WHAT IS A LIFESTYLE NEWBORN SESSION?
Lifestyle sessions, also know as storytelling sessions, are designed to be a window into the first few days and weeks at home with your new baby. Taking place preferably between days 6 and 14 of life, these sessions focus more on connection and bonding than the traditional posed sessions. They enable you to relive those first snuggles, remember your baby’s itty bitty features in detail, and feel all the emotion and love of this special, yet fleeting time in your lives. Lifestyle sessions tell a story; they capture a memorable chapter in your growing family’s lives. During this type of session I will offer some very basic guidance and let the rest unfold organically.
- When I initially arrive I will scope your home out for locations with great light and the most photo friendly decor. The main areas I typically focus on are the areas you spend the most time with your baby (master bedroom, nursery, living room), however it is more about finding the areas with the best lighting and color scheme (bright colors can cause some undesirable color casts on your images).
- Your baby will be in charge of determining the flow of the session. If I arrive and baby is hungry, I will photograph some feeding time candids. If baby is nice and sleepy when I get there then I may take them to do sleepy crib shots or individual images. There is no scheduled plan, we will follow baby’s lead and adapt as necessary. I do find that holding sessions in your baby’s “natural environment” makes for a much more relaxed and cooperative baby.
- As I previously mentioned, lifestyle sessions include no posing, but rather just gentle guidance to insure the best lighting and angle.
- I may need to move things around a little to get the best images, I promise I will put everything back. Sometimes something as simple as removing a photo from the wall or a lamp off a table makes a huge difference. The goal is to get the best shot possible, while avoiding distractions that would pull the eye away from your sweet family.
HOW TO PREPARE
- Don’t stress. First and foremost, don’t worry about your home being perfect, your baby’s peel skin, or the spit-up stain that you were awarded after feeding your baby. Newborns are unpredictable and have a mind of their own, so we just sort of roll with the punches and make adjustments where necessary.
- Collect special items. Gather any items that you want to incorporate into the session and have them handy. Items like blankets, stuffed animals, etc are great to incorporate into your session to add even more of a personal touch. We will go through these together to determine how we can use them in your session.
- Prep your space. I do not expect you to have a spotless home. After all, you just had a baby and the last thing on your mind should be cleaning. You don’t need to hire a professional cleaner or redecorate for your session, because I am there to focus on the interactions and connections, not your decor. Here are some easy things you can do to prepare your space for photos:
- De-clutter surfaces, especially night stands, end tables, and in the nursery. This doesn’t have to be perfect, we just want to minimize distractions that can pull the eye away from your sweet family.
- Give windows and mirrors a quick wipe down will minimize dust and streaks that can be obvious in images.
- Opening all the of blinds in your home. This makes is much easier for us to determine the best spots to photograph in and where to find the best light.
- Warm it up to between 75 and 80 degrees before I arrive. Babies have a difficult time regulating their body temperatures, so in order to keep them happy and relaxed with little to no clothing on we need to keep it warm in the home. I will also bring a small space heater for more concentrated heat if necessary.
- Get baby ready. Newborns can be pretty unpredictable, so the best thing you can do is not have any solid expectations for how the session will flow. Your baby is running the show and we will follow their lead, though there are a few things you can do to help make things go a little more smoothly.
- Before I arrive please have your baby dressed in just a diaper, wrapped in a blanket, or in a zipper/snap sleeper. Make sure that whatever they are wearing doesn’t have to be taken off over the head, babies are not fans of this and it usually upsets them right off the bat.
- Please try to keep your baby awake as much as possible before your session. Obviously I don’t want them to be distressed, so if they fall asleep it’s not the end of the world. However a sleepy baby is much more cooperative than an awake baby, so waiting until I arrive to encourage napping will go a long way towards giving you those squishy newborn images.
- If possible, please wait until I arrive to feed your baby. Baby’s sleep cycle begins immediately after eating, so in order to optimize sleepy time we try to wait until I arrive to start feeding. Again, we don’t want a distressed baby, so if you must feed before I get there, please do. Waiting for me to arrive also gives us the opportunity to capture candid of feeding, burping, and soothing.
- Preparing siblings. I love involving older siblings in newborn sessions. After all, this is supposed to be a snapshot of your life at this particular time. Older siblings, especially toddlers, can be a little bit challenging, so please remember that we are in no rush. We have plenty of time to play, run around, and have fun without upsetting your older children. The following are some ideas that can help things go smoothly with older siblings involved.
- Making sure your older children are well rested and fed is the number one way to make sure things go smoothly. A hungry toddler is a cranky toddler. A tired toddler is a cranky toddler.
- Talk with them about the session. Regardless of your child’s age, try to get them excited about a “friend coming over to play and take pictures”. Make them feel special and not like the session is just about their new sibling.
- No bribes! I know it is tempting to bribe your child with a treat or a toy, but please refrain from doing this. We will spend lots of time playing and hopefully making sure your older children are comfortable and having fun too. When we bribe a child the focus shifts from playing and having fun to getting whatever they have been promised. This can result in forced smiles and unnatural poses.
- Plan a small activity. Something simple like making PB&J or having milk and cookies can not only keep your little one entertained, but also create some really great documentary style photo ops. Other ideas include coloring, playing with a ball, sidewalk chalk, complete a puzzle…the possibilities really are endless.
- Let them be themselves. If there is something that is special to your child’s personality, let them incorporate it. A favorite tutu or superhero cape? Rain boots or a special lovey they have had since birth? Don’t make them put these items away, but rather include them in the session to further personalize your images.
- Fur babies. Your pets are an important part of your family and therefore are encouraged to be involved in at least a little bit of the session. Not all animals will be cooperative, so please don’t feel the need to force the issue, but also don’t feel like you have to lock them up for the session. Pets are family too.
- What to wear. Keep in mind that we are documenting your life, so keep it simple and comfortable by being yourself. Now I don’t necessarily suggest wearing your favorite oversized sweatshirt, but you don’t want to be dressed up either. I encourage light, neutral colors, layers, and avoiding logos or bold patterns on clothing. Keep in mind that since your home will be warmer than normal, you will want to dress appropriately.
- For Mom I recommend a light, flow maxi skirt or linen pants with a coordinating tank top and sweater.
- For Dad, linen pants, jeans, polo shirts, t-shirts, or casual button-up shirts (left untucked) look best. Again, simplicity and comfort are key.
- For Baby I recommend just a diaper and maybe a neutral colored onesie. I know there are lots of really cure baby clothes, however it is very rare to find clothing that fits properly and won’t be distracting in the images. Less is more.
- Within a few days of your session I will post a couple images from your session on Studio412 Imagery Facebook page (unless you request that I don’t) for you to share, use as birth announcements, etc. If you have any special requests for sneak peeks please let me know in advance, otherwise I will select the images that I feel make the most sense.
- Sessions generally take around 2 weeks, but can take up to 4 weeks to complete depending on workload. I will keep you updated if this timeline changes at all.
- Once I am finished with your images I will upload them to Dropbox in 2 folders. One folder will be labeled Print Resolution. These images are the ones you use when ordering prints, albums, canvas, etc. The other will be labeled Web Resolution. These are the images to share on Facebook, Instagram, email, blogs, and other social media. Web images have a small watermark to protect the copyright.
If you would like more information or want to book a newborn session please fill out the contact form.