How to Prepare for Your Newborn Photo Shoot – 6 Tips From a Pro

Jess Graefe with BBP Studios

You’ve just had your bouncing bundle of joy! Congratulations! 

Have you booked your newborn photographer yet? If you haven’t, you’re really missing out! 

Yes, you may be running on 4.130094 minutes of sleep. Yes, you may not feel like yourself. Your husband will definitely complain about yet ANOTHER baby expense. I promise you though, despite all of that, it will be 100% worth it. 

Newborn photographers will capture those tiny baby feet, wrinkles, and the occasional smile (although we all know that just means something’s working down below). If that’s not enough to make you want a session, newborn photographers also capture the joy your new baby brings to your family. Your baby will only be this tiny for so long and these moments will fade from memory so quickly. You need to capture these moments so that when your little one reaches the terrible twos, you’ll remember that at one point they were sweet. 

Now that I’ve convinced you on why you absolutely need newborn portraits, how exactly do you prepare for a session? Newborn sessions are usually two or more hours and can take place in studio, in your home, or even in a traveling studio. Here’s a list of six things to help you come well prepared for your session. 

Jess Graefe with BBP Studios

1. Choose a photographer that you are comfortable with. 

The first step to choosing your photographer is to do your internet research by scouring their portfolio and reading their reviews. Make sure that their style fits what you’re looking for. You wouldn’t want to choose a photographer who did only black and white portraits if you only want color. Also, don’t choose someone simply because they offer the cheapest price. Your newborn photographer should practice safe posing techniques and unfortunately, new to the industry, lower-priced photographers don’t always offer that. 

2. Come prepared to sweat. 

Your brand new baby loves a warm and cozy environment. Your postpartum body may not. I recommend wearing loose fitting clothing (even if it’s cold outside) because it will get HOT. If you are planning on taking pictures with your baby, bring your outfit to change into when it comes time. You’ll thank me for this later when you don’t have to sit in your stuffy dress clothes. 

3. Your baby may eat more than normal.

Jess Graefe with BBP Studios

I frequently have parents come into sessions and tell me that their baby is a solid three hour eater. While that may be true on most days, newborn sessions may require more on-demand eating. We like our babies to be milk drunk and comatose. During the session, your baby will be posed in several different ways and may require a little extra milk to go back to sleep. If you use a pacifier, I will usually give that try before asking you to give them a little snack. After all, it’s hard work being a newborn model! 

4. Relax and let your photographer do what you paid them to. 

Your baby will feed off of your energy during the session. If you hover and are stressed and concerned the whole time, your baby will be a lot less likely to cooperate. This is why it’s important to choose someone you are comfortable with. If you don’t trust your newborn photographer to handle your baby, it’s going to be really difficult to give you images that you will love. Relax, sit down, and enjoy the two hour window of someone else fussing over your baby. 

5. Bring a couple of items to personalize your session. 

Bringing that quilt that your great grandma made for your mom that was passed down to your baby is a great idea! Bringing a life sized, cardboard cutout of your favorite athlete is probably not. Personal items can take your newborn session up a notch by turning something generic into something catered to your taste. I personally love when clients bring old family heirlooms, sports jerseys, and other personal items to their sessions because it helps me learn more about their family. 

Jess Graefe with BBP Studios

6. Siblings should come either in the beginning or at the very end. 

Siblings are always great to add into your newborn pictures. Being promoted to big brother or big sister is quite the milestone and should definitely be documented. However, siblings are usually not too keen on sitting still for two hours while they wait for their little bro or sis to finish. As I said before, the energy in the room needs to be calm for your baby and older siblings might disturb the sleeping baby. It’s best if they either come in the beginning and leave when they’re done or if someone can bring them towards the last 20 minutes of the session.

I can say with almost 100% certainty that you will not regret your newborn session. You will look back on them years later and it will remind you of the time when your baby would snuggle with you all day. There’s also the potential for some great blackmail to use on them as a teenager. When your husband argues with you about the expense of newborn pictures, just remind him that you can’t put a price on memories. 

Did you do newborn pictures with your little ones and do you feel like it was worth it?

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Jess Graefe
I'm a wife, foster mama, dog lover, amateur chef, instagram fanatic, starbucks addict, nurse turned photographer. I grew up in the Northern Virginia area and moved to Oklahoma to attend Oklahoma Christian University in 2008. I married my ruggedly-handsome high school sweetheart in 2014, started my own photography business in 2015, and opened our home for foster kiddos in 2016. I enjoy baking, loving on my fur babies, Thunder games, traveling, and date nights with my husband! I am so excited to share the ups and downs, highs and lows, heartbreaks and victories of foster parenting with you all. While we don’t yet have any permanent kiddos of our own, we are so blessed to be able to provide a home for children that need one and to talk about that process here.


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