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Six Tips for Parents to have a Successful Newborn Photography Session

Newborn on neutral background in adorable froggie pose.

1.Try to keep your baby awake for at least one hour before the photography session. 

For newborn sessions, we like to put babies in the cute little poses where they are curled up or placed in buckets, baskets or bowls. When babies are sound asleep, we are able to get these poses much easier because they are nice and relaxed! A couple tips we suggest to keep babies awake is to give them a nice long sponge bath a hour before the session. Another tip is to ride next to them in the car to the session to help keep them away so that when they arrive to the studio they are ready for a nice long nap!

Newborn in simple fuchsia cloth backdrop.

2. Feed your baby right before the session

  • Besides a sleepy baby, a happily content baby with a full tummy will allow for a successful photography session. We tell our parents to feed their baby full right before they come to the session (although this is not our most preferred method because they will want to fall asleep).
  • Our favorite option is for parents to arrive to the studio and then take all the time needed to feed their little one until they are full and happy and ready to take a long nap. We ask them to come about 30 minutes early, settle in and feed their little one till they are full, happy and sleepy!

Newborn in an antique bucket bringing the outdoors, in.

3. Talk to your photographer about your style or vision for the newborn session

  • So many parents will hop on Pinterest to get ideas for their newborn session, and our studio is just fine with that. When parents reach out to us with a fun idea or vision of their own or on Pinterest, we will discuss the realistic option with them as far as what our studio has for props to use and what parents may need to purchase or bring of their own to the studio for the setup.
  • We suggest you make sure you check out your photographer’s quality of work to ensure they can do what you are asking them to do since setups can be tricky and extensive. The key with creative setups is always safety first and the quality! Below our some examples of creative set ups we have done per parent’s requests or ideas.

Newborn in rustic bucket with Dad's fishing gear.Newborn and his Stars Wars pals.

4. What should we wear? (The most popular question we get)

This is the most popular question we get from parents as they prepare for a photography session with us. We try to keep it very simple and say wear what makes you feel comfortable. We have a couple of suggestions though…

  • Wear solid colors, and avoid patterns as we do not want them to be distracting in the picture. Our favorite colors are gray and creams, however we honestly want you to wear the colors that represent you and your family well. Our suggestion is to pick one or two colors and then coordinate different tones of the colors together. So mixing light and dark gray together.
  • Moms have just given birth and struggle with what will look best. We again want them to be comfortable, but don’t come in your comfy sweatshirt. 😉 We love the look of bare arms, but completely understand again if moms do not feel comfortable showing off their arms just yet. Any length of sleeves is just fine with us as long as they are not baggy. Here are some examples of different options….Newborns with their parents sharing snuggles.Newborn's and their first family portraits in simple white and dark gray backgrounds.

    5. Working with Siblings, especially toddler siblings.

    This is one of the most challenging parts of newborn sessions for parents. Moms and dads are so wanting that beautiful sibling picture, but they are wondering if they super energetic two year old is going to let them get it. We have a couple tips for parents to help prepare.

    1. Bribery! Yup. We believe in bribery for photography sessions. Bring their favorite treat or toy to give them an incentive to smile or snuggle their baby brother/sister to get that adorable image.
    2. Patience! This is the biggest one. Parents are already sleep deprived and an energetic toddler not obeying can be difficult at a photography session because moms and dads just want that beautiful photograph of their sweet babies together. Parents feel bad and think they are making the photographer wait to long in case their child is not cooperating. Please know….we get it! As a mom myself, I totally get it. We are happy to take a 5-10 minutes if needed to help children take a minute for a snack or drink and try again. We schedule our newborn sessions with lots of time to have delays for situations just like this. So when you are choosing a photographer, ask them about their policy on this. How much time do you have for the session and how they handle toddler siblings. We are happy to take a little extra time to try and get parents the most beautiful photograph possibly of their babies.

    Newborn and sibling love on classic white fur background.

    6. RELAX…this tip depends on the photographer you choose.

    Prepping for the newborn session can be stressful. Getting everyone up and ready, making sure all clothing is organized and clean and doing this after you worked the “newborn night shift” can make it all the more challenging. So make sure you are choosing a photography studio that allows you to walk in and feel relaxed knowing that they will do all the work for you. Our studio is set up with a couch, toys for siblings, a changing table and myself the photographer and an assistant to help as needed. Our goal is to have a mom walk in, feed her baby and pass the baby off to us and we do the rest. This allows moms to do any last minute finishing touches to themselves before they get their picture taken. During the session, we tell moms that they are welcome to sit back and watch us work or they can relax on the couch with their phone, read a book, or the popular option is take a little nap themselves.

    The other very very important part with relaxation is knowing the newborn photographer you chose will put safety at the highest priority during the session. There are very creative poses out there, and we will never do anything that will compromise the safety of our littlest clients. I personally have been professional trained on newborn photography with the emphasis always on the safest ways to pose and protect babies during their session.

    Newborn and his mother with a classic gray backdrop.

    If you would like to learn more about our newborn photography services, please click here. Our studio is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    We have a studio tour video of you would like to see me in action and literally get a tour of our photography studio! Feel free to click here for the tour!! 

    Melissa working her magic at an outdoor location.