If you have seen those gorgeous newborn shots of babies sleeping contently and you’re wondering just how it’s done, Newborn Photographer, Elle Goss from Always Belle Photography shares her top tips for preparing for your session.
You’ll never regret having a newborn photography session – the images will be something you treasure forever. It may however seem a little daunting especially if you’re new to baby wrangling or you’ve got to add a full-blown-toddler into the mix as well. There is however some tips for a newborn photography session you can, here’s how to make it as easy as click, click, click… (with maybe a nappy change and a few bribes in-between!)
As a parent celebrating the arrival of their new little one, it is completely understandable that the process of a newborn photography shoot can seem a little daunting and confusing for those who have never done something similar before.
To make things easier for you, here is a brief overview of what to expect on the day of your photoshoot and how to best prepare for your session to ensure the most beautiful photos for your family to have for generations to come. Take note of these tips for a newborn photography session and you’ll be ready to shoot when your day comes!
My tips for a newborn photography session
Typically, newborn photography sessions will last for approximately 2.5 – 3 hours. This may take a little longer if baby is unsettled, though there are a few tricks that may help your baby feel sleepy, settled and content.
In order to achieve a smoother, quicker and generally more successful session (which means more beautiful photographs for you to enjoy!), try the following tips for a newborn photography session:
- Dress for easy changes
When dressing your baby for the day, consider something that is easy to remove and does not require movement over the head. This will make it easier to undress your baby for their photoshoot if they are already sleeping when you first arrive and keep them asleep!
2. Use the capsule if you have one
If you have a baby seat that is removable and able to be detached from the car, feel free to bring your baby in while they are still secured to minimise any disturbance.
3 Feed before you shoot (my favourite tip for a newborn photography session!)
It is recommended to feed your baby prior to your session. To help you get those perfect photographs, it’s important for your baby to feel as content and comfortable as possible. Your baby may also need extra feeds and top ups while you are in the studio due to the extra stimulation of the posing. All newborn sessions should be ‘baby-led’ so if your baby becomes unsettled at any stage a feed and cuddle usually helps.
4. Don’t forget the dummy
If you have a dummy, definitely bring it along – even if your baby doesn’t take one just yet! Sometimes babies can become a little more restless in particular poses, and often a dummy will help them to settle and soothe in just a few short minutes.
5. Encourage sleep with stimulation
Finally, if your baby is awake or alert before you leave for your session, try to encourage as much stimulation as possible. If it’s possible to keep your baby awake for an hour or two prior to your newborn session, it’s likely that they will be ready for a long sleep once. Bathing your baby beforehand and dressing them in just a nappy to allow stimulation for a period of time should help them stay awake and then be ready for a big sleep.
6. Bribes do work
Sure it may go against the grain if you’re trying to teach a toddler their best behaviour, but just today it’s worth it. A matchbox car, a park outing afterwards – whatever works, do it! Toddlers can be tricky (there’s a lot of emotions and changes going on for little people) so this tip for a newborn photography session can be a real game changer!
Here’s an expert video to show you a little bit about what I do in my shoots to help you feel at ease:
No matter how the session goes a professional photographer should know how to make you feel at ease as well as support you and your family in getting the job done! Don’t feel worried – trust us, newborn photographers have seen it all, so just come prepared to roll with whatever happens, you’ll know it was worth it when you see your amazing images later on!
*This article was published in 2018 and updated for links and content in 2020.