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NEWBORN SESSION GUIDE

HOW TO PREPARE AND WHAT TO EXPECT

 

So your session can run as smoothly as possible, I have compiled a prep guide to help us get the most out of your session!

COVID-19 update

Whilst I appreciate that most legal restrictions surrounding Covid-19 have now been lifted, I would really appreciate my Client’s continued support in following my guidelines during their appointments with me, in order to protect all of my customers (including newborn babies and vulnerable adults) as much as possible.

I will continue to wear a face mask throughout indoor appointments and will thoroughly wash my hands before and after sessions and use hand sanitiser when necessary. Whilst I understand that face coverings are no longer a legal requirement, I would appreciate if Client’s continue to wear a face covering or mask during appointments with me (whilst not being photographed) for the time being. I regularly have contact with newborn babies and vulnerable adults and therefore I ask Clients to continue to wear face coverings in order to help me keep all Client’s safe as far as possible during their appointments with me. I appreciate your co-operation. 

You can find out more information on the Covid-19 procedures I have put in place here.

Booking your session

Newborn sessions are most successful when done within the first 3 weeks of birth, however, I often photograph babies up to 6 weeks of age in a newborn style and I am confident in achieving a lovely gallery of images whatever age baby is at the time of their session. As baby get’s older and further past the age of 3 weeks old, they will start to be more alert and awake, so we usually find older babies will be awake for more of their session and certain poses may not be suitable for them, due to their growth since birth.

If you are looking to book with me and baby is already here, please get in touch asap, so we can chat about your session and what is possible. Whilst it is true that to achieve the classic, curled up, dinky newborn images you see on my website it is best for baby to be under 3 weeks of age, it can still be possible to photograph older babies in a newborn style – they just might be a little more awake and alert after this point and need extra time to settle! The poses that can be achieved is often down to each individual baby, so my sessions are very baby-led no matter their age.

When will you book our session?

When you book your newborn session, I book your due date into my diary and then it’s just a case of getting in touch with me once baby is born, so we can schedule your session. Newborn sessions take place Monday to Friday and usually start at 11.30am. I take a limited number of due dates a month to allow me to give your session the time it deserves.

How long does a newborn photography session last?

Newborn sessions usually last around 4 hours, although on occasion, if baby is very unsettled or particularly hungry, your session may last a little longer. Sessions last this long to allow plenty of time for your baby to feed and settle, as baby’s mood on the day is always unpredicatable!

What should I bring to the session?

Please bring plenty of nappies, wipes, muslin cloths and a change of clothes for baby. There’s no need to bring other clothes or accessories as I provide all of the outfits, wraps, headbands etc.  If your baby has a dummy, please bring at least two sterilised dummies with you as these will help settle baby for their photographs.

Wear thin layers yourself as the studio will be warm!

Please bring snacks and/or lunch for yourself. Individual bottles of water and packets of biscuits will also be available in our studio.

Should I bring extra milk or be prepared to feed my baby more often than usual?

Yes please! The best way to settle baby for their newborn photographs is to ensure they have a nice full tummy so they can happily drift off to sleep, so please be prepared to feed more frequently than usual. I’ll ask you to feed and burp baby on arrival at the studio. A full tummy will help them to be relaxed and settled, so we have the best chance of capturing a beautiful set of images. If your baby is in an established feeding routine that you would rather not change, it may mean that if baby get’s hungry they may not settle as well. Whilst this is of course your choice, I can only capture what I can when baby is settled. If baby is formula/express fed, please bring extra feeds in case they are particularly hungry (newborn’s go through lots of growth spurts!).

Should I keep my baby awake before the session?

This isn’t necessary, but I would suggest you try to avoid baby having a big solid block of sleep just before their session. Try to interact with your baby before their session to give the best chance of a good settled period during their time with me. However, if baby is falling asleep before their session, please just let them sleep and continue to feed them as usual as a tired, hungry baby is often far more difficult to settle!

What should I dress my baby in to arrive at the studio?

Please dress your baby in a front-fastening baby gro/sleep suit, with no vest underneath (unless it’s particularly cold!). I’ll ask you to remove this (keeping nappy on) and wrap them in a blanket before feeding them at the start of your session.

My baby has dry skin, what should I do?

Many newborn’s will have flaky skin during those first few weeks of life, so please don’t worry. It’s entirely up to you whether you choose to use a lotion on baby’s skin or to give baby a bath before their session, but if you’d prefer to do neither, that’s fine too. If baby develops a particularly angry or red looking skin rash before their session, please let me know so we can decide whether it would be best to reschedule in a few days. 

Can I have photos taken of my baby with their siblings/with us?

Yes, of course! If you would like your baby to be photographed with their sibling/s or with you and/or your partner, please let me know before your session (you will be asked about this in your pre-session questionnaire too). I take sibling and family photographs at the end of the session and ask that wherever possible you arrange for your partner, a family member or friend to arrive with or drop sibling/s off for the last 45 minutes of the session. This is to allow me to focus on capturing the best photographs of your baby, in a quiet and calm environment during the first portion of your session. If older children will be joining us after school, please discuss this with me upon booking, so we can set the start time of your session to accommodate this.

I highly recommend following this advice on siblings joining your session towards the end, as newborn sessions are long and boring for small children and I do not have the space or facilities to occupy children throughout the session – you will thank me for it! 

What should we wear?

If you are planning on having some family photos taken, I suggest wearing plain, well fitting clothing that you are comfortable in.  Please avoid patterns, logos and prints and instead opt for 2 or 3 colour tones that compliment each other, but please avoid wearing black if possible. Although you might not generally like dressing ‘matchy-matchy’ as a family, for photo shoots, this actually looks great! I always ask that shoes & socks are removed, as honestly, they never look good, so pleased be preparaed to pop these off!

Below, I’ve put together a PDF to download, for some colour ideas and options for you to consider. These are only guidelines, but from experience I would suggest for family/siblings portraits you choose from the cool, neutral tones palette or the warm, earthy tones palette.

Download the PDF colour guide here; Studio Sessions What To Wear.

For a brief visual guide on clothing ideas, check out my Pinterest board here.

How should I prepare older kids?

Please ensure that all children arrive to the session fresh from a nap (if applicable) and well fed. Children should arrive in clean clothes (or with a change of clean clothes if you intend to change them on arrival). Please ensure that any chipped nail varnish and/or temporary tattoos have been removed prior to the session (including adults!).

My advice would be to say very little to your children about your planned session! By all means, mention you are going for a photo shoot and that it’s going to be fun, but please don’t worry about telling kids that they must listen and smile, as it’s often counter-productive. The best possible thing you can do is to ensure that young children have had a good nap before their session and that all kids have something to eat beforehand.

Can I bring my extended family or friends to the session?

Only immediate family (i.e. those participating in the session) should accompany baby to a newborn photography session in my studio, unless the participants require support. This is both due to limited space in the studio and it’s just best to avoid unnecessary distractions whilst we focus on capturing your images.

Advice for breastfeeding mothers:

Sometimes babies can be unsettled due to tummy ache/wind which can, in part, be due to foods you may naturally include in your diet. Whilst this isn’t likely to be something you need to consider day to day, in preparation for your session you may wish to exclude these foods from your diet 24 to 48 hours before your session; Spicy food (garlic, curry and chilli), gassy vegetables (broccoli, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, and peppers), citrus fruits and their juices (oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit), strawberries, kiwifruit, pineapple, fruits with a laxative effect, such as cherries and prunes and chocolate (yes, sorry about that last one!). This might seem like a long list, but it’s only advice and you do not have to follow it. But if you can avoid having a curry the night before or decide not to drink your usual 1 litre of orange juice the day before, then it may help your baby settle! (Please note: this is not medical fact and I am not qualified to advise you medically).

How will you pose my baby?

Once baby has finished feeding and they’re nice and relaxed, the first thing I do is to take baby over to my posing table and start to get them acclimatised to their new surroundings. I usually start by laying baby on my posing table and getting some beautiful wide-awake shots that focus on their eyes and expressions (if they’re still awake!).

From this point we work on some poses on my posing table. I follow baby’s lead, so if they don’t seem to want to settle into a particular pose, no stress, I simply move on to another pose.

After my posing table I move onto wrapping baby (in long pieces of material). Baby’s really love to be wrapped up, it helps to soothe and relax them and I often find this is their most settled period during their time with me. I will then photograph your baby in/on the props (basket/bowl/bed etc.) we have selected at the start of your session before finishing with family and/or sibling shots you may want to include.

What about the comfort and safety of my baby?

My studio will be warm and cosy, so baby will be comfortable throughout. I have 17 years experience as a full-time professional photographer and 14 years experience as a medical photographer, where I photographed patients’ conditions with a great deal of care, sensitivity and patience. I am fully aware of cleanliness requirements and hand hygiene protocols when handling newborn babies. I have also undertaken newborn posing, photography and safety training with some of the top baby photographers in the country. As well as my usual practices, I have introduced a number of enhanced measures to ensure my studio is Covid secure and you can find out more here.

What if my baby doesn’t settle well?

I only book one Newborn session a day, so don’t worry, we have plenty of time to get baby settled and to achieve a lovely gallery of images. On rare occasions, if baby doesn’t seem to be settling at all after the first hour or two and I’m unable to get many photographs, I may advise that it would be best to rearrange the session to take place on another day instead. This decision is at my sole discretion and if I feel we have achieved a full gallery of images then I won’t recommend we reschedule.

Our Sickness Policy

If you (or anyone in your party) have been feeling unwell in the days prior to your appointment, please contact me to rescedule your appointment. Where an illness is viral, contagious or involves sickness and/or diarrhoea, please observe the 48 hour free from symptoms rule.

Covid-19; Should you (or anyone in your party) develop Covid-19 symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 in the 7 days prior to your appointment, please contact me to reschedule your appointment (unless you have taken a lateral flow test to confirm a negative result). 

Need to reschedule?

I get it, stuff happens. If you do need to reschedule your session, please let me know as soon as possible. You should be aware that after 3 weeks of age the likelihood of getting posed newborn shots is less likely (they will most likely be wide awake newborn shots!). Your booking fee is non-refundable, but I do allow rescheduling once, due to genuine illness or emergency. Please give at least 24 hours notice wherever possible. If you do not arrive to your session or are more than 30 minutes late without letting me know, then you’ll need to pay a late cancellation fee to book your new date. If you need to reschedule due to symptoms of Covid-19 or if you have been in contact with someone with symptoms of Covid-19, then I will waive late cancellation fees on a case by case basis.

When will I see my photographs?

At the end of your session we will arrange your viewing & ordering appointment to take place in approximately 2-3 weeks time and this is when you will get to see your beautifully edited gallery of around 25 images, choose your favourites and place your order. Payment for an order is due at your viewing appointment. I always advise that all decision makers are present at the viewing and ordering appointment as you may find you need help choosing your portraits! I also recommend that children (with the exception of babies) do not attend viewing appointments, so you can relax and choose your photographs without distractions. Viewing appointments are currently taking place in my studio as usual, at 1m+ social distancing with the use of face coverings in addition.

When will I get my order?

Once you have placed your order, you can expect your purchased images and prints to be ready for collection in approximately 3 weeks time. If you have ordered wall art or an album then these will be ready in around 4-6 weeks time. 

Where is your studio?

You can find me at; First Floor, 29 Station Road, Steeton, West Yorkshire, BD20 6RL (above Imagine Hair & Beauty Salon).

Please enter via the front door and head up the stairs, where you will find my studio on your right. There is no on-site parking at the studio, but I will advise you of close-by on-street parking options before your session. Please try to arrive on time, but if you are running late, please message me on; 07956114916.

I welcome any questions you may have, so if you don’t find the answer in this guide – just ask!