How to prepare

How to Prepare for Your Newborn Session

First of all, do NOT stress out about your session. Babies pick up on our stress. I only schedule one newborn per day, so we are not on time constraints with Complete 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 big deal. I don't encounter this situation very often but I want you to know we have a plan in place!

Some things to bring and how to prepare for the Complete Newborn Session:

1.  For Complete Newborn Sessions only- Clothing for parents (shirts and jeans or pants) if parents are going to be in some images (which I encourage). We are either going to shoot the parent series on dark wood, black, cream, medium tan or light gray backdrop. Plan what you are going to wear before the baby comes. If you want something classic, go with black on black. If you like light and airy, wear cream on the cream backdrop. These will be from the waist up; jeans are fine. I ask that you avoid patterned shirts or wearing white shirts because white detracts from the face. Baby will wear a simple knit diaper cover, pants of I will swaddle them for these images. The studio will be about 81 degrees, so either bring a lighter change of clothing or dress in layers. For the Treasured Newborn Session, parents are not in images and can disregard this section.

2.  The Complete Newborn sessions are typically are 2-3 hours long. We start at 11 am in the morning and will probably work through lunch time. 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 majority of the session. All you need to do is sit on the couch and relax. You can choose what you would like ahead of time and call it in when we finish the parent images at your session. Brewer's is right across the street. The Pizza Shoppe is a few doors down.

3.  If bottle feeding, please bring enough for 3-4 bottles. If breastfeeding, it is still very helpful to pump and bring a couple of bottles, simply because of the increase in feeding during the session. If you can, plan to give the baby their first bottle the day before the session. Often, I will give the baby a bottle myself and soothe the baby, if they are having a hard time making the "nursing to laying down" transition. 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.

4. 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. Give them a bath the morning of your shoot and apply baby lotion afterward. A gentle exfoliation with a baby cloth after they have been in the tub a while will help with this.

5. Pacifiers are ideal 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 normal basis.

6. Try to keep baby awake a few hours before the session. Have a little playtime!

7. Stay relaxed! Babies have a way of picking up on our stress. 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.

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

8. Complete 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 I complete the family and sibling portion, dad takes the other child home.

For the Treasured Newborn Session, all of these tips above apply, except #1 and #8 as we will be doing "baby only" sets.

The Session Flow

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 usually need to eat when you arrive, so don't worry about feeding them before you leave.

For a Complete Newborn Session, we start with a series of images with mom, dad, and baby. Next, we move on to baby images and usually have to spend a little time with feeding and cuddling. Patience is key during this part of the session. Once baby is asleep, the session will flow more quickly.

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. 

It is very important to 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 handled so much and naked much of the time. This is a different experience for their nervous system. Having been a Kansas City newborn photographer for so many years, I can easily see those tiny cues when baby may need to eat a little more, and the quicker we can make that happen, the smoother the session will go. 

I look forward to meeting you to create your Kansas City newborn photography and to document those precious first days! Take a peek at our FAQ page as well and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask!


Melissa Pfannenstiel

Captures in Time Photography

Kansas City Newborn Photographer