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Newborn Prep Guide

Congratulations! Your new bundle of joy has arrived and I am sure your heart is exploding with love. It’s time to capture these precious first moments of your baby’s life and I am excited to meet your new addition. I strive to make you and your baby as comfortable as possible during your session and I work diligently to ensure you have complete satisfaction with your portraits. Success in achieving these goals comes from preparation, my own and yours. Please take a few minutes to read the information below to get ready for your session and so you know what to expect through each step of the process.

Prior to your Session

Complete Lovely Day Photo’s newborn questionnaire.

This simple and quick questionnaire will provide me some basic information about your newborn and it will also give me a sense of your style and desired portraits. The questionnaire should take less than 10 minutes to complete as I know newborn life can be hectic and exhausting. Click here to complete the questionnaire.

Planning and packing your attire.

I strongly encourage dressing in neutral colors for your session. To get an idea of colors/attire that photograph well, please take a look at my Newborn Session section from my What to Wear board on Pinterest. This will give you a sense of where to start when selecting pieces from your wardrobe. Keep in mind, the same gowns that are available for moms-to-be during maternity sessions are also available during newborn sessions and work perfectly post-partum, too! Plus, I offer new moms on-site hair and makeup services that I coordinate on your behalf with local beauty professionals. For dads, I suggest white or plain-colored button-down shirts, black or white t-shirts, denim or neutral slacks. For siblings, simple white shirts, denim, plain dresses and/or solid-color clothes are ideal. No need to plan for shoes, you won’t see them in the portraits. If you can’t decide, need help, or just want my opinion, you are more than welcome to email me your outfits – actually, I encourage it! It helps to save time during your session and eases your stress. Or, alternatively, bring as many outfits as you’d like the day of your session and we’ll select what will look best together.

What to bring to your session.

Aside from clothing options, you don’t need to bring much to your session. The key items to bring for the baby are bottles (if you’re not breastfeeding or if you are uncomfortable doing so at the studio), diapers, and a pacifier. Even if you prefer your baby not to use a pacifier, I recommend bringing it. Sometimes I need it to help transition the baby to a new pose. It helps settle the baby and we will only use it for a few minutes. Sessions normally last about 3 hours, so if your newborn has young siblings joining the session, I’d suggest bringing an easy-to-eat snack and a couple of quiet distractions (books, stuffed animals, etc.). Of course, cartoons quietly playing on a phone/tablet work, too!

Aside from clothing options, you don’t need to bring much to your session. The key items to bring for the baby are bottles (if you’re not breastfeeding or if you are uncomfortable doing so at the studio), diapers, and a pacifier. Even if you prefer your baby not to use a pacifier, I recommend bringing it. Sometimes I need it to help transition the baby to a new pose. It helps settle the baby and we will only use it for a few minutes. Sessions normally last about 3 hours, so if your newborn has young siblings joining the session, I’d suggest bringing an easy-to-eat snack and a couple of quiet distractions (books, stuffed animals, etc.). Of course, cartoons quietly playing on a phone/tablet work, too!

Day-of and During your Session

Preparing your baby before the session.

Our goal…a sleepy baby. The best way to have a sleepy baby during the session is to keep your newborn awake for 1-2 hours before the session. I know, I know…I can hear you cringing through the webpage. While I recognize this is an incredibly difficult task, I promise it will be worth it. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned from newborn parents to help keep them up: try giving the baby a bath before the session; if you normally swaddle your newborn when it’s time to sleep, let him/her hang out in just a diaper or onesie; change up your baby’s sleep routine (especially if he/she sleeps in the same spot for naps and bedtime), for example, try moving the bassinet to a different spot in the house or change where the baby naps (move to a Dock-a-Tot, swing, crib). The energy the baby spends staying awake will help ensure a sleepy baby during the session.

Feeding your baby before and during your session.

Our goal…a full belly. A full baby is a happy baby, so milk coma here we come! As mentioned, sessions usually run 3 hours because I plan feeding and awake time into the session’s length. I am happy to plan and schedule your session around the baby’s feeding schedule; however, that does not always guarantee a sleeping baby in the studio. Many newborns will not settle into a full sleep if they are hungry. While I agree that wide-awake portraits are cute, newborns have no control over their eye or limb movements yet, so a full session of a wide-awake and hungry baby is not ideal. And, even though I am sure that you are trying to get your baby on a schedule, I may ask you to feed the baby if he/she is awake and rooting while you’re at the studio.

Understanding the studio environment and conditions.

Full disclosure: the studio will be HOT! During newborn sessions, I set the thermostat to 76 degrees and also add a space heater close to where I am working. First, please dress accordingly. You are more than welcome to change when it is time for your portraits to be taken with your baby. Second, knowing that it is very warm in the studio, I will provide cold bottled water to help keep you cool and hydrated.

 

Also, the studio is a no-phone zone. I know this is a momentous occasion for you and your family that you are anxious to share, but I kindly request you turn your phone to vibrate or completely off so we can focus on your little one. I pledge to provide you the highest-quality portraits that will be worth the wait to share with your family and friends.

 

Lastly, but certainly not least, the studio is a no-stress zone! I will take care of everything once you arrive, aside from feedings, of course. And speaking of feedings, if the baby is cluster feeding or even awake for a bit – don’t worry! It happens and is totally okay! So, feel free to chill out and let me do the work. Take a nap even! I’ve been photographing newborns for years and have plenty of tricks up my sleeve to make sure we have a successful session and that you’re at ease.

After your Session

Your portrait gallery.

our portraits will be available to view in a personal online gallery approximately 2 weeks after your session. When your gallery is ready, I will send you a detailed email with information about how to access your gallery, choose your favorite images, and begin placing an order. Keep in mind, portraits in your gallery are only proofs, so any portrait orders will undergo final edits and retouching before completion.

Ordering portraits and product pick-up.

As the final step in our process, we plan a visit to the studio (currently pending COVID regulations and policies) to view your final, edited/retouched portraits. During this appointment, we will discuss options for prints and art pieces for your home (gift prints, wall enlargements, albums, products, and/or digital portrait files). Once your order has been placed, your final products will be ready for pick-up approximately 3-6 weeks after your ordering appointment. Your portraits are investments and heirlooms that should not be rushed. I promise it will be worth the wait.