Lucy Rose Studios

August 22, 2023

Newborn Photography: A Guide

Hey! If you’re new here, I’m Lucy – your Maternity, Newborn and Family photographer based in York bringing you all the best top tips and newborn photography to make you broodier than ever.

Preparation is key…

Welcoming a newborn into the world is a huge, incredible occasion. For every other huge milestone and occasion in our lives, most of us spend a long time making sure we have the perfect photographer – graduations, weddings, christenings, etc. but a lot of people don’t think to do this for the, some would say, biggest occasion in their lives. Capturing those early days through professional newborn photography will create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. To ensure a successful and stress-free photoshoot, proper preparation is key. In this post, I will guide you through the essential steps to prepare your family for a memorable newborn photography session.

Schedule the Session EARLY

Contact your chosen newborn photographer well in advance to secure a session date – most newborn photographers are booked up WELL in advanced because we have the most precarious calendars you can imagine. For newborns, the best time to capture them is 7-10 days after they are born as it ensures the scrunchy, gorgeous squishiness before they become strong enough to kick the wraps off them. I can shoot up to 4 times a week – let’s say that all 4 are newborns and they’re all booked in for 1 week after their due date.. I reckon 1, if that, would come on the correct date! I check in and keep in touch with my families around the time that they are born to ensure that we have time 7-10 days after they arrive, whenever that may be. This means I can’t always accommodate last minute bookings (I will always try to though) so I recommend to get in touch whilst you are still pregnant.

This also helps you – you don’t need to be planning outfits at 39 weeks pregnant! I recommend getting a little bag of what you want to bring (for Mum and baby at least) before you give birth so that on the morning, you just grab and go!

Basically, the earlier the better! Plan accordingly to capture those adorable, curly poses and delicate features.

Get your little one prepared

I typically do morning shoots because babies just seem to be better behaved! I can’t explain why… Helping your baby to relax and be comfortable during the photoshoot is key!

If your little one is under four weeks old, please try and keep your baby up for an hour or so before your session. This will help them to try and sleep at the session. Don’t stress if it’s not possible, especially if you’re travelling with them in the car, just do your best!

Feeding is encouraged! We all know there is NOTHING cuter than a milk drunk baby.. I have a feeding cushion and plenty of blankets and cushions (and chocolate for Mum) at the studio for you to use to make sure that you are comfortable too. If you’re bottle or combi feeding, bring a little extra milk than you’d normally expect your baby to drink – it’s common for babies to need an extra top up to help settle them during their shoot. If you’re pumping, please feel free to bring along and pump during the session as needed!

I recommend dressing your baby in a plain white vest as we’ll start with them in this (the type of ones that you put under their normal clothing, either with short or long sleeves that do not cover their hands and feet – loose-fitting clothes also help to avoid any marks or indentations on their delicate skin! If they have clothing on top of this, it is best to ensure that it is an outfit that zips or buttons at the front as we want to be able to transfer the baby straight onto the beanbag – please avoid anything we have to pull over their head. HOWEVER, if you are just a tired, 7 day postpartum Mum who forgot everything but the baby, fear not.. I have more than enough (it’s a sickness.. I can’t stop buying teeny, tiny baby things) clothes for your little one to use.

Consider the fit

This is SUPER important – it’s the difference between a good and a GREAT shoot! Coordinate outfits for the family members involved in the shoot. Opt for solid, neutral colors (whites, creams, beige all work best) that won’t distract from the focus on the baby and create a timeless look. Avoid black, busy patterns or logos that may divert attention from your little one!

If you are stuck for outfits, I have a Mother and Baby wardrobe (with a few bits for Dad too) that you are more than welcome to use. I also have my studio wardrobe Instagram with outfits you are able to borrow during your shoot – go and give it a follow! @lrstudiowardrobe

If you are stuck for some inspo, I have a Pinterest board: – have a nosy!

Creating a soothing space for you and your family

I will always maintain a calm and soothing atmosphere during your photoshoot. Babies are sensitive to their surroundings so we play soft music, keep the room comfortably warm, pop a hot water bottle down to warm up their spot and keep them cosy on the bean bag whilst we do some baby yoga and get some cute shots. This environment helps create a tranquil setting for those heartwarming images.

For my shots, I use very loose, light wraps meaning they’re gently tucked over them. They can move freely, kicking their legs and punching their arms in the air – I do this for 2 reasons! The main one being comfort – I don’t want them to feel restricted in any way, I want them to be warm and comfortable! Not all babies like being swaddled (my little one HATED it which is why I’m drawn to this style – if you’d strapped her arms in, the only photos we’d have got would have been with my boob in her mouth trying to sooth her.. Lord knows I have enough of those haha). The second reason I keep material loose is you get SO much more personality – the leg kicks, scrunches and hand movements are what makes your baby, them! So capture them, just as they are.

Personalise your images

Consider incorporating sentimental and special items – this could be ANYTHING. From a special stuffed animal from their Auntie, a handmade blanket from Grandma, a special candle symbolizing a loved one, a ring that was your Grandfather’s.. These things can add a personal touch to the image and bring a lovely memory in to the room. I have a huge amount of love in my heart from all of the wonderful stories I have been told about items that have been brought to my studio – I don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing about your guys’ love.

Big small children

If you are bringing other small children then just remember that you’re going to be in a hot room for 2-3 hours, whilst also being tired from your littlest one’s arrival – it’s absolutely normal to want to throw any siblings out of the window at some point!

Just know that this is oh so normal! I do this all of the time, so please don’t apologise if your kids refuse to get in the photos or throw a tantrum! I usually photograph small children first as they have a short attention span. Once their photos are done, they’re free to go. A lot of my clients organise someone to come and collect them, or have one parent take them outside; we’re a 20 minute walk from the city centre or there’s a little park a few minutes walk away too. Please also bring an iPad or something that can keep them quietly entertained, along with snacks and a drink (but please avoid giving them the iPad until AFTER we are done with their photos). The odd sweet treat or raisins/crisps can also be a great bargaining tool for getting them to cooperate in photos too!

Relax and enjoy this moment in time with your family

Remember, newborn photography is about capturing the genuine moments of love and connection within your family. There are very few times in life when we are completely switched off from the outside world and totally present with our children – make this time one of those. Take this time to breathe them in, enjoy them, be present, and remember why you’re doing this. Embrace the experience and let me guide you through our session together.

Preparing your family for a newborn photography session is an exciting step toward capturing the essence of your little one’s early days. By scheduling the session in advance – and by this, I mean whilst you are pregnant – discussing your preferences, creating a relaxing environment and prioritizing safety, you can ensure a successful and memorable photoshoot. Remember, this session is about capturing the love and connection within your family, so relax, enjoy the moment and lets create beautiful images that will be treasured for years to come.

Interested in having your own newborn photography done? Then get in touch here to find out more or follow me on my Instagram page here for more inspiration!

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