Jess Phillips Photography specializes in home lifestyle newborn session to capture the joy of your new family addition.
If you have booked or thinking of booking a newborn session with me ~ thank you for entrusting me to photograph your newborn.
NEWBORN SESSION GUIDE
So now you’re home with your new addition, and boy I bet it’s a little crazy. Welcome to your new life, and I’m coming to capture it in just a few days! So I’ve gathered some tips to help you prepare your home and your family.
First thing to remember is newborn sessions are in no rush, they average around 3 hours (not all of this is photographing, lots is prepping for each shot and so forth). Second thing to remember, we are in no rush. You and your family are within the first 2 weeks of a new life, lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of contact with humans … its crazy. Please do not worry about being ready right when I arrive, I have light tests to do and things to set it. Please don’t worry that the house isn’t perfect, again … 14 days .. new life. .. so lets get started!
Please see my tips and tricks below on prepping for your in home newborn session.
THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOUR SESSION
PREP YOUR LOCATION(S)
I will be coming to your home for the session but we don’t shoot in every room. I will be looking for the area with the largest amount of space and the most natural light. Most used areas for in home newborn sessions are the master bedroom, nursery and living room. When using the master bedroom for the newborn solo photos as well as for lifestyle photos with mom and dad, so having a white, cream, light colored bedding is preferred.
Do not stress about professionally cleaning. Like I said we are only going to be in two-three locations, so your entire house DOES NOT need to be spotless. Please put away clutter so that we have space for the photography, and avoid messy backgrounds. If I see a spot I want to shoot and there is stuff in the way I will happily move things around or direct where things should go to give you the illusion of a spotless house.
Turn up the heat! Set to 75-80 degrees if possible. As we will change in and out of outfits it’s important to keep the house warm to keep baby comfortable.
PREP THE FAMILY
Dad know that I will need 1-2 hours of your time but I won’t be photographing you the entire time. In fact, you’ll probably only be in front of the camera 30min or so. If you have other children then Dad will spend a good portion of time keeping them entertained before and after their turn. For siblings tell them that someone fun is coming over to take their picture.
Mom , give yourself an extra hour to get ready. I’m not kidding. I want you to take your time and have time to feed the baby as you get ready.
Baby , make sure they have a full belly when I arrive, or start to feed upon my arrival, along with a clean diaper.
- Mom – Natural colors (nude, white, camel, grey, light pink, ect) something as simple as a white shirt + camisole – boyfriend jeans or skirt to match. Or white/cream flowy dress. Avoid prints. Remember you do have access to my client closet and I’m happy to bring as many dresses that I have on hand the day of your session.
- Dad – Natural complimenting colors to mom. Nice t-shirt (nude, white, dark grey) paired with jeans, tan shorts, or khakis. Avoid prints or logos.
- Siblings – Natural colors – t shirt and pants or dress in neutral colors. Avoid prints or logos.
- Prepare 1 or 2 extra sets of clothing for everyone in case of spit-ups or leaks.
THE DAY OF YOUR NEWBORN SESSION
WHEN I ARRIVE
I will have some things to bring in and get settled. We will not starting photographing for at least 20 min after my arrival, so please do not feel rush when I get your home. After unloading my newborn kit, I will walk around and do some light tests, and we will chat how the session will go.
WHERE DO WE START
Typically I like to start in the master bedroom. Starting with mom and dad sitting up on the bed with baby. Then … we kind of flow from there.
Typically after that, we will move to either the kitchen or the living room. This is mainly dictated by light. I’m looking for a room with the best light that has space for the whole family to cuddle. A bed or a couch is the perfect spot to gather everyone including the family dogs for a beautiful portrait.
Lastly we’ll move onto the nursery. I love to document all the adorable elements of a nursery. The mobile that was picked out after hours of Amazon searches, the blanket that was handmade by an excited Grandma, the rocking chair that has been passed down for generations. Those are the elements that add to the overall design you’ve created and I want to make sure we capture that. If you are looking for help decorating your nursery check out this article The Ultimate Checklist- How to create the Best Baby Nursery by porch.com.
FEEDING + BREAKS
If at all possible, try and keep baby awake and stimulated an hour before our session – it’s important for baby to be tired when the session starts if possible so they are nice happy campers. Upon my arrival is the best time for feeding and diaper change.
Much of the time during the session will be spent keeping baby in chill mode, moving to new positions and taking the inevitable break because baby is hungry or has a dirty diaper. I like to work as a team with the parents to keep baby happy and safe.
PROPS + NEWBORN WARDROBE
Anything is welcomed that you wish to have your new addition photographed in. If you are planning on ver specific outfits, such as grandma’s knitted romper, crocheted batman outfit, please just let me know upon my arrival so I can schedule these in the session. You are not required to provide any props, I will be brining my newborn session kit with me that has the following:
- Bows + Beanies
- Basic Newborn Outfits – ribbed onesies (dusty pink / light blue / cream)
- Diaper Covers (newborn + 3 month)
- Swaddles (tons of variety)
- Newborn Bassinet + Baskets
- Baby Shushing Machine
- Portable Heater
- Hand Sanitizer + Wipes
Newborn Session Frequently Asked Questions
WHEN IS THE BEST AGE FOR NEWBORN PHOTOS?
I recommend that you take your newborn photos between 5-18 days. This is during the time period when babies are sleeping a majority of the day which makes it easier to get them into poses. In addition, because baby hasn’t been out of the womb long they are more likely to stay asleep longer, and curl up in “womb-like” poses.
WHAT TIME OF DAY IS BEST FOR A NEWBORN SESSION?
When babies are usually the sleepiest in the morning. Often we aim to start between 9:00am-12:00pm.
HOW LONG WILL MY NEWBORN SESSION TAKE?
Newborn sessions tend to last around 2-4 hours. I allow for a range of time and work on baby’s schedule. Sometimes we finish early and sometimes we run over. Please try and not schedule anything directly after our session. We take all the time needed for baby – I’m happy to take breaks for feeding or changes or just some rest.
WHAT SHOULD MY NEWBORN WEAR FOR OUR SESSION?
Most newborn photos are done in that birthday suit, a swaddle, or a diaper cover. Clothes can be bulky and just cover up that newness. Baby should start in a button down onesie for easy changing. I will be bringing a few simple outfits and diaper cover – which is all we’ll need.
WHAT DO I DO TO HELP PREPARE MY BABY FOR THEIR NEWBORN SESSION?
If at all possible, try and keep baby awake and stimulated an hour before our session – it’s important for baby to be tired when the session starts so they are nice happy campers. Upon my arrival is the best time for feeding and diaper change. If parents or siblings would like to be in the photos please have outfits ready to change into. If possible, avoid any baths 1-2 days prior to the session , as sometimes this can lead to dry skin.
HOW DO I PREPARE THE HOUSE FOR OUR SESSION?
Often a newborn session will move around to a few rooms in your home. Mom and dad’s room, nursery, living room, kitchen, ect. Put away clutter so that we have space for the photography, and avoid messy backgrounds. Opening all the blinds and curtains in your home prior to the session will help make your photos bright and beautiful. We will use mom and dad’s bed for the newborn solo photos and lifestyle photos, so having a white, cream, light colored bedding is preferred. Oh, and mirrors and windows! I’m a huge fan of using mirrors and windows in photos .. so if you could .. give them a quick wipe down !
If you have questions about where we may photograph, or don’t have super well-lit areas, I always suggest texting home photos prior to you session.
HOW CAN THE WHOLE FAMILY PREPARE FOR THEIR NEWBORN SESSION?
Mom, dad and siblings are a big part of newborn lifestyle sessions. So prepping the whole family is important. A few things to keep in mind prior to your session.
Keeping your hands moisturized and nails trim and tidy is key; hands are great props of their own. Please take off watches and funky bracelets if possible– simplicity is beautiful.