We don’t know of any other cliché that rings as true as this one: Babies grow so fast!
During COVID-19, for the safety of everyone involved, we won’t be doing any IN-HOME newborn sessions, but we are happy to be photographing OUTDOOR newborn sessions at your home (or nearby park) which offers all the same convenience for families as well as the personal touch of the backdrop being one of the places where you’re raising your little one- it’s really special adding context and sweet memories to your newborn photos!
We approach our Milwaukee newborn sessions (and surrounding areas) in the same fashion as our family sessions: with an eye toward connection and love, with a lifestyle approach. These tips we are going to share with you will result in less posed photos, and because of that we feel they have more heart. We like to focus on babies being babies!
We love that our outdoor newborn sessions are still telling the story of your family, but in case you’d like to incorporate an indoor setting, too, we wanted to share some tips on how you can capture some photos on your own!
The Best Time for Newborn Photos
Ideally, 5-12 days after birth is the optimal time for newborn photos. But this isn’t always the optimal time as new parents! If you can, do the photos within two weeks because that is when babies are the sleepiest and curled up into themselves. If you don’t get to it until after that date, don’t stress. Just realize that the session may take a little longer because you may need breaks to settle the baby.
Most babies do best in the morning or evening with tummies full after a feeding. Keep the house a little warmer than you personally would like so they don’t get chilled, and use a white noise app to help lull them into a deeper sleep. It works well, too, to give your little one a bath before their feeding. That way they’ll be extra sleepy and cozy during your photos. Be sure to dress your baby in their photo outfit before they feed so that you don’t have to wake them to change outfits.
- There are lots of photos out there of tiny babies scrunched like frogs, or put into glass bowls adorned with flowers, and we want to emphasize that those photos are composites created in Photoshop after the photo session. Never attempt to recreate these photos on your own for the safety of your baby.
- Any kind of pose that you have to manipulate or force should not be attempted.
- Don’t lay your baby on or next to your pet. Even if they’re usually mellow and gentle, all it takes is the ringing of the doorbell to startle them. Instead, lay your baby on your lap, for example, with your pet resting next to you in a way that they can’t accidentally step on your baby. You want your pet to feel safe and comfortable, so don’t force them into any position.
- If you want photos of your baby on their changing table, for example, be sure to have a support person right next to them to prevent the baby from rolling off of the table.
- If at any time your pet seems stressed or wary, then it’s time to move on to some different photos without your pet.
- Poses with siblings should be comfortable for your other child(ren). For younger siblings like toddlers, we recommend all poses in the middle of your bed so that no one gets close to rolling off (or dropped!).
Where To Take the Photos
The first and most important bit of advice: do not worry about your house being clean! Tiny babies require close-ups to get those sweet little features, so while your home is adding context to your photos, you’re not going to see large areas of it at a time.
Dark rooms can be difficult for your camera to focus, so look for a room that has windows. Sheer curtains over the window are ideal for diffusing light, which produces a pleasant dreamy glow and keeps the light even without hotspots on the baby’s face or body.
We love snuggly photos on the bed. Make sure your comforter or bedcover is plain, simple, and timeless. You don’t want patterns distracting from the baby’s features.
It’s also great to capture nursery details: the crib, changing table, rocking chair and a wide photo of the whole room.
If you’re nursing your little one, consider getting some photos capturing that special bond, as well as bottle-feeding. When you’re in the thick of it with lots of feedings, it can become such a regular part of your day, but before you know it you’ll be out of this stage and it will be so nice to look back on these photos.
Props & Clothing
Props can be really sweet and special in the photos if they have meaning. Personal items like hand-crocheted blankets, stuffed animals, or books can enhance a few of the photos and can be a great gift to give to the person who gifted you those items.
Most babies do not like being changed at this age (we haven’t met one yet!), so keep outfit changes to a minimum. Every time you change their clothing, you may have to invest time getting them back to sleep. Definitely save headbands for the very end of the session as many babies don’t like them, and they can leave small indentations on their heads that don’t look great in photos. Also, avoid shirt with collars because they have a tendency to creep up and block your baby’s face.
Swaddles are adorable (we love the ones that have velcro because they’re so easy and don’t shift around), and parents can wear more neutral colors since they are actually the backdrop for a lot of the newborn photos. That way when you do close-ups of the baby in your arms, for example, a pattern you’re wearing won’t distract from your baby.
Moving from one pose to the next may require a little baby-whispering. If baby stirs or becomes unsettled, maintain as much physical contact with the baby as you can. Lay your hands on them and shush softly and rock them gently.
If they become fussy, switch your course. Avoid getting yourself stressed because babies most definitely pick up on that! It’s fine to quit for the day and try again another time.
Before you take your photos, think about how you normally snuggle with your baby and which types of moments you’d like to capture. Also remember to photograph that sweet downy hair and tiny fingers and toes!
Look at this as an opportunity to also make your other child(ren) feel special, too! They love to feel included during this big transition. Check out our safety tip above, and be sure to “read the room.” When we’re the photographer, kids love feeling like a part of the session, but with parents directing and taking the photos, they might push boundaries or be cranky about it. If this is the case, don’t force it and just try another day. We also recommend not offering bribes because this sets the precedent that photos are something they shouldn’t enjoy, when it’s actually the opposite :)
We hope these tips were helpful! Feel free to check out our Maternity, Newborn & Babies gallery for some inspiration, and if you take some of your own photos, we’d love to see them :) If you’re interested in our outdoor newborn sessions, please get in touch!