As the quarantine babies make their grandiose arrivals, Brey Photo is keeping plenty busy with in home newborn sessions! Brey Photo offers baby led, organic newborn portraiture. I come right to you, with no posing, pretending, or traveling necessary. I can even bring hair and makeup directly to your door (and coffee!) While I try to make it as easy as possible for new mamas and papas, preparing for a photoshoot can be stressful. Add in your home, a mountain of diapers, and no sleep, and chaos can literally ensure and ruin all the fun. But that’s where I can help!
I’ll cut to the chase right now: an in home newborn session does not need to be stressful. In fact, it can be the easiest thing you’ve done since L&D. So if you have a little bun in the oven (oh LORD did I really just say that?! Forgive me, I must’ve lost all my senses.) Let’s chat. When you’re planning on having newborn portraits taken, here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Full babies, happy babies
Full babies are happy babies. I always ask my clients to feed their babies literally right up until the last possible second. This may mean getting ready sooner or having Dad give baby a bottle. One of the worst things you can do is prepare a bottle with the intention of feeding a little here, a little there, throughout the course of the session. Even those we’re shooting at home, treat the session like you’re leaving the house. Not only do multiple feeds take up valuable time, but snacking also leads to a fussy, angry baby. Of course, who wouldn’t be frustrated that Mom and Dad keep taking lunch away!? Please, feed baby a full serving right before our session. (This applies to parents and kids too! EAT!)
Timing is everything
I purposely time my newborn sessions between 2-3 weeks. *Whaaa??* Yeah, I know. Everything you’ve probably read so far is that photographers prefer babies to be less than 14 days old. I too fell into that trap when I first started out. However, these are not studio sessions. I don’t need baby to be asleep, and I would very much like to capture the important adults as well. After years of seeing hurting, under rested mamas struggle to smile or faking a laugh during their session to fit those perfect pretty molds, I made the decision to only offer newborns after the 2 week mark. Here’s why:
- Swelling. Babies are still super snuggly and sleepy, but not swollen. Many of my clients have natural births that can result in misshaped heads and bruised faces. Waiting the extra time ensures that babies faces are more pronounced.
- Maternal health. It’s about that time when everything in your life revolves around the little human being you just pushed out. Welcome to motherhood, dear! I’m here to remind you though that you are also important! Your recovery is everything to me. Not sure if you know this, but birth hurts. During labor, my son broke my coccyx. It took me at least a week just to figure out how to move again! For mamas with C-sections, pain can last up to a week and a half with a perfect bill of health. 2-3 weeks gives you time to heal.
- Postpartum belly probs. The uterus takes almost 6 weeks to fully retract, and a little extra time for mama never hurt anyone.
- Clumsy moms and dads. Even the most seasoned parents are still absolute morons when it comes to a newborn baby. There. I said it. We’re all morons, at the mercy of this perfect little bundle of love that now controls the household! New parents— yes, even with the second, third, or fourth baby— are so out of touch with how to hold, snuggle, kiss, love, and play with their baby the first week. Between stress, worry, physical pain, tiredness… we’re the paranoid, gentle giants, convinced every poop is a reason to call the pediatrician. You’ll know what I mean soon enough. After 2 weeks, you’ve had practice and are hopefully no longer living in fear that you will break her.
- The Grandparents. While I love extended family sessions (I even have a Milestone Collection just for that!), your in home newborn session is not the time. Capturing an intimate, emotive moment is hard when your in laws are standing over your shoulder, silently judging everything you do. Ooops, did I say that? Oh goodness. By scheduling just a few weeks out, we avoid the clamor to see baby, we avoid relatives just stopping over with casseroles, and we can focus solely on baby and her interactions with her closer family.
Crank up the heat
Barring any kind of medical problem, newborns cry for a few reasons: hunger, wet diapers, gas, and being chilly. Newborns don’t sweat and they don’t have much body fat. That means they don’t have the ability to regulate their temperature the same way we do. A cold baby will be letting us know just what she thinks of us. It won’t be nice. Before our session, set your thermostat between 70 and 75 degrees, depending on your home. Adults should be a little too warm, but not stifled. A warm environment will keep baby from becoming startled during position changes and will also let us get some bare baby photos to document those cute little rolls!
Declutter, don’t clean
You just had a newborn. The very last thing I want you to do is to run around the house vacuuming and dusting and washing your windows! So many parents freak out over their “messy” homes, when it’s really just not necessary to clean all that much. What you should do is declutter. Grab yourself a $5 laundry basket from Target and do a sweep in every room. Literally throw everything in that basket, shove it in a closet, and call it a day! Clutter is what will make your images look like you have a messy house, not dust or dirt or pet hair. After you’re done decluttering, these are the only things I need you to clean:
Follow the (natural) light
Lighting is far more important than habit. Brey Photo in home newborn sessions do not follow the same rules as my outdoor portraiture. Instead of shooting in the afternoon, in home sessions are scheduled between 9:30am and 11am for good light. We’ll also be taking advantage of light wherever it pours into your home. True, you may not spend a lot of quality time on the floor in front of your sliding glass door, but why not? We’ll be using the spaces with the best lighting— that is not always the most typical room! Sometimes, that’s the kitchen, hallway, or even dining room. Open those curtains, pull up the blinds, and even weirder, turn off your artificial lights. Just do it.
Consider your decor
Your home is such a reflection of who you are, let’s embrace that! When choosing things like outfits, consider what’s around your home. If you love warm tones in your decor, dress yourself and your family in warm tones that coordinate with the atmosphere of your house. If you love neutrals, don’t be afraid to throw some pops of color in with throw pillows or a cute blanket. Additionally, now might be the time to finally finish those projects you’ve been talking about— hang those photos, repaint those walls, buy that throw rug. Let your personality come through using decor.
Tip: The easiest way to bring life into a room is with plants.
Expect the unexpected
I know. This baby’s on the way (or is maybe already here!) and you’ve been stalking your Pinterest boards to create the finest nursery space this side of the Mississippi. I don’t want to break your heart, but you need to let that sh*t go. Forget about your Pinterest expectations, for all of our sakes. Your memories are not for Pinterest, they’re for you! And that new baby of yours. We are not here to document your Pinterest boards, we’re here to document your life. Sometimes, that’s messy.
What does that mean for your session?
That means expect to follow direction. While I want to hear all of your ideas, I am not the same photographer you’ve been pinning (unless of course you’d like to pin some my work here). You’re not hiring me to copy someone, or to recreate someone else’s vision. I’ll be asking you to document real life things, like bath time, story time, rocking her in a chair, combing those precious curls. Remember that we want the same thing: an amazing gallery of images! Keep an open mind and try your best to roll with it, even if it doesn’t make sense in the moment. I promise if I’m asking you to do something, there’s a reason and the reason is a killer photo.