How to Prepare for Newborn Family Photos

Seattle Newborn Photography

Why You Should Schedule Newborn Family Photos

Congratulations! Maybe you’re welcoming a baby into the world for the first time, or maybe this is your third or fourth, or fifth baby; either way, the first few weeks of a baby’s life are some of the sweetest and most precious moments. There is nothing better than the sweet smell of a newborn or their soft cheeks and tiny toes, but these moments don’t last long and before you know it they’ll be toddlers running around. Newborns are tiny beings for a very short time, which is why it’s so important to capture these short-lived moments in your baby’s life before they disappear. You’ll thank yourself later for documenting all the wonders of their first days and one day, so will they. I can’t tell you how much I wish I had more photos of myself at that age and now more than ever it is so easy to capture these milestone moments so take advantage of this opportunity and give your kids something to look back on and appreciate when they are older.

When to Schedule Your Newborn Photo Session

The best time to take newborn portraits is when your baby is between one and three weeks. During this time, they sleep a TON and are much easier to wrap and pose. You’ll want to start thinking of scheduling your baby photos in advance as these moments are just a short window of time, so plan ahead and reach out to your newborn photographer (aka me) early. My schedule can book out far in advance, so the further ahead you can plan, the better chance you have of booking with me around the time your baby is due.

It’s ok if you don’t have an exact date as we all know babies arrive when they are ready. We can use your due date as a general guideline, but once the baby is born, it’s best to reach out to me right away so I can get you on my calendar.

Newborn Family Photos
Baby Photoshoot

Where to Take Newborn Family Photos

I’ve learned that the best place for newborn sessions is in your home because we have control over the environment and your infant will be more comfortable in a place that they are already familiar with. If you really want some outdoor images, there are usually plenty of places close to your home like a front or back yard, however, most newborn images are taken up close so the background is not super important.

And I also know what you’re thinking. If your house is a mess don’t sweat it! You just had a baby! If you didn’t have a crazy mess going on, anyone would think it a bit strange. Clutter is to be expected and we don’t need a ton of room for the shoot. A couple of cleared-up areas like your bedroom or the nursery will work just fine and the more natural light we have, the better!

A few things about your home that you can do to help before a newborn photo shoot

– Turn up the heat in your home. Babies are way easier to shoot when they’re warm and comfortable.

– Open all the blinds and curtains to let in as much light as possible.

– Turn off all the lights in the room we’ll be shooting.

– Try to keep the house as quiet as possible during the shoot. If you have other children or pets, consider having your newborn family photo near the end of the shoot to keep your baby as relaxed and calm as possible throughout the session.

Things to have on hand when I arrive

– Different swaddle & outfit options
– Favorite books, toys, blankets, etc.
– Heirlooms
– Baby wipes
– Noise machine
– Lotion

Newborn Photography
Seattle Newborn Photographer
Newborn Family Photos

What Should Your Baby Wear for Newborn Family Photos?

– Infants look adorable with little or no clothing. A onesie, diaper, or swaddle blanket is usually sufficient, but it’s also fun to throw a beanie or stocking cap into the mix as well. Anything knit always looks great up close.

– Choose clothing with soft colors as this will bring out your baby’s sweet complexion and avoid crazy patterns or logos. Feel free to match your nursery if you want to frame your baby’s photos and use them as decorations.

– It’s best to avoid full outfits and clothing as they tend to bunch up and look bulky on little ones. We don’t want your tiny baby to get lost in layers of clothing, so if you do want to use an outfit, make sure it fits! Although mittens or socks are cute and we all love them, they tend to leave elastic marks on tiny wrists and ankles, so it’s best to avoid these items as well.

– Prepare your baby’s clothing ahead of time and have it laid out the night before the shoot so you aren’t scrambling to find things the day of. On the morning of the session, try to keep your baby swaddled and in a loose diaper to help keep outfit changes to a minimum.

What to Expect During Your Newborn Photo Shoot

– Sessions take anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on the little one and how things unfold. In other words, expect around 30% of the time to be spent shooting and 70% cleaning up messes, burping, feeding, setting up, etc.

– I tend to shoot in areas of the house with the most natural light and least amount of clutter. We can even take a few shots outside if you’re feeling up to it.

– My work has a photojournalistic approach which means I will be documenting you and your family interacting with the little one in your home. This is why I don’t bring any trendy props, outfits, or baskets. I like to photograph using items found in your home so the photos are personalized and true to your family.

– Try to schedule your portrait session around your infant’s nap and feeding routine. If possible, feed your infant right before I arrive. This will allow their little tummies to settle and reduce spitting up and fussiness. Expect to feed them another 1-2 times throughout our session.

– It is important to have essential items to comfort your infant including a favorite blanket, swaddles, pacifier, diapers, wipes, and anything necessary for feedings.

– Photos of the baby will be taken by themselves, usually swaddled in the crib or naked in your arms.

– As much as I could photograph your little one all day, you guys are going to be in the photos as well, so be prepared and even treat yourself to a manicure in case you want close-ups of your hands cradling your baby’s head, feet and hands.

– I will not use any props or baskets unless you specify you want those specific photos, so please let me know!

Check out my pinterest board for maternity, babies, and newborn photography for additional inspiration.

Baby Photographer near Seattle

Don’t Forget to Pamper Yourself

Yes, this shoot is all about your newborn, but take advantage of this shoot to pamper yourself! After all, you just brought another human into the world! For instance, go have your hair and makeup done (you could even have someone come to the house), schedule a massage, or have your nails done. If you’re looking your best you will feel more confident and relaxed for the shoot.

When choosing your clothing, feel free to keep things simple. Solid colors photograph best, and it’s best to avoid any busy patterns or bright colors. Many women tend to gravitate towards black for a slimming look, but try to open yourself up to softer colors and a variety of textures. Also, consider which prints and colors are in your home and choose outfits and color schemes that will coordinate nicely with the rooms where we will be shooting.

As far as fabric goes, I always recommend knit textures as they photograph well in those close-up shots. Layering is also a great idea and always hides things nicely and adds interest and texture.

Let’s Recap!

– Set out outfits (the baby’s and yours) and any other necessary items the night before.

– Make sure the rooms we will be using are clutter-free, blinds are open and the lights are turned off.

– Set the temperature of the house to ~80 degrees 30 minutes before the shoot to help keep your baby warm.

– Feed your baby 20-30 minutes before the session so they are full and happy.

– Change their diaper before the shoot and wrap them in a swaddle blanket.

– Relax and cherish these moments with your baby.

Remember, babies are very intuitive and in sync with you, so if you are stressed your baby will feel it. Do your best to get some rest beforehand and take care of yourself so you can relax and enjoy the session! This will also result in better photos overall.

Newborns can be unpredictable so just know that things might not go exactly as planned and that’s ok. It can be scary to let someone else handle your tiny baby, but try to relax and rest assured that I will take the best care of you both. Your baby can read your energy, so the calmer you are, the calmer they will feel. And, if ever you feel uncomfortable, speak up! Your baby’s safety and comfort are my top priorities.

To see more example newborn sessions click here!