How to prepare for a newborn photo shoot.
Updated: Jun 27, 2019
What is a Lifestyle Newborn Session?
A newborn lifestyle session will take place within the comfort of your own home and allows the parents and families to look back on the sweet and intimate moments with their newborn baby and relive those first snuggles, tiny baby features and all the emotion and love that come during this special time in your lives. Having a session within your own home allows us to tell the story of the next chapter in your families story. A newborn lifestyle session is all about your baby and the love you already have for this new little bundle of joy, capturing all those precious moments from feeding, cuddling, changing, bathing and snoozing.
During the session I will offer guidance and place you in some informal poses, however the session unfold naturally to your family, your baby's needs come first as our two hour session gives us plenty of time to allow your baby's needs to be met.
What are the benefits of a newborn lifestyle session?
1. COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME - Right now you are adjusting to your new life as a parent with your baby, this can sometimes be a challenging transitional period. Having a session within your own home can remove some of the unneeded stress that comes with leaving the home. Leaving you to feel comfortable and relaxed.
2. REAL LIFE - The images captured during a home lifestyle session are of what really happens during this new chapter of your lives, capturing real emotions during this special time that will bring back memories in the years to come.
3. FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE - A studio newborn session normally has to take place within the first 2 weeks after birth, however with a lifestyle session it can be much more flexible. The session can take place at 1 week, 4 weeks or even at two months!
What to Expect
When I arrive at your home I will firstly like to look around and see the best places to photograph your new family, I will be looking for good light and picture friendly decor and colours. I primarily shoot newborn sessions in the nursery, master bedroom and living room, however it is about finding the best light, so other rooms may be used to. If weather permits, we can even take some photos outside.
I will be capturing your family interacting with the new baby as well as some photos of the baby on their own, capturing all those tiny features like fingers and toes. I may pose your baby slightly, but always in a way that would be natural, I do have a couple of neutral coloured swaddles, which make for very cute pictures that can be used during your session.
I will guide you into position, but I do not fully pose you for the photos as I prefer to capture how you interact naturally, often giving nice prompts to help you along. My main focus is capturing the emotion and connection of your family during this wonderful time. Your newborn baby will completely run the show during your session. If they are hungry when I arrive, then I will start with some feeding and changing shots, if they are sleeping soundly in the crib then I will start with some sleepy shots, the is no schedule or plan, as a parent myself, I adapt to the babies needs.
How to Prepare for your session
The session lasts around two hours, since your baby is the main focus and their needs come first, this will allow plenty of time for this to happen as we continue through the session.
Prepare your space: Your home does not need to be a picture perfect show home, I promise! Its your home and is supposed to look lived in and with children and newborns, very lived in! So please don't worry about cleaning your home, you have just had a baby! If I feel something will distract from a photo I will just move it out of the way. Please remember i'm here to focus on you and your new baby and your interactions together.
You can prepare your home by pulling back the curtains and opening the shades to allow in as much light as possible, If I feel a piece of furniture like a chair would be better placed for a photo, I will move this myself and put it back afterwards. Your bed is often used for some great snuggly photos, so having the bed made in a neutral plain quilt or blanket would be perfect, don't worry if you do not have this kind of bedding, just let me know and I can bring my neutral bed throw!
Try uncluttering your home as best as you can, which means just tidying up (in my case throwing everything in a draw to deal with another day!) Putting stuff where it belongs, ie no coats on the couch or towels on the bed sort of thing. Put away the breast pump and wet wipes and make sure things like bedside cabinets and coffee tables are clear of clutter. But don't go overboard, as said before I can move things that I think may be distracting.
Don't forget to crank up the heat, especially if you are wanting your newborn baby's skin exposed, then I recommend you have your home warmer than usual. We may feel the heat and feel a little hot and bothered but baby will be warm and toasty and more likely to be happier during the session, a happy baby makes for great pictures, although the screams can be cute too (like the picture above where the little lady did not appreciate being changed). Have the cot set up, even if baby is not sleeping in it yet, we can still gain some beautiful cot and nursery shots.
Giving windows or mirrors a quick wipe does go a long way because streaks or dust on these surfaces can be very obvious in photographs, but don't panic about this, its just an advisory, I can work my magic is need be. Prepare your baby: Around 30 minutes before the session start to loosen the baby nappy a little bit to allow time for the nappy's imprint marks to disappear. Also remove any tight clothing that can leave marks on the skin. You can always wrap baby in a warm blanket until I arrive; they love to be snuggled like that and it’s a wonderful photo opportunity for me. If baby’s skin is a little dry or flaky, try applying a small bit of baby lotion to those spots the day before our session.
Breastfeeding mums, be very careful what you are eating 1-2 days prior to our session. Try not to consume foods that may irritate your baby's tummy such as spicy foods. If you wish for me to capture you breastfeeding, we will work that into the session. Try and keep your baby alert for 1-2 hours before our session, hopefully this will help them be extra sleepy.
Please make sure you have any items you want used in the session ready before we start, such as blankets or stuffed animals.
What to Wear
Since we are documenting your daily life with your newborn, wearing something that you feel comfortable and confident in is most important. Please try to keep it to simple patterns and neutral colors, as bold colours can cause casting on baby skin and make them a different colour! Also by keeping neutral we are able to keep the focus on your little one. Naturally flowy tops are great for covering up the post par-tum belly that many new mums are conscious of or casual dresses, soft sweaters and different textures are all great for cuddling your baby and allowing them to be the focus of the photographs.
Avoid wearing t-shirts or clothing with logos or bold patterns as this will distract greatly from your newborn.
For baby I recommend naked, in just a diaper or in just a neutral coloured onesie. I realize there are tons of really cute baby clothes but it’s rare to find any that fit properly or that won’t be distracting in photos.
Make sure you spent a little time on yourself before the session, you want to feel beautiful in your photos, so putting a brush through your hair and a little lippy on can go a long way to helping you feel more comfortable in front of the camera.
Above all, just relax and enjoy the experience. This is a very special time for your family. Be in the moment and take it all in, and I will create beautiful images for your family to treasure for years to come. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t worry. A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. I am not in a rush and I will not bail because the baby isn't sleeping or cooperating. Take some deep breaths and enjoy this time with your new baby.
Ultimately, I want you to enjoy this experience as much as I enjoy capturing it. It’s ok to be a bit nervous. I have to admit that I don’t get in front of the camera much myself! But I can guarantee you that you will not regret having these memories to cherish.
Oh So Peachy Photography
More about the Author.
Cheryl Peach is a family photographer based in Plymouth, Devon who specializes in maternity, newborn and family lifestyle photography, creating natural photographs that show the emotions and uniqueness of every family. Oh So Peachy Photography was
created in 2016 when Cheryl found her passion for photography whilst photographing her own children and wanted to create memories for other to cherish for years to come. To book a session, please get in touch.