FAQs - Lifestyle Newborn Session - Leslie Blankenship

What is lifestyle newborn photography?

The early days of baby’s life are over in an instant. I feel that the best images are those that capture and evoke emotion. Those that instantly take you back to a particular time in your life. True emotion can only be achieved through real life. With no props, minimal posing, and a relaxed feel, a newborn lifestyle session allows you to remember baby’s tiny details, relive those first snuggles, and recall all the emotion and love during this special chapter of your life. Remember: real over ideal.

Where will my Newborn session take place?

The session will take place in the comfort of your home, the place that reflects you and your family. I like to document rooms that may have a special meaning to you or where you spend a lot of time. I want you to look back and remember the rocking chair where you nursed your little one or the couch where daddy would name with baby on his chest. It’s the best way to document those early days of “real life” with the new member(s) of your family.

Will you bring props or pose us at the Newborn session?

As a lifestyle photographer, I will not be bringing any studio equipment (no lights, backdrops, props) but will focus on how things really are in your world.

As far as posing, I will give you guidance on how to sit and hold baby, but mostly the shots will be candid ones of you kissing, snuggling and admiring your new bundle of joy. It may feel awkward at first, but it quickly feels more natural as the session gets going.

What should we wear for a Newborn session?

Keep it simple and comfortable. I encourage neutral colors, steering away from busy patterns, logos, or bright colors (can cause color cast) that will distract from our focus – the baby. Colors like white, cream, taupe, tan, grey, and black tend to photograph best. A neutral color palette is my personal favorite – it allows the focus to be on you as a family rather than what you’re wearing. Also keep in mind the décor and colors of your home when planning your outfits.

Moms, consider a light, flowy shirt or dress. Nothing is more frustrating during a shoot than constantly having to readjust clothing you don’t feel good in. For your husband, similar rules apply. Solid or subtle pattern tops work best. Textured fabrics and layers are great as well.

Layers will be important when the heat is cranked up in the house as well. Casual clothes and bare feet look most natural in a home setting.

For the newborn, skip the cute outfits. They tend to be bulky and awkward, and distract from the actual baby. A swaddle or wrap is usually all that’s needed (and that precious birthday suit of theirs).

What should I do to prepare for a Newborn session?

“Prepare?? I’m exhausted as it is! Did she say this would take place in my home? My house is a wreck! I just had a baby; I barely have time to shower let alone clean my house!”

Take a deep breath! This is more of a mental preparation and less about you having one more thing to do.

Step 1. Prep your space. I did NOT say clean your house! Your home is supposed to look lived in; you live there! Having little ones just makes it look EXTRA lived in at times (I know from experience). Leave the dirty dishes; don’t mop the floors; ignore the piles of laundry. Focus on decluttering the 3 main rooms that I like to shoot this type of session in: the nursery, the master bedroom, and the living room/family room. Only declutter areas you think might show up in images: clean off the nightstands, get coats off the couch, make the master bed, and of course tidy up the nursery - this is your chance to show it off! Toss the stuff in the closet for now (we call that camouflage cleaning). The rest can wait. And if you’re like me, it could be waiting for a very long time… Other than that, all you need to do is open up the blinds/curtains to let in as much natural light as possible. See? Not too bad.

Step 2. Collect any items you want used in the session beforehand. These might be special blankets, swaddles, stuffed animals, etc. Also have a pacifier handy (if baby takes one).

Step 3. Crank up your heat to make sure your house is nice and warm for baby (since he/she will be in their birthday suit or diaper/wrap most of the time). It will be hot to you and me, but baby just came from a nice warm womb; our world is chilly to them! Warm babies are sleepy babies and we want to keep him/him as comfy as possible.

Step 4. Try to keep baby awake 1-2 hours before the session, and feed them when I arrive. Most babies go to sleep shortly after eating so we want to let that happen at the session and not before. About 30 minutes before the session, loosen the baby’s diaper and remove any tight clothing. We want to allow time for any diaper and clothing imprint marks to disappear.

Step 5. Don’t forget to pamper yourself! Moms tend to put everyone else’s needs before their own but this is a special time for you as well; you deserve a little extra care! You have my permission to tell Dad to take over baby duties before the session (mainly keeping baby awake) so that you have plenty of “you” time look and feel your best.

What should I expect during a Newborn session?

Once I arrive, I’ll ask you to go ahead and feed the baby. If you’d like any breastfeeding or bottle feeding photos, I can get those at this time. This is also the perfect time for me to get a few shots of you snuggling and soothing baby to sleep. Just a few beautiful yet “ordinary” things that you will do countless of times but one day miss doing.

After that I typically move on to family shots (especially if there are siblings who are going to be involved). I like to get them involved right away, before they get too bored. If they haven’t warmed up to me yet, they are welcome to come in and out of the session as needed, taking whatever breaks they need. Kids have a hard time hiding when they’re upset or mad, so I want to try to make things as fun as possible for them too! If pets are going to be involved, you may consider putting them in another room until we are ready for them (if they are the nosy kind that like to be in the middle of everything) so that they don’t startle or wake the newborn.

I will make use of your home, furniture, decor, etc. I may need to remove or move some things around but I promise to put everything back! Whatever is needed to get the best shot.

What if baby starts crying during our Newborn session?

It’s okay! This shoot is all about them and to make sure they are as happy and content as possible. If for some reason they just aren’t having it, we will we will take as many breaks as needed for feedings, changes, etc. They can sense if you are stressed so try not to let it bother you – I promise it won’t bother me and I’m not going to leave because the baby is not wanting to cooperate. Unpredictable babies are the reason newborn sessions take so long; it’s well worth it!

When should I book my Newborn session?

Ideally, it’s best to book your newborn session with me while you are still pregnant. While we can’t lock in a day and time (unless you have a scheduled c-section or induction), I will go and note your due date and try to keep a few open dates around that time frame. Newborn sessions are best within the first 10 days of baby’s life. This is when they’re at their squishiest and sleepiest. That’s not to say that I won’t photography any over 10 days (I’ve had some great sessions with babies 2 months old) but just know ahead of time that baby will be more alert and may not want to sleep or be swaddled much.

When you’re ready to officially book your session, get in touch with me. Once we agree on a tentative date/time, I will send you a link to schedule. Through that link, you will fill out a short questionnaire, review the contract, and pay for the session. Having it all out of the way beforehand is one less thing we have to worry about the day of!

Bottom Line

I want you to enjoy this experience as much as I enjoy capturing it. I can guarantee you will not regret having these memories to cherish.

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