• Jessica Handjiev

what to expect & how to prepare for your newborn session

Updated: Feb 26, 2020

A sleepy baby is our ultimate goal for the newborn session!

The ideal time-frame to capture sleepy newborns is in the first 10 days, ideally no later than two weeks. As baby gets older, she/he becomes more and more alert and it becomes more challenging to capture the peaceful look that we are after.

Here are some ways you can prepare for your session to help us achieve great results:

1. Have your outfits chosen before the day of your session. This can be a stressful task so don't leave it to the end. Check out our post on What to Wear at Your Newborn Session.

2. Make a list of what you'd like to capture throughout our session and text it to me. We will stick to the basic portraits and casual candid unless you have some ideas. Some examples of additional photo opportunities: breastfeeding, bath, reading a book, special gifts like quilts or stuffed animals, photo of your ultrasound, musical instrument being played and anything else that is special and worth documenting.

3. Please do not worry about cleaning your home. We will only use certain areas of the home and we can spot-clean/organize as we go. The last thing I want is for you to feel stressed about getting your home just right. I'd prefer to spend the extra time doing a quick cleanup rather than photographing a mama that is exhausted.

4. Choose some blankets that we can use throughout our session. I always prefer to use what my clients have because it makes the images more personal. I will have backup blankets on hand if you don't have anything you really love. Sticking with neutral or light colours, clean patterns and nice textures keeps the focus of the images on your baby. Bright colours and patterns tend to grab too much attention and I prefer to avoid them, unless we are using them for a limited time (for example, Grandma made baby a colourful quilt and we want to grab at least a couple photos with this special item).

5. Make sure you eat prior to the session and stay well hydrated throughout. We have 2-3 hours together (plan for 3). You will get hungry so feel free to snack throughout as you need.

6. Turn up the heat in your house before I arrive. It will feel uncomfortably warm for us adults, but it will help your baby fall and stay asleep.

7. Open up all blinds and curtains. We want as much natural light as possible to work with. This also means we will not be using house lights so turn them off. Lights change the colours in photos and make skin tones look more yellow/orange(ish).

8. Give your baby a bath approximately 1 hour before the session. The purpose of the bath is mostly to keep your baby awake and tire them out so they are super sleepy for our session. If your baby has dry skin, moisturize.

9. Give your baby a full feeding right before I arrive. Do your best to keep your baby awake so they receive a full feeding. Prepare whatever you need to feed your your baby throughout the session.

10. Change your baby's diaper and dress them in a white short-sleeved onesie.

11. When I arrive, I will take a look at the rooms in your home to identify which areas have the best light and setup for photos. At this time feel free to finish feeding your baby and getting them changed into their outfit.

Things to avoid during your session:

  • visitors

  • scheduling other appointments

  • try not to stress yourselves out before the session. Sometimes that can come across in the images.

  • buying or preparing props for the baby. I do not use props in my photography approach and am also not comfortable placing babies in unsafe positions. Not only do I not have training in posed photography but I do not believe that approach is 100% safe. Please do not ask me to make exceptions. I can always refer you to a photographer that specializes in posed newborn photography if you feel this is important to you.

What else you can expect during our session:

  • we will take plenty of opportunities to calm, change and feed baby. This is built into the 3 hours that we have together so you need not worry if your baby is having a hard time falling asleep right away.

  • your bedroom, nursery and living room are usually the main rooms we will utilize. If you have another child, we will likely photograph in their room as well.

  • you will be responsible for holding and moving your baby for the most part. I will tweak things as we go but prefer that you take the lead on holding and moving your baby around.

  • if you're not keen about warming the whole house, feel free to use a room heater and we can move it around.

  • we might use your dryer to warm up blankets as another way to help your baby fall asleep.

  • you can expect to be in a lot of the photos that we capture. While some photographers will focus only on the baby, I take the approach of incorporating family into the majority of your images. This means you will be a part of the process, as much as your baby.