One of my first blog posts last year was "How to Prepare for your Family Session", after finding that the majority of clients had several questions and concerns about how they could prepare, what they could wear, and what they could expect. While a lot of these questions apply to newborn sessions as well, they are unique to family sessions in many ways, and really deserve to be addressed separately. Which brings me to this post, at long last! Read on for how you can prepare and what you can expect from your newborn session with dacia vu photography. I'm also participating in another blog circle this month with some other really talented artists and photographers! Read to the end for the link to the next artist in the circle.
What to Expect
Since I offer newborn sessions both at my clients' homes, and in the studio, I will address what you can expect from each type of session individually. Wherever you decide to have your session, newborn sessions with dacia vu photography are a unique experience. They are relaxed and free flowing with a focus on simplicity, connection and storytelling! Since my central focus is on documenting your personal story (lifestyle photography), in these sessions with your newest addition, I strive to capture photographs that convey all the emotions involved in welcoming a newborn into the world, your interactions with your new baby and the rest of your family, and all the tiny little details that are so significant to this time period, but so quickly forgotten.
AT YOUR HOME
If the session takes place at your home, when I first arrive, I generally ask for a tour of your home. We will chat, go over the details you'd like me to capture for your session, meet your new addition and take some time to make friends with your other children. I'll get familiar with your space, the light in your home, and I'll discuss my plan for your session. At every newborn session, whether at your home, or the studio, I follow the baby's lead, or if there is a toddler running around, they are the boss for the day. I have a loose order in which I shoot, but I keep that completely flexible depending on feed times, cuddle breaks, and toddlers being toddlers. I give direction and guidance to a point, such as positioning you in the best light, asking you to look at each other, look at your baby, think about certain moments to elicit those emotions you want conveyed in your photographs, etc. But mostly I am just creating a space and opportunities for connections to happen naturally. We usually start in the master bedroom, move to the nursery/kids bedrooms and then to the main living area. If your session takes place during the warmer seasons, and the weather cooperates, we can also take some portraits in your backyard.
Wondering how to prepare your home for your session? It's important to declutter, but don't stress! I love "lived-in" homes, and photographing you in your natural element is part of the charm of Lifestyle Photography. I do not want you to go overboard cleaning prior to your session. We both know you're not going to have the time, and much less likely the energy to go nuts dusting or vacuuming. Focus on clearing the areas I mentioned above, so you don't have anything too distracting in your images. The main spaces I generally shoot in during a session are the master bedroom, the nursery and the main living area so these are the areas you should focus on when preparing for your session. Again, if you need some guidance you are more than welcome to send me through some images of your spaces for advice before your session. Ultimately I will only shoot in the areas with the best natural light.
Your in-home newborn session will generally be about 2-2.5 hours in length. One of the great things about these lifestyle newborn sessions is that we can photograph your new addition anytime in their first few weeks. If you really want photos of your sweet, new baby asleep and dreamy, then it's best to do your session within the first 5-14 days. If you're happy with more awake, interactive images of your new baby, a session can take place anytime in the first two months.
AT THE STUDIO
If you'd prefer to schedule the session to take place at my studio, most of the same general principles apply, with a few exceptions. Studio photography is slightly more limited due to space, and environment, and as a result, most of the photographs taken at the studio will be those sleepy, posed shots of baby swaddled up sweetly on my studio bean bag, a basket, or bucket. Sibling and parent shots are still totally a possibility, there will just be less of those natural, in-your-element moments. I crank up the heat at the studio for my newborn sessions, so dressing accordingly is imperative to your comfort. There's also a bit of magic involved in getting those sleepy shots, mainly a small space heater to localize that heat, and a selection of my favorite noise-maker sounds to drown out any other startling noises (siblings running around during the session is the most common). Because your newborn won't be in his or her familiar home environment, sometimes it takes a little longer to get them sleepy and calm - and sometimes they arrive already sleeping, and we can jump right into those posed shots! If there are siblings attending the session as well, there will be an area for them to play, toys to play with, and movies to watch while they wait for those baby poses. One of the perks to the studio sessions is the miniature buffet of caffeinated drinks to choose from for my sleep-deprived parents (and what newborn parent isn't sleep deprived!?), as well as some enticing snacks to bribe the siblings with if necessary. As I mentioned earlier, if you really want those photos of your sweet baby asleep and posed, it's important to schedule your session while your baby is less than two weeks old. Newborns are far more sleepy in those first few weeks, sleeping more often, and more deeply. They're also much more capable, flexible, and willing to be molded to certain newborn poses.
Another benefit to studio sessions, is you don't have to worry how your home will appear! No cleaning, no clutter-clearing. Just drop it all, and drive on over to the studio. I'll be ready for you, with a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee, some sweet baby tunes, and a bright, clean, beautiful studio to set the tone for your memorable newborn session.
What to Wear
This is where almost every client seeks guidance. So if you're struggling and stressing over what to wear, you're not alone. And that's what I'm here for, so don't sweat it any further! I always recommend neutral clothing, or maybe some lighter tones with pops of color, and textures, but most importantly, comfortable! I love bright, airy, whites, grays, bright pops of color (a light flowy dress with a flower pattern, or a cream shirt with a pretty scarf) and simplicity when it comes to newborn photography. I suggest coordinating over matching your outfits. For baby you are free to have a few outfit options to use throughout the session, though I will also provide several wraps, props, and accessories to choose from. You may consider a simple swaddle, an outfit with some amazing prints, texture or color, or a cute hat. Your session needs to represent you and your family as honestly as possible. Before your session, feel free to send me photos and ideas and I will be happy to give you wardrobe advice.