April 9, 2020
When you book a newborn session with me, you might be wondering …
… why that little colored ‘busy” block for our session looks so…BIG in your phone calendar. I get that question a lot from new parents: Do we really need 2-3 hours for a newborn session?
Over the last 10 years, I’ve really been able to craft the perfect flow for a newborn session that is both efficient and removes that stereotypical stress you might imagine a family photo session usually comes with!
So while we are practicing social distancing in REAL life, I’d love to invite you into my studio for a virtual tour of what exactly goes on in a newborn session!
So your baby was born. YAY!
The first thing you should know is WHEN your session happens.
When you have your baby, you’ll let me know ASAP (or maybe I already know if I was at your birth!), and then we will schedule your session.
I know that lots of newborn photographers might tell you they HAVE to photograph your babe before he or she is 10 days old. But in my years of experience, I’ve found it actually works best for both mama and baby if we schedule the session 2-3 weeks out.
At 2-3 weeks old (we have even had newborn sessions with babies 4-7 weeks old, so it’s really never too late), baby will still have that oh-so-sweet newborn look, but they tend to have a little bit better idea of how to do life outside the womb. Or at least they’re getting there, ha. 😀 Baby might be able to take a pacifier by then. They will most likely have established breastfeeding or can take a bottle, and they can stay full a bit longer.
This time-frame also tends to be better for the family!
Mom is still recovering in the first week, likely just getting home from the hospital, and I know it’s a big ask to try to get out of the house in the super-early days.
Getting out and taking your baby can be HARD, and I’m all for taking those first days to rest and bond unless absolutely necessary to leave the house.
So in the case of photos, it’s just not necessary: we can get really, really great sleeping photos with a 2-3 week old, just as we could with a 5 day old.
Ok so the day has come, and you’re on your way!
I try to honor the babies’ natural daily rhythm, which is why I like to schedule for 9 or 9:30 in the morning. Babies tend to be happier in the mornings. Actually, toddlers and older kids too! Everyone is just happier in the morning.
I arrive at the studio with my assistant and my hair and makeup team to get ready for you and your family.
The first thing I do is start setting up with different photo stations in the studio.
I have an amazing stash of sweet props, and can also use any special heirlooms or items you’re bringing with you.
These stations are what really helps the session go smoothly, having multiple stations set up in advance, so we can quickly go from one to the next when baby falls asleep.
I start photographing baby alone while you get your hair and makeup done.
It’s all done for you in the studio, to make getting out with your new baby as stress-free as possible! This takes about 1-1.5 hours, and usually during this time dad and other siblings will go out to grab breakfast or a coffee.
We do have a play area for the kiddos, but I love when we can get them out of the studio for a bit so they are fresh and ready when it’s their turn to smile. We don’t want them to just be totally DONE before we even get to the photos with them.
After hair and makeup, we will discuss what you brought to wear. We also have several styles of dresses at the studio, if you choose.
We also can wrap you in a blanket…sounds weird, but it looks amazing, trust me! This can really give us a skin to skin look in the photos I know you’ll love.
Once dressed and ready, we do photos with the siblings first, then the family altogether and last mom and dad individually. This takes about 30-45 minutes total.
If your husband has work, sometimes we have mom and baby come at 9:30 and dad doesn’t come until 11:00 (possibly on his lunch break?) If getting there for work could be an issue, he doesn’t have to stay the whole time!
In the studio, I have apple chips and bottled water to keep everyone happy.
We don’t want anyone to be hangry while waiting to be photographed, right?!
And mama. I am not above offering bribes to your children, haha! (with your permission of course!) I save the Annie’s organic gummies especially for that. We do have a changing table, and have little puzzles, a chalkboard, a fort, and other toys to distract the little ones to make it super easy for mom.
We do take our time with the session. We make sure baby’s diaper is clean, we make sure baby is well fed.
These little things take time, and I don’t want you to feel rushed at all! We take our time to make sure baby is settled and soothed, and mama is not stressed. And all of the behind the scenes work I do to prepare and transition makes this all super efficient and gives us the grace to allow for making sure babies needs are met throughout.
Those little cute baby poses? They don’t just lay down that way. It takes some time to soothe them into that position and to get them comfortable there. Because I’ve been doing this so long, I can tell what a baby needs based on how they cry or act in certain positions.
I can tell if they don’t like a position because they’re uncomfortable and we can move on, or I can tell if they’ll settle into it and we can keep working at it. This experience is really helpful in keeping the overall session time relatively short for how many different images and the variety we can get in that time!
We have a ton of tricks of the trade to make sure the sesh goes smoothly. For example:
My ultimate goal is to make this experience pleasant, chill, and dare I say even RELAXING for everyone involved!
If you love seeing behind-the-scenes, make sure we’re hanging out on Instagram (especially stories). I share a lot of behind-the-scenes from our studio Newborn Session in Yukon OK!