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WEDDING AND PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER BASED IN GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN 

KARA HANES

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Newborn Photography Tips

Photographing your new little one can be challenging but oh-so rewarding; While you might not feel your most beautiful, think about handing the camera over to someone else and let them photograph you with your baby.

SHALL I PENCIL YOU IN!
I recommend that you schedule your newborn session PRIOR to your baby’s birth to ensure a spot on my calendar. Contact me during your second trimester and I’ll mark you down.
Then, shoot me an email soon after you deliver so I can arrange a time for the session.
(And I always feel super special when dad’s put me on the official “baby is here!” call list!  Just sayin’…)

Newborn sessions MUST be scheduled within the first 14 days of life. However, the BEST time is between 3-7 days after their arrival.

I’ll be moving them around and scrunching them into those sweet sleepy newborn images, so we want to make sure they’re sleepy enough to handle them. Plus, babies just tend to do a lot better with the session within their first 7 days. Somewhere around day 8 they discover the joy that is stretching! Once that happens…they’re not about to let us get them into those curly poses without a fight! After day 14, it’s almost impossible to get baby into that deep sleep that came so easily in their first few days…so it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to get them into any of the more bendy newborn poses. Also, keep in mind that newborn acne (and sometimes colic) is likely to flare up after day 14. While I can easily edit problem areas, I prefer to do as little retouching as possible to baby’s skin.

  • SLEEPY?
    Most of the images I’ll be shooting work best if the baby is in a deep sleep. To encourage this, try to keep baby awake before the session and feed him or her upon arrival. That will let us have time to get acquainted a bit and get set up for your session. During that time I can set up props and test my lighting so no worries.

As a Mom it’s normal to stress out because this is a new experience…and you aren’t used to the waiting game that is newborn photography. you’ll see baby being fussy or having a difficult time getting settled and panic. “This is a disaster! They aren’t going to get ANY good photos!” It isn’t, and I will! I take the baby’s lead; getting them to sleep before posing takes time and they may need to be fed or cuddled a few times first. In fact, I’d say that a good 50% of your session will involve feeding, diaper changes, and cuddling to get baby comfortable. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what baby is giving us. Sometimes the best photos happen when baby isn’t doing what we want.
Just remember: Babies can sense stress and anxiety (especially from their mommy’s!) It’s super important that EVERYONE remain calm and relaxed during this session. Keeping the environment as mellow as possible is pretty much the only way we’re going to get the shots we’re looking for.

The studio will have a collection of bowls, baskets, blankets, and wraps available to us. headbands and hats may need to be brought by you. Keep in mind, most babies have tiny heads so test them ahead of time to see if they fit your little one. If you want to bring items of your own, look for items with texture and color to help make your images unique. If you have any family heirlooms, toys, hats, props, etc. that you would like me to use in your session, please bring them with you. We may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but I’ll look through them with you to determine what will work best.

As a mother, your smell is so recognizable to your baby, it may be necessary for mom to step out of the room for a portion of the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, only to allow us to help the get baby thinking sweet, sleepy thoughts…instead of “where’s my milk?!”

  • SPEAK UP!
    Your baby’s safety comes first! If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let me know! I take every measure to ensure that your baby is never in any danger. For that reason, I will always make sure that a parent or assistant is nearby to lend support if needed.
  • BUT WHAT DO *I* WEAR?
    I know! You just had a baby and aren’t feeling your best. As far as clothing? Keep it simple. light blush tones are most flattering on a new momma, but skip the busy patterns. (And please don’t feel the need to match everyone in white shirts and jeans – there’s simple…and then there’s boring!)
  • FOR THE MEN.
    Your hands may play a major role in this session, so it’s important that you tend to them too! Even if you aren’t planning on participating much in the session, you’ll still be handling your baby a bit, so it’s a good idea to touch up on your grooming. Trim and tidy your nails and apply lotion to any dry skin. (It also never hurts to dab a little moisturizer on your face to help you look more refreshed. Those late nights can take a toll on your skin!) A little clothing advice? light colors without patterns are perfect. (Make sure there isn’t too much bagginess in the sleeve.) Undershirts also work well. You’d be surprised what shows through. Black shirts could look great in one or two black and white photos but your best look would be light tones.
    I suggest you NOT wear button down shirts, and make sure your t-shirts are free of logos or too much writing.
  • *Wrinkles do show up in photos, so please make sure all clothing is ironed or steamed.

Want photos of the whole family?

If you would like to have the family join in, the best thing to do is have them at the end of the session after baby has settled and had some quiet time to be photographed. If you have someone bring them a little later that gives the parents (you I assume) some time with baby to be the center of attention and then add in the rest of the family after. Believe me. This will make it a much more stress free situation for you. I can give more information on that in a later email.

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welcome to my blog

I'm Kara, West Michigan Photographer, Wife, Mom of two kids and our sweet Maltipoo. I hope you stay a while or reach out to chat!

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