In my opinion, simpler is better. I don’t recommend super puffy or fluffy outfits as they can quickly envelop baby and become a distraction. In most cases, a simple onesie or just the diaper will do for baby. If you do have special outfits or garments you want included in your images, let’s talk about it so that we can keep your images as simple and significant as you deserve. There is usually a way to incorporate whatever your desires may be, but it is important to me that we also work in keeping with the feeling you want for your images and this doesn’t just turn into another portrait session where we try to manufacture cutesie rather than capturing authenticity.
For my clients, I love to meet beforehand to talk at their Art Consultation. I might review their closet and help select something that they already own that will work really well for the photos. I also love when my clients visit www.styleandselect.com to help with their styling choices. I provide a personalized access code and they can fill out the questionnaire to get personalized suggestions for session styling.
prior to the session
Consider hiring a sitter
This is mainly if you want animals included in the session, or if you plan to include toddler older siblings who may need extra attention/ supervision for images they won’t be in themselves. I have not found too much difficulty in most cases with older siblings being able to wait a few minutes to be included in the photos again, but just something to consider if it might make life easier.
Consider hiring a professional Makeup Artist
If you can have someone come make you feel gloriously beautiful just before your session, so much the better! Keep in mind how you may be feeling freshly postpartum… sleep deprived, possibly hungry? And many women struggle with their postpartum bodies and feeling at home in their own skin right after giving birth… you are not everyone, so only you will know what issues you will face, but this could be a wonderful way to enhance this experience for you. If it’s too much stress to think about, don’t sweat it! You will look amazing no matter what and I am really good at finding your best and highlighting it, but if you do think you would like a makeup artist, check out this resource for suggestions of some of my favorites here in San Antonio!
1 hour before session starts
Feed Baby full
As a lifestyle photographer, I go with the flow, but if you don’t want a lot of images with baby eating, it will help to have fed them nice and full prior to my coming to your home. Plus, they will just be happier and more peaceful overall if they are not hungry! My priority is that their needs get met before, during and after the session, so please don’t feel bad if they are hungry during the session. This is just a good starting point!
Warm up the house
If you will want images where your baby is not all bundled up in a swaddle the entire time, this is a MUST! Most of my clients love to have simple images of their babies without a lot of clothing and wrapping so that we can showcase the contrast of baby’s current size with any of their surroundings and the people in their family. Again, my priority is baby being happy and comfortable!
Clean up as much as you feel is necessary
With lifestyle portraits, you want some elements of your real life to show through, but not to the point of distraction. It isn’t that we are trying to pretend your house is always perfectly clean, but this IS art and my job as the artist is to try to keep the focus where it belongs. I’ll help move distractions where necessary, so don’t stress yourself out too much if everything isn’t perfect!
Open window curtains
I really REALLY don’t like to have yellow tungsten lighting in my artwork. It is like nails on chalkboard for me. So when I come, don’t be surprised if I turn off all the lights and just want open window curtains. If you want to have your house ready like this before I get there, so much the better! Just please PLEASE don’t try to make me work in tungsten light or ALL of your images will be black and white. Haha!
during the session
FIRST OF ALL, RELAX! Enjoy this process!
Seriously! Enjoy your baby, enjoy your family, get into a good and loving mood and be ready for me to capture every gorgeous bit of it! Honestly, this could be the most important part of this guide because nothing makes a session less fun than stress. Trust me, I totally get the temptation to want things to be a certain way and try to control the outcomes, but what I have learned in my years of photographing babies and families and even having children of my own is that the best moments are completely unplanned, unexpected and authentic. So when you find your stress muscles tensing up, breathe!! Remember this is fun- and remember I am here to help. If you want to ask me to slow down, or stop for a minute, I am ok with that. You and your family are in the driver seat, and I am the documentarian. Don’t be afraid to communicate, and just let things happen as they need to!
Take care of whatever needs you have
This flows off of the last point. If baby needs feeding, changing, assistance sleeping… whatever! DO. IT. This session isn’t about manufacturing “pretty”- it is about authentic beauty in the little realities of life. I see those details and I capture them, you just focus on living them. If your older child needs you, help them. If you feel like hugging your spouse while I photograph baby alone on the bed, do it! (But hopefully I can catch that moment too because they are THE BEST!)
Hopefully this helps you as you think about preparing for your upcoming newborn session. Let me know if you have any other ideas that might be helpful to add to this guide!