HUGE thank you to our LSI Pro Melissa DeVoe Photography for this super helpful tutorial on how to prep parents for a successful newborn session. Be sure to check out Melissa DeVoe Photography on Facebook too!
Prepping Parents for a Successful Newborn Session
For newborn photographers, one of the biggest parts of the job is to get babies to sleep. What most people don’t realize is that in order to ensure success, it starts long before the session. There are several steps the parents should take in the 24 hours leading up to the session that can be really important in getting the baby to sleep. There’s nothing worse than spending all your time during a session rocking and shushing the baby to sleep (and getting frustrated if it doesn’t work). In order to maximize your time and take as many photos as possible, I strongly believe that giving parents some guidance is the solution!
Along with getting the baby to sleep, it’s also helpful to your clients to know what to expect when they come to your studio (or when you come to them, if you travel for sessions). So, today I’m divulging everything I discuss with parents prior to their session. These topics can be covered through a simple phone call, or can be compiled into a PDF document and sent to your client before their session.
So, let’s get started!! Before your newborn session, here’s what you need to discuss with the new parents:
1. For nursing Moms, be sure they’re careful with what they eat for about a day leading up to the session. Any woman who has nursed a baby knows that any sort of spicy foods can make the baby uncomfortable or upset their tummy. And an upset tummy will always mean lots of tears and little sleep! So tell them to avoid spicy foods, or any foods the baby may have allergies to, at all costs!
2. I also recommend parents trying to keep their baby awake in the couple hours leading up to the session. If the baby has slept all morning and then arrives to my studio, they just might be ready for a long awake period, which makes the job of getting them sleepy all that much harder. So, some tips to give parents are to play with baby, talk with baby, maybe even give the baby a bath before the session – whatever it takes to keep them alert for an hour or two. Then, when they arrive in my studio, they’ll be ready for a long nap!
3. I always instruct Mommies to make sure their babies have a nice, full tummy before they leave the house to come to their session. This way, assuming their drive isn’t too long, the baby will still be full and has probably fallen asleep in the car. I can immediately get started on the session when they arrive and hopefully get an hour or two of photos done before baby needs a feeding break. In fact, having Mommy feed them as often as they can for about 10-12 hours before their session will ensure that baby is really full and will be more likely to have a long, sleepy stretch.
4. Here’s a really important one to tell Mommies – DO NOT forget the pacifier!! If the baby takes a pacifier, you can trust me that you’ll want it there during the session!
5. Always instruct the parents to bring the baby in a button-up or zip-up sleeper. Preferably a loose fitting one. One of the worst things is when baby arrives sleepy in his/her carseat and then you have to remove shoes and socks, pants, and take a shirt off over their heads – which almost always wakes them up. Instead, it’s so, so simple to zip down and slip off pajamas while baby remains asleep! And if the pajamas are loose-fitting, then ideally there won’t be many lines left behind on the baby’s skin.
6. My studio is HOT, so it’s really important to me to warn parents of this before their arrival. I always suggest they dress lightly and take advantage of my cold drinks in the fridge.
7. Newborn sessions can be sooooo long through the client’s eyes! Make sure you tell parents to bring a laptop, a book to read, or whatever they need to keep them busy while you shoot. Because seriously, two to three hours is a long time to just sit there bored!
8. This one is easily forgotten, but I make sure they have directions, my cell phone number, and instructions on where to park. Making my client’s lives easier is part of my job!
You’ll be on the right track to having a sleepy baby and a successful newborn session if you start with these instructions for the parents! Trust me, it can make a HUGE difference in the outcome of your session!