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Welcome Home Baby: A Step By Step Guide to Newborn Lifestyle Photography

Oh baby, is newborn lifestyle photography becoming more popular than ever! And really, it's no surprise. It's pretty hard to beat the convenience and comfort of having a photo shoot in your own home. Not only that, but the resulting photos have a wonderful "natural" feel and truly capture the bond that you are building with your new little bundle of heaven. Siblings, pets and grandparents can also easily make cameos in these first photos adding a special touch.

While having a photoshoot at home can be much easier for both you and your baby, it's still important to be prepared so that your session runs smoothly. The First Step is ensuring you have a pre-shoot consultation with your photographer. If your current photographer does not offer one, find one who does. (Me! And mine are complimentary!) Consultations are great for getting to know your photographer, discussing wardrobe choices for both you and the baby, providing details on the desired theme you have chosen for shoot and sharing the color palette and layout of your home. A consultation gives you the opportunity to get anything and everything answered while it's top of mind and it also helps your photographer ensure she/he has everything needed when arriving on the big day.

The Second Step in ensuring your photo shoot runs smoothly is to select the rooms in your home you want photos taken in and prepare those areas ahead of time.

  • Look for rooms in your home that have the most natural light and/or the most windows.

  • Choose a room that has a simple backdrop or neutral colors. This helps decrease distractions and enhances the focus on the baby in the resulting photos.

  • More space equals better mobility for everyone! Choose rooms that are most spacious.

  • Consider putting a white noise machine or fan in the room(s) you plan to use for the shoot as this background noise can help calm the baby.

  • Ensure the room(s) where photos will be taken are set to a warmer temperature the day of the shoot. This will be most comfortable and soothing for the baby especially if they won't be bundled up in the photos.

  • Clear areas around outlets so that your photographer can easily plug-in studio lights if additional lighting is needed.

  • Clean any rooms or areas of rooms that will appear in photos. While Photoshop does exist, it cannot solve for everything! Please dust and de-clutter!

  • Open blinds and curtains the morning of the shoot to let that beautiful natural light in.

  • Place all items being used in photos in the room(s) where the photos will be taken.

Note: Popular rooms for newborn photo shoots tend to be the nursery, the living room and the parents' bedroom.

The Third Step in ensuring your photo shoot runs smoothly is to prepare your baby and anything they will need for the shoot.

  • If you plan to have any photos taken of your baby in only a diaper or in the nude, ensure you loosen their diaper and clothes 30 minutes prior to the shoot to reduce red marks on the skin.

  • If you want a sleeping baby for newborn photos, here are a few ways to help them drift off into to a sweet slumber:

    • Ensure your shoot is scheduled during the baby's first 2-3 weeks.

    • Try to keep the baby awake for 1 - 1.5 hours prior to the shoot.

    • Consider giving the baby a warm bath about an hour prior to the shoot.

    • Feed the baby at least 30 minutes prior to the shoot.

    • If you are breast-feeding, avoid spicy foods 24-48 hours prior to the shoot.

    • Keep the baby wrapped/swaddled during the shoot.

  • Have multiple outfits ready.......accidents happen!

  • Select all items to be included in photos ahead of time. Examples include:

    • Heirloom blankets

    • Wraps

    • Baby baskets (Moses basket)

    • Headbands

    • Hats

    • Flowers

  • Relax! Babies pick up on the energy of their parents, so smile and enjoy the session!

The Fourth Step in ensuring your photo shoot runs smoothly is to follow the baby's lead.

One of the greatest skills parenthood can teach you is how to be flexible. You might have the best laid plan, but ultimately the baby is the one that is in control! (You'll see!) To relieve any anxiety you might have around any hiccups (literally and figuratively) during the shoot, I am here to tell you we will work around what the baby needs and wants. If the baby is hungry, we can take a break for a feeding. If the baby needs a diaper change, it's no problem. If the baby is cranky and you want to walk them around the house or take a step outside for some fresh air, please feel free to do so. The focus of a newborn lifestyle shoot at home is convenience and comfort so take advantage of it.

"The littlest feet make the biggest footprints on our heart." Capturing the first days of your newborn's life and the bond you are building will be a memory that will stay in both your heart and on the walls of your home forever. Congratulations!

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