There’s nothing more precious than welcoming your very own bundle of joy into the family. Naturally, you’ll want to capture these special moments while they’re the tiniest they can be. When it comes to newborn photography though, let’s be real, things can get pretty stressful—for both parents and baby. Worried about your baby’s first upcoming shoot and not sure how to prep your little one for it? Keep reading as we share the best tips and tricks to nailing a successful (and stress-free) newborn photoshoot.
The Best Time To Have A Photoshoot For Your Newborn Baby
To capture them at their tiniest, the best time to have a newborn photoshoot is when your baby is between 5 and 14 days old. This timeframe is ideal as babies at this age are often in a sleepy state, which makes for a more relaxed newborn photography session. Of course, you can still have their photos taken even after the first two weeks. Meanwhile, you can also opt for “fresh 48” photos, where the photographer captures your baby in their first 24 to 48 hours of life.
How To Prepare For Your Newborn Baby’s First Photography Shoot
Book Your Newborn Photoshoot Session Ahead Of Time
Start planning and speaking to photographers who do newborn photography by your second trimester. This will give you ample time to secure a session while the photographer’s schedule is still available and not fully booked. Let the photographer know when your estimated due date is, and when your baby finally arrives, you can secure a confirmed date. Avoid booking at the very last minute, as you’ll risk not being able to find a photographer who can capture your baby within their first 14 days.
Wash Your Baby’s Hair In The Morning Of Shoot Day
To make sure your baby’s hair looks good on camera, wash it with baby-friendly shampoo in the morning, on the day of the shoot. Alternatively, you could use a damp sponge to gently rinse it. This will ensure your baby’s hair will look nice and silky in photos, instead of greasy.
Don’t Apply Lotion On Your Baby’s Skin On Shoot Day
Unless your baby suffers from dry skin or eczema, it is not recommended to apply lotion on their skin on the day of the shoot. Like the hair, doing so might cause their skin to appear a little too shiny, especially under professional studio lighting.
Feed Your Baby About 30 Minutes Before The Photoshoot
Worried about the shoot being disrupted by your baby’s hungry cries? One way to prevent this from happening is to feed them at the right time. Aim to feed them about 30 minutes before the shoot. This way, they’re less likely to be cranky during the newborn photoshoot session. Instead, you get a happy, well-fed baby who’s in a sleepy, milk-drunk state.
Ensure Your Baby Is Awake Before The Shoot
Once your baby is fed, it’s important to keep them awake until you arrive at the studio. The goal is to get them feeling tired and sleepy during the shoot. This will make it easier to capture them in peaceful, sleeping positions. Hence, try to keep your newborn awake before the shoot by playing with them, giving them a quick bath, changing them into a fresh diaper, or unswaddling them.
Change Your Baby Into A Loose Diaper
About two hours prior to the shoot, you can change your baby into a fresh pair of diapers (whether disposable or cloth). The key is to ensure the fit is slightly looser than usual. This helps prevent red marks on their skin at the waist or thighs, which you would not want translated on the photos. Tip: Photographers tend to shoot babies in their birthday suit, so it’s ideal to undress them out of their onesie beforehand so you don’t interrupt their sleep during the shoot.
Keep Baby Essentials Like Milk On Standby
Newborn photography shoots are never perfect. Hence, take proactive steps by bringing some baby essentials to the studio and have them on standby in case of cranky moments. Things you can pack include a swaddle blanket, a few extra clean diapers, baby wipes, a pacifier, and a bottle of breastmilk or formula milk.
Maintain A Calm And Warm Environment During The Shoot
Unlike adult shoots where loud music helps set the mood, a calm environment works best for newborn photoshoots. Temperature also plays a role. Ensure the air-conditioner is not on full blast so your baby can stay warm and comfortable throughout the shoot.
Think About Specific Props Or Outfits You May Want To Include
Have a visual concept in mind of how you want your newborn’s photos to look like? Be sure to inform the photographer and perhaps even present your ideas in a moodboard. If you have specific props or outfits you want included, let the photographer know as well. Think stuffed toys, an adorable headband, teensy-tiny pairs of mittens and footwear, knitted beanies, fuzzy blankets, plants, rattan baskets, and more. Your options are endless!
Capture Other Family Members Towards The End Of The Shoot
Planning on being part of your newborn’s photoshoot along with other members of the family? That’s a great idea; however, it’s recommended to schedule it towards the end of the shoot. If possible, it’s also better that they arrive later at their designated time slots. This allows the newborn photography session to be quieter as there’s less noise to manage.
Opt For Neutral Colours And Avoid Flashy Accessories
These newborn photos as well as intimate portraits of parents and baby are going to last a lifetime. Besides keeping them in a photo album, you’ll probably frame them up as part of your home decor. To prevent those shots from looking dated, go for a timeless colour palette. Failproof shades to pick include nude, beige, cream, white, and even pastel tones. For the adults, forgo distracting accessories like bold jewellery and watches.
Newborn Photography Is Not Easy, But Being Prepared Will Ensure A Smooth & Successful Photoshoot
Granted, newborn photoshoots are no walk in the park. In fact, many things can (and probably will) go wrong. Our advice? Throw your high expectations out the window and most importantly, remember to be patient and stay relaxed. Don’t be afraid of taking a few mini-breaks in between shots, as it could be beneficial to calm your baby down (and have them camera-ready in no time). All in all, early planning is key to a successful newborn photography session, so come prepared with the aforementioned tips!
If your baby is being photographed much later than 14 days and has enough hair to work with, consider styling his mane in one of these adorable baby boy hairstyles. Having a hard time putting your baby to sleep? Read our guide on the do’s and don’ts when sleep training your baby.