Whether this is your first or your 5th, it’s a special occasion and I’m so honored to be a part of celebrating your new baby! I’ve put together this helpful guide to answer any questions you might have about preparing for your baby’s portrait session. With a little bit of preparation and a lot of enthusiasm, we’re going to have the perfect session and create some beautiful images of your wonderful family.
Schedule your session as SOON as you know your due date!
This gives us a chance to ‘soft book’ your session, which just means that we get you on our calendar roughly around that time. We’ll check back in at 4 weeks from the date and then 2 weeks to see if things are still on track.
Once your little one arrives, we can pick an exact date that works for your family and book it.
The BEST time for your session is when baby is between 4-7 days old.
Babies are at maximum sleepiness and flexibility at this time. The older they get, the tougher it gets to pose them, which means it takes longer to get less images.
They also start to break out around 14 days which requires more editing and can delay you receiving your images.
Don’t worry about it! We can still get amazing images, here’s what you can expect:
For older babies up to 4 weeks, it’s tougher to get them into a deep sleep to pose, so there will be more swaddling to keep them where we want them.
For naked or posed images, it’s entirely possible to get sleepy, serene pictures, but there will probably be a lot of stretching, so be ready for more natural, awake type photos.
There are three options for locations: Our studio, your home or at a location (weather permitting). There are pros and cons for each one and there is no place that’s ‘better’ than another.
Our studio is where most newborn sessions happen. The biggest upside is that you have access to ALL of our props, outfits and equipment. All images will be taken indoors.
Your home is the second most popular choice. It’s convenient and if you have other children, they’re much easier to keep entertained! There will be a limited amount of props and items that we can bring.
On location is more rare, but can make some of the most amazing images. You definitely get a unique set of images when we take baby out to a field or the forest or beach. The props and items are even more limited in this situation, but usually the location acts as the main attraction and they’re less necessary
Choose what fits YOUR family! There is no right or wrong location as long as we can keep baby warm and comfortable.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive for your session is that we keep it toasty! Baby is used to being warm and if they’re going to be naked or lightly wrapped, it’s got to be nice and hot for them to be comfortable.
A nice rule of thumb is that if we’re sweating, baby is comfy.
Good Morning, Sunshine
There are two things you’ll want to do the morning of your session to make everything run smoothly.
First, keep that baby awake! A baby that sleeps all morning will be awake throughout their session. If you have a partner in the car, have them keep baby engaged during the ride.
Second, keep that baby hungry! Plan on giving baby a bottle as soon as you arrive at the studio. Nothing gets a baby sleepy faster than a full tummy. If baby eats 3-4 hours before the session, that’s fine because they’ll definitely be hungry again.
When it comes to babies and poop, it’s not a matter of if, it’s WHEN.
If we’re doing naked poses, don’t worry about baby making a mess. Everything we use is going to be washed regardless of if there’s pee or poop on it.
Don’t worry if your baby pees or poops on me either. I’ve got a son, so I’ve dealt with it all before and I always have a change of clothes with me. I promise I won’t hold it against you!
We will take every precaution to keep your baby and family safe, but if you’re ever uncomfortable, please say something!
It takes a lot of time to get babies into position, which is why we take 4 hours for each session. We never rush or do anything that baby doesn’t like, even if it means giving up on a pose because they’re a little fussy.
Some poses will require help to be achieved safely, these are called composite shots. They feature a helping hand holding up baby’s head or arms and the images are patched together later to make the final image.
If we use any hanging props, we take a picture of the prop in hanging without the baby and then we rest the prop on a large beanbag. The images are put together in editing to create the final photo.
Siblings and families are always welcome during our newborn session! Here are a few tips for dressing the rest of the family.
Bring more than one outfit. You never know what can happen and it’s common to want to change your mind once we’re getting ready.
Keep it simple, well-fitted and comfortable. Busy patterns, baggy sleeves or clothing you’re not yourself in are big no-no’s.
No matching! There are some exceptions, but for the most part, you don’t want everyone in the same thing. It’s much more interesting to have a combination of different shades of the same color and different styles than looking like clones!
When it comes to props and clothing, you don’t HAVE to bring anything! Our studio is full-service, meaning we have everything available that’s needed for our sessions, but you can bring anything you want to include and we’ll make sure to incorporate it into our design.
Ideas for things to bring include things with sentimental value, items with baby’s name and favorite toys.
We are always expanding the props and outfits, so if you have an inspiration photo that includes a certain type of wrap or prop, let me know! We love to consider purchasing new items that we can then have and use in the future.
For supplies, load up your diaper bag with more than you think you’ll need. Double the normal amount of diapers you keep on you, bring one more bottle than baby normally eats in 4 hours and have a couple of spare outfits for the ride home.
It’s actually best to go in with as few expectations as possible. Just know that we ARE going to get amazing, beautiful images no matter what. If baby is absolutely not having it and we cannot seem to make anything happen, it may be best to reschedule for another day, but other than that, don’t worry.
Your first hour in the studio will be mostly just getting baby ready. We’ll take time to feed baby, loosen their diaper to get rid of indents and just cuddle until they’re happy.
While we’re cuddling, we’ll start to pick out props and colors that you like to build the different sets for your session.
We normally have 4-5 different sets with just as many outfits, maybe more. The first set usually takes about an hour. It’s going to seem like we’re going slowly and running out of time, but don’t panic! As baby gets used to being posed, it will go much faster. The last set of the day usually only takes about 20.
Between sets, we’ll check baby’s diaper and change outfits. We’ll also top off with a little more milk or formula if baby starts to wake up too much.
The last set of the day usually only takes about 20 minutes compared to the first set taking an hour. That’s how much quicker it goes!
© 2019 Shauna Kato Photography. All Rights Reserved.