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Copyright 2016 Carmen Marcel Photography

Newborn photo session guide for parents

After deciding to schedule a newborn photo session shoot with me, we’ll work to find a tentative date that best suits mum’s due date. I know that babies don’t always arrive as scheduled, so I will do my best to accommodate the actual date – we’ll make a plan to fit you in regardless of when baby is born.

Once baby is born, please give me a call or drop me an e-mail and we’ll firm up a suitable date. Babies are best photographed in the first 10 days after they are born. This is because they generally sleep better, don’t have colic yet (in some cases), and usually haven’t started developing baby acne or cradle cap.

If mum has had a c-section, we can make alternative plans and work something out that works for everyone. I understand that recovery can be slow and painful. One way around this is to send baby to my studio with Dad and enough food for a few hours.

When we book your newborn photo session date in, we can discuss what you are looking for in your photos (or bounce ideas off of me). Some items to discuss are: Do you want only pictures of baby? Are you interested in photographing baby with family more so than with using my props? Are there any specific poses you like? If one of you wear a specific uniform for work or as a hobby, do you want to use an item in the shoot (e.g. motocross helmet, or fireman’s hat). Would you like to include siblings, will mum and dad both be there? Do you want any skin to skin shots? All of these questions will help me build and craft a newborn photo session that is a perfect fit for you.

Additional information

Please do not feed your infant before coming to see me. I will give you space and time to feed baby and sooth him/her to sleep once you arrive, there is no rush. The reason for this is so that baby doesn’t start his/her sleep cycle after feeding in the car on the way to the studio. We’ll want baby to only do that after arrival at the studio.

Pacifiers

It is always nice to be able to use a pacifier if possible. This will help me to sooth your baby in between poses. If you have a specific wish not to use a pacifier, then please be prepared to help me by having your finger ready for your baby to suck on when we change poses. This is an important aspect to the newborn photo session, and helps things to run smoother and quicker.

Clothing for newborns during session – none!

Photographing newborns is best done in their birthday suits! Newborn babies don’t fill out clothes and look awkward at this young age. They are much sweeter looking without bulky fabric. I am always happy to schedule in another newborn photo session a little further down the road to capture your baby in any special outfits.

Timing

If you have scheduled your session in the early morning, please be aware of traffic timings. Getting stuck in traffic could be a problem for getting baby to the studio at the right time due to timings with feeds/sleep etc…

What should you wear?

Wear something you are comfy in. I rarely shoot newborn portraits with parents below the waist, so feel free to wear shorts, jeans or whatever else you choose. As for tops, black tank tops are great for mums, as are black shirts and blouses. For dads, black shirts work great too. Do bring something to change into after I am done photographing you with baby that is nice and cool. The studio is kept warm to ensure baby is comfortable, so for us fully clothed adults, things can get quite warm!

I also strongly encourage you to bring any special hats, hair-bands, bracelets, etc… You may not like what I have in my collection, and we may decide that something you have works better on the day. So any additions you bring along will give us more choice.

Further clothing information

  • Avoid branded items, tops with prints, and/or horizontal lines.
  • Clothes for mum – tank tops, tubes, camisole in a black or white/nude/beige colour. Jeans, pants or skirt to match.
  • Clothes for dad – a white, grey, or black plain t-shirt, work dress shirt, or bare skin to skin with baby looks beautiful.
  • For siblings – Bring a white, grey or black t-shirt as well for their individual photos with baby. I usually also ask if you can bring a coloured outfit for each sibling present if you are doing a full family shoot with baby.

Please also ensure that fingernails and facial hair is groomed. Don’t forget to iron clothes and use a lint roller, as wrinkles and lint really stand out in pictures. Finally, ladies can use make up for portrait sessions.

During your newborn photo session

Most newborn photo sessions are done in my home studio located in Liphook, Hampshire. I have a great selection of props, and the location also ensures perfect lighting and a nice cosy climate for baby to be happy and sleepy. I can accommodate on location shoots on request, but they do require a large natural light source and heating for when its cool.

Upon arrival, I will give you time to undress baby, and wrap him/her in a blanket and to feed and sooth him/her. Once he/she is happy and sleepy, please let me know so I can join you.

If the session is taking place at your own home, please ensure that your home is suitably warmed for an unclothed newborn before I arrive. I recommend 23 – 26 degrees Celsius as a guideline. Start nursing your baby half an hour before my arrival, without any clothes, and just a nappy and wrapped in blankets. If they keep falling asleep during nursing, you can try remove some layers of blanket as to keep them awake and feeding longer.

I start my sessions by taking some portraits of your baby on a beanbag (studio sessions only). I am looking for some great body shots and capturing some of baby’s bits and pieces like his/her hands and feet. I will pose and handle your baby with the utmost care. There is no need to worry if you are not feeling 100% yet. I will soothe, swaddle and ensure baby is kept happy.

If the baby is really wide awake and does not want to sleep, I will swaddle the baby to get some photos, and use the parents as a prop, holding the baby over the shoulder or in your arms. A fussy baby almost always settles down when held by mum or dad. I encourage all of my parents to take part in the session. I love capturing relational type photos with moms, dads and siblings.

Your newborn photo session will last approximately 3 hours long. This ensures we have enough time to pose and take whatever breaks necessary such as feedings. You are more than welcome to bring along a few snacks or entertaining items such as a book or an iPad.

Please no outside cameras, videos or cell phone cameras are allowed to be used during the session.

After your session

Now you can head home and relax. I go through images from your newborn photo session and select the best. I am looking for the real winners, and usually narrow down to around 45-50 images for some of my packages. You will get a selection partially edited images in your gallery where can choose which ones you would like to keep, and also select any additional you would like to purchase.

Once I have this final selection, I will go through every individual picture. I look to correct blemishes, tiny details like baby acne, or hairs on shirts, backdrop corrections, etc… Once corrected it can make a massive difference to an image! My process also includes looking for images that would shine with a special touch like a vignette or a special colour application.

For some packages in my price list I convert all of your images to black and white, as well as an added bonus as my images are all copyrighted and may not be changed in any way. Regarding black and white, I do tend to process these with a little added warmth. That means they have a little touch of sepia in them and there is much more depth. This can make portraits look better than traditional black and white in many cases. However, if you need to match portraits from other siblings and those portraits were done in traditional black and white, please let me know so I can accommodate you.

Finally

Lastly, if there is anything else you are unsure of, or have any other questions, please do feel free to contact me. I am usually always quick to respond to e-mail and will always call back if I can’t answer your call right away.