How to prepare for your newborn session...
WHEN TO BOOK...
It is never too early or too late to book a newborn session. I recommend you book your newborn session as soon as you know your due date, I shoot 3-4 times a week and 1 weekend per month. If you wish to book your newborn session on a weekend, inquire as early as 6-8 months before your due date. Typically I schedule a newborn session 1-3 weeks after the projected due date, this ensures we have a little bit of wiggle room if baby decides to arrive early or late. If by chance your baby arrives very prematurely, we will be in touch about it and I will adjust my schedule to accommodate you on an earlier date! I cannot stress the 1-3 week newborn " best to photograph" period... after three weeks of age, they tend to be more wakeful and less easy to position as their muscles start to develop and they become stronger.They can also become colicky or hard to settle into deep sleep.
BEFORE THE SESSION...
1. If nursing, try to avoid eating anything that will cause gas and might upset baby’s tummy for 24 hours prior to your scheduled session. (if you know the culprit, try to avoid it) A gassy baby will be difficult to pose during the session due to their little tummy being upset. Examples of foods that may upset baby's tummy:
*If baby happens to be gassy the day of your session, Oval or Gripe Water can be used to help ease baby’s discomfort.
2. Interact with and keep baby awake for 1-2 hours before your session to ensure he/she is good and sleepy for the session. This is very important. Without this, we spend too much time getting them to sleep and not as much time photographing them.
*Stimulating baby with a bath or by doing ‘naked time’ prior to the session are some tricks that you can use! If you are travelling for your session and baby falls asleep on the road, not to worry, I will likely get started right away with baby if he/she is fast asleep upon arrival at the studio.
3. Please make sure your little one has a full belly for the session. Depending where you are coming from, because we are 20 minutes outside Saskatoon, I ask that you time your feedings so as to be able to give him/her a full feed once you have arrived at the studio, OR if it can't wait give them a full feed right before you leave. If baby is bottle feeding, please bring extra bottles and milk (formula or breastmilk) - (babies work up quite the appetite being constantly moved around in the warm studio). Also, baby should be fed as much as possible in the 12 hours that precede the session. This will allow for baby to sleep as deeply and as long as possible.
*A full baby = a sleepy baby, and we need a very sleepy and calm baby in order to achieve the sweet, flexible poses you see in my portfolio. I may ask you to ignore a strict feeding schedule for the 2.5 hours at the session. The only way we will achieve calm, flexible poses is if baby is fully satiated and sleeping. I would rather have you give baby an extra feeding than have you worry that baby isn’t sleeping and we’re missing out on some cute poses.
4. Dress baby in loose fitting clothes to avoid any lines on baby’s skin and to avoid disturbing baby when getting undressed. A simple sleeper is best. Please avoid onesies or anything that has to be pulled off over baby’s head.(zippered sleepers are the best!)
*Your newborn will be photographed in his/her birthday suit for the majority of the session but we pay careful attention to ensure baby bits are not exposed in any photos. (PLEASE notify me if you prefer to have your newborn dressed, or covered up for their session)
5. Bring a pacifier – they can be very helpful during the session!
6. The studio will be kept at about 25-29 degrees C to keep your little one warm while being photographed. For moms and dads attending the session I recommend dressing in layers.
7. When you arrive, please leave baby in the car seat when bringing him/her into the studio. I will remove baby very slowly in the warm studio to avoid disturbing them as much as possible.
8.If your child is sick, or you are unwell before the session. I ask that you PLEASE reschedule your session. Toddlers who are sick generally do not do well in front of the camera and the risk of myself getting sick increases. It's not worth the fight with your children, come back when everyone feels well and your session will run smoother and you will be happier with the results!
DURING THE SESSION...
8. During the session, sit back and relax. I typically have someone helping during the session so I won’t need much assistance. Take advantage of this time to rest in the studio (I’m sure you need it!). Parents will often watch tv, answer emails or read in my studio while I work with your new little one. I’ve even had some parents take a nap!
9. This is a full service studio meaning that I will be changing baby’s diapers, cleaning up any messes, and bottle feeding baby when required during the session.
10. Remove all bandages (from shots, etc) from baby’s skin at least one hour before arriving to the studio. These bandages cannot be removed in post processing and, if left on, will show up in the final images.
I encourage parent portraits with the new baby, and these are usually done at the very end. Neutral colored outfits are recommended for the family photos. For more artistic shots, Dads may choose to remove their shirts and Moms may choose to be wrapped in a scarf, wrap or other stretchy material available in my studio. These can make for some very tender images.
**A note to Mom: I know that you may not feel like yourself right after giving birth, but I strongly encourage you to have a portrait taken with your new baby while they are still so young and fresh. He/she will grow up and will want to know what his mother looked like holding him close to her heart as a newborn. I will shoot you in flattering angles, so don’t worry! Worst case scenario is that you don’t like the image and never look at it again, but at least your child will have this moment documented.
-If you have older siblings that you would like photographed with your newborn we will do these shots at the beginning of the session after I have completed the wrapped shot. Again, neutral colored clothing(without patterns or logos) is recommended for older siblings (tops with jeans or even dresses for girls). The more texture the better (knit, lace, etc). They’ll be barefoot, so no need to look for clean shoes.
*Due to the nature of the session we ask that the older siblings remain in the play area or out with dad while we shoot the individual newborn photos.
-I spend a lot of time getting every little finger and toe positioned perfectly when photographing your little bundle. First and foremost, it is important to me for your baby to be comfortable and peaceful in the photographs and for each image to be a piece of art. I have a lot of experience and patience with newborns. I have three children of my own and have photographed over 100 newborns. My motto is safety first. I will never put your newborn in an unsafe or uncomfortable pose/prop.
-Be prepared to spend between 2 and 4 hours at my studio. I am a perfectionist and I want to capture your baby in every way that I can even down to their little lips and eyelashes – it’s not unusual to spend up to 20 minutes working to perfect one pose.
-Just to warn you: When being photographed with your baby, you may get peed or pooped on! This happens daily in my studio (usually on me), but some parents are surprised by and unprepared for it.
-Parents often ask ‘Can I circumcise my baby before the session?’ and the answer is ‘Please, no!’. Circumcision can often leave the area raw and painful for a few days after the procedure. It is important to note that newborn photos should be done either before the procedure takes place or at least 5 days after the procedure to ensure the area is healed. In fact, we feel so strongly about this that if baby arrives with a fresh circumcision (within 5 days) we will send you home and reschedule.
PROPS and ‘Pinterest Requests’:
-I supply all of the backdrops, furniture, hats, headbands and wraps for the session, and my style tends to lean more toward more neutral and soft photos that focus on baby. I am always open to new ideas but please let me know ahead of time if you will be bringing your own props or special items to the session. If you see something you like in any of my
galleries, be sure to mention it before your session (please don't wait until you get to the studio to tell me which poses or props you want to try). I am open to suggestions on poses that you may have seen from Pinterest but please understand that every pose we do depends on how well baby cooperates and how safe the pose is for your little one. I cannot guarantee any pose for this reason.
-My studio is located at 207 Main street, Aberdeen Sk (20 minutes from Saskatoon on highway 41). You can reach me here.