Tips for Newborn
few tips to prepare you for our newborn session, please read carefully as this has come through experience. Jonatan Saine Photography loves working very closely with new moms or mom-to-be to better understand that photographing a newborn is so much fun, but there are a few things to prepare for the big day.
. SCHEDULE A SESSION WITH PLENTY OF TIME!
I understand life gets really busy, especially when you are expecting it can be quite exciting and distracting at the same time, please be sure to make time to schedule a session with plenty of time so that you are guaranteed a spot in my calendar.
· IDEAL TIME FOR A NEWBORN SESSION!
The ideal time frame for a newborn session is within their first 10 days of life, but keep in mind that the sooner the better, meaning the first week of birth.
The reason behind this is due to the ability to move them and place them into those sleepy positions that we get to see throughout the internet because these are a ‘must’ have photographs for new parents. These newbies are much better to handle them because they just want to sleep, however, sometime after the 2nd week which I find it harder to handle different baby positions they have discovered that they can move around, stretch, open their eyes more, and they tend to struggle a little bit more if they are a few weeks older already. Yes, every baby is different from each other, but a vast majority of these babies tend to be very sleepy in their first 10 days of birth.
I highly recommend that we do a session in the comfort of your own home because that is where babies feel the safest, and of course the mom too. However, if mom and dad are really up to doing a session in an open space like in an open space, beach and so on then all you need to do is recommend a place – but I highly recommend that we do it in your home.
Worried because your home is messy and not up to part for presentation? Do not stress out! You just had a BABY! If you didn’t have a messy home, then I would be the one to be worried! J
It is guaranteed that I will be moving furniture around to find the perfect place to do our newborn session but I promised that I will be putting things back where it belongs – when I move things around I’m looking for the best lighting situation and best angle to photograph the baby allowing me to concentrate on the baby and its background/surrounding (such as; blanket, bed, and so on), and once I’m able to find a spot whether you are in the middle of moving I have rocked these session – I will never photograph a back wall where uncle Joe has caught a fish while visiting Nebraska a few years back, I would never do that to you, so please do not stress for a single moment that I will be photographing your home – after all it is about the baby.
· FINDING THE RIGHT LIGHT.
Once I have arrived to location I will ask if you have good natural light coming through any of your windows. Natural light is the best resource when lighting a newborn or any portrait for that matter, so I tend to stay next to a big window (remember that I move furniture around, well this is part of that). If you are unsure of what good natural light would look like, then I would ask if I could walk around your home to find the best possible location to photograph the baby.
No one knows the amount of sun light that comes through your home windows better than you, so If you have a particular time frame where the sun light is best exposed inside your home then I suggest you let me know so that we can plan accordingly.
For those that live in an apartment and you absolutely know that you don’t have good lighting coming through the windows in any part of your home, then don’t worry, I also bring my traditional lighting equipment and is used when needed.
A WARM HOME MEANS A HAPPY AND SLEEPY BABY!
You know that moment when you are cuddled up with a nice warm and big blanket as you are watching a movie that is the feeling babies feel when they are in a nice and warm environment. If it is doable I recommend that you keep your home warmer than normal for our session (80 or higher), babies are used to being warm and by doing this will make them more sleepy. We might get hot and sweating, but this will allow for a more smooth session and that is what matters at the end of a session, to have amazing photographs.
Crank the heat 20-40 minutes before our session to ensure that it’s warm enough for the clothes yanking, even better if you have several blankets that are warm enough to keep the babies warm – they love that!
Please loosen your baby’s diaper and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session, this gives those little imprints marks time to disappear. (Your baby will be naked in most of the shots, but we pose them so that all of the ‘important bits’ are not on display.
. SLEEP + FULL TUMMY.
When the baby is sleeping is when we are able to have the best images. I recommend that you do whatever it takes to make sure your baby is exhausted; Keeping your little one awake on top of your own sleep deprivation might feel like torture, but we think it will be worth it in the end!
A full belly is a happy belly! Please feed and burp baby right before our session to ensure a happy and sleepy (“milk drunk”) baby. I will also be more than happy to take as many breaks to help him/her re-fuel. It’s tough work being a model!
· KEEP NOISE DOWN!
I suggest you do whatever it takes to keep the noise level to a minimum during the session. However if you have siblings, family members, pets that would want to be part of the session I suggest to include them in the very beginning or at the very end of a session. Only those being photographed should be present to help maintain a calm environment.
Newborn sessions can are best when last anywhere from 2-3 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Unfortunately…this isn’t something I can predict! I 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.
· IN CASE YOU MISSED THAT: RELAX!
Moms tend to stress out because this is a new experience…and they aren’t used to the waiting game that isnewborn photography.
They see their baby being fussy or having a difficult time getting settled and panic.
“This is a disaster! They aren’t going to get ANY good photos!”
It isn’t, and I will!
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 would involve feeding, diaper changes, and cuddling to get baby comfortable. If that doesn’t work, I’ll take a break or I’ll work with what baby is giving us. Sometimes that best photos happen when baby isn’t doing what we want.
Just remember: Babies can sense stress and anxiety (especially from their mommy’s!) It’s super important that EVERYONE remain calm and relaxed during this session. Keeping the environment as mellow as possible is pretty much the only way we’re going to get the shots we’re looking for.
· POOP HAPPENS!
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 one of my blankets as his/her own personal potty.
This is natural and is expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it. It would definitely be helpful if you had a stack of old towels, extra wipes and blankets available for when things get messy though.
*If you would like shots in a diaper, it’s a good idea to have a cloth diaper, diaper cover in a solid color, bloomers, or something to put over the diaper. Diapers on their own tend to look a little messy and distracting in photos, but throwing a cover over it cleans things up.
I will bring to the session some of the props including; adorable tiny luggage sets, clocks, sings, knit hats, headbands, etc that I’ll be bringing to your session. You are also; of course, welcome to use any of your own props. Looks for items with texture and color to help make your images unique.
If you have any family heirlooms, toys, hats, props, perhaps a profession that mom or dad do and have a prop that would like to use (highly recommended) etc. that you would like me to use in your session, please gather them before I arrive. I may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but I’ll look through them with you to determine what will work best.
*I also STRONGLY recommend that you discuss any ideas, props or poses you have in mind at least a week prior to your session.
I start planning out your session weeks in advance, so dropping a huge idea on us mid-session (that requires an unavailable prop) can cause stress on everyone! So talk to me early on and let me know what you have in mind!
· SPEAK UP!
Your baby’s safety comes first! If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let me know! I take every measure to ensure that your baby is never in any danger. For that reason, I will always make sure that a parent or assistant is nearby to lend support if needed.
· BUT WHAT DO *I* WEAR?
I know! You just had a baby and aren’t feeling your best. But I think this is the perfect time to pamper yourself!
Go have your hair + makeup done (or better yet, have someone come to you!), schedule a massage or have 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 your photographer is making you if they need a little convincing!
As far as clothing? Keep it simple. Throw in a little color if you’d like, but skip the busy patterns. (And please don’t feel the need to match everyone in white shirts and jeans – there’s simple…and then there’s boring!)
For moms, I suggest cotton knit camis and knit tops.
I’m also big fan of skin-on-skin portraits with you holding your baby against you. They’re so simple + timeless!
So if you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top or tank as an alternative.
· FOR THE MEN.
Your hands, and possibly even your feet, will play a major role in this session, so it’s important that you tend to them too!
Even if you aren’t planning on participating much in the session, you’ll still be handling your baby a bit, so it’s a good idea to touch up on your grooming.
Trim and tidy your nails and apply lotion to any dry skin. (It also never hurts to dab a little moisturizer on your face to help you look more refreshed. Those late nights can take a toll on your skin!)
A little clothing advice? Long or short-sleeved knits are best. (Make sure there isn’t too much bagginess in the sleeve.) Undershirts also work well.
I suggest that you DON’T wear any button down shorts, and make sure your t-shirts are free of logos or too much writing. *Wrinkles do show up in photos, so please make sure all clothing is ironed or steamed. The retouching involved is extensive and will incur an extra fee.
· MAKE THE BED!
Is there anything more simple + gorgeous than a new family cuddled up in bed together? The answer is no!
So I might suggest that we move the session to your bedroom at some point. If that’s something that appeals to you, a few tip:
1. Make the bed, just this once.
2. A solid blanket/comforter (or something that isn’t TOO busy is best.)
3.I highly recommend white to light cream bedding to keep things light and airy. (And are more than happy to bring some along if needed!
Did I miss anything? Have a more specific question?
I’m more than happy to help in any way I can
Shoot me an email: Jonatan.firstname.lastname@example.org
or give us a call: 949.292.0185