Welcome mommas to be, and congratulations! Thank you for allowing me the honour of photographing your new baby in their first few days of life! I am truly blessed be able to capture this incredible time in your lives and I look forward to getting to know you and your sweet new baby! In this newborn session prep guide you will find some information on what to expect during our session and how to prepare! Please feel free to bookmark this page so you can refer back to it as our session gets closer, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions! See you soon!
There are a few things you can do to help prepare baby for your session. These things will help us to have a great session and get you in and out of the studio as quickly as possible (the studio will be heated to about 80 degrees Fahrenheit and most people (dad’s especially) don’t want to hang out in a hot studio for hours on end).
Once you pay a deposit, I will mark you in my calendar. Please reach out w/in 24 hours of birth to ensure flexibility of scheduling. I only work 2-3 days a week in the studio, so clients must have weekday flexibility the first few weeks after baby is born. I prefer to photograph babies between 8-17 days old. Studio hours vary, but newborn sessions typically begin at 10 am. These sessions are typically 2.5-3.5 hours long depending on the baby and how quickly we get the shots.
(I understand dads may have to go back to work that following week. Many will pop in at the beginning or the end portion for family photos.)
– If you live less than 25 minutes from the studio, please plan to feed and burp baby right before you leave for our session. This will allow baby time to work out some gas on the ride to the studio. If you live more than 25 minutes, plan to feed baby at the studio when you arrive.
– Please do NOT change baby’s diet the day before or the day of the session. Continue to feed your baby how you normally do (breast-feed, formula-feed, or both). Bring plenty of bottles! Your baby will need to eat more often during the session than they normally do. Do not make any sudden changes to the baby’s diet that may contribute to fussiness (and if baby is breast-fed please refrain from any spicy food/caffeine for 24 hours prior to the session).
– This next part I realize may be difficult, but it really is very important for us to have a quick, successful session! Please try and keep baby awake for 2-3 hours prior to the session. Ways to do this include:
– letting baby play with only a diaper on
– tickling their feet
– refraining from using a pacifier
Baby may fall asleep in the car and this is ok, but if you have someone who can ride with you and help keep them awake, that is even better!
– Please trim baby’s finger and toenails before the session. If trimming them is difficult (trust me, I know it was nearly impossible with my little one) there are some great, inexpensive nail files on Amazon. They are battery operated and have a little rotating pad that is gentle and doesn’t hurt baby, but makes your life so much easier!
– Use a washcloth or baby face wipes to clean away any flakes on the skin (especially from around the mouth after eating) as well as any eye boogies (hey, it happens to us all, no worries but I’m sure you don’t want to see them blown up on your wall!).
– If your baby has any band-aids on please remove them as soon as you possibly can to allow the imprint marks to disappear.
– If you live more than 25 minutes away from the studio, please be prepared to feed your baby when you arrive. We want the baby to be full, content and sleeping after the feeding to ensure those curly, sleepy newborn pictures!
– Be sure to burp baby really well after the feeding. Gas can make a sleepy, happy baby into an uncomfortable one in seconds.
– Be patient. If your baby is fussy or alert, do not stress out. I promise you I don’t mind (I have a 1 year old of my own) and it is normal for a newborn to need a little time to settle (especially in a new environment). Newborns are very good at sensing your anxiety (which can in turn make them fussy) so we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. We will try and get them comfortable again, but if that does not seem possible (which is rare, but does happen), we will take a break or may even reschedule (at the photographer’s discretion).
– Be prepared for messes of all kinds. Babies do not care where, when and who they pee, poo, or spit up on. That is why I will be dressed in comfy sweats as I work and why you (if you want to be in the photos with your newborn) would want to bring an extra set of clothing.
As the session can take up to 4 hours (but we try our best to keep them at 2-3), we provide beverages (water, tea and coffee) and some light refreshments for the parents, but do bring plenty of snacks for baby and for siblings.
Please dress them in a plain white onesie. If it is cold, keep a blanket wrapped around them (over their carseat) to keep them warm. I will often take photos of baby with parents at the start of the session either in the onesie, naked, or wrapped in one of my wraps. The onesie makes it easy to undress baby without disturbing them too much by having to deal with lots of layers or buttons.
I have plenty of wraps, headbands, and hats that we can use to style your baby and we will discuss color schemes in the questionnaire I send out before our session.
For Mom and Dad
Mom: A subtle application of makeup can soften your skin and accent your facial features. Neutral looking fake lashes can really flatter your eyes but are by no means necessary. A neutral color (beige, grey, cream, white, blush etc) snug-fitting shirt/tank top is preferred. Please keep the color neutral and design simple (and please refrain from any large necklaces). Be sure your nails are tidy and clean (no nail polish) as your hands will make their way into the images. Also, rest assured, I aim to photograph using flattering angles and lighting to bring out the natural beauty in you and your family.
Dad: Please arrive freshly shaved (with a new razor, shaving cream and moisturizing after-shave lotion to avoid bumps and redness). Trim your beard, sideburns, mustache or goatee (looking especially for wiry stray hairs). Please make sure your nails are clean and trimmed. If you prefer not to be shirtless, wear a tight fitting v-neck t-shirt (also in a light neutral tone) with a pair of jeans.
Please avoid any patterns, large logos, bright colors, etc.
Including older brother/sister(s) in your newborn’s portrait is the perfect way to document this fleeting time in your lives!
Clean, clean, clean- clean nails, clean hair, clean feet, fresh scrub teeth, and wipe away eye boogers and snotty noses. The cleaner the child, the better their photos will turn out. If your child is still of napping age, make sure they nap before the shoot.
It is perfectly okay to bring bribes to a photo-shoot; some cereal, snacks or candies that won’t stain their teeth. Please avoid colorful drinks or lollipops within 24 hours of your shoot and not let them eat or drink anything will stain their cheeks, mouths or teeth.
Sister(s): Please wear a snug-fitting tank or simple dress in a neutral color. The girl’s hair should be natural and free of bows, headbands, etc., and just like Mom, no nail polish please.
Brother(s): A snug pair of jeans and shirtless or snug fitting neutral t-shirt are preferred.
Due to the duration of the newborn session, I require young children arrive to the studio separately. We will photograph them with their new sibling at the beginning of the session. The studio is heated to 80 degrees and the session is long, most toddlers and young children will not enjoy siting in a very warm studio for the remainder of the session.This can be very distracting for the photographer and baby, especially when our goal is a calm, sleeping baby. While it rarely happens, we cannot guarantee a toddler will cooperate for pictures with their little sibling.
These Newborn Session Prep tips will help you prepare for your newborn shoot and ensure that your session runs smoothly so we can focus on capturing your newborn baby’s portraits!
Sarah Parker is a premier newborn photographer based out of Cumming, GA. We serve Greater Atlanta and the surrounding areas including Cumming GA, Johns Creek GA, Alpharetta GA, Suwanee GA, Buford GA, Gainsville GA, Dahlonega GA, Forsyth County GA, Fulton County GA, Gwinnett County, Cherokee County GA.
A proud member of Professional Photographers of America, Sarah Parker Photography is proud to capture your newborn portraits beautifully and safely.