Photographing your newborn is a must! Not just because its the trend nowadays (my baby photos sure didn't look like these) but because this moment goes by so fast, and, thanks in large part to sleep deprivation, so does your memory of it. It's also a lot of fun! I've put together some tips for all the moms-to-be out there. Some of these tips I've learned from years of experience in newborn photography but most of them are from my personal experience as a mother.
Schedule your newborn's photos asap! The best time to photograph a newborn baby is 5-10 days after birth. Babies are easier to pose and curl up into those adorable positions during this time. After you've booked a solid date with your newborn photographer, set a target date to finalize the style of your baby's first portraits, pick out any outfits and props, and pack your bags. Setting that date around the 32 week mark in your pregnancy gives you more than enough time to avoid rushing around.
Have a vision for your newborn session! Know what types of newborn photos you love and might want taken during the shoot. If you're not sure, at least have a style in mind. Find a professional newborn photographer hat fits your style and adds their own creative ideas that complement your style. When you and your photographer have the same vision, you'll be able to collaborate and carefully incorporate the perfect outfits and unique details into your photo shoot ahead of time.
Communicate with your photographer. Communicating with your photographer is key. Let your photographer know what you are looking for, your style (rustic, modern, classic), or certain colors you want to use in the shoot, if you have any clothing or props to incorporate into the shoot (clothing, headbands, blankets etc), and which shots are most important to you (full lengths, close-ups, detail shots, family shots).
Pack your bags. I suggest having everything you need set aside in a bag so it's ready to go. You don't want to be frantically grabbing everything on the day of your newborn's photo session.
Plan on packing:
Feed your newborn 30 minutes prior to the shoot. Don't be surprised if you spend a good bit of your session feeding and comforting your baby. Babies are on their own schedules (and they're the boss) but even a little top-up will help prolong their sleep.
We offer new moms a calm, intimate space to feed their babies, which can make all the difference when you need to nurse your baby until they're full and sleepy. For bottle-fed babies, have a bottle ready and handy so we can feed them mid-pose to keep them calm and relaxed. You could also have a pacifier or two nearby to help soothe.
Your baby may eat a little more than usual during your session. When babies wake up, their first thought is often, "Oh! I'm awake, so it must be time to eat!" Don't stress! Newborn photos take lots of patience and time, which is why we schedule extra time for newborn sessions.
Remember: A full baby is a happy baby! And a happy baby makes for beautiful photos!
Dress your baby in simple button/zipper footie pajamas. These are much easier to take off rather than something that goes over their head. We don't want to disturb a sleeping baby too much.
You should also dress comfortably. The studio will be extra warm with space heaters and cranked up central heat - essential for baby's comfort and deep sleep.
Lastly, don't stress! That's why you hired a professional photographer and relax and have fun!
Although you might think it’s a good idea, I and many other professional photographers recommend that brides don’t spray tan before your wedding or engagement session! As a photographer, I see so many orange or overly tan brides in wedding photos. It looks way more flattering if the bride either embraces her natural skin tone or has just a hint of a tan from the sun. Given that we spend much more time analyzing images and editing them, we often know better than spray tan artists how the tans look on camera.
Cameras pick up red and orange more than the eye does in-person, so when a bride has a spray tan, she rarely has a pleasing skin tone in the final images. Even if the tan looks nice in-person, without fail it will always be very obvious in photos that it isn’t a natural skin tone. While I always do my best to correct for this in editing within the hired scope of my work, the end result can still be that the bride is more orange than everyone else in the wedding party. Whether my bride used a professional or DIY tan, it almost always looks very apparent in the final images. Natural skin tones photograph most beautifully.
If your bridesmaids have not been tanning, you getting a spray tan creates a huge difference between the natural and orange skin tones in your photos: the bride will tend to look very tan (and often brown or orange) and, as a result, the bridesmaids will look much paler than they truly are. The same applies to a groom who has not been tanning. It is a very harsh difference between the spray tanned and not spray tanned group of people.
In a world that still values a tan (rather than proper skin care and protection), I know it can be scary to think you’ll look pale at your wedding if you don’t spray tan before your wedding or have time to tan naturally. If you’re really concerned with not being incredibly tan, despite the fact that fair skin does photograph beautifully, try something more mild than a spray tan (i.e. Jergens tinted lotion). I promise that you’ll still have a little glow while sporting a natural and beautiful skin tone for your wedding photos.
Cathy & Jenn of CatsMac Photography, Peterborough, Ontario.