Carried over from the blog formerly known as Melanie Rose Prince's (just go with it), this is my newborn session FAQ. Please feel free to email with additional questions.
Here are some newborn session preparation tips in a nutshell. The Cliff's Notes version, if you will. Explanations follow below.
1) It is to your benefit to schedule your session as soon as possible...i.e., while you are still pregnant!
2) I come to you! Do you really want to schlep the baby and all of his or her "stuff" out when you've finally gotten home from the hospital? I didn't think so.
3) Turn off all of the lights and open all blinds/curtains. I will be looking for the best source of natural light in your home.
4) About 20-30 minutes before my arrival to your home, please turn off any air conditioners/fans and let it get WARM.
5) Please feed the baby just before I arrive.
6) Dress the baby in a loose onesie/t-shirt and loose diaper. No socks.
7) The parents always end up in the photos (unless you do not want to be).
8) Please, no distracting noise in the background. Calming music is ok. I bring a white noise machine as well.
Remember - My goal, plain and simple, is to get the absolute best photographs of your baby in the least stressful environment for all of you. This is not supposed to be hectic, confusing, or any words like that. I promise, if things are not calm, it will show through the pictures!
Here is a lot more information regarding the above tips!
1) How soon after birth should the session be scheduled?
I am often booked several weeks in advance, and as mentioned before, it's VITAL to shoot newborns between 5-14 days of birth. If you wait until you have the baby to contact me, I may not have a slot for you within that timeframe, and that's a bummer.
Later than 2 weeks old and the baby will have not only grown and changed considerably since birth (losing the "newborn look"), but they become much more reactive and less calm during the shoots. They also may develop baby acne or colic.
Note: I understand that scheduling a newborn session depends on your due date and when the baby decides to show up. For this type of shoot, please let me know your due date as soon as you'd like to book and we can confirm a shoot within 7-10 days of the date you'd like to schedule.
2) Where will the session take place?
I come to your home. During the weeks after birth, both you and the baby are obviously most comfortable in familiar surroundings and don't need to be running around town for a photo shoot.
3) How much room do you need to set up? How can you possibly take decent photos at my house?
I work with all natural light and never use a flash or lighting equipment with babies, so I don't need much space at all. As long as you provide some open space near a window that gets good light, you can leave the rest to me. If you know what time of day your home gets the best light, that is when we should schedule.
4) How can I prepare my home for the shoot?
I typically use a Boppy or something similar with cushy blankets arranged on top, in order to set up a comfy baby "set," so if you have one, that's all I'll need available.
A NOTE ABOUT PROPS: My style of photography really focuses on the baby and I aim to keep it natural, but I am happy to use any props, apparel or items of sentimental value that you provide. If you have special ideas for props, please share them with me in advance. You are more than welcome to provide your own blankets and hats, and I encourage this to add personality and individuality to each shoot.
I get very up close and personal with the babies, as you can see in my photos, so large sets are not necessary. Take a look at the ACTION>RESULT! (link opens in new window) album on my facebook page. This
is how I work: Just me, the camera, the baby and something comfy for the
baby to lay on. You will see me shooting, along with the exact finished product resulting from the shot taken in that set-up. You may be surprised how little space I need!
4) Why does it need to be warm?
Babies hate being cold, especially when they're all naked. I will bring a space heater in the cooler months for extra heat.
5) How can we prepare the baby?
Feed the baby right before my arrival. Make sure that belly is full. Yes, that means the baby will probably be sleeping or sleepy! This is a good thing. Take a look at my photos (and other baby photographers) - most babies are sleeping in the photos, or at least very serene looking. While babies are resting, they easily fall into the best positions for very cute photos (curled up, hands folded, resting chin on cheeks, legs crossed, etc), and I promise you their eyes will open at some point during the shoot.
6) How should we dress the baby?
Don't worry about picking out clothes, unless there is something of sentimental or religious value. Put diapers on as loosely as possible to avoid lines in the skin and avoid other tight clothing and socks.
Also good are hats. All babies look insanely adorable in hats.
7) Will we (the parents) be in the photos?
If you'd like to be! The majority and focus of the session is on the baby, but I definitely encourage some shots with Mommy and/or Daddy. If you don't want to have your photo taken, I would recommend at least holding/touching the baby or having him/her grasp onto your fingers in some shots. This not only illustrates the smallness of the newborn, but creates a very nice family image. In this case, there are no additional costs for the parents joining, though it should not be confused with formal family portraits.
Make sure to wear neutral, solid colors (not black), and have clean & groomed nails.
8) Why can't we watch TV during the shoot?
The ultimate goal is to create a calm, safe environment for the newborn so that he or she feels comfortable enough to sleep soundly through the shoot while I position him/her into cuteness. Eliminating outside distractions and noise will allow the baby to be serene and peaceful, and it will show through in the photos.