What to Expect? A Newborn Lifestyle Session Prep Guide
What is a "newborn lifestyle session"?
A newborn lifestyle session lets parents and families look back on this sweet and intimate time with their newborn baby and relive those first snuggles, those itty bitty baby bits, and all the emotion and love of that special time in their lives. It tells a story; it captures a memorable chapter in your life. During this type of session, I do offer gentle guidance and include some formal poses, however I mostly let the session unfold naturally.
There are several benefits to a newborn documentary session:
1. Comfort of home: You are adjusting to a new life and the baby is adapting to its new home; this can be a challenging transition period and you certainly do not need to add any extra stress. A newborn lifestyle session takes place in your environment, where you are most comfortable and relaxed, and so is baby.
2. Real life: My favourite images evoke emotion or bring you back to a special place and time where you felt love, happiness and joy. Only real life can achieve true emotion. La vie est belle.
3. Flexible schedule: A newborn session should generally take place within the first 2 weeks after birth, however a lifestyle session is much more flexible. I can document this special time with your baby at 1 week, 3 weeks or even 2 months.
What to expect:
When I first arrive, after saying hello of course, I will scope out your home for areas with the best light and the most picture friendly colours/decor. I primarily shoot newborn lifestyle images in the nursery, master bedroom and living room however it’s more about finding the rooms with the best light and colour scheme.
The baby will typically determine the flow of the session. If he is hungry when I arrive, then I will start with some feeding and changing shots. If he’s sleeping soundly in the crib (kudos to you!) then I’ll start with some crib and nursery shots. There is no set schedule or plan; as a parent myself, I’ve learned to adapt.
Although this is lifestyle session, I do offer gentle guidance for posing to get the ball rolling and help clients settle in.
I will make use of your home, your décor, your furniture, etc… I may need to move some things around or take a frame off the wall; I promise to move everything back. It’s really about getting THE shot and avoiding distractions in the images.
How to prepare.
- Prep your space: Your home does not have to be perfect. I promise. It’s your home and it’s supposed to look lived in, and if you have little ones, it's VERY well lived in. You don’t have to hire a professional cleaning company before your session or redecorate the living room; I’m there to focus on you and the interactions with your new baby. Instead, focus on uncluttering your home which means just tidying up a bit and basically putting stuff in the room where it belongs (no coats on couch or towels on bed sort of thing) and just toss the rest in a closet until I leave. Giving windows or mirrors a quick wipe does go a long way because streaks or dust on these surfaces can be very obvious in photographs.
- Crank the heat (or turn off the air conditioning). The adults may feel a bit hot and uncomfortable, but the baby will be toasty and happy (and as you’re learning, their needs come first haha).
- About 30 minutes before the scheduled session or before the baby naps, loosen the baby’s diaper to allow time for the diaper’s imprint marks to disappear. Also remove any tight clothing that could leave marks on the skin. You can swaddle baby in a warm blanket until I arrive; they tend to like that and it’s a sweet photo op for me. If baby’s skin is a little dry or flaky, try applying a small bit of baby lotion to those spots the day before our session.
- Collect any items you want used in the session beforehand such as blankets or stuffed animals. We’ll go through these together to determine what and how we can use the items in your session.
- I typically shoot a good portion of the session in the nursery so please have the curtains and shades open to let in lots of natural light. I also love to photograph baby with mom and dad in their bed, on the couch, anywhere comfy and snuggly. No need to clean, but just try and make sure the clutter has found its way to a closet in these particular rooms.
What to wear.
Keep in mind that I'm documenting a day in your life, so keep it real by wearing what you’re most comfortable in and by being yourself. I encourage neutral colours, steering away from t-shirts with logos or bold patterns. Casual clothing is perfect and bare feet look most natural in a home setting. Moms, consider a light flowy shirty, maxi dress or a pretty cotton gown that will be both comfortable and soft while you are cuddling with your new baby.
NOTE: The house will be warmer than usual so dress appropriately for the temperature.
For baby I recommend naked, in just a diaper or in just a neutral coloured onesie. I realize there are tons of really cute baby clothes but it’s rare to find any that fit properly or that won’t be distracting in photos.
Primp yourself just a bit; enough to photograph well but still be YOU and still be casual. Less is more ;)
Relax. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t worry. A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. I am not in a rush and I will not bail because the baby isn’t sleeping or cooperating. C’est la vie! Take some deep breaths and enjoy this time with your new baby.
Ultimately, I want you to enjoy this experience as much as I enjoy capturing it. It’s ok to be a bit nervous. I have to admit that I don’t get in front of the camera much myself! But I can guarantee you that you will not regret having these memories to cherish.