Newborn Session Guide

Chances are, you’ve never done a newborn session before.  And you quite probably haven’t done one with Studio Ainsley!  Here is our Newborn Session Guide that will walk you through the session experience from start to finish and give you insight into the most common challenges and questions that arise.  Every session, every baby, every family is different.  How you approach Picture Day will determine how relaxing or stressful your time with us will be.  Always trust your photographer, accept the process, and know that everything will turn out beautifully.  It’s what we do!

So… what is a newborn session really like?   It’s messy and magical.  Read on.

{ preparations }

In the day or so before your session appointment, gather any props or other items you might want to have photographed.  Some things work better than others, so we reserve the right to use or not use certain things, but we will make every effort to individualize your portraits and include important or sentimental items.

If you are going to be in the photos with your baby (and we hope you are! ) then pull out the outfit(s) you have chosen for yourself and/or your spouse.  Lighter colors work best to reflect light and soften the images.  Pastels and soft shades work best, along with heather grey, oatmeal, and other neutral tones.  If you aren’t sure, lay out more than one option and we can help you make a selection.

Please consider a short decluttering exercise to avoid trip hazards and help us facilitate movement around the rooms where we will set up.  Bouncy chairs, swings, car seats, and strollers are the biggest culprits.

{ session day }

We will ask for a short tour of the area(s) in your home with the strongest light: nursery, master bedroom, living room, or any combination of these.  But as long as you have a window, we can create magic.

Your photographer will bring all of the necessary props, equipment and items we use for a successful session.  You do NOT need to prop shop.  The last thing we want to do is burden you with set design! By now, we have gone over your session wishes and inspirations, so we are prepared for you.

Please, please do not take your own photos!  Per your contract, you are not allowed to use a camera during the session.  There are many reasons for this request, but mostly it is very distracting and time consuming, and we try to work as efficiently as possible, for baby’s sake.  By allowing us to work unhindered, you are ensuring a smooth and relaxing photography experience.

{ feeding schedule }

If at all possible, try not to give your baby a completely full feeding in the 2-3 hours before we arrive.  Small amounts to keep hunger at bay in the morning, then a full feeding upon our arrival is typically the best way to get baby into a deep sleep for the session.  When your newborn is comfortable and warm, posing is a much easier task.

It is very helpful to have a supply of pumped milk or formula to supplement your feedings during the session and help us monitor intake.  If baby is feeding exclusively at the breast, we don’t know how much or little is making it into the tummy.  We know feeding is a very touchy subject, but feeding on demand is critical, and we have reports that any changes to baby’s normal feeding schedule usually resolve themselves within a day. (See “Crying”)

Secure your pets!  We cannot stress this enough.  Animals are keenly aware of your emotional changes, plus our gear has been in thousands of homes, with all the other pet smells in the Houston.  This will understandably make your animals (dogs especially) very anxious.  Dogs and cats who are always underfoot present a trip hazard, as your photographer is moving about quickly to capture real-time moments and won’t always be aware if your kitty has snuck into the shooting space.  Consider outdoors, a crate, or a special room for your animals for everyone’s safety and comfort.

{ down time }

We set aside about three hours for newborn photography.  What takes so long?  Your baby is brand new and getting used to being in the world!  There is a lot of movement, posing manipulation, and general commotion that (s)he will have to endure in order to accomplish the images you have in mind.  Let us hold and soothe your baby and use our tricks and techniques to help everyone relax.  There is a lot of down time, so be patient and breathe.  Have a snack or a cocktail.  Just know that your session is completely normal.

{ crying }

As long as your baby is the only person crying, we can handle it.  If you melt down, all we can give you is chocolate and a hug.

There are very few things your newborn needs to feel safe and comfortable: a dry diaper, a full belly, and a warm environment. Please feed on demand.  Then feed some more.  And a little bit more.  If baby is crying, the session can’t continue.  Pacifiers are great tools, but if they aren’t in your care plan, plan on feeding a LOT and be patient.  We are not in a hurry!  Relax, settle in, and create a normal and predictable feeding pattern for baby, allowing him or her to eat as much as desired.

There is a difference between fussiness and crying.  A lot of the poses we employ can cause baby some discomfort because it is unfamiliar.  Usually, this only happens when baby is not fully asleep. We are used to babies showing some emotional resistance, and this is, again, normal.  If baby begins to cry in earnest or shows a consistent dislike, we will redirect our posing.

{ the ‘oops’ }

When you are working with babies who are not in a diaper, the Oops Factor goes up a notch.  We understand this and are prepared for it.  Don’t panic!  All of our gear is washable or disposable, and your photographer will definitely wear very casual clothes “just in case.”  Do not feel the need to launder anything or ask for a dry cleaning invoice.  It won’t be the first or last time we have been blessed.

Just remember to relax, enjoy the experience, and know that when it’s all said and done, you are going to have precious memories to look back on, along with portraiture you’ll cherish!