How to Prepare

Tips for Preparing for Your Newborn Session 

Clothing for parents


Parent images will be from the waist up, feel free to wear jeans or shots. I will either shoot the parent series on dark wood, black, cream, medium tan or light gray backdrop. If you want something classic, go with black on black. If you like light and airy, wear cream on the cream backdrop. I ask that you avoid patterned shirts or wearing white shirts because white detracts from the face. Baby will wear a simple knit pants of I will swaddle them for these images. The studio will be about 80 degrees, so either bring a lighter change of clothing or dress in layers. 

Snacks & Lunch

Newborn sessions are typically are 2.5-3.5 hours long. Each baby is different, if we have a full gallery at 2 1/2 hours, we will finish there, but the time is there if we need it. We begin at 11 am in the morning and will probably work through lunchtime. I have stocked the studio with beverages, but you may want to bring a snack or two for yourselves. 

If you prefer, make the session a little "date" by ordering takeout from one of the two restaurants right by the studio. After I have completed the family portion of the session, I usually need minimal assistance from mom/dad for the rest of the time. All you need to do is sit on the couch and relax or order in lunch. Brewer's is right across the street. The Pizza Shoppe is a few doors down. I will set up a table in the shooting area so you can still see how your shoot is going with the baby.

Feeding Baby

If bottle feeding, please bring enough for 3-4 bottles. If breastfeeding, it is still beneficial to pump and bring a bottle or two, because of the increase in feeding during the session. I do realize that many mothers do not introduce a bottle until three weeks, so if you prefer not to do this, that is fine.

Try to avoid spicy foods and caffeine for a day or two before the session. Bring plenty of diapers as they will be wearing them while in some of the knitted props and more feeding = more diapers. I do have a sanitized bottle warmer at the studio.

The Morning of Your Session

Give baby a bath the morning of your session and use baby lotion. If the baby is dry or peeling, it helps to use your doctor recommended baby lotion frequently in the days leading to the shoot. A gentle exfoliation with a baby cloth after they have been in the tub a while will help with this. Try to keep baby awake a few hours before the session. Have a little playtime!

When parents come in for their newborn photography session, they usually have a 20-30 minute drive from their home in the Kansas City metro area. The baby will most always need to eat when you arrive, so don't worry about feeding them before you leave unless they are very hungry and not content for the car ride.

Pacifiers

Pacifiers are great for keeping baby calm during these sessions. I encourage you to bring one just for the session, even if you choose not to give them to baby on a regular basis. They can make all the difference as newborns cannot self-soothe and are being posed for three hours, not their typical day!

Relax and be Patient

Stay relaxed! We work on your baby's time, and there is nothing that will happen that has not occurred in 10 years of newborn sessions. I am well-versed in working with every baby situation. 

Do NOT stress out about your session. Babies pick up on our stress. It is normal for the baby to take 5-10 minutes to settle into a pose. I only schedule one newborn per day, so we are not on time constraints with our newborn sessions. If on the off chance baby is having a bad day, I can tell this in the first 30-45 minutes of the session, and we would just reschedule for another day...no big deal. I don't encounter this situation very often, but I want you to know we have a plan in place!

Bring Baby in Something Easy to Remove

Dress baby in something easy to get off that does not go over their head.

Siblings

Full newborn sessions may include a short set with siblings, keep in mind that the sibling portion of the shoot will only take about 15 minutes. Please have another family member at the shoot if dad will not be there to help entertain. There are nearby parks and coffee, pizza and soda shops in a case where the child is making too much noise for the baby to sleep. Clients often bring two cars in this case, and when I complete the family and sibling portion, dad takes the other child home. Please stay within arm's reach of the sibling, especially when they are close to the baby.

The Session Flow

For a full newborn session, we begin with a series of images with mom, dad, and baby. We include siblings if they are present. Next, we move on to baby images and usually spend a little time with feeding and cuddling. Patience is critical during this part of the session. Once the baby is asleep, the session will flow more quickly.

Bring Something Special if You Like

The studio has an entire prop room stocked with vintage props, hats and wraps, but you are welcome to bring a couple of things like a special blanket or hat that you would like to incorporate in a shot or two.  I take care in "styling" the session with colors and textures. I will send you a gallery of backdrop selections from which to choose. Think about what rooms you are going to put the images into.

Please send photos of things you might be bringing at least a few days ahead of time, so I can plan the shoot. If you want to purchase items to use in the session (you don't need to do this), please give me a heads up first before you spend your money. Many off the rack newborn "outfits" don't photograph well. I can point you in the right direction. I only have high-quality, handmade items in the studio.

Be Prepare for Extra Feedings

Please realize that baby is not yet on a feeding schedule and he or she will typically eat twice as much during these two hours from being posed so much. This is a different experience for their nervous system. Having been a newborn photographer for so many years, I can easily see those tiny cues when baby needs milk.The more quickly we respond to baby's needs, the smoother the session will go. 

I look forward to meeting you and documenting those precious first days! Take a peek at our FAQ page as well and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask!

Best,

Melissa Pfannenstiel

Captures in Time Photography

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