Newborn Prep Guide
for your at-home newborn session with AWalker Photography
*Fun fact: Photo above was taken in the newborn's kitchen, which was the room with the most natural light. This newborn was 4 weeks old.
Hello! Congratulations on your new little bundle!
Thank you so much for choosing me to document these special family moments in the first few weeks of your baby's life. My goal is for our time together to be comfortable and for you to have a great experience. Take a peek below at some helpful instructions to prepare for your session.
HOW TO PREPARE
1. To prepare baby: Your baby should be 4 days old to 6 weeks old for a newborn session (4 days old to 1.5 weeks is ideal). I need the baby as sleepy as possible, so to do this, please keep the baby awake for at least 1 hour before your session. I know it's hard! This is very important to have a quick session (otherwise, the session might take up to 4 hours). Your baby likely sleeps all the time at home, but it's a different experience for him when I'm moving him around so much, so just trust me and keep him awake 1 hour before the session.
To keep baby awake at home, you can give him a bath (or a sponge bath if he still has his cord). He will wake right up or even fuss a little, which is perfectly fine. Then you can feed him immediately when I arrive and baby should zonk right out. Most newborn outfits tend to look very awkward on newborns, so I use stretchy wraps, little blankets, or nothing at all (just tucking in the diaper so it's not visible in the photos), OR I highly recommend a simple one-color romper with legs (but only use rompers made of sweater material or mohair or lace --for texture-- for your photos, which you can find on Etsy). You can let me know in advance what colors you prefer for the artsy photo.
2. For mommy: I highly encourage you to be a part of the session (someday you will look back very fondly of these first few weeks with the baby). Please wear very neutral colors to your session, ONLY WHITE COLORS, CREAMS, light browns, or light grays, and try to incorporate TEXTURE in your blouse/dress by wearing lace, sweater material, or crochet material. If your hubby/partner will be home for a full session, please have him wearing something neutral as well, especially a white or very light gray long-sleeve button-down collar shirt or a thick white t-shirt (although t-shirts tend to show every little pudge).
I recommend either no nail polish or a very subtle color, since your fingers will be showing.
3. To prepare siblings: Big brother will look great wearing mostly white or brown/khaki pants or blue jeans without a shirt (or a plain white shirt or a plain light gray t-shirt). Big sister will look great wearing a casual white/cream dress, especially with lace for added texture, or a white/cream tank top with white/cream leggings or anything light brown or light gray or white or cream. Kids don't need to be dressed in their Sunday best; no need to be super fancy. If Mommy and Dad are wearing white and cream, siblings should as well for a very clean & classic look. Be sure you feed the siblings before I arrive to avoid them being too cranky. You can have some M&Ms handy to reward good behavior-- whatever works for your toddlers.
4. To prepare your home: New mommies are supposed to have unorganized, messy houses! So please don't worry about cleaning your house for my sake. I will be using the room of your house with the most natural light coming in, and I typically use a bed with a headboard for the family shot, which is usually the master bedroom. I will ask that you use your lightest covers, preferably white (I have some Pottery Barn white duvet covers, so just ask if you need me to bring mine). The white helps reflect the light back onto your faces and just looks so classic and clean. Your nightstands and lamps will likely show, so I may need to clear off a bit of nightstand clutter for the photos, no biggie. I will wash my hands at one of your sinks before we begin the newborn poses.
I will open up the curtains/blinds completely in the photoshoot rooms of your house for the most light coming in. I tend to turn off all artificial light in a room to avoid an orange cast in the photos, and I will likely turn off the ceiling fan to avoid it blowing on the baby during the session. If you tend to keep your house very cold, please warm it up for the photoshoot so the baby will sleep soundly. I bring a small heater to create a warm breeze on the baby. Please have dogs put outside or in another room so they will not bark, waking up the baby. I bring white noise to play during the session for less interruptions for the baby, but we can use yours if you have a sound machine. Have a tv playing to create some noise in the house so the baby will sleep through everyone talking.
5. To prepare for the artsy pose: I will be using the room of your house with the most natural light coming in for this shot, which might be your kitchen, front entry room, dining room, etc. Have in mind which room it will be. Please let me know in advance if you have favorite colors in mind so I will know what to bring. If there is a particular photo in my portfolio that you would like to try, let me know in advance so I can prepare. If you have a rainbow baby (a baby born after a miscarriage, stillborn, neonatal death, or an infant loss), I would be happy to do a rainbow baby pose for you, but let me know in advance so I can plan ahead.
WHAT TO HAVE
You should have these items handy:
1. Your diaper bag with diapers and wipes, just in case of a poopy explosion, and a little cloth or paper towel to wipe milky baby mouth dribble
2. A soft blanket to keep baby warm in between poses, although I will bring my heater
3. A pacifier to soothe baby in a position, so I won't have to use my finger (some babies have a high suck need and can be very fussy when not sucking while awake, especially when I am moving the baby around so much). A pacifier helps so much for a session!
4. A bottle of milk, if you happen to pump (or you can just breastfeed), or extra formula since babies may need to eat more often than normal during our session because I am moving them around more (and when a newborn is awake, he/she wants to eat)
5. Some snacks for you and your other children to eat, in case the session is longer than expected
GENERAL INFO TO KNOW
1. If the photoshoot is at your home, please turn off ceiling fans. I will bring along my little heater to create a warm breeze so the baby will snooze soundly. If you tend to keep your house very cold, please turn off the air conditioner during the session. Babies love warm rooms and sleep more soundly!
2. Newborns tend to have very peeling skin. This is completely normal, and I can edit a lot of that out, but not all. If you prefer to wait for your newborn session until the baby's skin clears up a bit, that is perfectly fine. Also, the baby's cord will be falling off around the 1-2 week mark, so a lot of mothers prefer to wait until the cord has fallen off. Not a problem.
3. For a mini session: I will not be photographing Daddy or any siblings. For a regular newborn session: I will start with sibling shots, family shots, mommy/baby shots, daddy/baby shots, little details shots of the baby, then individual stylized artsy shots of the baby. We can easily take a little break to soothe the baby or to feed the baby or for your family to eat lunch.
4. If you have other children, I will do sibling shots first. Once finished, you might want to have something for the other children to do to occupy their time while I do the other shots.
5. Newborn minis tend to take 1.5 hours (or up to 3 hours, if the baby is not sleepy at all). Newborn full sessions tend to take 2 hours to 3 hours.
6. You can stop anytime to pump or to breastfeed the baby.
7. My turnaround time to have your newborn photos edited and returned is always 7 days. Pretty fast! You will receive your images in a private online gallery as an instant download. You can make prints at a photo lab of your choice (I highly recommend MPix online), and feel free to share your photos at any time on social media.
8. I do all newborn sessions in the mornings, around 9:30 AM typically. Your house should be the brightest in the mornings.
9. Relax and don't be stressed! I am so easy-going and patient, even if your toddler is having a meltdown. I have three children myself, so I am very understanding. I know photoshoots in general can sometimes be stressful for a family, but just relax. If Mommy is stressed, baby will sense it and be stressed. You don't need to rush to be ready when I arrive; I can always start with the baby while Mommy is still getting ready. You can even have a helper over, like Grandma or an aunt, to help hold the baby while you are getting ready. Honestly just sit back, have a cup of hot tea, and enjoy the photoshoot! I love children and babies; I love what I do; and I am honored you have chosen me to document this special time in your life. It will be fun!
Please let me know if you have any other questions!
I can't wait to meet your family <3