FAQ for Newborn Sessions
When should I book my newborn photos?
Newborn Photos should be booked during the 2nd or early 3rd trimester so that we can make sure that you can be put onto my calendar within the newborn window (5-10 days). If you book while in the hospital or after birth, we may not be able to book in time to get those sleepy poses! The sooner the better--a deposit is required to reserve your date around your due date, but newborn session days are as flexible as your little one's arrival will be!
At what age do you photograph newborns babies?
Ideally, between 5 days after birth and 10 days after birth. We would like to book AFTER your milk has come in, if you are breast feeding (if you are bottle feeding, the earlier the better!). The ten day mark is somewhat flexible, but it is less likely that we will get those sleepy poses with a baby over 10 days, and the session can take much longer. Five days is absolutely ideal, so we will usually shoot for that. I will shoot Newborn Sessions up to 6 weeks of age, however my style will deviate based on how well more mature babies sleep (babies eyes may be open and posing may differ).
At what time of day will my newborn session be?
Most Newborns are up all night and sleep during the day, starting early morning. I like to start the session at 10:00am (I will arrive 1/2 hour early). Please make sure that your newborn in awake for at least 2 hours before the session.
Where will my newborn session take place?
In the comfort of your own home! If you have a well lit home (sunlight from large windows), I will use natural light, otherwise I will use my portable studio strobes.
How should I prepare for your arrival on the day of my session?
IMPORTANT: Turn your thermostat to 80 degrees before I arrive, or turn your air conditioner off--your newborn will be in his/her birthday suit, so we want to make sure it's cozy in your home. This could be the single most important factor when determining how long your session will end up being!
Try to keep your baby awake for at least two hours before the session (this may not be hard for morning sessions--it's likely you've been up with your little one all night!) one way to do this is to give baby a bath about 1 1/2 hrs before I arrive.
Feed your baby starting 1/2 hour before the session start
Doing these 3 things will almost always make for a smooth newborn session!
How long will the session take?
I allot 4 hours for newborn sessions, but typical sessions run between 2-3 hours, depending on how many times we have to stop to feed or change, and how easily your little one settles. Every baby is different!
What should my baby wear?
Almost all SL Hunter Photography Newborn images are done in the bare! Occasionally I will use a diaper cover. Make sure you look at my Brand New gallery before booking to make sure that my style is right for you!
Dress your baby in a sleepsack, or better yet, just a diaper and a blanket. do not fasten diaper wings. Wash baby's face and make sure dry skin is well lotioned (peeling skin is normal and will be visible but softened in final pictures)
What should I wear?
Wear neutral colors with no prints or fonts. Dress in what you feel comfortable in--the more skin the better. Dads look great topless and so do little boys. If skin to skin photos aren't your thing, then make sure to wear form-fitting nutral colors so the baby doesn't get lost in folds of clothes. Simple dresses for little girls, and I almost always photograph boys younger than 8 topless. Jeans work well for these pictures too. Moms, make sure that your blouse/shirt is not too low cut--you will have ample cleavage as your milk is regulating it's production. Tube tops and baby doll style tops actually work quite well!
Do you have props?
I have some props, and many of the hats you see in my images come from Stinkin Cute located in Winchester, VA. I will bring some blankets, props, etc. but what really makes an image personal and unique is the use of your items--baskets, blankets, boxes, books, and stuffed toys are all acceptable props! Make sure you have some blankets, baskets, and other items from your life from around the house for your session day!
Will my baby be comfortable in all of the poses?
As I am posing, you may see some grumpy faces and hear some little cries, but please be assured that I am experienced in handling newborn babies as small as less than 4 pounds, and every pose that I attempt is first of all safe and second of all, completely natural for a newborn baby. The grumpiness is mostly annoyance at being woken up and moved (You'd be annoyed too). You'll see that once your little one is settled into the pose, he/she will sleep soundly like that indefinitely! This is also one of the reasons that the 5-7 day window is so important. Your little one was curled in the poses we will attempt in his final months inside your belly, and that 'curliness' is one of the first newborn characteristics to go!
I saw a pose on Pinterest--Can you do that pose?
We will attempt any pose you'd like, but keep in mind that newborn babies are people, and like any child, they have preferences and dislikes. Some babies hate being swaddled, others don't like their hands by their face, and still others are really not ok with being on their backs. Many will not curl into the toes near the nose position if they are over 5-7 days old. We will attempt each pose, but I will not try any one pose for more than 15 minutes--we don't want to force anything and we don't want your baby to be uncomfortable. Your images will be adorable regardless!
REALLY IMPORTANT NOTE:
Many of the poses you see that are popular are composite images. They are a combination of several images merged in Photoshop. In as many as a quarter of your images, I will tell you not to take your hands off of your baby at any time, especially for hanging poses, poses on raised surfaces, and poses where the weight distribution in a newborn are a factor ('froggy' head in hands poses and baskets). No image is worth even a fraction of a risk, so please do not attempt these poses on your own, and please do not remove your hands from your child if I instruct you not to. SAFETY IS ALWAYS FIRST