10 Simple Tips for a Successful Newborn Photo Session

Newborn photography sessions are the sweetest!  Seeing your sleepy little baby all curled up like they’re in your belly is such a wonderful memory to capture and preserve.  They just grow so quickly!  Both of my children outgrew their newborn-sized clothes within a a few weeks.  Wah!

Portrait of a swaddled newborn baby with his family in a white bedroom newborn photography studio in Northern Virginia

Here are a few useful things to know about my newborn photography sessions:

  1.  I do all newborn portrait sessions in my home studio in Ashburn, VA.  It’s super cozy, and we’re the only ones here, so it’s peaceful and quiet.  You don’t need to clean your house for me, and you don’t need to take your baby to a heavily-trafficked strip mall.  Win win!  This allows me to have complete control over the lighting and temperature for the most beautiful images, and it allows you access to my hundreds of newborn props!
  2. All of my newborn photo sessions are done on weekday mornings (unless specifically booked for a weekend session when the reservation is made).
  3. When you book your newborn session, I pencil you in for around a week after your due date, and then we pick the actual date of your session once your baby arrives to ensure the session takes place within the first two weeks.  Because I only schedule 2-3 sessions a week, there’s a lot of flexibility in my schedule for babies who arrive early or late.
  4. All newborn sessions have a flex start time – usually any time between 9:30 and 11am.  Because your baby isn’t on a schedule yet, this gives you flexibility on getting out of your house and to my studio.  Just send me a text when you’re on your way with your ETA.
  5. Family photos are included as part of the session and only last around 15 minutes.  We do those first so you can relax the rest of the time, or you can send your spouse or other children to work/school if necessary.

Photo of a newborn boy swaddled in a box in a Northern Virginia newborn photo studio

Okay, okay!  I know, I promised you tips, and I haven’t given you any yet!  LOL!

Here are 10 simple tips to help your newborn session go smoothly:

  1. Before your session, send me a couple of colors to coordinate the props, hats and blankets so that the photos look cohesive when you put them together later for an album, announcement or wall display.  Usually we match to the nursery, or if you’ll be putting the photos in your living area, we can also match to that furniture or keep everything neutral or even all-white.  I’ll pull some things together before you arrive to help save time, but you’ll have LOTS of options even with the things I pick out.  We can always abandon the color coordination during your session to use other props that catch your eye.  Cuteness abounds in the studio!!
  2. Moms who are nursing – refrain from eating spicy foods for 24 hours prior to your session.
  3. Dress yourselves for the warm studio.  It’s going to be in the low-80s.  Only the smaller studio room will be heated, and you’ll be able to duck out into the great room to cool down.  I suggest that parents and siblings wear a solid-colored top in neutral colors such as white, cream, gray, black or tan or matching the colors you choose for your baby’s photos (see the first tip above).Portrait of a mother and her newborn son in a Northern Virginia all-white photography studio bedroom.
  4. Dress your baby in something that snaps, zips or ties in the front so that we can easily remove the clothes while he/she is in the car seat if already asleep.  Your baby will be nude or swaddled the entire session, so you don’t need to pack a photo outfit for him/her.Newborn boy sleeping on his side with a pillow in Northern Virginia photography studio
  5. If possible, try to schedule your baby to eat when you arrive.  If this will make for a stressful car trip, though, feed your baby before you leave and top him/her off here. This is not the time to try to rush your baby through a feeding. A full baby is a peaceful baby.
  6. As much as possible, try to keep your baby from getting a deep sleep in the morning before you arrive.  Give a bath, play with hands and feet, and give little arm and leg stretches while he/she snoozes and on the car ride over.  Just having you touch them while they are sleeping will get them used to having me move them around in their sleep during their session.Newborn baby boy in a gray knit pilot's hat in Huck Finn pose in Northern Virginia newborn photography studio.
  7. Bring any heirlooms or props that you would like photographed with your baby (this is optional).  I have plenty of cuteness here for us to use as well!  If you are planning on bringing anything, please email or text me a picture prior to your session so I can plan out where it will be best to use it. newborn portrait of baby in a cap hugging a dog stuffed animal prop
  8. Bring a pacifier if he/she takes one and an extra bottle if he/she is bottle-fed.  If your baby has not yet used a pacifier, I have a few we can use if necessary.
  9. Plan on being here around 3 hours.  I’ll have some snacks and water for you, but you are also welcome to bring in food.
  10. Relax.  I’ve got this.  You are welcome to take a nap, catch up on emails, or write thank-you notes from your baby shower.  The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby will be. photo of newborn baby boy with his mother in an all-white photography studio bedroom in Northern Virginia

If you haven’t already scheduled yours, please check my availability and contact me to schedule your newborn photography session.  Thank you!!

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