Time flies. I’ve heard this a million times. But now that I’m a mom, I know this to be 100% true! As a photographer, I am completely in love with creating a session for a family where we can freeze life for one day so that they can look back at this point in time whenever they want. It’s so important to have these moments, but in my opinion, even more important to LIVE the moments! Whether you are capturing your first year in our studio, or we are coming to your home for lifestyle imagery, here are a few tips to make the most of all your sessions!
1. Capture the bump!
Bring dad along and have fun. Your love is the reason you’re here in the first place! Pamper yourself a little; if there were ever a good time for a trip to the salon, this is it! Last, but most definitely not least, wear form fitting-clothing. Nothing is cuter on a mom-to-be than a top that shows off that sweet little baby bump. If your clothes hang off the bump, then everything from your bellybutton down will be as big around as your belly! Wear something that hugs your body above and below the belly. Also, avoid heavy and contrasty patterns as they will detract from your face. It’s glowing and we want to see it first!
2. Newborn photos in the FIRST week
Everyone wants their photographer to be able to capture those sweet little folded baby photos – baby’s arms and legs are gently tucked in by their face or in their swaddle wrap. They look like they’re still in the womb! This is much trickier for your photographer, though, if you wait too long. This is because after about 7-11 days, your little one has been building muscle and they’re going to want to use it! They will enjoy stretching and moving their tiny arms and legs and that makes for more difficult posing. Your photographer should give you a more detailed list of how to prepare for this session – believe it or not, there’s a lot that goes into a stress-free newborn session!
3. Involve siblings at each step
Obviously skip this if you don’t have older siblings – we don’t recommend borrowing other children.
That being said, these guys are feeling a mixture of emotions now. They’re excited, nervous, full of love… allow them to be themselves and love on the new baby. They’ll feel more connected if the session isn’t just for the newbie and you’ll get some amazing photos, too!
4. Don’t overdress. It’s easy to get enamored with all the fancy matching outfits that you can find on Etsy but don’t forget why you’re taking these photos in the first place. You’ll be passing these heirlooms down to your children someday and the likelihood of knowing where all the quick baby videos are of them is low. They will want to see what life was like when they were little. These images will fill in the gaps where they haven’t developed memory of you yet. Let them be real! Shower, of course… but don’t dress your family to look like the Kardashians. Unless you’re them. Then have at it!
5. 6-Month Session is for their budding personality! 6-month olds are probably my favorite age in the baby spectrum. They love everything and they smile at everybody! They can’t run away and their little personality is starting to emerge. Have your favorite games in mind during this session so we can capture the faces they make when you tickle their belly, or snort like a pig, or play peek-a-boo. Bring items that you hope may be a part of their lives as they grow (my husband was explaining a soccer ball to my now 7-year old while he was in the womb). Let them snuggle your dog or get their older siblings to make them laugh. 6-month olds are the epitome of baby life and it’s why we like to make it a bit part of our Year One trifecta.
6. Do a 1-Year Cake Smash! Kids are messy. They’re fun. They’re pure love. All these things come out in their 1-year session. They’re going to want to explore. Be patient and don’t get exasperated when they crawl out of frame or if they aren’t cooperating. This is completely normal! 1-year olds are discovering their world with a set of freshly opened eyes and they want to do, see, touch, and taste all the things. Your photographer isn’t going to judge you based on your budding toddler’s ability to sit like a statue. We’d all fail that one, let’s face it. Bring a tiny cake, not too much color in the icing or you’ll be washing it out of any clothes you put them in, and just sit back and watch the fun. For most 1-year olds, this is the first time they’ve had cake, so don’t expect them to be smiling like you’re playing patty-cake. Icing is some serious business! Eventually, most of our kiddos warm up and smile with delight after they realize the mess is ok and that the cake is all for them. Even if they don’t, it makes from some really fun photos.
7. Trust your photographer. Odds are, they’ve photographed a few children and and they may tell you something that sounds out of the ordinary. During newborn sessions, it’s recommended that mom keeps her distance. Sounds off, right? Well, baby can smell her and can possibly wake up and want to nurse which really makes the session take a while. If your toddler doesn’t smile the first time, but your photographer keeps making the same dumb noise, go with it! They understand that repetition at this age is a huge part of their positive communication! Your photographer may give you tips on clothing or lighting so work with them to capture your best life, and trust them during the process.