Want to ensure your upcoming in-home newborn session is a success? Here are my best tips to help you prepare.
Before your session...
- Book your photographer early. Newborn babies are generally photographed on days 5 to 14 which is why I recommend choosing a photographer and booking well in advance. Some of my clients tell me they are pregnant before they even tell their friends! I recommend booking early in your second trimester. This guarantees you a spot on the books ensuring you don't miss out on a photographer you truly connect with and whose style you love. I created a helpful guide on how to choose the right photographer for you, see it here: https://www.melissasprlyan.com.au/blog/guide-to-choosing-the-right-photographer-for-you/
- Check for light. Ideally your home is filled with natural light, don't stress if it isn't though. I can work with a big window and light walls, if you have that we are set! Your session will be scheduled on a weekday at 10am finishing no later than 12pm. I encourage clients to take a few quick photos of the living room, nursery and master bedroom in the morning and send these to me before the session. This helps me prepare prior to my arrival on the day.
- Notify me when baby arrives. This is important! I ask clients to notify me within the first 48 hours of birth if possible, a simple text message or email is OK. This ensures I can give you more flexibility in scheduling. If you wait a few more days or a week to notify me there is a good chance your session will be pushed back to when your baby is 2-3 weeks old and this can make quite a difference when it comes to getting the best outcome at your session.
- Avoid caffeine and spicy foods if breastfeeding. This often results in discomfort for baby, please avoid these 48 hours prior to your session.
- Get to know your photographer and ask a lot of questions to ensure you are happy and comfortable with who you choose to photograph your precious new baby. I speak with my clients multiple times on the phone and in person before the session.
- Choose your outfits, make sure they work together and have back up options just in case. Consider undergarments like beige seamless underwear and factor in preparation time like drycleaning and ironing also. Better yet, utilize the boutique style client wardrobe I have built over the years, it is filled with beautiful dresses for Mum and I also carry pieces for Dad and young children up to size 5.
- Schedule Hair and Makeup - or ask me to coordinate this for you. I have a list of trusted and talented HMUA my clients use for their sessions.
- Consider what you want to do with you new portraits and let me know your vision and any specific requests you have in advance. Perhaps you want to create an album? It is helpful to know this ahead of time so I can shoot specifically for this. Maybe you would rather start a wall gallery you can build on as your family grows? Again, I will shoot for this different to how I will shoot for an album so it is helpful to know this before your session.
Morning of your session...
- Change, bath and feed baby just before I arrive. Apply a little oil to babies skin particularly if dry and flaky after the bath, however please be careful not to use too much oil, we don't want baby to be shiny in the photos, we want to see the texture of his/her skin.
- No need to worry about outfits for baby, simply dress baby in a singlet and nappy or a plain white body suit works great too. I provide wraps and blankets. Swaddling and settling your baby around 30 minutes prior to my arrival will also help make for a sleepy baby. This is what we want.
- Ensure your home is warm, even in summer. Get the heater going, it may make us adults feel a little uncomfortable particularly in summer, however it allows for baby to be a lot more settled during the portrait session, they often fall into a deep sleep and the session is much quicker as a result.
- Keep baby awake on the morning of your session. If possible, try to keep baby awake a little longer the morning of your portrait session, being mindful not to allow baby to become overtired.
- Have a dummy or pacifier on hand, even if you don't plan on using one it can come in handy if baby is fussy,
- Remove any clutter that you don't want to be included in your portraits. Phone chargers, alarm clocks, speakers, baby bottles etc. I often move a few things around when I arrive. Your home does not need to be immaculate or look like a show home, all we need is a clear, minimal space and don't worry about the kitchen or bathrooms unless you want to photograph in there. You've just had a baby, you should be resting and recovering!
- Prepare young siblings and explain to them that Melissa is coming to meet baby and take some beautiful photos for Mummy. It is a good idea to have a reward that you can give your child once they have completed their photographs. Please also avoid giving your child snacks just before and during the session. It can become a distraction and I often find once siblings have a snack early on they won't participate for the rest of the session.
During your session...
- Speak up. If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable with your photographer, let them know! Your photographer should be qualified and experienced, taking every measure to ensure that you and your children are never in any danger.
- Have patience. I ask my clients to allow for 2 hours and 95% of the time I get everything I need in this time. It all depends on how baby is on the day and of course how cooperative siblings are. We will always stop for breaks for nappy changes and feeds. Please have patience and remain calm, this allows me to do what I do best, produce meaningful photographs for your family. I only ever photograph one session per day so if I need to stay back a while longer to get the portraits we need I will always do this.
- Stay calm. Did you know babies and young children can sense stress (particularly from Mum)? It's true, which is why it’s super important that everyone is calm and relaxed during the session, this will allow us to achieve the best outcome.
- Understand that a good 50% of your session will involve feeding, changes, and settling. If young siblings are included I ask all of my clients to have realistic expectations of how the session will go. Young siblings sometimes don't want to participate and that is OK, it is a huge ask of them! All of my portrait sessions are entirely child led and I do have some tricks I've learnt over the years to get them involved. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to have no expectations of young children being photographed and again, incase you've missed it so far... please stay calm!
- Finally, try and relax! Your newborn baby is in safe hands, I promise! As a mother of two boys, I know first hand how difficult the lead up to family portraits can be, particularly with siblings which is why I strive to give my clients a stress-free experience. If your child is not themselves on the day please do not stress, trust me I have seen it all! To date I have photographed over 350+ Perth families, I am experienced and know how to photograph your children safely and in a fun and caring way. You hired me for a reason so I ask you to sit back, relax and trust me in creating the dreamy photographs I know you will cherish forever.
Melissa Sprlyan is a Perth newborn photographer. Melissa Sprlyan is also a Perth maternity photographer and Perth family photographer. MSP offers both in-home and location portrait sessions in the Perth metropolitan area including Fremantle, Rockingham, Mandurah, Scarborough, Joondalup, Yanchep and Perth Hills and surrounds. If you are looking for a newborn session in Perth I would love to begin planning your in-home newborn session.
Our stunning client wardrobe is filled with high end pieces for Mum and children up to age six. If you are interested in a custom portrait session with Melissa Sprlyan Photography and would like more information, please learn more about me and this experience.
If you would like to reserve your date on my calendar for Perth lifestyle photography specializing in motherhood portraiture, please click on contact in the menu or email me directly. e: firstname.lastname@example.org