Last month was birthday season in my house, and this year my mother-in-law texted me an image from when my daughter was born 9 years ago. There is a great story from our beautiful birth center experience of my own mother waiting together with my in-laws in the parking lot on a cold, January night for word that their granddaughter had arrived and they could come inside and meet her.
The image my mother-in-law sent is from the next day when we were back home. My husband and I are squeezed together on a small chair in our two bedroom apartment and our tiny baby is squeezed between us. What strikes me first is her size.
She is just...
It’s a cell phone shot, and I love it. I love how easily my mother-in-law can find it on her phone and send it to me. I love how quickly and easily it happened in the blur of those first 24 hours after giving birth and finding ourselves with this huge responsibility we weren’t sure we were up for but were suddenly learning how to handle.
However, I see it with different eyes now that I’m a professional photographer, now that I help families capture the beauty of a newborn entering their lives. Am I grateful that I have this snapshot to remind me of such a special season? Yes. Do I wish I had a whole photo book of images that could capture the intensity of the moment and the magic of two people creating a whole new person, a family growing and changing right before everyone’s eyes? Yes, a thousand times yes!
Here are three things you should know before having a lifestyle newborn session in your home…
1). Colors Matter
It’s a great idea to put some thought into clothing choices for the whole family before the shoot, and perhaps even before the baby is born. Lifestyle newborn photography means mostly capturing images of the baby in mom and dad’s arms. It’s worth noting that the colors you are wearing will be the main colors in your images and would ideally compliment the colors in your home. The baby should be in a simple onesie without words or designs, and the easiest choice for each member would be something comfortable and neutral in color.
I remember having a really hard time figuring out what to wear after my babies were born. A mama’s shape after giving birth is just so different from what she has been accustomed to her whole life. Depending on the season, a loose fitting sweater with leggings may be appropriate or a comfortable and casual dress. Remember that we may need to take breaks if your baby gets hungry, so try to chose something that makes nursing easy or that can easily be changed if the baby spits up on it.
2) Comfort Matters
Swaddling is like coming home for a newborn, so it’s important to have a couple neutral colored swaddles on hand for your newborn photo shoot. When my babies were born, I treasured the swaddles from Aden and Anais. They are large and of a stretchy material that makes swaddling so much easier than with other blankets. It’s fun to get images of your newborn sleeping, and a tight swaddle helps make that possible.
3) Calories Matter
The key to a positive newborn photo experience is a happy baby, and the key to a happy baby is...well, who knows the answer to that question?!
In my experience—I should say—the key to creating a happy baby is calories. I encourage moms to try to feed their newborn just before the start of the photo shoot. This, combined with swaddling, usually gets a good, sleepy baby so we can capture some of those precious, peaceful newborn images.
What if you don’t get to it before I arrive? Don’t worry! I've had two newborns of my own, I know how it goes. Everything takes longer than expected when you have a new baby. Things often don’t go as planned. I get it! I always take time after I arrive to look around your house for the best lighting and composition before we start our photo session. Plus, we can have you sit in beautiful lighting and get some great nursing shots of just Mama and Baby before moving on to the rest of the shoot.
If you are thinking of having newborn pictures taken, please call me so we can talk. It is such a brief season in a family’s life, a matter of weeks and it’s gone! I can help you think through the details of how to be prepared for a successful shoot and then help you find the best way to celebrate the images we make together. Maybe the photo book I mentioned is the best option for you, or maybe it’s a collection of canvases in the nursery to celebrate each special relationship in the family. Whatever your unique aesthetic or tastes, I’m excited to join you on this first step as a new family and to create the images I only wish I had of my newborn babies.
Holly Freeman is a lifestyle family photographer based in Lakewood, Colorado, serving families in the greater Denver area. While she is not a baby expert, she is pretty handy with a swaddle. She can't wait to help you capture this precious season in your family's life and find the best ways to celebrate those images for years into the future. Reach out today to get more details.