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© 2019 by Sarah Hiltz Photography

Hello and Welcome!

Newborn sessions are my joy. Those sweet brand new little angles are my muse and photographing them simply and genuinely makes my day. I spend some time every day learning to perfect my craft. Hopefully this little guide will help you to prepare for your baby's session and help answer any questions or concerns you may have.

When to schedule a session:

Newborn sessions are designed for babies 14 days and younger. The best day to photograph your little one is from day five to day ten. During this time newborns tend to be sleepier and retain that fresh newborn curl. After 14 days, newborns tend to develop things like colic and baby acne, they also tend to be more alert and stay awake longer. I will set your newborn session on a temporary date (usually your due date). Once you have given birth, simply give me a call, we will select and solidify a date for your newborn session within the first 5-10 days. It is helpful to be open to a variety of weekdays, mornings and afternoons in order to fit you in this deadline.

Photo ideas to think about:

When we schedule your session, we will have a conversation about what you are looking for. Do you want only pictures of the baby? Are you more interested in your infant being photographed with family than in some of my props? Are there specific poses you are looking for? For example, one of you is a military vet, do you want your infant to be photographed with props that you will bring from home? Like a flag or helmet? Are you bringing siblings? Will Dad be there? Do you want some skin on skin shots? All of these questions will help me to build a session that is a perfect fit for you.

Feeding baby:

Please do not feed your infant before coming to see me. I will give you space and time to feed the baby and sooth your newborn to sleep once you arrive. The reason this works best is that if you feed your baby before you come they will start their sleep cycle a little too early. My studio is kept at aproximately 80 degrees to ensure that your newborn is warm and comfortable. 

Breastfeeding Moms:

For babies who are breastfed, the mother's diet is the baby's diet. Starting 48 hours prior to the session it is important to follow the breastfeeding guide, where Mom eliminates foods and drinks that are likely to cause upset tummies for babies. Not only does this help prevent unnecessary spitting up, but it also reduces gas, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort, which can cause an unhappy baby. Caffeine can cause babies to be more alert and jumpy than babies who have not been exposed to it in breast milk, please avoid. 

What to bring with you:

Spare shirts for both of you as babies do pee/poop and accidents happen. Please bring a pacifier as they help to get babies to sleep and soothe them. If you have one (even if your child won’t really take it) please bring it to the session as it may help. I strongly encourage you to bring any special hats, hair-bands, bracelets etc. You may not always like what I have and I may fall in love with what you bring. So not only will your additions give us more to choose from they are also extra special since they belong to your little one.

Props Galor:

I have a nice collection of bowls, baskets, blankets, knit hats and headbands that I'll have available at your session. You are also, of course, welcome to use any of your own props. Looks for items with texture and colour 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 gather them before your arrival. We may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but we’ll look through them with you to determine what will work best. We also strongly recommend that you discuss any ideas, props or poses you have in mind at least a week prior to your session.

What To Wear For Parents:

I know! You just had a baby and aren’t feeling your best. But I think this is the perfect time to pamper yourself! Go have your hair + makeup done (or better yet, have someone come to you!), schedule a massage or have your nails done. Looking super relaxed and at your best will make you feel more comfortable during the session. This is an exciting time in your life and I want to capture all of that… so take care of yourself first! And feel free to tell your husbands that we’re making you if they need a little convincing! As far as clothing? Keep it simple. Throw in a little color if you’d like, but skip the busy patterns and anything bold or bright. (And please don’t feel the need to match everyone in white shirts and jeans – there’s simple… and then there’s boring!) For moms, I suggest cotton knit camis and knit tops. I'm also big fans of skin-on-skin portraits with you holding your baby against you. They’re so simple + timeless! So if you want some portraits like this with your newborn, consider a strapless top or tank as an alternative.

For the Men:

Your hands, and possibly even your feet, will 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? Long or short sleeved knits are best. Make sure there isn’t too much bagginess in the sleeve. Undershirts also work well.

We 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. 

Relax, be calm & enjoy the moment!

Once you arrive I will give you some time in my studio to feed and sooth your baby. As soon as baby is happy and sleepy we can get started.

During your session, I will pose and handle your baby with the utmost care. There is no need to worry if you are not feeling 100% yet. I will soothe, swaddle and ensure baby is kept happy and safe.

If the baby is really wide awake and does not want to sleep, I will swaddle the baby to get some photos, and use the parents as a prop, holding the baby over the shoulder or in your arms. A fussy baby almost always settles down when held by mom or dad. I encourage all of my parents to take part in the session. I love capturing relational type photos with moms, dads and siblings.

I start my sessions by getting any family shots or "relationship poses". I will get my pictures with Mom, Dad and Siblings at this time. Then I will move on to some beanbag posing.  I am looking for some great body shots and capturing some of baby’s bits and pieces like her hands and feet. Once we have these more important poses under our belt, I will move on to photographing your newborn in the props that you have chosen.

Your newborn session will last approximately 2-4 hours long. This ensures we have enough time to pose and take whatever breaks necessary such as feedings. You are more than welcome to bring along a few snacks or entertaining items such as a book or an iPad. No outside cameras, videos or cell phone cameras are allowed to be used during the session. 

After your session (the best part):

Now you can go home and relax and dream about all the beautiful images that will soon be yours. I go through the images from your session and select the absolute best. I am looking for the cream of the crop. I usually narrow it down to 30-75 images. Once I have the “final cut” selected I go through each individual picture. I look to correct any blemishes. Tiny details like baby acne or hairs on shirts once corrected can make all the difference in an image! My process also includes looking for images that would shine with a special touch like a vignette or a special colour application. Your images will be ready for delivery within two weeks. Once full payment is received I will send you a message with instructions on how to find them. All selected images will be delivered to you via a digital. I will provide a print release so that you can print your images at the lab of your choice without any hassle. The license does not give you full copyrights to your images. It simply allows for printing and using your images in products you might want to purchase.

Getting your photos printed:

You have two options to get your images in print. You can either order prints directly from me or you have the option to order your own prints. If printing yourself here's some things to keep in mind. I have processed your pictures and I think they are perfect as they are. If you forget to tell your lab to not “auto-correct” (often times it is a box on the order form that is automatically selected), then they will add saturation and contrast to your images. They will not resemble the professionally edited images I have provided for you. Third, be careful which lab you chose. We recommend a professional photography printing lab as opposed to labs like Walmart, or any self-serve kiosks.

                                              Things to expect at your session:

Studio Temperature. The studio will be kept warm since many of the photographs will be taken with your baby completely undressed. This means that the studio may be too warm for comfort for you. Please dress appropriately for the session, keeping in mind, that you will be in the studio for up to four hours.

Studio Lighting. The lighting used is soft diffused light that mimics natural lighting, which allows for better quality images. 

Studio Noise. In order to more closely replicate the environment your baby enjoyed while in your belly, the studio may have background noise playing at times. Calming hushing noise may be playing in order to keep your baby calm and relaxed. Please do whatever you can to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session. If you have other children that might create noise, try to find a sitter or family member to take them away from the studio after their photos for a few hours. If you have children and would like them to be included in some photos, I recommend bringing them in at the beginning of a session. Only those being photographed should be present to help maintain a calm environment.

Babies Run The Show. Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Unfortunately, this isn’t something we can predict! I ask that everyone remain calm, should he/she not want to sleep, since your baby will pick up on any frustration in the room. And if sleep doesn’t happen, that’s okay! Wide-eyed newborn photos are beautiful too.

Safety First. It is important for you to know that there is the utmost importance placed on the safety of your baby. Poses will never be forced nor will any unsafe poses be used in any manner during your session. 

POOP HAPPENS. Your baby is going to be in the buff for the majority of this shoot. Please don’t panic if your baby decides to use my blankets (or your) as his/her own personal potty. This is natural and I expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it. I wash all of my baby props and blankets between each session with non-scented baby detergent. If you would like shots in a diaper, it’s a good idea to have a cloth diaper, diaper cover in a solid color, bloomers, or something to put over the diaper. Diapers on their own tend to look a little messy and distracting in photos, but throwing a cover over it cleans things up.

RELAX! Let me say it again… Relaxxx! I'm very comfortable holding and posing newborns. Your baby is in safe hands! So yes! Feel free to rest and leave the room for a bit if you’d like.

Moms tend to stress out because this is a new experience…and they aren’t used to the waiting game that is newborn photography. They see their 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 that best photos happen when baby isn’t doesn’t 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.