5 Things Your Newborn Photographer NEEDS to Know

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Maternity, Motherhood, Newborn, Sessions

Preparing for Professional Newborn Photography

Bringing a new human into the world is pretty badass, Mama. So first of all: congratulations!! Whether you’re expecting, expecting-to-be-expecting, or just getting ready for the next steps… you’re doing great. But having two sons of my own, I know how stressful it is, and how many things you’re juggling all at once. I get it. I really really do!!

And I ALSO get how stressful it can be to try to coordinate things for your new babe, like their preparing for their newborn photos. Or bathing. Or eating as a family on a real schedule. The newborn phase can be rough.

So to help you break things down a little bit, at least when it comes to newborn photos, I’ve got a nifty listy for you!! It goes through some of the top things you should tell your newborn photographer, to make sure that they know what they need to know, and you can have the best possible experience at your session (and after it).

wiggly newborn boy in a striped onesie wincing and crying

What’s your due date?

The first thing you’re going to need to tell them, that they ABSOLUTELY need to know, is your due date! I know you’re probably tired of repeating it to people, but when you’re preparing for a newborn session, the information is a must. Most newborn photographers (or photographers who offer newborn sessions, at least!) will have a questionnaire that you answer once you’ve booked with them, and at minimum, that questionnaire will ask you what your due date is!

This isn’t because we think your due date is EXACTLY when baby will join us out here in the world, or because we want to book your session RIGHT after your due date. As people who regularly work with new moms (and dads!) we know that due dates are a shaky estimate at best, and a hilarious oversight at worst. I mean… let’s face it, your baby is on THEIR schedule and for a while… everyone is going to bow to it. Including when they come into the world!

But your newborn photographer will use your due date to reserve space in their calendar sometime shortly after, and as a gauge to know when to reach back out to you to touch base if they’re not notified of baby’s birth. This helps to make sure that even if your photographer regularly books out a few months in advance (or more!) that you have a specific time set aside in their calendar for your session.

Mother and daughter counting the toes of their family's newest member

Do you want to bring custom props?

Depending on your newborn photographer’s process, they may or may not ask this one, and they may or may not allow custom props overall! So I would recommend asking, if you’re definitely wanting to bring something super custom into your session.

Is there a family heirloom you want to include? Maybe a photo of other family members? What about your occupations? We can get super creative with the sets used for newborn photography sessions, and it’s always cool to bring in a personal touch. It’s definitely not required, and any professional newborn photographer you work with will have a suite of props ready for you when you get to their location (if your session is in studio, that is!) but most will also work with you to bring in your own!

The thing to remember though, is that most photographers will want to know about what you’re bringing to the session in advance. If they’re going to set up a space where they can, for example, place your little one into a fireman’s helmet, or drape them with a blanket that’s been in the family for years, it’s always nice to have a little bit of lead time on that info. And, it’ll help make sure you have the best experience possible during your session!

Would you prefer a session in your home, or at the studio?

So I’m just going to say it: if your newborn photographer doesn’t make it clear whether your session is going to be in your home or whether it’s going to be in their studio….. Run. For. The. HILLS.

Okay, I got that out of my system.

But what I’m saying here, is you need to make sure you know ahead of time what you’re coordinating. A lot of newborn photographers offer both in-home sessions AND in-studio sessions, although lifestyle newborn photography will be super different from in-studio newborn photography. But that’s not what we’re talking about today!

Today we’re talking about communication. So, if you have a strong preference, make it known! And if your photographer has the same pricing/booking tools for both lifestyle newborn and in-studio newborn, make sure it’s REALLY clear which one you want to book. They may default to thinking you want one or the other (although they really SHOULD ask, and if they don’t… see the first sentence of this section for what I think about that! LOL) and that kind of miscommunication is a recipe for disaster if you’re an already-stressed-new-parent. Or rather I guess I should say WHEN you’re an already-stressed-new-parent.

Are there colors you want used in your session?

Like I’ve mentioned, you might get a questionnaire from your photographer before your session, and one of the questions it asks might be “what colors do you want included in your sets?”

A lot of the time, this is asked if there are limited sets included in your package with the photographer, or if they have a specific suite of colors for you to choose from. Or both! Both is also an option. But if you’re not asked, it might be good to specify if you had something in mind in particular! If you definitely want pink, or definitely want green – let your photographer know! And, if you’re going to be bringing in personal props for your session, think about what they’re going to match well with.

a sleeping baby wearing all white in a Minneapolis photography studio

When was baby born, and what’s their status?

The final addition to this list is a kind of obvious one, but still super important! Now, I know it’s not the easiest to remember all of the things when you’re at home with your newborn, but remembering to notify your photographer of your baby’s birth is kind of a big one. (Obviously not as big as things like “remember to like, sleep occasionally” or “bathing is important” but you get my point.)

When your little one joins the family, let your photographer know! And, let them know about the little one’s status, as well. Every pregnancy and birth is unique, and if your kiddo has unique requirements, or had a low birth weight, or other factors – it might impact the way that your photographer plans your session. For example, if your baby is born a little ahead of schedule, it might be best to wait a few extra weeks before you have their newborn session. But your photographer will bring those topics up, make sure that you’re prepared, and that you can have the smoothest possible experience in the studio (or at home!)

a sleeping baby wearing all white in a Minneapolis photography studio

Hopefully, you feel a little more prepared for your professional newborn photography session!

These questions are good starting points, but there’s more that you can tell your photographer before your session, if you want to! Essentially, if it feels important to share… it probably is.

And of course, if you’re looking to have a session done, reach out! I’d love to talk to you about documenting your little one’s first few weeks as a member of your family.

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