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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Schwering

7 Things To Know Before Your At Home Newborn Session

Congratulations on your sweet new addition! Newborns are so precious and I'm so glad that you're considering documenting all of those sweet little features with a newborn photo session. Before you book your session, there are a few things you need to know about the process and I wanted to sum them all up in one easy, all inclusive blog post today! So here are seven things that you need to know before your at home newborn photography session.

Newborn baby girl sleeping on a textured pink blanket while swaddled in a black & white "I love you" swaddle in Cincinnati, Ohio.

When should I schedule my newborn session?

Once you find a photographer you love, I recommend reaching out sooner rather than later! Even though it's hard to schedule an exact day for your session before your baby's arrival, we can always set up a tentative plan based on your due date. Ideally, newborn photos are scheduled within the first ten days of life. During this time period, babies more flexible and can be easily (and safely!) posed for photos. I always recommend that my clients try to set up a date when their baby is 5-6 days old so that you have more time to develop an eating/sleeping schedule for your baby. We can use that schedule to plan out what time of day your session should take place! But we'll get to more of that later :)

Up close image showing details in newborn baby fingers in Cincinnati, Ohio

Where should I have my newborn photos taken?

This is a great question and one that I'm actually asked pretty often! While there are some incredible studio spaces around the Cincinnati area, I always encourage clients to have their newborn session in their own home. I love the sentimental touch that a special space brings to your photos and most clients don't even realize that they have potential in their space! Being at home allows for a variety of backdrops and can capture such a special moment in time for your family. Eventually, your baby will grow and you'll paint over those pastel nursery walls. You may outgrow your first home and want to remember how cozy your little living room was. We don't need much space for photos, and documenting not only your family, but also this moment in history for you, is so special. Cuddling together as a new family on your bed, admiring your sweet baby in the nursery you spent so much time on, standing together next to the window that overlooks your first backyard. These are all special moments that you just can't get in a studio space!

Mom and dad sitting on bed admire new baby girl while their dog smiles at the camera.

What type of newborn session do I want?

This is another great question!! There are two main groupings of newborn photography: lifestyle and posed. I specialize in lifestyle sessions because I love adding in parents, pets, and siblings, but posed newborn photography is also beautiful. With a lifestyle session, your final gallery will be filled with photos of you as a family, cuddling and bonding together. I always deliver back a few simple posed shots of baby, but I mainly capture the natural and loving moments that occur while I'm hanging out with your family for the day. With a posed newborn session, your final gallery will be filled with individual photos of your baby. I always bring different swaddles, wraps, baskets, blankets, etc. for these photos so that you don't have to worry about anything, but these sessions are really just focused on your baby and all of their little details. Regardless of which type of session you choose, you will love looking back on your photos in the years to come!

New parents admire newborn baby boy while sitting on the floor in animal themed nursery.

Now that I've chosen a day, how do I decide when my photographer should arrive?

There is SO much that goes into this question. In the weeks leading up to your due date, be sure to start watching how sun lights up your house. We LOVE natural lighting and want to schedule your session when the lighting is best. That being said, I always bring my lighting equipment to newborn sessions just in case, but opening your windows usually does the trick! If you decide to have an at home session and mainly want to take photos in your nursery and living room, be sure to specifically watch the lighting in those two rooms. If you do decide to go with a studio option, your photographer will be able to recommend the best time of day.

Even though the lighting will help you decide between a session in the morning and a session in the evening, your baby's schedule will help narrow down a more exact time. When are they eating? How long are they sleeping for after eating? Do they typically stay up for a long time after eating? Are they on a schedule yet? Ideally we want your baby to sleep through their newborn session. If your baby eats every three hours (around 9 AM, noon, 3 PM, etc.) we want to schedule your session to start right after feeding and when the light is the best. If your nursery window faces East and you want photos in that room, we'd probably schedule your session to take place around 9:30 AM. Try to keep your baby awake for one to two hours leading up to your session & then feeding your baby right before your photos start. Newborn sessions require patience and we're of course going to have to take a few breaks for changing, eating, rocking, etc. but starting with a happy & sleepy baby will set us up for a great session!

Newborn baby girl sleeps in basket while wrapped in a bright blue blanket in a studio in Cincinnati, Ohio.

How can I prepare my house for my newborn session?

Babies like to be warm and I always recommend turning your heat up before your session starts so that your baby can remain comfortable and sleepy while being changed, posed, etc. For posed sessions, I always recommend temperatures around 80 degrees (warm for us but babies LOVE it!) and a space heater is always a great option. It can be cooler for lifestyle sessions because you'll spend the majority of the time cuddling & cozy together!

Newborn baby sleeps in wreath of orange and pink flowers

Any advice for planning out outfits?

Of course! No matter what, I recommend planning out your outfits for your newborn session before your baby arrives. Life is crazy enough with a newborn, and there's no reason to add in the stress of coordinating outfits while learning how to be a new mom. When planning your outfits, put your other family members in neutrals. I always love soft outfits that go together and compliment one another, but not outfits that make your entire family look identical. If you're leaning towards a lifestyle newborn session, a lot of the parents that I work with have a specific outfit they want a few photos of their baby in, but if you don't have an outfit in mind, it's okay! I always bring swaddles & wraps that you're more than welcome to use for your session.

Another thing that I encourage parents to think about before their session starts is whether or not they are planning on documenting their baby's first year of growth with monthly photos. A lot of parents have a special blanket for monthly photos, but some would rather document monthly growth with an object instead. Whether it's a letter board, a specific chair, or a stuffed animal, I always suggest having that object close by for your newborn session. That way, when you look back on your monthly photos, you'll have a shot of your baby with that object to show how much they've grown, even before turning one month old!

Newborn baby boy looks right at camera while laying in front of a letter board to reveal his name.

Other than your camera, what else will you bring to my at home newborn session?

I'll come with my arms full, don't worry! Aside from my camera & bag of gear, I always bring extra lighting equipment, baskets, blankets, swaddles, wraps, tools to help with posing, and a noise machine. I always find that a warm environment and white noise help encourage babies to sleep throughout their sessions. I'll also be bringing my knowledge of posing and lighting along with my experience as a full time photographer to make sure your session results in beautiful images of your precious new addition. Newborn sessions are so unbelievably special and the memories your photos document are priceless!!

First time mom holding newborn baby boy.

Hopefully this list of seven things you need to know before your at home newborn session helps you prepare for your baby's arrival! Above all else, just enjoy this new phase of life and soak up every precious moment with your new baby.


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