Updated: Jan 18
When my clients book a newborn session with me, I send them a lot of information on how to prepare for their newborn photos. From wardrobe, to locations in their home, to what they can expect, to suggestions on wardrobe. But sometimes you want to know this information before you inquire, while you're early into your pregnancy, so you can do as much planning ahead of time or to make sure I'm the right fit for you.
In this post you'll find some of my most frequently asked questions about newborn photography sessions.
When is the best time to book maternity and newborn photo sessions?
First, let's clarify what I mean by "book". This term can be used to mean two different things: (1) The act of hiring a photographer for your session and (2) the date of your newborn photo session. This means this question is a two-parter.
A) When is the best time to hire a photographer for newborn photos?
Most women wait until after their first trimester to book maternity and newborn photos. Many photographers (including me) allow you to book both sessions at the same time (I provide a discount for those who choose this route). Hiring your photographer early into your pregnancy ensures that you make it onto your favorite photographer's calendar. A photographer will more likely be able to squeeze you in if you need to reschedule your newborn session date (due to delivery date changing) than to squeeze you in as a new client.
Far better to reschedule than to miss out newborn photos all together (especially if you want them done when your baby is itty bitty).
B) When is the best date or time frame for having your newborn photos take place?
This will depend on your photographer and style of images you're hoping to have taken of your newborn. For posed newborn photos where it is just your baby alone, asleep, on a pillow, you're likely going to book your session within the first two weeks of birth. That's because they are sleeping most of the time and your photographer will be able to safely pose them without your baby moving around too much.
For my lifestyle newborn photos sessions, your baby spends the majority of the session in your arms. This means your baby should be at minimum two weeks old at the time of your session. I prefer this time frame because your baby is easier to hold and move (gently) when they are a little bigger.
I say a minimum of two weeks old because you can schedule your lifestyle newborn photos to be taken anytime between two weeks and 3 months old. At one month old their eyes are open but they're still sleepy and they're becoming more expressive. At three months old they are looking at you the whole time, making for some beautiful images of you connecting with your little one. As the weeks pass by their hair, skin rolls, outfits, fingers and toes have all changed by the time they were born and its all worthy of capturing.
What if my baby comes early or late?
On occasion a client will book a maternity session only to go into delivery before they photo session date. In this instance, I will transfer your retainer towards a newborn session. If you've already booked a newborn session, we simply cancel your maternity session and your remaining invoice balance.
If your baby arrives really early, there are some options for your newborn session. First, if you baby is healthy, we can move up your session date so you can capture images of your baby in this itty bitty stage. Second, you can keep your original date and baby will just be a little bit bigger than originally planned. Lastly, if you and your baby need to spend time in the NICU, we will likely need to pick a new date that is further out. Your health and your baby's health is important to me. Its best to pick a time a couple weeks after you're expected to leave the NICU than to rush things and have photos taken when your baby is still newborn-tiny.
If your baby arrives late, making your session date fall within the first two weeks of life, we would find a new date that works with both of our schedules.
What if my baby doesn't come?
If this happens, I want you to know that my heart goes out to you and the last thing I want you to be worrying about is a photo session with me and the money involved. Unless you wish to have a different type of session within the year, I would return your retainer and cancel your session and invoice.
What should we wear to our session?
The majority of my in-home newborn sessions take place in the comfort of your home. For my style of photo sessions, comfy and casual usually looks best. A flowy dress that makes mom feel beautiful. Jeans and nice shirts for both parents. Soft linens. Socks instead of shoes. Whatever fits (because I know that is a big struggle post-partum) and is comfortable is the most important factors in choosing your wardrobe.
I provide guides and suggestions on where you can find items for your session, too.
Baby can wear onesies, bloomers, a wrap, and/or nothing at all. I provide guidance on what colors are preferable and which ones should be avoided (unless there is a special meaning, like UT fans putting their baby in burnt orange).
I recommend having a back up plan in case baby spits up on your right before or during your session and you want to change into something clean.
How long will our session be?
Lifestyle newborn sessions are baby-led, meaning you go at the pace of what your newborn is able and willing to do. This means the length of your session depends on your baby. I allow for up to one and a half hours for your newborn session. This provides plenty of time for changing diapers, feeding, changing newborn outfits without feeling rushed. If your baby sleeps the whole session, you will likely be done within an hour.
Do you provide props or do stylized newborn poses?
As a lifestyle newborn photographer who focuses on you and your family as they are, I do not provide props of any kind. I do not mind if families want to include a prop into their photos, but I do not pose newborns with items. For example, you can include special blankets, stuffed animals, signs, or bassinets.
I do not place or pose newborns inside glove/hats or surrounded by items. The reason for this is because I capture your newborn as they are naturally, not necessarily neatly wrapped and asleep. Your baby can stretch, move, look around as much as they want during their photos, which makes placing them within props difficult.
Can you come to my home for the session?
Yes! In fact, it's my preference. I do not own a studio, so my sessions take place in the comfort of your home.
What if I don't like my home for photos? Are there other options?
You have two options if you'd rather not use your home as the backdrop for your newborn photo session: (1) rent a studio space or (2) if warm enough, choose an outdoor setting.
If you feel your home doesn't have enough natural light (from windows, not lightbulbs), or you feel its too cluttered or cramped, or maybe you just don't feel like cleaning after delivering a baby (all understandable) you can rent a studio space. Most studios aren't equipped for newborn sessions (no changing table, no soft surfaces for placing baby), but there is at least one I have used before. Another option is finding a home that you can rent which allows for photography.
During the warmer months, you can have your newborn session outside. I suggest bringing a basket or pillow and blankets for placing baby on for individual photos. Otherwise, they will spend the majority of the time in your arms, anyways, so you can easily have your session outside.
Who all can participate in a newborn photo session?
Anyone within your immediate family who will be present at your home on the day of your newborn session. This can be children, grandparents, pets, nanny.
I place a cap on number of individuals at 6 people for my sessions but I make exceptions. If you and your spouse have 4 kids then welcome a newborn, all of your children are welcome. I won't be strict on the number 6 if it means excluding an immediate family member. If you're becoming a family of five and you have two grandparents helping at your home, they are more than welcome to have their photos taken if you want.
If you plan on including animals, let me know ahead of time. I love animals, but want to be prepared for photos. I also recommend lower expectations for animals and newborn photos. Sometimes they want to participate and behave, but a lot of time they are excited by my presence and don't always cooperate. Sometimes, it's best to wait until the end when they've gotten used to be there.
What is a session like with other children?
My newborn sessions with out other children are pretty calm and relaxing. Adding other children to the mix doesn't have to interrupt that vibe, but it will change it...a little, in a good way.
The flow of your session will depend a lot on how your other children are feeling on the day of your session. It's always a good idea to get them excited about a friend visiting to take pictures of their new sibling. Also let them know that they don't have the participate the whole time since there will be lots of photos of just mommy/daddy with baby and the baby by themselves. This can be comforting for younger kids because there will be less pressure on them to be on "their best behavior" for a long period of time.
Your other children are welcome to come and go from the session as they please. I try to get the whole family when I first arrive and any sibling photos first (if baby and kids are willing) so that kids can feel more at ease with coming and going. I have found that offering that freedom has more positive results, because when your other children are in the photo its because they wanted to be there.
I also encourage your other kids to have fun (but safely). If they want to bring in their favorite toy, jump on the bed, be the focus of some images, I say let them! Happy kids create a smoother photo session and fun photos.
How much does a Newborn Session cost?
At the time of this blog post being published (January 2023), my newborn sessions are an investment $400 plus tax. This covers our time together and your edited images.
How long will it take to see my full gallery?
I deliver galleries within 3 weeks from the date of your session. The length of time it takes to edit your images depends on a few factors: how many sessions are in my editing queue before your session, the number of images I'm able to capture during your session, the level of editing required (removing acne or scratches), and of course personal obligations.
Galleries are delivered via an online platform. You can download all of your digital images to share on social media. I suggest backing up your images either to the cloud or an external hard drive.
I do not sell prints or products. Instead, you can order high quality prints straight from your gallery! Design an album, order a framed print, purchase a calendar with your 12 favorite images, and have it all delivered to your door. Having digital images on your computer is great, but the best way to share and enjoy your images for years to come is to print them and display them through out your home.
Are you ready to book your newborn session with Oh, Tannenbaum Photography?
Laura Tannenbaum is a lifestyle family and portrait photographer in San Antonio, Texas. She loves capturing real life, loving moments between loved ones and showcasing personalities. To learn more about Laura visit her About Page.
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