Preparing for your lifestyle newborn session might seem a little overwhelming, but here are some tips to follow on the day of to help ensure we get the shots you're looking for:
In the cooler months, turn the heater on/up, or in the cooler months, turn off the air conditioner. Newborns can't self regulate their body temperatures, so by raising the temperature in the home, it'll help ensure baby is comfortable for those cute bare skin shots. It'll also help get baby into a little milk coma after a feeding for those cute sleepy shots, which I talk more about in the next item!
Hold off on feeding baby for at least two hours prior to the session start time and then feed just before you start. This, in conjunction with the temperature noted above, will help create that nice warm environment to be in milk drunk state. When baby is very content, that's when you can snap the sleepy baby shots or the close up macro detail shots of their eyelashes, nose pores, tiny fingers and toes, ear fuzzies, luscious little lips, etc...
Have your baby in loose-fitting clothes before the session if possible, to avoid skin marks and lines. Photoshopping that kind of stuff out can take a long time and may be an added cost. By ensuring baby is loosely wrapped, you'll minimize the amount of post-processing work done by your photographer. And hey, you may even get your images sooner than anticipated! *wink*
Schedule the session for a time when natural light is good in the rooms you want to use. East facing rooms will have great light in the mornings with West facing rooms having the best light in the late afternoon. South facing rooms will get great light all day long. Some North facing rooms may be too dark, since North facing windows never receive direct light. However, it's possible there may be lots of natural light bouncing back into a North facing room off of a structure nearby, such as a detached garage or a neighbor's house.
The ideal window of time for a newborn session is when baby is 5-10 days, while baby is still super sleepy most of the time.. However, I recently did a newborn session for twins who were 5 weeks old (they came 5 weeks early via emergency c-section) and they were still very sleepy for the duration of the session. So each baby truly is different and unique. Another reason to shoot sooner rather than later is baby's skin. Most babies shed and develop baby acne. Some babies will develop more acne, especially if mom is on an antibiotic immediately following the birth and is breastfeeding. The increased acne is a result of the antibiotics. So if for some reason you have to take an antibiotic, try to get that session done sooner rather than later and before baby develops more widespread acne.
In the weeks leading up to your session, try to declutter the surfaces in the room(s) you'll be using for the session. Having decluttered surfaces will guarantee that baby remains the center of attention in the photos rather a distracting/cluttered background.
Plan your outfits and baby swaddles in advance of your due date so that you don't have to rush on the day of to figure that stuff out. If your photographer has a wardrobe styling service, such as Style & Select, be sure to take advantage. Tools like that will do the heavy lifting for you and make it a breeze to come up with a cohesive look for your session.
If the grandparents are in town to visit and meet your new addition, do let your photographer know! They can make it a point to snap some special generational images to document this special time.
My one last tip is to sit back and watch the session. It's likely your photographer knows what they're doing, so let them run the show. Especially if you've hired a professional with experience and glowing reviews. As a new mama, it may be hard to fight the urge to pick them up with every little noise they make or equally hard to watch someone else handle your infant. Your photographer knows how much your babe means to you and they'll be extra careful. So try not to stress. Even when baby gets fussy. They are sensitive to your stress and tension, and as long as you remain calm for the session, so should the baby.
I hope you find these tips helpful! Did I miss anything that you think would be helpful in preparing for a lifestyle newborn session? If so, I'd love to hear. Drop a note in the comments section below.