Newborn Photo Prep Guide
Thank you for choosing Shannon Payne Photography for your baby’s first photos! Your baby’s newborn portraits will be some of your most treasured images. I am excited to help you tell the story of your new baby.
Sleepy, Curly Stage
The best age to photograph newborns is when they are between 8 and 16 days new. During this time newborns are still very sleepy and curly. They don’t mind you moving them around from pose to pose while they rest in dreamland. Once they have a full belly and are kept warm, they will generally sleep the entire session! Please know that not all babies like or will do the same poses. Each baby is different, and I will never force a baby into a pose. If you want a specific pose, please ask about these while planning your session. Please contact me once you have an induction date or the baby is born so that I can get you on my calendar. I typically schedule newborns Monday – Friday at 10:30 a.m. If you are having your baby boy circumcised, we will need to make sure we allow him at least 5 days of healing time before his session.
What to Expect
BEFORE YOUR SESSION: Try to keep the baby awake 1-2 hours before your session. Bathtime or a little playtime is great. But don’t push it, because we don’t want to overstimulate the baby. It is okay if the baby falls asleep in the car. (In fact, we want this!) Make sure to dress the baby in a sleeper that is easy to remove by unbuttoning or unzipping. Try to avoid something that must be removed over the head. Diaper baby loosely to help avoid diaper marks. (Please avoid using diaper ointment on their entire bum! It’s almost impossible to wipe off for pictures.)
DURING YOUR SESSION: Our Petite and Classic studio newborn sessions last 1.5-2.5 hours. Most include 1-2 blanket setups, 1-2 basket poses, and sibling/parent poses. I will photograph the baby naked or wrapped for all images. Clothing tends to swallow babies at this age. It is easier to focus on all of their tiny details without clothing. We will use warm heaters and white noise to create a peaceful environment for the baby. Time is also provided for feeding if the baby becomes hungry. If you are planning for family photos, I have found that it is best to have another family member bring siblings 1 hour into the session. This prevents young children from getting bored and makes sibling pictures easier.
What to Wear
It is best to keep clothing simple for family and sibling pictures. Neutral palettes and light colors look best. Jewelry such as bracelets, watches, and necklaces tend to get in the way. I love the skin-to-skin look. Simple short-sleeved shirts and sleeveless shirts look great for moms. Dads look best in button-down shirts or a form-fitting t-shirt or sweater. For siblings, please no big brother/big sister shirts or monogrammed outfits. I like to keep things simple and focus on faces rather than outfits. You can visit my What to Wear guide on Pinterest for more clothing suggestions.
What to Bring
Pacifier -Whether your baby has become attached to a pacifier or not, I encourage you to bring one to your session. My goal is to help keep your baby happy and calm during our session, and often a pacifier helps the baby drift off to dreaming again.
Extra bottles – Whether you are nursing or bottle-feeding, having extra bottles and/or milk is suggested. Some babies tend to eat more than usual during their photo sessions. It’s best to be prepared! Feel free to bring food for yourself as well, although I have snacks and drinks available for you in the studio.
Extra change of clothing – The studio is a nice, warm 80 degrees for the baby. Please dress in layers to stay comfortable. If parent pictures are desired, we may pose the baby without a diaper. A change of clothing would be helpful in case of an accident!
Clothing for family/sibling pictures – If you plan to take family or sibling pictures, please visit my What to Wear board on Pinterest. https://www.pinterest.com/shannonpayne/what-to-wear-studio-sessions/ I recommend simple clothing in light colors. Please no monogrammed outfits or shirts with words such as big sister/little sister. I feel like this takes away from the focus of the children, and we will spend more time positioning for the outfits rather than their faces.