In a world of perfect Pinterest poses, curated Instagram lives, and Snapchat filters, a documentary style session seems unnatural. However, there's nothing more beautiful or valuable than documenting the moments of your real life. These are the moments we remember and cling to.
What to Expect? A Newborn Lifestyle Session Prep Guide
A newborn lifestyle session lets parents and families look back on this sweet and intimate time with their newborn baby and relive those first snuggles, those itty bitty baby bits, and all the emotion and love of that special time in their lives. It tells a story; it captures a memorable chapter in your life. During this type of session, I do offer gentle guidance and include some formal poses, however I mostly let the session unfold naturally.
1. Comfort of home: You are adjusting to a new life and the baby is adapting to its new home; this can be a challenging transition period and you certainly do not need to add any extra stress. A newborn lifestyle session takes place in your environment, where you are most comfortable and relaxed, and so is baby.
2. Real life: My favorite images evoke emotion or bring you back to a special place and time where you felt love, happiness and joy. Only real life can achieve true emotion.
3. Flexible schedule: A newborn lifestyle session lifestyle session is flexible. I can document this special time with your baby at 1 week, 3 weeks or even 2 months. I like to hold a tentative date 2-3 weeks from your estimated due date. Once baby arrives and you're feeling up for it, we will set a session date.
What to expect:
When I first arrive, after saying hello of course, I will scope out your home for areas with the best light and the most picture friendly colors/decor. I primarily shoot newborn lifestyle images in the nursery, master bedroom and living room however it’s more about finding the rooms with the best light and color scheme.
The baby will typically determine the flow of the session. If he is hungry when I arrive, then I will start with some feeding and changing shots. If he’s sleeping soundly in the crib (kudos to you!) then I’ll start with some crib and nursery shots. There is no set schedule or plan; as a parent myself, I’ve learned to adapt.
Don't feel the need to have baby "ready" for our session. I love when I get to document baths and changings - so relax and enjoy your morning and let the action start once I arrive.
Although this is lifestyle session, I do offer gentle guidance for posing to get the ball rolling and help clients settle in.
I will make use of your home, your décor, your furniture, etc. I may need to move some things around or take a frame off the wall; I promise to move everything back. It’s really about getting the best shots possible and avoiding distractions in the images.
How to prepare.
1. Prep your space: Your home does not have to be perfect. I promise. It’s your home and it’s supposed to look lived in, and if you have little ones, it's VERY well lived in. You don’t have to hire a professional cleaning company before your session or redecorate the living room; I’m there to focus on you and the interactions with your new baby. Instead, focus on tidying up a bit and putting things in the room where they belong (no coats on couch or towels on bed sort of thing) and just toss the rest in a closet until I leave. You're still recovering and getting used to our new family dynamic - so please do not stress about this.
2. Collect any items you want used in the session beforehand such as special blankets or stuffed animals. We’ll go through these together to determine what and how we can use the items in your session. These are not required, but good to have ready if you'd like them included.
3. I typically shoot a good portion of the session in the nursery so please have the curtains and shades open to let in lots of natural light. I also love to photograph baby with mom and dad in their bed, on the couch, anywhere comfy and snuggly. No need to clean, but just try and make sure the clutter has found its way to a closet in these particular rooms.
What to wear.
Keep in mind that I'm documenting a day in your life, so keep it real by wearing what you’re most comfortable and confident in, and by being yourself. I encourage neutral colors, steering away from t-shirts with logos or bold patterns. Casual clothing is perfect and bare feet or socks look most natural in a home setting. Moms, consider a light flowy shirt or maxi dress that will be both comfortable and soft while you are cuddling with your new baby.
For baby I recommend a neutral colored onesie, so the focus is on the baby rather than clothing or props. I'm happy to include different swaddle blankets or headbands that you may have to give a variety of images. Less is more. Remember, this is not a posed newborn session. I will take the time to swaddle and take a few pictures of just baby (and all their tiny details) on your bed or in the nursery, but no extra props are needed. If you’d like to include a bath in our session, it’s great to start in a plain onesie or jammies, and then pick an alternate outfit for after bath time.
A FEW ADDITIONAL CLOTHING TIPS:
1. Choose two main hues you love, and develop your color scheme around them. Use the brightest color — also known as the accent color — sparingly. Clothes do not have to "match" but try for colors that compliment one another. I love neutrals colors and jewel tones. Avoid all black or all white.
2. Limit patterns. Incorporating some patterns like plaid, stripes, florals etc. adds contrast and dimension to the photos but they should be used sparingly. (Ex. Dad wearing a plaid shirt under a solid colored sweater, Mom wearing a floral dress and everyone else in coordinating solids/neutrals.)
3. Avoid logos (ex. Under Armor, Nike, American Eagle) and characters (Ex. Paw Patrol, Frozen, etc.) on all clothing and shoes. These are distracting in the photo and draw attention away from the subjects.
4. Go Timeless. Since you’ll have these photos forever you don’t want to look back on them in 20 years and regret anything you wore. In order to avoid that, go with a more timeless, simple look. A great option for this would be some jeans, a simple top and a pair of cute boots. There’s nothing wrong with going a little more simple.
5. Look at your home decor. Do you like bright colors? More Neutral? Since these pictures will most likely be hanging on your walls, try to coordinate your outfit colors to match the home decor in the room/s where you plan to hang them.
6. Plan ahead! Don't wait till the days before your session to get your outfit together. It's most important that you feel comfortable and confident, so wear something that feels like you.
Remember to relax. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t worry. A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. I am not in a rush and I will not bail because the baby isn’t sleeping or cooperating. Take some deep breaths and enjoy this time with your new baby. I promise, there will be no judgement from me. Parenting is hard work - and both you and baby are still new at this.
Ultimately, I want you to enjoy this experience as much as I enjoy capturing it. It’s ok to be a bit nervous. I have to admit that I don’t get in front of the camera much myself! But I can guarantee you that you will not regret having these memories to cherish.