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How to Prepare for a Successful Newborn Session

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  • Post last modified:April 3, 2020

You are in a new and exciting stage in your life. You’ve now got this adorable newborn baby and are ready to document his or her first memories in photographs. We at Laura Mares Photography want to make this a joyous experience for you and your family. We know how nerve-racking picture day is, especially when you’re running on littletono sleep. To help you with this process, I’ve compiled a list of preparation tips to ease some of your stress.

What to Bring

If you are coming for a studio session, please follow this checklist to avoid under or over packing your diaper bag. Studio sessions are focused on your new little bundle of joy with minimalistic prop usage. Backdrops, wraps, props and headbands are provided. If there is something you’d like to include in your newborn portraits – a special outfit, blanket, stuffed animal or toy, heirloom, etc. please bring it along and we’ll incorporate it in your session. The more personal items we use in your session, the more unique these photos will be to your child and your family’s personality.

To ensure that your baby is happy and calm during the session, bring a pacifier, a fresh bottleif your child is currently using a bottle, a burp cloth, diapers and wipes. 

What to Wear

Newborns are not very patient when it comes to outfit changes. We suggest your child be in an outfit you’d like your newborn to wear in photos covered with a bib or burp cloth in case of little incidents. After we take a few photos in this outfit, we prefer to take the rest of the photos in just the diaper or completely in the nude. In our opinion, babies photograph best this way and they will also cooperate longer if we are not constantly changing their outfits. If you are not comfortable with this, we can cover them with wraps and covers during the entire session.

If you are going to be in photos with your child, we suggest bringing a backup shirt, just in case. For moms, we suggest keeping jewelry to a minimum, as babies like to grab hold of these items. It’s warm in the studio, adults can dress in layers.

Be prepared for a warm studio. I advise adults to dress in layers. Newborns are used to being in a small, warm place. That’s where they’ve been the past nine months, and they are uncomfortable when they are cold. The studio will be quite warm on session days for this reason.

What to do at Home before Your Session

Make sure your newborn baby is well fed before the session. If your baby has a full belly, that usually equals a happy baby. 🙂

Put lotionon your newborn in the morning before the session, this makes your newborn’s skin look great in portraits.

Bring a pacifier to your session. Even if you are not allowing your child to regularly use one, it will be helpful during the photo session to help him or her stay calm. If your baby starts to fuss and we cannot stop the crying by other means, this will often soothes baby’s nerves. 

At the Studio

We will be playing soft music and have a white noise machine to create a soothing environment for your newborn, and for you as well! Newborn sessions last 3-4 hours. Feel free to sit or lay on the sofa and take a rest at any time.  

If your newborn baby is not cooperating, a great way to soothe him or her is to hold your newborn, because sometimes babies just need to be held. We can create artistic shots of your baby in your hands. Be careful not to tense up when you get in front of the camera. Babies sense that something is wrong.

Also, when I photograph a newborn with mom I typically crop the photo as a head and shoulder portrait. A lot of new moms are uncomfortable in front of the camera during the first weeks after birth, and I completely understand. But of course if you do not want to be in photos, that is okay.  

Check out more tips here.


Hi, I'm Laura Mares! I'm thankful to be a wife, mother and Pittsburgh lifestyle photographer. I photograph because I believe that life is simply beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.

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