Newborn Photography Session Tips
I am so excited to photograph your baby!
Newborn shoots are very special; they are relaxing and sweet, and document perhaps the most significant (and fleeting!) chapter in your life.
These are photos that you, your children, and grandchildren will look back on forever, and I’m honored to be the one taking them.
I take that responsibility very seriously, and have so much fun in the process.
You don’t have to do much to prepare!
People often have questions before their newborn shoot, so I thought I’d put together some information so that you can feel prepared, relaxed, and excited for the experience.
This blog post is kind of long, as I address a bunch of FAQs but, as you’ll see, there’s really not very much you have to do to prepare.
Of course, if you have any other questions, just ask!
I’m here to help.
You can contact me here.
I’d love to hear from you.
The best time to book your newborn shoot
Believe it or not, the best time to schedule your newborn photo session is before your baby is born.
I suggest reserving your spot when you are in your second or third trimester. The more notice you give, the more likely I am to have availability.
Of course we can’t pick a date for the shoot while you are still pregnant, because we don’t know when exactly when your baby will be born.
Instead, I’ll add your due date to my calendar so I can be sure I’m available to do your shoot whenever your baby happens to arrive.
Do you want to do a maternity shoot?
Another thing to consider while you’re pregnant, is whether or not you want to do a maternity shoot.
They are such a blast!
You can read some information about my maternity photography here.
Best time to do your newborn photography session
You can do a newborn photo shoot at any point during your baby’s first four weeks.
However, if you going for the classic “curled” newborn look in the photos, it’s best to do the session during the first two weeks after your baby is born.
I find that the six day old to twelve day old window works particularly well for this.
It’s helpful to contact me within 48 hours of your baby arriving so we have as much flexibility as possible in selecting the date for your shoot.
An easy way to do this, is to add me to your “our baby is here!” email that you might be sending to friends and family.
Then I can get the ball rolling.
How long does a newborn shoot last?
Your newborn shoot will last about two hours, but we budget in extra time so that the shoot can move at your baby’s pace.
There is plenty of extra time for cuddling, soothing, feeding, burping, changing etc.
There is absolutely no rush.
Do you want to do the shoot at your home or at my Manhattan newborn photography studio?
This is entirely your call.
I offer at-home newborn photography, and have a fully equipped newborn photography studio in Greenwich Village Manhattan NYC as well.
Some clients like the convenience of having me come to them, and others like to get out of the house, and let me handle everything.
I’m happy to help you figure out what’s right for you.
If we come to your home, we’ll bring all the lighting, outfits, swaddles, and equipment necessary.
We offer at-home newborn photography in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs, in Westchester NY, Fairfield CT, Long Island, and NJ.
My NYC newborn photography studio is located at 732 Broadway, NY NY 10003, in Greenwich Village Manhattan.
Think about who you would like include in the shoot
When you start planning your shoot, one thing to consider is who (if anyone) you want to include in some of the portraits with your baby.
Parents, grandparents, siblings and pets are all welcome.
Just let me know!
You can read my family photo shoot tips here.
The 12 hours before the shoot
If you are nursing, please try to avoid eating anything spicy (eg pizza, hot sauce, etc) that might upset baby’s tummy for 12 or so hours preceding your shoot.
Feed your baby as much as possible in the 12 hours leading up to the shoot.
If we are coming to you, start feeding your baby about 20 minutes before we are scheduled to arrive.
If you are coming to us at the studio, feed your baby before you leave your apartment.
Your baby can eat again (if she wants) when she arrives at the studio before we start.
Of course we can take a break during the shoot for your baby to eat too.
It’s totally fine if your baby cries, spits up, or goes to the bathroom
Your baby is in good hands.
There is plenty of time for us to soothe, feed, and change your baby.
Parents are sometimes apprehensive about how their baby will behave during their shoot.
But please don’t fret.
While I don’t consider cleaning up baby poop a career highlight, it certainly doesn’t bother me.
If I were afraid of dirty diapers I’d be in the wrong business.
I promise, it’s all fine!
Your baby will be warm, fed, clean, and content for the shoot.
We can retouch out baby acne
Sometimes, often between their 2nd and 3rd week, babies develop acne.
It tends to clear up on its own after about a week.
If your baby has acne during his shoot, don’t worry we can retouch it out.
What should your newborn wear to the shoot?
We have plenty of outfits and swaddles for your baby, so please just bring something that it easy to remove.
Something that snaps open, so we don’t have to pull it over your baby’s head and disturb him or her.
You do not need to bring any clothing or props to your newborn shoot
You don’t need to bring any clothing or props.
We have everything we’ll need for the shoot: swaddles, outfits, props, etc.
It’s totally covered!
Of course, if you have anything you’d like to include, just let know.
You should bring a bottle and pacifier, and something to read
Having a bottle and pacifier on hand is really useful to help soothe your baby. Of course, if you are avoiding those things we don’t have to use them.
But if they are a part of your routine (or your are open to using them) please bring them to the shoot.
A newborn shoot is also a great opportunity for you to relax!
Read a book, or write some thank you notes, or take a nap!
Oftentimes at the shoot the parents AND the baby sleep through the whole thing.
A bonus of a newborn shoot is that it’s a couple of hours of childcare.
I’m sure you’ve been working hard caring for your new baby – enjoy some time off!
What should parents and siblings wear to the shoot?
Keep it simple. No busy patterns, not large logos – the focus should be on your baby.
You decide how dressy you want to be, there’s no right or wrong answer to that.
I suggest that everyone be the same level of formality: if one person is wearing a lovely dress, the other shouldn’t be in cargo shorts.
How to prepare your home for an at-home newborn photography shoot
The environment for your in-home shoot should be calm and peaceful.
Please have the shooting space be nice and warm/cozy, about 80 degrees.
My assistant and I will bring all the studio equipment and lighting necessary for the shoot, as well as swaddles, outfits, props, etc.
We will need an open area of about 7′ x 7′ to set everything up.
If you want to do some photos that include your apartment/house (e.g. photos of you sitting on your bed, or on your living room sofa) please do some light de-cluttering.
If we are doing photos in your bedroom, please make the bed, arrange the pillows how you like them, de-clutter the bedside tables, etc.
A vase of flowers (even those from a grocery store or bodega!) isn’t necessary, but it’s a nice touch.
How to prepare for a studio newborn photography session
You don’t have to do anything!
Just come as you are, we’ll take care of the rest.
Daisy, why do you keep referring to yourself as “we”? Its obnoxious and weird.
I know! It’s because I have an assistant
She’ll be at the shoot too.
Ani has a masters in School Psychology, and is patient, gentle, kind, and a lot of fun.
Having an extra set of (very experienced) hands assisting is really helpful, especially for newborn shoots. Ani helps keep things running smoothly.
I’m so glad to have her on board.
<— there’s Ani!
Those are my major insights on how to prepare for a newborn photography session.
Thanks for reading!
If you only remember one thing from this rather longwinded blog post, it’s that you can relax and enjoy the experience.
A little prep is helpful, but we have everything under control, and are looking forward to your shoot.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
I can’t wait to work with you!
Here’s a video from behind the scenes of a newborn shoot:
About Daisy Beatty
Daisy Beatty is a portrait and headshot photographer based in Manhattan NYC, and East Hampton, NY.
She works in her Greenwich Village photography studio, and on location in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs, as well as Westchester, Fairfield CT, Hoboken NJ, Boston, MA, and Long Island and the Hamptons.
Her award winning work has been published in both online and print publications.