Newborn sessions are where my heart is… capturing those first squishy, sleepy moments in life is something you can never repeat and will never regret. I shoot most newborn sessions between 6 and 10 days after you come home from the hospital… so plan early and be sure to schedule your session in your second trimester when possible to ensure that I can hold a date! Once you come home from the hospital (or if you are thinking about it while you are in the hospital)– I have you send me a quick message to let me know that the baby has been born and I work with you to get a date in the coming days. I typically shoot newborn sessions at 11am – Monday through Thursday’s when possible!
Here are a few things to help you know what to expect during your newborn sessions, reminders of things to bring, and things to think about to make the most of your experience!
BEFORE YOUR SESSION:
Prior to your session, I love to hear your ideas. Is there a theme to your nursery? (I love to see pictures)– What are the main colors of your house or colors that you really love (or don’t love for that matter)? Do you have any favorite quilts, props, or special interests or hobbies in the family?!? (Fishing, wrestling, baseball, Harry Potter, Iowa sports teams, a love of a turtles… you name it, I can come up with something special for your baby!)
If you don’t know the gender of your baby, that’s fine!! I love surprises too and have hundreds of hats, headbands, and props to work for every session.
Feel free to bring props of your own… or coordinate with me to find things together that will look amazing. Etsy shops do need plenty of advance notice to order special items and I work with some fabulous prop vendors and can get customized items to fit every wish or idea. So feel free to tell me what you would LOVE and I will do my best to work with you to do something amazing.
DURING YOUR SESSION:
Sessions last 2-3 hours and include beanbag poses as well as prop set-ups. I plan far in advance and have all of the props, backgrounds, and set-ups ready to go when possible to make the session go smoothly and maximize our time. Most sessions include 1-2 bean bag set-ups and 3-4 prop shots. The main factor is how well baby is sleeping and how often we need to stop to feed/soothe the baby. We take as many breaks as he/she needs to be comfortable and full! A baby with a full tummy = a sleepy baby!
Since many of my newborn sessions are done over the lunch hour, don’t forget that you may be hungry too!! You’ve just had a baby, so remember to take care of yourself. Feel free to bring lunch or snacks… (I also have a bar and grill next door that serves food… menus are in my studio.) I have a Keurig with Hot cocoa, coffee, and teas…. as well as some small snack items in the guest sitting area. There are toys, a TV, and couches for you to sit and relax while I work with the baby (within your sight!)
I offer the option of sibling and family poses in my newborn sessions… they are optional, but I love to know ahead of time if you would like to do them! They are most often done on a neutral gray or mocha tan backdrop. I highly recommend that if the sibling is 1-5 years old that you drive separately when possible and that way we can either do that set-up at the beginning or at the end to avoid them being bored with the long process. (It also makes an easier and more relaxed setting for you when you aren’t chasing a toddler around for a couple of hours!) Quite often, Dad will drive separately and once the sibling and family pictures are done, they go home and play!
You will see me carrying a heater to each set-up to keep baby nice and toasty warm during the session. The studio is kept at a warmer temperature during newborn sessions, so dress accordingly or have layers you can remove if you get too warm! I also keep hand sanitizer with me and use it frequently during the session to keep those germs away! — And finally, I fully expect to be pee’d or poo’d on at some point during the session… it’s a risk of the job when I take off those diapers! Don’t worry about it, I don’t!! I keep plenty of wipes, towels, and burp rags on hand to clean things up and just move on to the next set-up.
A few important things for your session –
1. PLEASE bring a PACIFIER — this is probably the most important thing to remember. Not all babies take them and you may choose not to give your baby one… many nursing mom’s don’t in those early days. However the baby’s natural instinct is to comfort themselves by sucking…and when I am posing the baby, it’s important that they feel comforted and relaxed, so the pacifier helps soothe them into positions much easier!! (If you never give it to them again, that’s totally fine, but you will find that the session will go much more smoothly if I have one to help!)
2. A bath or play session prior to the session can help them tire out when you get to the studio. You can either feed them right before you come or right after you get to the studio. Either way is totally fine!! We just want to make sure they have a nice and full tummy to make things go smoothly.
3. Feel free to bring your pump if you are breastfeeding… I nursed four babies, so it won’t bother me one bit… and I have a couch and plug-in’s in the sitting area for you to relax and use while I’m working with baby!
4. Please bring baby in a snap or button up outfit that is easy to remove (without a onesie or layer underneath)– this gets us started off on a good foot without making baby mad pulling something over their head! Some little ones are really grumpy about clothing changes!!
5. Don’t worry!! I hear the stress from a mom when they are worried their baby won’t sleep or that we won’t get anything. Sometimes it can take a while to get started… and that’s okay!! I am extremely patient and we WILL get amazing pictures for you!! If it takes 45 minutes to take the first one (yes it’s happened often)– it’s okay… once I get going, I can do a lot in a short amount of time. All babies are different and we work on their schedule, not mine! <3
AFTER YOUR SESSION
Full galleries will be sent to you within 2 weeks (usually sooner – depending on the amount of work that I have!) — I carefully hand edit every image to remove red marks, discoloration, jaundice, purple hands/feet, etc… I do typically leave skin flakes on hands/feet alone as well as birthmarks, unless specially requested. Those little stork bites and flakes just show how fresh and new they are… but if they bother you, let me know!!
I LOVE working with babies and can’t get enough of them (I probably would have had an army of them myself if I enjoyed being pregnant more!) So I hope you can relax and know that a baby lovin’ mom of four is carefully working with your precious little one and that I will take all precautions to ensure their safety and comfort during our session!!