Preparing for your newborn session
Below are our recommendations for preparing for your newborn session at our studio. We have found that careful preparation and consideration of the following items ensure that your session goes smoothly and that you will have beautiful newborn portraits that you will treasure for a lifetime.
Newborn sessions typically take 2-3 hours, including feeding breaks.
Please know that there is no rush with a newborn session. We like to give special attention to each client, especially newborn sessions. We do not mind waiting for you to feed or change baby, or taking a break to soothe your baby. That’s part of what we offer as custom portrait studio … the time we can provide!
Please try to keep baby awake for about two hours prior to your session.
We understand this can be a challenge, but do your best as this will help ensure a smooth session. We promise. There is a reason we ask for this! A baby who has just had a big nap will tend to want to stay awake in the studio, necessitating that we spend more time soothing him/her to sleep, and less time photographing. Sometimes moms will think they don’t need to follow this guideline because baby sleeps a lot at home. Please keep in mind though, that has very little to do with whether he or she will sleep here. Think of it this way – at home, baby is swaddled up and left alone to sleep. Here in the studio it’s a new environment, with someone putting them in unfamiliar positions, often naked – it’s no wonder they need to be extra tired to sleep through that! Giving baby a bath at home before you leave for your session is a great way to have some pleasant awake time. Bonus points if you have someone ride in the backseat with baby to entertain him/her on the way to the studio!
- Please bring a bottle of breast milk or formula and a pacifier with you to the session. We will only use it if absolutely necessary to calm and soothe your baby in the middle of a shot. We understand many mothers are trying to establish good breast-feeding habits and are concerned about nipple confusion. If you are adamantly against using a pacifier or bottle, please let us know and we will accommodate your needs.
- When you get here, we will ask you to feed baby a FULL feeding to get him/her nice and “milk drunk,” so try to schedule accordingly. Please schedule your feedings so baby is hungry when you arrive. At this point, your baby should be VERY ready to sleep which is what we want. Babies will generally still wake up for a feeding break at least once in the middle of the session, sometimes more. If you are bottle feeding, please bring extra – modeling is hungry work for newborns!
- Please don’t bring your baby boy with a fresh, raw circumcision. We would ask that you plan for your appointment with us to be either before the procedure, or at least 5 days after. We will be wrapping baby tightly while he’s naked and moving him between poses, which can be painful with a raw circumcision.
- If you are breast-feeding, try to avoid eating anything spicy or gas inducing (i.e. pizza, spicy sauces, garlic, broccoli, thai food, high fat etc.) that might upset baby’s tummy for 24 hours preceding your scheduled session. It’s best to stick to a relatively bland diet the 24 hours before your session. Please also avoid or at least limit caffeine – we want baby to sleep!
- Siblings: We love siblings, and are happy to photograph them with baby at no additional charge during newborn sessions. If there are older siblings that will be included in photos, those images will be photographed either at the start or at the end of the session. Siblings cannot stay at the studio during the rest of the session, when they are not being photographed. We do not have a suitable area for them to play or wait. We suggest either bringing two cars so that Dad can take older sibling(s) back home after we finish with family images, or have your spouse/partner take older sibling(s) out on errands or to grab a snack while we complete the session.
- Guests/extended family: We recommend bringing no more than yourself, your spouse/partner, children and one guest if necessary. Lots of people in the studio make for somewhat challenging creative conditions and it’s tight in our cozy space. (When dads aren’t coming to the session, moms often bring grandma – this is fine!)
- Newborns are absolute perfection when they wear nothing at all. For variety and some fun pops of color, we also like to use the swaddling blankets and wraps. We have an enormous collection of props, swaddles and backdrops and will create a set design that we are sure you will love. If you have color preferences, please let us know before hand and we will coordinate that for your session. We will choose which items photograph best in the color schemes you love. If you have a special item you want photographed with baby, such as military or firefighter gear or an antique quilt, please let us know ahead of time so we can plan for it.
- When doing the poses where the baby is undressed, it is normal (and okay!) for him or her to pee and poop during the session. We can assure you this happens all the time and we are not upset or offended. We have wipes and towels on hand for this purpose. After each newborn session we launder all of our backdrops and other items the baby comes in contact with with baby “safe” detergent and hot water.
- No cameras are allowed during your session. We understand this is a momentous time in your life that you want to capture. However, we are working very hard to create unique, artistic images for you and another camera in our midst is distracting and uncomfortable. Please respect copyright and the artist’s individual creation and do not take pictures (even on your iPhone) during your session. We do allow one iPhone “pullback shot” of the photographer working with your baby – feel free to post it on social media, and please tag or “check in” at Laura King Photography.
What To Wear:
- Baby should come dressed in loose fitting clothes to avoid any lines on skin. A onesie that opens in front is best, as this avoids us having to lift anything tight over baby’s head. In family photos, baby will be generally photographed either wrapped in a wrap provided by the studio, or naked.
- For parents being photographed with baby, we recommend a long sleeve shirt for Dad in a soft neutral color with no buttons. Buttons can scratch baby’s skin or catch on wraps. Beige, khaki, olive green, burgundy, navy, charcoal, taupe, cream and brown are all great colors. Think “muted” tones. If Dad is comfortable showing his chest for a few photos this can make for some very tender, skin-on-skin images.
- For Mom, we recommend a tank top in a neutral or muted color. Please also bring a strapless bra in nude or white. We often wrap mom in fabrics here at the studio to give the appearance of a simple strapless dress.
- Siblings should be dressed in neutral tones like dad. Jeans or khaki pants work well for boys and “sundress” style looks with no pattern look best on girls. Again, keep colors neutral and “muted” so that faces stand out more than the clothes they are wearing. Bright colors tend to detract from your children’s beautiful expressions.
In addition to the above tips, we have a packet of information for clients with ideas on clothing colors and styles for your session, and am happy to provide more guidance.
If you have already booked your session, thank you again for choosing Laura King Photography to document this special time in your lives. We are honored you chose us, and consider photographing your newborn a great responsibility and privilege.
If you are ready to book, or would like to schedule a free consultation to tour the studio and talk with Laura before making your decision, please call us at 573-356-1236, or send us an email using the contact form on the website.