for your baby's arrival for months. You have the nursery ready (almost). Lord knows you rearranged it 100 times getting everything "just so." You knew from the start that you were going to have professional pictures made of this tiny blessing. As a client who contacted me during your pregnancy, you and I have discussed ideas, colors, and props until we're both so excited we've squealed out loud several times.
Perhaps you've done maternity pictures with me, or even asked me to photograph the delivery. (Maybe I did your wedding? ;) <3 )
But now that the flurry of excitement around the birth of this little one has calmed, now that the relatives have all come and gone, now you can be at peace and truly take in this marvelous being before you. This moment is fleeting and precious. This is the moment you want to take with you forever. This is also why you scheduled your portrait session for under two weeks of age. You knew so many changes would happen in those first couple of weeks. And you know Jilly Kay will capture this newness for you.
So, now it's morning on the day of your session. The session isn't until 1:00, so what can you do this morning to help make your session go even better? Well, I'll tell you! Here are my top 5 tips on preparing for your Newborn Session with me:
1. Keep your baby awake for a least an hour before the session. The more sleepy your baby feels when you arrive, the better. I often recommend that parents give their baby a bath during the hour or so prior to their session. This usually keeps newborns awake. After their bath, rub them down with lotion or other moisturizer, paying close attention to dry and peeling skin.
2. Clothing leaves lines and marks on skin. There's just no getting around that. You CAN minimize it though! After you get your baby bathed and moisturized, select clothing that doesn't have elastic waistbands or other tight areas that may leave lines. Button-down footed pajamas usually work well for this purpose. Footed pajamas also eliminate the need for socks (elastic lines again). Just prior to leaving for your session, loosen your baby's diaper as well.
3. Because sessions with newborns are designed around their comfort and their schedule, their sessions take several hours to complete. We take many breaks for feeding, changing, and just snuggling. The majority of a newborn's day is spent either sleeping, eating, or doing both at the same time. Be prepared to give your baby extra "comfort feedings" during the session. Our goal is a perfectly content and sleeping baby. And the easiest way to achieve that is a full belly and a warm room. As soon as you arrive to the studio, I will ask you to feed your baby. While s/he drifts off into milk heaven, we will pick out props and get ready to shoot.
4. Speaking of a warm room, yes... WARM is not the word for it. You and I will be uncomfortably warm in the studio. I set the temperature so that the room feels comfortable enough for babies to stretch out and stay asleep, even when they are undressed. Please dress very lightly as if we were going to be outside on a Summer day.
5. What about your older children? For safety, I ask that you bring only your newborn to your session (more on siblings below). I remember the diligence required to wrangle a toddler in a room full of glass and tip-able equipment. Knowing the toddler hazards of my studio, I would not wish that on any parent, lol! My assistant and I will be hands-on and paying full attention to your newborn. For families with older children who will also be photographed in some of the pictures, I recommend having a second set of hands. Generally, one parent arrives with the new baby at the start of the session. Then, as we are wrapping up the newborn images, the other parent (or other adult) brings the siblings. We do the sibling shots last. This has worked very well and has proven to be the easiest and most relaxing for everyone.
So, there you have it, my top 5 tips for helping your newborn session be the most rewarding experience it can be! Be sure to follow the blog here for more helpful tips, behind-the-scenes stories, and for sneak peeks at some of my most recent work (like these shots from last week).