10 Questions You Might Not Even Know You Have About Newborn Photography

May 12, 2021  •  1 Comment

newborn side sleepingnewborn side sleeping 1.What is newborn photography? 

“Newborn photography” can mean different things to different people! What I do is studio posed newborn photography. I photograph your baby in my studio using a big beanbag, blankets, swaddles, and props. A session takes about three hours and the studio is heated to about 85 degrees for baby’s comfort. We create the images you may have seen of babies with their heads on their hands, or curled up in a bucket, or wrapped up in a parent’s arms. (see the newborn gallery on my website!)

2.How old should baby be for this session? 

For this type of session baby is ideally under two weeks old. This is because in order to get the types of images you see, baby must be sound asleep and content – once babies start to stretch out and wake up it is more difficult to keep them sleepy, content, and curled up. Of course they are still adorable and we can still create beautiful images at any age, but the types of images will be different and older babies might be wrapped in a swaddle for all of the session. We always have to follow baby’s lead – there is absolutely no way to force a baby to do anything! We slowly and gently guide them into poses as they sleep, and this becomes more difficult the older they are.

3.Do I need to bring clothes, swaddles, or props? 

Nope! We much prefer if you do not bring anything, unless you have something special to your family that you’d like to incorporate. If you do plan to bring something, please let me know ahead so that I can plan how to incorporate it. Baby clothes are super cute, but don’t really work for a newborn session. Save the outfits for the six month session when baby is sitting up and you can see what they are wearing! It is hard to see the cute message on a onesie when the newborn is curled up! In addition, dressing a baby makes them wake and become unsettled. We can usually get away with dressing baby in one outfit, but definitely no more than that. I do have some knit sleepers and similar outfits if you’d like some images with baby dressed. They are specifically designed for newborn photography so fit well and photograph beautifully.

4.What time will the session be?

All my newborn sessions are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. We can move that slightly, to 9:00 or 11:00 if it works better for your family, but I do only plan these sessions in the morning. Once you move into afternoon/evening, babies start to cluster feed, and be more awake and fussy. If you know you will need a weekend morning for the session, please let me know at the time of booking.

5.Is it safe?

This is the most important question you can ask! There is absolutely nothing more important than keeping your new baby safe! Sometimes new photographers don’t realize that many newborn images are Photoshop composites. A baby should never be in a position that risks a fall or other injury. Newborns are also very vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Some things you can ask a photographer about safety are: what training and/or certifications do you have? How long have you been doing this? Have you ever had an incident where a baby was at risk of injury? Are you up to date on vaccines? What is your cleaning protocol? I have taken many hundreds of hours of training specific to newborn photography and know how to do it properly and safely. I have been in business focused on newborns for five years and am up to date on all vaccines, including Covid now. Everything in my studio that is used for a session is immediately washed, surfaces in the studio are disinfected between sessions, and I wash and sanitize my hands frequently during the session.

6.Can we choose the poses and props we want?

If you know for sure that you want a particular pose, prop, or color to be used in your session, please let me know when you book. For the most part I follow a set workflow each time and set up all props and backdrops ahead of time. I choose setups based on your responses to a session questionnaire I send upon booking. My workflow gently guides baby into various poses in a particular sequence that maximizes variety but minimizes disturbance to the baby. However, often there are certain poses we end up skipping because not every baby will go into every pose. They have certain positions that are comfortable to them, often based on how they were in the womb, and if they seem uncomfortable or resist a position, I will skip it and move on. As I mentioned, there is no way to force a baby to do anything and our primary focus is baby’s comfort and safety.

7.Why does the studio need to be so hot?

I do heat the studio to about 85 degrees for a newborn session! The best way to think about it is to imagine the temperature you would need the room to be in order to sleep completely naked without even a sheet over you. Our goal is to keep baby asleep and content and this is done by recreating the environment baby has been used to up to birth! A very warm room, loud white noise, and a full belly make for a relaxed and sleepy baby.

8.What if we want awake shots?

I love awake shots too, but getting them is simply a matter of luck! There is just no way to predict whether a baby will have a time of being alert and content during the time of your session. If they are alert and content I will definitely take advantage of that, but they still may look cross-eyed or not look at the camera. Some people do not enjoy pictures of sleeping babies, and I do understand that, so if that is the case for you it is best to wait for baby to be at least three months old for their session.

9.When should we book?

Sooner rather than later! Sometime after the middle of your pregnancy is good. Every week I get calls from parents who just had their baby and It always breaks my heart to have to turn them away because I am already full! If you book ahead of time we will pencil in your due date on my calendar and then you will let me know once baby is born and we will schedule your session date!

10.What should we do with the images from our newborn session?

Oh I’m so glad you asked! I have three favorite things I love to help families create – hopefully one of them is perfect for your home! 1) an album – this is such a wonderful keepsake! It can incorporate all the finished images from the session and you and your child will love looking through it in years to come, and one day your grandchildren can look through it as well! My favorite is a linen cameo album, or a classic leather is a great choice and doesn’t get dirty if grubby fingers get to it! 2) a framed print for the nursery or other room – seeing pictures of themselves on the walls of their home increases self-esteem among children, and also reminds you of how amazing and endearing they are, making you smile every time you walk by. 3) create or start a wall gallery – there are many ways to style this to make it match your aesthetic, and you can make a full gallery from the newborn session, or start small and add to the wall as your child grows.



This is such great information for parents! These are good little tips to keep in mind for any session. But for newborn portrait sessions especially it is so helpful for parents to have these behind the scenes tips and information prior to their session. Great work!
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