Emma was the beautiful winner of my newborn photography birthday competition that I had running at the end of last year. Since I haven’t had a chance to share her images here yet, I thought I’d use this post to do so, as I explain how to prepare for your in home newborn session.
Preparing for your in home newborn lifestyle photography session
I’ve previously talked about the differences between lifestyle images and posed images, so with all that in mind, I now want to bring you into the home and discuss how to prepare for your lifestyle session as you navigate your way around the demands of your newborn.
To start with, the first thing you need to do is contact your photographer whilst you are still pregnant. Newborn photographers can book up well in advance and may only take on a couple of sessions per month because we have to be able to be super flexible with dates. We know there’s a due date, but I mean how often do babies really come on their exact due date right? Once that due date is booked in and the deposit is paid, you can relax for a moment again, knowing that at least that’s one thing is taken care of, even if you’re still not sure where baby is going to actually be sleeping when he/she comes.
As you get closer to your due date you might want to start thinking about what you’re going to wear for your session. This one can be a bit tricky because obviously you’re not going to be fitting into all of your old clothes straight away, but buying new ones might not feel right because you know that huge bump is going to disappear once bubs is born and you’re just not sure how the clothing will fit after. I usually suggest to my Mamas to wear something simple and not too distracting and also something that is comfortable. Emma here choose a pair of jeans and a tee for her newborn session and she rocked it, why? Because she was comfortable in it. Another tip I might give if you’re not up for jeans would be to find a beautiful but simple, flowy kinda dress or jumpsuit. This way if you’re subconscious about how your body is feeling, then hiding behind something a bit more baggier and flowing will boost your confidence and that will shine through in camera. Only once your outfit is sorted, then do you turn to the other family members and coordinate them, again going for simplicity.
Next up, many newborn lifestyle photographers will want to shoot in the bedrooms, and most would probably choose to shoot in the main bedroom at some point throughout the session. I can’t tell you why others choose to photograph in these rooms, but I can tell you why I do. The main bedroom is typically the one with the most natural light coming in, but not only that, it is the room where both you and your kids spend so much of your time. From actually sleeping, of course, to the Saturday morning snuggles and then the late Sunday afternoon stories and rest time; I just feel like, it is important to document time in this room together if the light does in fact allow. So, I do like to suggest that the bedspreads are neutral coloured if possible to avoid unwanted colour casts. In saying this, I do not expect you to go out and buy a whole new one and if it’s going to be an issue at all, I do have a white blanket that I can throw over top of your bedspread and wallah. In saying this, if your bedroom has a beautiful array of natural light, then sometimes a little bit of colour or pattern in the bedspread can actually work really nicely too.
The day before your newborn photography session is upon you now and all of a sudden you realise that your photographer is about to grace your home and see it for all it truely is. But you also don’t have the energy to do anything about it because you have a newborn baby currently attached to you, stealing every moment you have - and rightly so! The first thing any photographer would do upon coming into your home, is wander the whole thing in search of the natural light. I like to use the toddlers or older kids, if there are any, to give me a little tour and build some rapport with them in doing so. Fortunately for me, walking into Emmas home was like a gold mine! Almost every room had beautiful big windows and natural reflectors such as mirrors - I really was spoilt for choice. So yes, we are going to see a lot, but you know what else? We’re not going to judge - or at least, I’m definitely not! So what, there’s a pile of dirty clothes that hasn’t been moved in a few days - if that’s going to be in my shot, I’m simply going to kick it aside, that’s the beauty of lifestyle photography. If it were documentary photography, then by the ‘rules’ of documentary, I would have to leave it there and let it be in the photo. You know what else I’m going to mention don’t you? Those pesky dishes that continuously pile up after every single meal! I’ll do my best to work around those too, sometimes I might even use them in the image to help tell your story, either way, it’s honestly not that big of a deal! All in all, if it’s too much for you, to overwhelming or stressful for any reason, you can always hire a cleaner for the 1/2 day and plan take out that night, so you’re not left with yet more dishes.
Finally, the last thing that you might want to be prepped for, is just knowing the sorts of things that you are going to be doing with your photographer. Obviously the posing is very minimal and more so just guided. Other than that, try think of it more like your friend is coming over and they happen to bring their camera too. Together we’ll just chat and hang out. If bubs is hungry, then feed them (I personally will only shoot through breast feeding if you’re comfortable with me doing so). If bubs needs a nappy or new outfit, then we change it. We let all the family members take turn at having more snuggles with your newborn and if you’re toddler/older child is over all the baby stuff (because it can be a lot for them to take in sometimes) then we draw our attention to them for a bit, play a game with them and fix them a snack. Do you bath your newborn or dance them to sleep? Then do that and all the while, your friend with the camera over here, will just be sitting back documenting all of this, for you and your little ones, to look back on and be proud of how far you guys have come together as a family.