Pittsburgh Newborn Photography: Preparing for your session
First and foremost, THANK YOU for allowing me to be a part of this amazing time in your life! I’m truly honored! This page is dedicated to providing you with info about what to expect during your newborn session. My hope is that these tips will help us get the very best photos possible while keeping you and your baby as comfortable as possible! So, let’s jump in!
- Please dress in light layers. Newborns are used to being in a very warm environment. For this reason, my studio is kept between 80-83 degrees and a space heater is running at all times. Your baby will be without clothing for the majority of the session, so my goal is to keep him or her toasty-warm, which will help them stay nice and sleepy! Unfortunately kiddos and grownups are less than comfortable in those temperatures, so please plan to dress accordingly!
- When coming to your session, please dress your baby in a loose sleeper that zips or buttons down the front. While outfits are super adorable, you probably have already realized that babies aren’t happy when things are pulled over their heads. If your little one comes in sleeping, we don’t want to have to do too much manipulating to get them ready and lose the opportunity to get right to work! If they do wake up, it’s no problem. I will generally wrap them up and begin our newborn session with prop photos. Wrapping will get them back to sleep 9/10 times!
- Please make sure baby has a nice full tummy immediately before leaving for your session. This will allow him or her to drift off into a deep sleep!
- Here is the most important one….drum roll please!! Try to keep your little one awake for a bit prior to their session. A bath is a great way to do this if your pediatrician has OK’d it. If not, a bit of interaction and a nice feeding will do the trick as well. This way, when you arrive, we can jump right in! If your little one absolutely can’t keep their eyes open and your session is still a bit away, please feel free to call me. The majority of the time I am able to start earlier than planned and you can just bring your baby over! They rule the session!
- I recommend bringing a pacifier for the session, even if your baby doesn’t typically prefer it. Newborns have a sucking reflex that they use for soothing. Many times, a paci can make or break a session since it is often just enough of a distraction to keep them asleep and content. If possible, please bring an Avent Soothie. This is the kind used in the hospital and is wonderful because it doesn’t leave lines and indentations around the mouth as many other brands do. Both of my kids hated this type of pacifier, but, as mentioned before, it mainly will serve as a distraction so I don’t necessarily need them to latch onto it and hang on for dear life!
- I have tons of beautiful custom made outfits, hats, headbands, wraps, layers and rustic-inspired newborn props available for client use. If you have a preference on color that you would like to incorporate (or colors that you would like to avoid), please let me know and I will plan accordingly. All of my items are washed after each use in Free and Clear detergent. The clothing I wear for sessions is also washed without perfumes and dyes to protect sensitive little ones. Also, if some photos I showed previously jumped out at you, please let me know! Everything I show on social media or my website only has my items in it; this way, if a client loves the look, I’m able to recreate it for them.
- If you would like to bring a sentimental item to incorporate, I certainly welcome that. I simply ask that you send me a picture prior to our session so that I can make sure to coordinate what I have with what you bring. When planning for this, please keep in mind that many store-bought outfits, while adorable, tend to be made to fit a very wide variety of babies. So, they often will not photograph well. As you can imagine, clothing made to fit a 6-12 pound baby will be quite baggy on a 6 lb little one and probably pretty darn snug on a 12 lb baby! The outfits that I have available are custom made to stretch to fit a variety of babies while still photographing beautifully.
- Here is one that gets parents a lot! Poop happens! Your baby will be in the buff for the majority of the session (who doesn’t love a tiny naked baby!?), so I fully anticipate and plan for ‘accidents.’ Please don’t panic or be embarrassed if your newborn baby uses me or any of the props as their makeshift diaper! It’s kind of part of the gig so I just work right through it!
- For full-sessions, I welcome (and encourage!!) parents and siblings to participate. Those images are ones that you and your child can look back on and treasure down the road. When planning for parent and sibling photos, I suggest a plain colored, fitted top in muted colors for everyone. Parent and family photos are from the waist up, so wear whatever pants are comfortable. For sibling photos, I will usually have the older sibling take off shoes and socks for any pictures that show their lower half; so no need to stress about shoes! I’m always happy to offer opinions, so don’t hesitate to send over pictures of shirts you are considering. I would much rather tell you ahead of time if something about it won’t look right than have you wear it and be unhappy with your photos!
- Sibling and family photos are either done at the start or at the end of the session. If possible, it is helpful to have someone on call to pick up siblings after their portion of the session, or to bring them at the end. I have a few toys and snacks in the studio, but there isn’t much for them to do after their part is done. If that is not possible, they are certainly welcome to stick around and watch a movie or their favorite show (On Demand is available for them to choose what they like!).
- Plan to set aside 3 hours for your session. I generally take no more than 2 hours; however, it could take a bit longer if baby takes a bit of time to drift off or wakes and needs to eat mid-session.
MOST IMPORTANTLY……RELAX!! My goal with newborn sessions is for it to not only be fun, but also a time for parents to relax. If your baby comes in awake…that’s OK! Your baby rules the session and I follow their cues throughout my time with them. If they get hungry, we take a break for them to eat. If they simply need a moment to be held and rocked…that’s OK! Babies can sense anxiety, especially from their mama. Some newborn sessions can be done very quickly and baby never opens their eyes; others take a bit more time and baby needs a few feeding/soothing breaks. Both types of sessions are just fine! As a parent, I fully understand that it’s hard not to panic when things don’t go perfectly right from the start. However, newborn photography can be a waiting game. We are on your baby’s schedule. So, plan to relax, put your feet up, and let me do all of the work!