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Take One: Family’s First Photos

May 17, 2016

ashley pilkington
Ashley Pilkington, Labor & Delivery Registered Nurse

One of the greatest joys of parenthood is pulling out adorable pictures to show everyone from your best friend to your hair stylist how cute your baby is. The road to getting those adorable pictures, however, isn’t always a smooth one. Thankfully, we have some tips to help you make the most of your newborn photo shoot.

First Photo Checklist

Finding a photographer can seem daunting, but talking to other local moms will help you find a photographer that produces quality prints within your budget and will keep your baby safe and comfortable. Social media can be a great place to find out which photographer takes the type of photos that you admire most.

After you and baby are safely at home and settled in, you’ll want to identify a good time period when your baby can nap for those iconic sleeping baby photos. Scheduling a feeding session just before your photo session can help ensure that your baby is happy and hopefully sleepy. Now What? 

  • Ask questions. It’s your baby—don’t hesitate to talk through the shoot with your photographer beforehand. Certain poses you would like to see may require more preparation than others, and some may have you wondering about the safety or comfortableness of your baby. Whatever it is that has you wondering, don’t be afraid to speak up.
  • Be prepared. Regardless of the location or time, it’s important to be prepared. Feeding your baby beforehand will give them a full tummy, which will help keep them full and sleepy. A bag of essentials to keep nearby during the shoot is also important: wipes for accidents, an extra bottle, sunscreen, and anything else you think may be needed on location.
  • It’s going to be warm. In addition to the extra lighting, your baby photographer might ask you to turn up the temperature in your home, or even bring a space heater. Since babies get cold easily, the naked shots that are typically a part of a newborn shoot can be extra uncomfortable. To prevent any crying meltdowns due to temperature, it’s safe to assume you will be sweating and making a few trips to the dryer to warm up baby’s blanket.
  • Predict the unpredictable. Babies aren’t going to care if you’re trying to get a perfect picture, they’re going to do what babies do: sleep, cry, and poop. Instead of stressing about it, have faith that your photographer knows what they are doing. Great pictures aren’t always going to be what you expected: it turns out your baby is just as adorable wide-awake as they are sleeping!
  • Get personal. To truly capture how magical newborn photos are, try placing yourself in the photo—literally. By holding baby in your arms for a photo, or laying your baby’s feet on your feet, you are doing more than just adding a personal touch; by putting a sense of scale to the picture, you can look back and appreciate just how tiny they were.
  • Keep it simple. Forget any elaborate props or dramatic backgrounds: your baby is the star of the show. Don’t detract from the purpose of the shoot by overloading the photos with busy prints, costumes, or anything else.

Newborn photo shoots can last a few hours, depending on the photographer’s schedule. Part of this is due to the unpredictability of babies and the weather: it may take a few thousand shots to get the fifty good ones you end up with at the end. Try not to get frustrated; that perfect picture of your sleepy baby’s smile will make it all worth it!

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