NEWBORN LIFESTYLE SESSION GUIDE
How to prepare for your newborn lifestyle session
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.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Since lifestyle photos are all about being relaxed at home you probably are wondering how you can prepare your home and your family for your session. It's not as hard as it sounds, I promise! I will scope out your home for areas with the best light and the most picture friendly colors/decor. I primarily shoot newborn lifestyle images in the nursery, master bedroom and living, however it's more about finding the rooms with the best light and color scheme.
The baby will typically determine the flow of the session. If they are hungry when I arrive, then I will start with some feeding and changing shots - if you are comfortable with that. If they are sleeping soundly in the crib (kudos to you!) then I'll start with some crib and nursery shots. I love to document all the adorable elements of a nursery. There is no set schedule or plan; as a parent myself, I've learned to adapt.
Typically after that, we will move to either the master bedroom or the living room. This is mainly dictated by the light that is available. I'm looking for the 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 dog for a beautiful portrait.
HOW TO PREPARE
1. Prep your space: I have three children and I vividly remember the plethora of house guests after baby. I completely understand how overwhelming it can be to take care of the baby plus entertain family and try to recover from delivery. So, do no stress about cleaning. Like I said, we are only going to be in two-three locations, so your entire house DOES NOT need to be spotless! In fact, if I see a spot I want to shoot in and there is a stuff in the way, I will happily move things around to give you the illusion of a spotless house. I just might need a slight reminder of where to put it back! 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.
2. Prep the family: For 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 be only in front of the camera 20 minutes or so. If you have other children, then Dad will spend a good portion of time keeping them entertained before and after their turn with their sibling. For siblings, tell them that someone fun is coming over to take their picture. Feel free to offer bribes for good behavior, you have my full support!
3. Preparing mom: You are the most important person in this session. You are the comforting arms that your baby will settle down in, you are the food source and if you are stressed the baby will pick up on it. So, 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. The more relaxed and beautiful you feel, the better the photos. Everyone picks up on mom's mood, so as long as you are happy, they will be too!
4. Preparing the baby: This part is pretty simple, make sure they have a full belly when I arrive, along with a clean diaper. Plain white diapers work best, so patterns don't show through, no biggie if you don't have one though. Dress them in a simple white short sleeve onesie. We can take breaks during the session for feeding top offs if needed. If you have any special props like bows for the girls or cute hats for the boys, let me know and we can incorporate them into the session!
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 colors, steering away from tees with logos or bold patterns. Causal clothing is perfect and bare feet look most natural in a home setting. Moms, consider a light flowy skirt or maxi dress or a pretty cotton gown that will be both comfortable and soft while cuddling with your new baby.
Still not sure what to wear? Check out my Pinterest board for inspiration.
NOTE: The house will be warmer than usual so, dress appropriately for the temperature.
Primp yourself just a bit; enough to photograph well, but still be YOU and still be casual.
Remember...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 nervous.