Lauren Sanderson Photography – Huntsville Alabama's Lifestyle Photographer for Family, Engagement and Senior Sessions – 256-682-1278 » Huntsville Alabama's Lifestyle Photographer exclusively offering SESSION+DOWNLOAD Collections for family, children, senior, engagement and newborn sessions. Lauren is a modern lifestyle and portrait photographer in Huntsville, Alabama specializing in natural-light, photography of families, children, seniors, and couples. Her goal is to balance timeless portraits while capturing your unique life and style. Lauren has recently been recognized as a Clickin’ Moms CMpro Photographer, and is a volunteer photographer for A Pure Focus and The Heart Gallery of Alabama.

13 Tips for Your Newborn Session | Huntsville Newborn Photography

tips for newborn photo sessions

If there is one thing that I love, it’s photographing newborns. A newborn photography session is so challenging, but it’s so amazing to be a part of a baby’s life when they just days old. There are so many factors that have to come together for the session to go smoothly… and if there’s one thing a photographer must have, it’s patience. A session can go quick and be done in an hour, or it may take 3 hours or longer, but regardless it’s important for everyone involved to stay patient – the end result is totally worth it.

There is lots of preparation I go through to get ready for a newborn session. From looking for unique props to cleaning all my equipment and loading up my car, I can assure you that your session isn’t viewed as “another session” just like your baby isn’t “just another newborn”. I prepare differently for each session and I hope it shows.

In addition to doing everything I can in my power to make the parents and baby as comfortable as possible, there there are some things that parents can do before the session to get things going on the right path. For my newborn session this weekend, I wanted to send the mom an email outlining some ways that she can help to make sure the session goes off as planned. And then I thought “well, why not share these with everyone?” – so here’s my post on the 13 tips for your newborn photography session.

  • Newborn portraits are unique in that they can’t be scheduled months out, but you can line up a photographer months out who will build time into their calendar around your due date for your session. If you are scheduling your birth, let your photographer know that as soon as possible.
  • Call your photographer soon after you deliver so you can arrange a time for the session. Ideally the session should take place within 5-10 days after birth, and no longer than 2 weeks after.
  • The session will take place at your home – do not worry about the state of your house. You just had a baby. I do not care if dishes are piled up the sink and clothes baskets runneth over. I have a job to do, and I’m not there to care about how clean your house is.
  • Loosen the the baby’s diaper about 30 minutes before the session. This allows time for the diaper’s imprint marks to disappear.
  • Have your house warm. Ideally, you’ll want the thermostat set around 80-85. For the adults it will be hot, but the baby will be toasty and happy.
  • Collect any items you want used in the session beforehand – family heirlooms, toys, monogrammed blankets, etc. I’ll go through these with you to determine what will look best in the pictures.
  • If you’d like pictures taken of the baby in the nursery, be sure all the curtains and shades are open to let in lots of natural light. No need to clean, but just try and make sure the clutter has found its way to a closet.
  • Decide if you’d like pictures taken with your baby, or if want pictures of only the baby.
  • Make sure the baby has a full belly before I arrive. Aren’t we all happier with a full belly?
  • After the baby is full, make sure they are burped really good. Gas can take a sleepy, happy baby to an uncomfortable and irritable one in seconds.
  • A mother’s smell is so recognizable (and sometimes distracting) to a baby, that it may be necessary for the mom to leave the room for portions of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, but only to allow me to get the baby thinking sweet sleepy dreams, instead of hungry “where’s my milk?” dreams.
  • Be patient. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t stress out. A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. We will try and get the baby comfortable again, but if that just doesn’t seem possible, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what he’s giving us. Sometimes the best pictures are ones when the baby isn’t doing what we want.
  • Be assured that if there is ever a point where you’re uncomfortable with the poses, simply let me know. I only want to do poses and shots that you are comfortable with.
  • UPDATE: After one of my newborn sessions, the mother gave me these suggestions to add to the list:

    • Unless the baby sleeps very good through the nights do not schedule the shoot in the morning.
    • If you breastfeed and can, have at least one bottle pumped for feeding.
    • A majority of the pictures will work best if the baby is asleep so anything you can do in advance to encourage this is recommended. I assumed he should be awake and alert which probably made your job a lot harder.

    I’ll leave you with a bit of visual inspiration… Tracy Raver and Kelley Ryden are a photography duo based in in Nebraska, that specialize in getting images of babies around 2 weeks old. Here’s a little peek inside a newborn session and the secrets to getting the shots:

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    You can also view a slideshow of their beautiful newborn images. This video and these images inspire me but also leave me at a loss for words. I only hope that the images I create are as beautiful and timeless as these are.

    Be sure to check back next week to see some sweet peeks from my newborn session this weekend!

Veith Behrmann - April 12, 2014 - 9:51 am

Hello – very good tips, thanks a lot.

Sandy Telmos - February 27, 2014 - 10:10 am

Very useful tips!

Jennifer Cohen West - November 8, 2013 - 10:36 pm

Great tips!!

larry - August 7, 2013 - 4:46 pm

Thank for the tips. I love doi.g maternity portraits but continue to struggle with the newborn aspect. I never thought to have the mom leave the room for a bit..some great tips here..thanks again.

Allen Joshua Rapues - January 24, 2013 - 8:01 am

tnks for the tips!

Jolanda Jackofalltrades Jackson - March 18, 2012 - 5:48 pm

Great tips this will be my first shoot with a newborn and I am very excited!

Lauren - March 29, 2011 - 11:31 am

Thanks for stopping by!

Kari Layland - March 24, 2011 - 2:47 pm

Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

[...] See the original post here. [...]

Lauren - August 24, 2010 - 8:41 am

Thanks Lisa… I think there are a couple of different reasons that the mom should have a bottle handy if she’s breastfeeding.

First, if the baby gets hungry during the session, the bottle is going to be a quicker feed than breastfeeding.

Also, if mom or dad wants to feed the baby via bottle, it can make for some cute photo opportunities.

And last, I think having a bottle on standby is comforting to the mother. If she is nervous about having to stop the session just to go nurse, then having a convenient alternative to nursing will probably comfort her some.

I have to point out a couple of other things though…

Some parents don’t want to introduce pacis or bottles during the first year of life because of the potential for nipple confusion. I was like this and didn’t introduce a paci or bottle for at least 2 weeks. If the parents don’t want to use a bottle yet, then definitely don’t pressure them to just for the sake of the session. Just be prepared for 30 minutes to an hour of nursing time in the middle of the session.

And last, the mom may want pictures of her nursing the baby. In this case, she wouldn’t need to have a bottle prepared and you could just go with the natural flow of the session and get the nursing shots when baby gets hungry.

Hope this helps. ~L

Toni Nelson - August 24, 2010 - 7:43 am

Thanks so much for sharing this. These are wonderful tips to give to parents.

Alison - August 24, 2010 - 7:11 am

This is a great post! I caught it from All Things Baby, but wanted to stop over and thank you myself! I am just diving into the newborn world and love working with them. Any tips & tricks to share with parents are wonderful!

Lisa - August 24, 2010 - 6:54 am

This is great advice, and I’m taking notes. I also have a questions about a suggestion you posted above:

“If you breast feed and can, have at least one bottle pumped for feeding.”

Is this so that someone else can feed the baby besides mom?

Bart J. Leger - July 10, 2010 - 8:47 pm

Great Post! Awesome images.Thanks for the tips.

[...] a previous post about preparing for a newborn session, I mentioned that newborn sessions takes lots of patience… lots and lots of it. And just when [...]

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