The session flows best when we have a sleepy baby!
Your beautiful newborn should sleep between 16-20 hours a day, but if we don't prepare properly, it's all but guarenteed that baby will be awake for the entire shoot.
When baby sleeps, they look beautiful and peaceful and we can position them in the most beautiful poses.
When baby is awake, they want feeding or hugs, and we can't put them down or pose them which means you might not get many images!
So here are a few things that could help ensure that baby will sleep.
Stimulate baby in the morning
Please give baby a bath in the morning before coming in for the session. This will stimulate baby and help baby tire out. Lotioning your baby after the bath and allowing your baby to kick and be free for around 10-15 minutes will also help.
Dress baby appropriately
Dress baby in a zip up sleeper, or a button up. NO undershirt please! We do not want any clothing we have to pull over the baby's head that will ensure they wake just as we are getting started.
Before you leave the house for your session, please FEED baby.
This will allow baby to fall into a deep sleep while you are driving to the studio.
Babies have very few requirements at this early age, nourishment and warmth. If you satisfy these two ingredients for life, they will sleep and continue to grow and develop.
Bring a bottle (expressed or formula)
As a new mother, if you have chosen to breast feed, you will still be coming into your flow - you won't produce anywhere near as much milk as you will in a few months time and so your baby will feed little and often. Your body is wonderful and can quickly adapt to the babies demands but there will be times of the day where you produce more or less as your body adapts.
In order to ensure we are not unlucky during our session I highly recommend expressing a bottle or two in advance to ensure you can satisfy baby's hunger during the session otherwise they may not settle.
If you are mixing breast and formula, this becomes even more important because your body will have already limited the supply and it would be much harder to quench babies thirst with just the boob alone.
Bring a pacifier / soother
If your baby is only a little hungry or just looking for comfort a pacifier / soother works amazingly.
I will only use the pacifier/soother if your baby is having trouble transitioning into different poses or if the baby is simply unable to settle. Sometimes a baby just needs to suck for a few seconds to relax. This does not mean that they are hungry. However, if they are rooting for longer, I will give baby to mom for a feed and a snuggle.
If you are worried about nipple confusion, as a mother of 2 children, I can assure you that the few seconds or minutes of a pacifier/soother will not affect them. They will always prefer the breast milk over a dry pacifier however during a session it is sometimes impossible to move them off the breast without disturbing them.
I have had sessions without pacifiers/soothers and the babies were unable to settle for the full 3 hours. I feel terrible for the parents as they are unlikely to get this opportunity again with that baby. I keep a stock of new pacifiers/soothers in my studio which will be available to purchase for $5.00 if you have forgotten yours.
Some new babies struggle to get the hang of breastfeeding in the first few weeks OR they are cluster feeders. Please bring a bottle of pumped milk or formula just incase we need it.
What to Wear
Please wear something neutral or soft colours. A white or black shirt will also work well. You do not need to match your spouse. Variety does look nice.
Please AVOID wearing anything with LOGOS or something you want photoshopped out. Please note that it will be HOT in the studio. If there are siblings then I would recommend Dad take them to the park after we have done the family part of the session. Please keep in mind that a thick sweater, most likely will have you sweating within seconds. So please keep things light. Think like you will be hanging out in a HOT YOGA studio!
Generally I will crop the parent and family images so that only the upper body will be shown.
Small children will be laying on their back with their newborn sibling wrapped securely.
Bringing bribery is an excellent idea, but not something messy like chocolate. Think gummies or something they really love!
5 years old and up will be able to sit up or lay down with their siblings.
Family images are all done sitting with a close crop. When choosing your clothing, keep in mind that the colour tones should all compliment each other but do not need to match.
Spouse and/or other children
The studio room will be hot and the newborn session can last 3 hours. We will begin the session with your family shots, Mom can relax for the rest of the session, and Dad and siblings can go check out Okotoks leaving the studio as peaceful as possible. The family session is where we will capture the entire family together with baby, parent shots with baby, and sibling shots.
The family portion can take 30 to 60 minutes afterwhich, only mother and baby will be permitted into the studio unless otherwise agreed in advance.
If this is your first child, then Dad is welcome to stay, however it is still advisable for him to go for a coffee and come back afterwards.
Work Flow, and what to expect
At the start of the session well have the whole family come into the studio, baby might wake up here with all the extra stimuli but this should tire them out for the fabric and prop portions later.
The fabric poses can be naked on fabric, or they can have fabric draped over baby with little accessories. I include my flokati images in this section which is the greek woven shaggy wool usually in a wrap. Baby's modesty is maintained in all images, with each pose carefully choreographed to show baby and not their bits!
This is where we get a little creative, we will wrap your baby in various wraps and position them in props that will make them look just magical!
Every newborn session is different because every baby is unique, but I'll try split the session as evenly as possible to 60 minutes each. If we finish ahead of schedule, you can either call it and save yourself some time, or we try another prop or wrap and get a couple more images.
Following this guide might not seem like much, but I know exactly who has followed it because it really does make a positive difference. Ultimately this is your session, you have paid for it, and if it goes well you get so many more beautiful images than if you don't.
The session takes place from mid morning and usually goes past the lunch hour. Please bring yourself lunch and snacks. Moms are welcome to eat in the studio room during the session. Due to Covid, you'll also need to bring your own water as well. *****please don't try to tough it out, it's important to bring food to your session******
Picking your colours can be difficult, and we've probably already had a conversation about them! I have made a colour wheel which I use below to make things easier, it has bold colours on the outside and pastel / neutral colours on the inside. The following themes can be applied to the fabric and prop sections of your gallery, the family portion is largely determined by your own clothing which you can choose to coordinate with the theme or not. I generally recommend the family images are more neutral and I prefer to use creams, browns or greys as backdrops as these colours will compliment any clothing you choose.
The colour wheel options for the fabric and prop sections are:
- Monochromatic (One Colour) : we'll use one main colour throughout the shoot using the full depth of the colour from bold to neutrals.
- Complementary (Two Colours) : colours on the opposite side of the wheel, compliment each other.
- Analogous (Two or Three Colours) : colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel.
- Browns/Grays with Anything : Browns/Grays basically will go with any other colour.
Please think about which colours you would like in your session using the logic from above, for example, "Teals and Reds" would be an two complementary colours that would work great together and a great response on the prep guide.
THIS PREP GUIDE DOES NOT HAVE THE QUESTIONNAIRE WHICH IS ESSENTIAL FOR YOUR SESSION. THE PREP GUIDE WITH QUESTIONNAIRE WILL BE EMAILED TO YOU WITHIN 24 HOURS OF YOUR SHOOT. THANK YOU!