Hello and welcome! If you’re reading this, you might be on the cusp of one of life’s most beautiful journeys – parenthood. Or perhaps you’re a family member or friend looking to gift something special to the expectant parents in your life. Either way, you’re in the right place!
This guide is designed to walk you through the enchanting world of newborn photography, a world I have had the privilege of being a part of for many years.
I remember a young couple I met at my photography studio in Los Angeles, eyes bright with the excitement and nervousness of soon-to-be parents. They were full of questions, from the best time to schedule the shoot to what outfits they should bring. It inspired me to put together this guide to help you with booking and planning a newborn photography session. From determining the ideal timing to understanding what to expect during the shoot, I’ve poured my experience and heart into providing a comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide. It’s my hope that this will be a resource that not only informs but also inspires and excites you about capturing these once-in-a-lifetime moments.
Understanding Newborn Photography
Newborn photography is a world apart from other types of photography. It’s not just about snapping pictures of a baby, it’s about capturing the essence of new life, the purity and innocence that only a newborn possesses. These photos hold an emotional depth that’s unparalleled. They freeze a moment in time that, trust me, flies by way too quickly.
The timeless value of these photos is something I often discuss with families in Los Angeles. Imagine, years from now, looking back at these images and feeling that same wave of love and wonder you felt when you first held your baby. These photos become family heirlooms, passed down through generations. They’re not just pictures, they’re tangible links to moments of profound change and joy in your life.
The Photographer's Perspective
As a newborn photographer, it’s about more than cameras and lenses. Newborn photography is also about soft lullabies, warm, gentle lighting, and the coziest blankets! Each session is a unique experience, a delicate dance of patience and care to ensure the comfort and safety of the little one while capturing the beauty of their early days.
The passion and care we put into our work are beyond measure. For instance, I remember this one session where the baby wouldn’t settle. Instead of rushing or feeling flustered, we turned the room into a soothing haven, with gentle music and dimmed lights. In newborn photography, flexibility and empathy are as important as the camera I hold in my hands.
These moments are filled with tiny miracles. Like the time I captured the first smile of a baby girl as her mother tenderly kissed her forehead. Or when a newborn boy, barely a week old, sleepily opened his eyes, and I caught that once-in-a-lifetime look of wonder. These are the instances that make me love what I do. It’s not just about creating art, it’s about capturing the very essence of life’s beginning.
Best Time to Schedule Newborn Photos
When it comes to newborn photography, timing is not just a detail – it’s everything. The ideal age for newborn photos is usually between 5 to 14 days old. Now, you might wonder, why so specific? Well, during this magical window, newborns are usually more ‘moldable’ and sleep deeper, making those adorable, peaceful poses possible.
Also, at this age, babies still have that natural curl they had in the womb, which allows us to gently position them into those sweet, dreamy poses. For instance, I recall a shoot where I placed a tiny baby, just 7 days old, curled up with a soft knit hat, fast asleep in a miniature wooden crate. The serenity and natural pose captured in that shot would have been almost impossible with an older baby, as they start to stretch out and become more alert.
From a photographer’s point of view, those first two weeks are golden. They allow us to capture the essence of newborn innocence in ways that become more difficult as they grow and change, which, trust me, happens in the blink of an eye.
Considering Baby's Schedule
When scheduling a newborn photography session, understanding and respecting the baby’s routine is crucial. As any parent (and photographer who’s spent countless hours with newborns) will tell you, these little ones have their own timetable, and it’s our job to work around it.
Understanding a Newborn's Routine
Newborns, especially in their first few weeks, spend most of their time sleeping, interspersed with periods of feeding. It’s a simple yet delicate cycle. What I’ve learned through my experiences and from hearing countless stories from parents in Los Angeles, is that being flexible and patient is key. Some babies might doze off easily, while others might need a bit more soothing or feeding to settle down.
Planning Around Feeding and Nap Times
The best approach is to plan the photoshoot around their usual nap time, ideally right after a feeding when they are most likely to be sleepy and content. This timing often leads to those peaceful, dreamy photographs that parents adore. Remember, a well-fed baby is a happy baby, and happy babies make for the best photo subjects!
I recall a session where we timed it perfectly. After the baby was fed, we had this beautiful window of deep sleep, allowing us to gently position the baby in various adorable poses with the softest of blankets and props. The tranquility in the baby’s face was just heart-melting.
Conversely, I’ve had sessions where we didn’t quite sync with the baby’s feeding schedule, leading to a bit more wakefulness and a few more tears (from both the baby and the parents!). While these moments can be challenging, they are also opportunities to capture a different kind of beauty – like the tender way a mother soothes her baby or the gentle, loving gaze of a father.
Preparing for the Session
Preparation is key to a successful newborn photography session, and it all starts with good communication. As a photographer, I always emphasize the importance of pre-session discussions with parents. It’s like laying the groundwork for a beautiful story that we’re about to capture together.
I offer private mentoring for photographers, feel free to contact me as well as see this article I put together as a beginner’s guide to newborn photoshoots (tips for infant photographers) and this article on perfecting your newborn photography (tips and techniques).
The Importance of Pre-Session Discussions
These chats are the perfect opportunity for you to share your vision and expectations. Do you have a particular theme in mind? Any specific poses or props you adore? This is the time to let your photographer know. It’s also a great moment for photographers to provide guidance and set realistic expectations based on their expertise and your baby’s needs. See my masterclass notes on newborn photography in Los Angeles as well as my guide to 21 creative newborn photoshoot ideas.
What Information to Share with Your Photographer
From a photographer’s standpoint, getting to know a bit about your baby’s routine, their likes and dislikes, can be incredibly helpful. Information like what soothes your baby, and your preferred style or color scheme can make all the difference. For instance, knowing ahead of time that a baby loves being swaddled or prefers a certain position can help in planning the session more effectively.
Setting Up the Scene
Once we’ve had our initial discussions, setting up the perfect scene is the next step. This is where the magic begins to unfold.
Advice on Choosing the Right Environment and Lighting
The right environment is crucial for capturing those stunning, heartwarming shots. Natural light is a photographer’s best friend in newborn photography. It gives a soft, gentle touch to the photos. If you’re having the session at home, setting up near a large window can work wonders. For studio sessions, photographers usually have a set-up that mimics this natural light effect.
Importance of a Warm, Comfortable Setting for the Baby
Comfort is paramount. The area should be warm enough for the baby, as they’ll be in just a diaper or swaddled for most of the session. I always advise keeping the room at a cozy temperature. Soft, comfortable surfaces and props ensure the baby feels snug and secure. Remember, a comfortable baby is more likely to stay calm and sleepy, allowing for those serene, beautiful shots.
What to Bring
Packing for your newborn’s photo session can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with a simple checklist to ensure you have everything you need for a smooth and memorable experience.
Checklist of Essential Items for Parents
Extra Diapers and Wipes: Always top of the list! You never know when you might need a quick change.
A Few Outfits: Bring a couple of options for your little one. Think comfort and simplicity. Soft textures and neutral colors often work best on camera.
Feeding Supplies: Whether it’s bottles or breastfeeding essentials, having what you need to feed your baby during the session is crucial.
A Comfortable Blanket: Not only for warmth but also for some shots. A blanket from home can add a personal touch to the photos.
Pacifiers: If your baby uses one, it can be a lifesaver in helping them settle down for sleep.
Snacks and Water for You: Sessions can last a few hours, so it’s important for parents to stay hydrated and energized.
Suggestions for Props and Outfits
When it comes to props, less is often more in newborn photography. The focus should always be on the baby. However, a few well-chosen items can add a lovely touch:
Heirlooms or Personal Items: A knitted blanket from Grandma or a soft toy gifted by a loved one can make the photos even more special.
Simple, Soft Props: Think tiny hats, headbands, or a plush rug. These can add texture and interest without overwhelming the photo.
Outfit choices can really set the tone for the session. Here are a few tips:
Soft, Snug Clothing: Bodysuits or swaddles are great. They keep the baby comfortable and make for easy changes.
Avoid Busy Patterns: Solid colors or subtle patterns work best as they won’t distract from your baby’s natural cuteness.
Coordinate with the Scene: Discuss with your photographer about the scene’s color scheme and try to harmonize your baby’s outfit with it.
Bonus: See my guide here on what clothing moms should wear for a newborn photoshoot.
Remember, the key to a successful newborn photography session is preparation, but also flexibility. Bring what you think you’ll need, but don’t stress about having everything perfect. The most important thing is to create a relaxed and loving environment where we can capture the true essence of your newborn. Everything else just falls into place after that.
On the Day of the Shoot
Arrival and Settling In
The day of the photoshoot is finally here! Don’t worry – we’ll take it step by step.
The Process of Arriving and Getting the Baby Comfortable
When you arrive, whether it’s at my studio in Los Angeles or another chosen location, the first thing we’ll do is create a peaceful environment for your baby. We’ll find a quiet spot and gently transition your little one from the car seat or carrier to the cozy setup prepared for them. I always recommend that parents feed the baby upon arrival, as a full belly usually means a sleepy and content baby.
One of my favorite memories is of a family who arrived a bit flustered after a hectic drive. The baby was awake and a bit fussy. We took our time, settling into the studio, dimming the lights, and playing some soft, soothing music. After a little while, the baby drifted off to sleep, and we were able to capture some truly beautiful, serene shots.
How Photographers Ensure a Calm and Soothing Atmosphere
Creating a calm atmosphere is all about understanding what works for each individual baby. Some might like a little white noise, while others prefer silence. I keep the studio warm and use soft, natural lighting to create a womb-like environment. It’s about being patient, flexible, and responsive to the baby’s needs.
During the Session
What to Expect During the Photoshoot
Every photoshoot has its own rhythm. We start with the baby and then, if desired, incorporate family members into the shots. I’ll guide you through different poses, always prioritizing the baby’s comfort. It’s a mix of posed and candid shots – capturing those spontaneous moments that often turn out to be the most cherished.
For instance, during a shoot with a newborn girl, as her dad cradled her in his arms, she unexpectedly gripped his finger with her tiny hand. That unplanned moment became one of the most heartfelt images of the session.
Photographer's Approach to Capturing Natural, Beautiful Moments
My approach is always baby-led. I watch for cues and adjust accordingly. If the baby is sleepy, we’ll go for those dreamy, peaceful poses. If they’re awake and alert, it’s the perfect time for some wide-eyed shots. The key is to never rush. It’s about capturing the natural beauty and innocence of your newborn in a relaxed, gentle manner.
Remember, this day is as much about creating beautiful images as it is about making memories. It’s an experience to enjoy, a time to cherish the tiny details of your little one, and trust that the photos will reflect the love and wonder of these early days.
Choosing the Right Photographer
Choosing the right newborn photographer is like picking a storyteller for your baby’s first chapter. You want someone whose style resonates with you and who you feel comfortable entrusting these precious moments to. When searching, start by looking at photographers’ websites and social media pages. Pay attention to the style of their images – are they more natural and candid or styled and posed? Think about what feels right for you and your family.
Ramina Magid Newborn Photography
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, my studio in Beverly Hills specializes in newborn photography, I am fully am fully licensed, insured, and trained on newborn safety and would be honored to be considered for capturing your family’s special moments.
See my reviews here and contact me today to schedule your shoot and begin the journey of capturing your family’s precious story in the most beautiful way possible at my Beverly Hills studio located at 1010 S Robertson Blvd Suite E, Los Angeles, CA 90035.
Planning and Booking
Ideal Booking Timeline
When it comes to booking a newborn photography session, booking 3-4 months in advance is ideal. This timeframe gives you enough space to research and choose the right photographer for your family and allows the photographer to plan and prepare for your session, ensuring everything is just perfect for your little one’s arrival. This might seem early, but it’s the best way to ensure you get your preferred date and photographer, especially in busy areas like Los Angeles.
Factors That Influence Availability and Scheduling
Availability can be influenced by the photographer’s schedule, especially if they are in high demand (like many of us in Beverly Hills/Los Angeles area). Also, consider the time of year – certain seasons can be busier than others.
The Lasting Impact of Newborn Photography
As I reflect on the countless sessions I’ve done, I’m constantly reminded of the profound impact these photos have. They’re not just images, they’re a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone. I’ve seen parents tear up seeing their tiny baby in a photograph, marveling at how quickly they’ve grown. There are so many reasons to do a newborn photo shoot, these photos are a celebration of life’s beginnings, a chapter in the journey of parenthood, and a legacy that will be passed down through generations.
To all the expecting parents, my biggest piece of advice is to cherish these early moments. They are fleeting and precious. Capturing them through photography allows you to hold onto this special time forever.
As we wrap up this guide, I want to leave you with a sense of excitement and confidence about your upcoming newborn photography session. Remember, this is more than just a photoshoot – it’s a celebration of a new chapter in your life, an opportunity to capture the beauty and innocence of your newborn that you’ll cherish for years to come.
If you’re expecting and considering newborn photography, start your planning early, think about what you’d like to capture, and choose a photographer who resonates with your vision. If you’re in the Beverly Hills area, I’d be more than happy to chat with you about capturing these priceless moments for your family.
Think back to the many families I’ve had the joy of working with in my Beverly Hills studio, each with their own unique story, each session filled with laughter, sometimes a few tears, but always overflowing with love. These are the moments that we, as newborn photographers, live for. The privilege of capturing the first few days of a new life is something I hold dear, and it’s a journey I hope to share with many more families.
So, whether you’re just starting to consider newborn photography or are ready to book your session, remember that these moments are fleeting. The photographs we capture today become priceless treasures tomorrow. If you ever have questions or need guidance, my door is always open, be it for a chat, a consultation, or to capture the beautiful story of your growing family. And remember, no question is too small, especially when it comes to your little one. Feel free to contact me with any queries or concerns. It’s your story, and I’m here to help you tell it beautifully.