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10 Important Session Tips from a Seattle newborn photographer

Newborn baby boy photos

I just love in-home newborn lifestyle sessions. It’s the perfect mix of casually-posed babies and real-life moments snuggling with mom, dad, siblings and pets! I have compiled a list of the Top 10 Session Tips for successful photo shoot in your home!

Tip #1:

Open all of the blinds and curtains!

Let ALLL the light in! Your photographer will get the best idea of where to shoot in your home based on your windows. A lot of homes in Seattle are small and dark. But if you have ONE good window, a lifestyle session is possible!

Tip #2:

Clear the clutter.

We want you and your newborn to be the star of the show! Sure, a burp rag or bottle or two will help tell the story of your life but the day-old dishes, stacks of old newspapers, and general clutter don’t add anything to your photos and you probably won’t be excited about displaying those photos. My favorite tactic is just to use a laundry basket and clear all of the clutter in the 2 rooms you’ll most likely use for the photoshoot. Stash it away in an unused room and voila! You’ve got a clutter-free home (for a few minutes).

Tip #3:

Turn up the thermostat.

Babies like to be warm. And chances are, we will be unswaddling them and perhaps doing a few diaper-only pics. The warmer your space is, the less likely baby will get cold and cranky!

Tip #4:

Make your bed!

One of my favorite spots to shoot is on the master bed. Bonus if you have a white or light-colored bedding (but no need to stress! I always bring a big white blanket with me).

Tip #5:

Eat breakfast!

You won’t forget to feed the baby so please don’t forget to feed yourselves! I know you’ll probably be busy getting the house, the baby and yourself ready so try to plan ahead. Stock up on easy ready-to-eat meals like my favorite muffins, overnight oats, or baked oatmeal (these also happen to be the top 3 things that I bring to families who just had a baby)! No one wants a hangry mama!

Tip #6:

Gather any significant outfits, blankets or props that you’d like to use in the photos.

A lot of parents like to be sure to include a blanket that grandma made, their college team onesie, or a special stuffed animal. If you have everything out (and show your photographer) at the beginning of the session, you’ll ensure that nothing is forgotten!

Tip #7:

Think about what you’ll wear BEFORE the morning of your shoot!

I know, I’m asking a lot of new parents. And remember, these are just TIPS! But if you plan ahead, there’s less chance that the shirt you were planning is dirty, the pants you wanted to wear still don’t fit, or your partner’s shirt is at the cleaners. Bonus tip: Lay everything out the night before to ensure that everything coordinates. Moms, I always recommend picking a favorite dress you wore during your early maternity days or a flowy top. No goals to fit into post-partum jeans allowed! You are most likely only a few days post-partum and no one needs to go through that stress! And most important: be comfortable!

Tip #8:

Ask for help!

If you’re a brand new mom, this is a great beginning lesson in ALL the things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your partner, your parents, a friend, your neighbor and even your photographer! Tell them what you need as chances are, they are itching to help and just need to be told what to do!

Tip #9:

Manage Pets.

I love including furry friends in your newborn lifestyle photoshoot. Their comfort is important too so make sure they are fed, let outside and/or given space. We will only include them if they are willing and able!

Tip #10:

RELAX! Babies Cry!

One thing that has surprised me over the years of doing newborn photoshoots is how stressed parents seem to get when baby cries. Even if your typically mellow baby starts to cry it’s OK! It’s even expected. Chances are we will be fussing with them by changing their clothes, moving them around, and changing their environment. They know when something is up and most of them respond with fussiness. Have no fear! I have been called a baby whisperer and have several tricks up my sleeve to calm a fussy baby. We take our time so not to stress them out and keep them comfortable. My goal is to be in and out of your home in under 2 hours – and then you have the rest of the afternoon to snuggle your baby and nap!

Even if you just focus on a few of these tips you are guaranteed a smooth photo session. A good photographer is used to going with the flow and making the best of each situation. I hope these tips have given you some great tips on what to think about and prepare for your in-home newborn photo shoot!