I wanted to write a blog post about what to expect at your lifestyle newborn session and some tips and tricks to make the session go smoothly! I have been doing a lot of these lately and they are just the best! I love to come into your home and photograph you and your children in your natural element and it helps tell the story of your family better than any other session in my opinion. I hope to create images for you that you can look back on and cherish forever. Kids really do grow up so fast and you do not want to forget these precious moments of their lives!
1- What is lifestyle newborn photography? A lifestyle newborn photography session is done in your home and focuses on your life and the love you have for each other. Lifestyle newborn photography is a more personal way to take newborn pictures and capture their first few weeks of life. I take a very natural and relaxed approach to your newborn session and I don’t worry about the amount of time it takes. Sometimes we can whip out a session in an hour and sometimes it takes a lot longer. Babies are unpredictable and we will work around their schedule to get images you will love and cherish forever.
2- Schedule your session within 2 weeks of birth… I like to do these sessions up to 2 weeks after your baby is born. They are still nice and sleepy, they haven’t developed baby acne yet and a lot of times, dad hasn’t gone back to work yet so we can get some pictures with him too! If there are circumstances that don’t allow you to schedule the session this early in your babies life, that is okay! I have done older babies too and they work out just fine 🙂
3-What to wear… Neutral colors are great for parents and siblings such as grey, white, black, beige and pastels. Bright colors can cause color casts on the baby’s skin that can be hard to edit out so be careful not to wear anything too bright. Avoid greens and reds. I even come to the session wearing something neutral for this very reason. It is best to find simple outfits that compliment each other. Wear something you are comfortable in and that makes you feel good! Layers and textured clothing is great and don’t forget to compliment your outfit with a few simple accessories. Avoid shirts with logos, character or slogans and pants or skirts generally look better than shorts or capris. If an older sibling has a “Big Brother/Sister” shirt they want to wear for a few shots that is just fine, but have another outfit for them as well. If you need help with clothing ideas, I am happy to help!!
And for baby, I don’t recommend having too many outfits because changing them up often is a sure way to wake baby up and make her grumpy for the session. I recommend one outfit to start and then some naked/diapered pictures at the end. A onesie is a great place to start or if you have a particular outfit you want them in, have them in that when I get there.
4- Props… I don’t bring any props to the session because I feel like that would depersonalize the session and that is the opposite of what we’re going for. I love and in fact encourage you to have any bows, hats, wraps or blankets that you want to use, ready to go when I get there. Bows (for girls) and hats are a great way to mix up the outfit without waking up baby too much! Also, there are lots of fun wraps we can use to cover or wrap baby in that changes the look of the image without having to change complete outfits.
5- Where we will shoot… My favorite places to shoot around your house are in baby’s nursery of course! I also love shooting on mom and dad’s bed, living room and if you have a big window in your house, I will use that as well as any other places I see that I think will work good. When I get to your house, I will look around and let you know if there is anywhere I think will look good or if you have anywhere specific in your home you want me to shoot, just point me in the right direction! I might see something when I get there that you don’t and if that’s the case, we may need to move some furniture and things around to get to some great spots in your home. But don’t worry, I will put it all back the way you had it before I leave 😉
If you have any activities you would like to do during your session, I am more than happy to oblige! Want pictures of you bathing baby? YES! Want some pictures of your older kids reading to baby? YES! YES! YES! The sky is the limit! It makes for a much more personalized and special session that way 🙂
6-How to prepare for the session… Before I arrive, make sure the baby’s diaper is changed and in the outfit you want to begin pictures in. Also make sure baby has just been fed really well right before I arrive or right after I arrive while I am setting up and that any siblings have been as well. Fed kids are happy kids! Also your house doesn’t have to be spotless by any means so please don’t worry about that, but it is nice if any of the rooms you want pictures are decluttered and cleaned up a bit. Make sure your bedroom nightstands are clear and the baby’s nursery is clean. Other than that, I know you just had a baby and cleaning is not your top priority so no judgement here!
I know it’s hard but try to relax and enjoy your day before the session. We don’t want any stress to you, baby, other children or husband before the session so it can be as successful as possible. Babies (and kids and husbands) can sense your anxiety so relax as much as possible in order to have a successful session. If you aren’t all ready when I get there, no biggie! Life happens! I am a very patient person and am okay waiting, setting up and capturing other candid moments as I wait. I don’t schedule any sessions back to back with your newborn session so there’s no stress on my side. I usually schedule the session late morning or early afternoon depending on nap times so running out of light isn’t an issue either. So relax!
Also, try to keep baby awake and stimulated that morning as much as possible. We want them to be nice and sleepy for the session!
7- Posing… I will do a little posing but I also love to get the candid moments between your family. That is what lifestyle photography is all about! Most of the time I will put you in a pose, then just let whatever happens, happen. Some people need a little more directing than others and that’s okay. I will be there to help you the whole time. When it comes time for pictures of baby alone, it is best if you stand back and let me handle them. Too many hands can wake baby up easily and I know how to calm them down and back to sleep if I need to. Unless they need fed, then that is all up to you 🙂 In fact, if you want to go take a break while I am working with your baby, that is fine by me! It may be your only chance for a while 😉
8- Temperature… Crank up that heat before I get there! And in the summer, turn off the AC. Babies like it nice and toasty, especially for the naked pictures. I bring a space heater with me to heat up the rooms before we go into them because a warm baby is a happy, sleepy baby! We will all be sweating buckets but baby will be nice and cozy!
9- What if my baby is fussy/awake? I don’t want you to stress out if baby cries. It is inevitable and happens all the time. We will just take a break and let you feed or rock baby until she is happy. I will take as long as I need to get the shots you and I both want. Try not to get stressed out or overwhelmed if baby cries or is fussy. I have been around lots of babies and it is just what they do!
Sometimes baby isn’t unhappy but simply does not want to sleep and that is okay! As long as baby is happy, I am okay with him being awake! We can still get lots of great pictures with their eyes open 🙂
10- Siblings… Yes! Please include the baby’s siblings in the session! They are an important part of baby’s life and we want them there! We can do pictures with them first or last depending on their schedule and when they are the happiest. After we are done with them, dad can take them and play with them while I do the rest of the session with baby and mom.
11-Pets…. Another YES! I love photographing babies with their fur siblings! As long as you feel comfortable with your pet being in close quarters to your baby, we can get some amazing pictures with them and they are important too! A few years ago I was photographing one of my favorite clients lifestyle newborn session and they wanted their dog in the pictures. Heartbreakingly about a week later the dog was hit by a car and killed. They were so glad they have those pictures of their baby and their fur baby together!
12- Nursing pictures… If you want nursing pictures, I am more than happy to do them and would never share them without permission. However, they aren’t everyones cup of tea so if you want them, let me know and if not that’s okay too! It is your session and I want you to be happy with all of it!
13- After your session… My turnaround time is 2-3 weeks. I will email you your gallery and slideshow as well as a download link to your pictures! I would love it if you share any pictures on social media you would include photo credit to me. That is the single best way for me to get new business and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart! I will also blog and share some of your pictures on Facebook with your permission of course 🙂
Ready to book your session? Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or 801.710.9646. I would LOVE to work with you!!
Lifestyle Newborn Photography by Utah Newborn Photographer Amanda Abel