If you speak to any newborn photographer, they’ll tell you that they have a tried and true list of newborn photography must-haves to ensure a successful session. After all, most of us have learned over time that nothing sets you up for success like being prepared – especially when babies are involved.
Whether you’re a photographer preparing for a session, a mother who wants to be extra ready for your newborn photos, or simply looking to take some beautiful photos of your newborn baby, here are a few of the things I can’t live without at my newborn sessions.
I put this newborn photography must-have first, because it’s one tool that has totally transformed my newborn sessions.
Babies can be fussy, and a crying baby can easily derail a newborn session if you’re not sure how to soothe them. After all, most of us mothers envision a peaceful, dozing baby in our newborn photos – not a screaming one. And while nearly every baby cries at some point or another, it doesn’t have to interfere with your newborn photos.
My favourite tool in my toolkit for newborns is this newborn shusher. There are so many things I love about it, but here are a few of it’s many benefits:
My only word of caution: it times out, so be prepared to fiddle with the dials to turn it back on in a flash.
Much like the baby shusher, swaddling or wrapping baby has almost an immediate calming effect on a fussy baby. The great thing about these is that you can find them in a variety of colours, textures and styles, so that you can wrap baby as tightly or in any position you want.
For me, I typically begin a session with baby wrapped with all arms and legs tucked in – like a little burrito. This usually lulls them right to sleep (in combination with the shusher) and allows us to move through various poses and moments effortlessly.
Once they’re asleep, I’ll often unwrap them to show of their little toes and hands, or have these peeking out of the wrap, so that we can get some sweet detail shots.
That said, most babies are little houdinis, so we’ll occasionally have to stop and re-wrap baby. This is always a good time to change up your wrap, check their bum and capture any naked* shots before wrapping them back up.
*I never take baby’s diaper off for photos (unless mom or dad specifically requests it) as they usually pee the moment they feel the fresh air.
Often in the summertime, we have our air conditioning and fans running and don’t have the house at a comfortable temperature for a newborn baby – especially one who isn’t wrapped up tight in a swaddle. I always recommend warming up the space we’re shooting to about 22 degrees – a comfortable temperature for baby so that they’re content and sleepy for photos, especially the ones where we show off their itty bitty toes.
As a (mostly) natural light photographer, the right kind of light is crucial for creating luminous portraits. For in home sessions, I will always seek out the space with the best light – even if it means shooting in a place that might seem otherwise unusual (like your dining room!). Good light is a newborn photography must-have to ensure the perfect skin tones – something that is very important, especially for new babies, who are often very red or orange-toned. I seek out spaces with large windows or doors, and will spend a lot of time using as much natural light as possible. That said, I am also well-versed in artificial light (and have mastered just how to make it look like natural light), so if your home does not have ample light, you need not worry!
Last, but not least, these are two of the most important must-haves for a successful newborn session. While most newborn sessions take an average of 1.5 hours, some can move much slower. If baby is extra fussy, hungry, or if there are older siblings (especially toddlers), it may mean that we take lots of extra breaks. Give yourself ample time before and after your session so that you can take all the breaks you – and your little ones – need. This also means having patience when it’s time for a break for baby or big brother or sister, since things just take longer when little ones are involved. We promise it’ll be well worth it in the end.
To learn more about how to prepare for your Edmonton Newborn Session, visit this article on the journal.
All film scanned by The Canadian Film Lab
Hair and Makeup for mama by Beauty Luxe Makeup Artistry
Mama’s dress and baby’s swaddle and bow are from the KKP Client Closet
All images by Edmonton Newborn Photographer, Kahla Kristen Photography