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Tips for a successful newborn session

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Congratulations!
You’re going to be having a baby! Whether this baby is your first, third or fifth, this is no doubt an exciting time for you and your family.

There is so much that happens in the weeks and months that pass between purchasing your first pair of maternity jeans to picking out candles for your baby’s first birthday cake . . . and well, frankly, it all happens so fast! Well, we can’t stop time, but we can help you remember some of the most pivotal moments during that very special first year of your baby’s life.

Investment. Newborn session fee is $295. Images and products are sold separately. Most families invest between around 1500 on their custom portrait art.

 

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Scheduling the session

Consultation. Once you contact us to schedule your baby photo session, we will pencil you in around your due date and start preparing for your session. All of our photo packages include a complimentary planning consultation to help get the most out of your photo session. We will discuss what kind of photos you’d like to achieve, any particular groupings with family members, the style, colours, outfits… We will also talk about your home decor, how you envision displaying your prints, help you plan any gift items to grandparents and design your session around your personal needs. Although we’ll go through most of the details in person or on the phone, we hope that this guide will help you find everything in one place.

We will pencil in your due date as the tentative date for the session. Babies rarely come when they’re expected, so the actual session date will be confirmed once the baby arrives. It is important however to book your session early enough, somewhere in your second trimester, to make sure that we have the space for you in our calendar and have time to properly plan for it.

Baby is born! Please add us to the list of people to contact when you’re sharing the joyous news with the world. We will schedule your baby’s photo session on the 4th or 5th day of age. Which brings us to the next point:

Best time to photograph babies is between 3 – 6 days of age, but it can still be done until 14 days old. We know what you’re thinking, and just how exhausted and tired you will be. But trust us, it’s worth it! Babies under 7 days old are the most sleepy, can be easily posed and we will able to move through the session with ease and get a wide variety of poses and backgrounds. They just eat and sleep! After 7 days however, babies start being more fussy and will require a LOT more patience when trying to get them to sleep and we likely won’t be able to achieve as much variety in our photos and have a longer and tiring session for everyone involved. Baby acne, colic also can start showing up at this time and babies can no longer curl up and hold some of the cute womb-like poses, with feet under their bottoms. After two weeks of age, it is almost impossible to get babies into that deep sleep and therefore, the cute baby poses. Here’s a cool video that demonstrates how babies are posed – you’ll understand why they have to be so young!

If your baby is 14 days or older, we will recommend that we do a lifestyle session instead, where the focus is on baby’s surroundings and the every day life. Think of it like the series of “a day in the life of…” being a new parent.

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session LOCATION

Baby sessions usually happen at our penthouse-style studio however can also be held in your home if desired. This way not only is baby more comfortable but so are the parents and siblings. We totally understand that your home may be a mess and you’re not feeling your best – you just had a baby! That’s normal and expected. We will set up the space and move clutter and furniture if needed – don’t worry, we will move everything back before we leave. We will be bringing some props, blankets, posing bowls, equipment and everything else that we need in order to set up.

Planning for the session

Outfits for the baby. We photograph babies without any clothes on, sometimes with a diaper+diaper cover, but otherwise completely in the buff! Clothes take away from showing how tiny and different newborns are within their first few days of life and also makes it more difficult to capture tiny details such as hands and feet and the umbilical cord stub. Don’t worry, we pose them in a way where no private bits are visible.

Accessories and props. There’s plenty of cute accessories and props however that we use to add style and personality. Think cute hairbands, bows, tiny knit hats, delicate wraps, knit diaper covers… We will bring many of these with us but you are encouraged to do some shopping as well – many of our clients love Olivia Rose for babies. Look for delicate items with texture (such as knits), soft pastel colours in light to medium darkness. Darker colours are not recommended. Solid colours or very subtle patterns are best. Consider using some family heirlooms or theme items that are meaningful to you – like posing a sleeping baby over daddy’s baseball glove.

Outfits for you. Have a few outfits ready for each family member that will be photographed. We recommend light and airy clothes as the room will be kept very warm where we’re shooting to keep the baby comfortable. Layers work well. Think light and pastel colours and dress for your body shape. Clothes that are too baggy don’t flatter anyone in photos so try to find some well fitting tops and tanks. See our pinterest board some inspiration.

Displaying your photos. Speaking of inspiration, here’s another pinterest board you can check out for ideas on how to set up your nursery and display the photos of your little one.

on the day of the session

Treat yourself to something nice. You’ve just had a baby a few days ago and likely aren’t feeling your best. But we think this is the perfect time to pamper yourself! Go have your hair + makeup done (or better yet, have someone come to you!), have a relaxing bath or get your nails done. Looking super relaxed and at your best will make you feel more comfortable during the session. This is an exciting time in your life and we want to capture all of that…so take care of yourself first! And feel free to tell your husbands that we’re making you if they need a little convincing!

Make the bed. Just this once. We highly recommend white to light cream bedding to keep things light and airy. Solid soft and very light colours are best, try to avoid patterns.
There’s a high chance that we will move things to your bedroom at some point, for some cozy and simple shots of new family cuddled up together!

Turn up the heat 30 minutes prior to our arrival to a very toasty 80 degrees or so. Newborns are used to being all bundled up,warm + cozy…and then we come in and yank off all their clothes for those adorable naked baby shots. They tend not to like that too much! Pushing up the thermostat is guaranteed to make the session flow more smoothly and help them sleep better. We may be sweating, but the baby will be nice and warm…and that’s really all that matters! Bonus if you also have a small space heater for additional spot warming.

To have on hand:

  • Any accessories and props you may have prepared for the session – we may not get the chance to use all of the items, but we’ll look through them with you to determine what will work best
  • Extra baby blankets and towels, as well as wet wipes and everything else that goes with changing the diapers and cleaning up any messes
  • Extra changes of clothes for everyone involved – besides wanting to change up a the look between photos, there is also a good chance that some poo/pee accidents will happen on your clothes and you’ll want to change into a fresh shirt/pants

Also:

  • Have your nails trimmed and neat – your and your husband’s hands (and maybe even feet!) will play a large part in the photos
  • Try wearing lightweight clothing – it will be very warm where we are working and we don’t want you to get too sweaty
  • Please loosen your baby’s diaper and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those little imprint marks time to disappear. (You baby will be naked in most of the shots, but we pose them so that all the “important bits” are not on display)
  • Start feeding your baby about 15 minutes prior to our arrival – we will start setting up while you finish feeding and burping, so that we can get straight to work when your baby is ready to go
  • Consider having baby’s grandmother or a friend present during the session – we can always use an extra pair of hands to help coordinate everything and sometimes there’s nothing better than a loving grandma to soothe an irritated baby

During the session

When we first arrive at your home, we will walk through your home looking for the best light and that is where we’ll do a majority of the shoot. Sometimes the best location ends up being a foyer, by the backdoor or kitchen…usually wherever there is a large window. Nothing flatters like natural light, so we prefer to use it whenever possible. For this reason, sessions are normally done mid-morning to late-afternoon when window lighting is as its best, but this can change a bit based on what direction your windows are facing. You can help us prep for your session by sending us a few quick photo snaps of your space! We’ll also bring additional lighting equipment to help out when needed.

We will begin setting up and start taking photos of baby alone. After that we will move onto some relationship poses with mom, dad, siblings and the entire family together. Then we will arrange any props that you have chosen for those special photos and poses. We’ll also be more than happy to take as many breaks as needed to help him/her re-fuel. It’s tough work being a model!

Relax! We’re pretty experienced holding and posing newborns, your baby is in safe hands, we promise! So yes! Feel free to rest and leave the room for a bit if you’d like. We’ve had parents who’ve used this time to take a nap, shower…and even run out for a quick errand. If we have a question or need you for feeding, we’ll come and track you down.

Patience is key! Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. We take the baby’s lead; getting them to sleep before posing takes time and they may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. In fact, we’d say that a good 50% of your session will involve feeding, diaper changes, and soothing to get baby comfortable. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what baby is giving us. Unfortunately…this isn’t something we can predict! So we ask that everyone remain calm, should he/she not want to sleep, since your baby will pick up on any frustration in the room. And if  sleep doesn’t happen, that’s okay! Wide-eyed newborn photos are beautiful too. And we can always do some lifestyle photos.

Messes happen. Your baby is going to be in the buff for the majority of this shoot. Please don’t panic if your baby decides to use our blankets (or us) as his/her own personal potty. This is natural and we expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it. We wash all of our baby props and blankets between each session anyway. It would definitely be helpful if you had a stack of old towels, extra wipes and blankets available for when things get messy though. We also bring puppy pee-pads to help protect your furniture and the blankets below the posing blanket.