Desiree Walters Photography | Tips for your Newborn Photo Session


Tips for your Newborn Session

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For the vast majority of my clients having a professional photographer take their family’s photos is not part of their typical experience.  I want to provide you with some information to put you all at ease and feel more prepared for what will happen, as well as steps that you can take to get the gorgeous pictures you are hoping for.  Some main points are:


  • Plan to have fun, this is a completely laid back process and can be a great time


  • Trust that I will get some beautiful photos, even if they weren’t what you expected


  • I am always patient and flexible, I will stay until you feel we have everything


  • Remember this is a beautiful fleeting time in your life.  I’m happy and privileged to be the one to capture some of these special moments with you.  I expect to be there for awhile, for things to be unpredictable, and for things to get messy at times.  We will all laugh a lot, I promise!

Dad holds newborn in chair while mom looks on and smiles.Documentary Family Photography


What you can do to prepare for the shoot

  • Pick out any outfits for you and your children at least the day before the shoot.  Best to avoid loud patterns (with the exception of little ones, they can get away with it) and logos.  You do not need to match colors but want to compliment each other.  If in doubt neutrals always look great in newborn photos (whites, blacks and grays).


  • Parents, I’m sure your little one will be perfectly groomed, but don’t forget yourselves.  Trim and clean hands, nails, toenails, have your hair done and outfits ready to go.


  • If you are looking to get some photos of your baby without clothes
    • Crank up your heat before I arrive
    • Have bloomers or cloth diapers if you prefer diaper shots (I also have some cloth diapers I will bring)
    • If you prefer naked shots I assure you all important bits will remain concealed
    • Please loosen babies clothes/diaper 30 minutes before I arrive


  • Try to plan (as best you can with a newborn) to feed the baby either when I’m due to arrive or directly before.  This will help make a sleepy happy baby.

Newborn baby sleeps on belly.Documentary Family Photography


  • Please open up all of the shades in your house completely before I arrive so that I can find the best lighting.  I prefer to use natural light especially with newborns.


  • Plan for this to take some time.  Newborn shoots usually take anywhere from 2-4 hours (especially if you want sleepy pictures – it takes awhile to soothe baby back to sleep).


  • Pull out any items (hats, blankets, toys) you want to include in the photos.  Colorful or textured blankets make wonderful additions to photos.


  • You do not need to go crazy cleaning, but you may want to make sure your bed is made (with a bedspread/blanket that is neutral – simple is best), that your couch is cleared off, and that I can get myself and the baby pretty close to a bright window.


  • If you have a sound machine, a hairdryer, or ipad with a white noise app these can be very helpful in keeping the baby soothed.


  • Tell me if there are any specific shots you are looking to get.


  • Also inform me of any photos you don’t want (breastfeeding, certain areas of the house, etc.).

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What to expect of me and the shoot in general:

  • There is the possibility I will be moving some things around to get the best light, especially for the solo pictures of the baby.


  • If you opted to have the "setup" I will show up with a suitcase, but don’t worry I’m not moving in :) It will have equipment to boost the light (if needed), extra blankets, and a few accessories as options. 


  • A lot will happen during the shoot, but please don’t let any of these occurrences make you feel awkward or uncomfortable, it’s all part of the process. I expect all of the following things to happen, and none of them affect the shoot:
    • For the baby to cry and need to be snuggled, changed, and fed, possibly multiple times.
    • To get peed on, pooped on, spit up on


  • Try your best to relax, the baby will pick up if you are nervous and it will show in your photos.


  • There will be lots of downtime with newborn shoots.  I’d love to capture these non-staged moments (changing, feeding, soothing).  These lifestyle photographs can be the most endearing and treasured.  Let me know if you would like this, or if you just want to take a breather from the camera. 


  • While I aim to take lifestyle photos I will often direct you a bit to get you in the best lighting.


  • In addition to my experience photographing newborns (including hands on experience and training in safety when photographing newborns), I have 2 young children of my own, and being a stay at home mom has given me many hours handling them.  I have also cared for children and newborns, in one way or another, for over 20 years.   For the shoot to work you need to be comfortable with me handling your child. I spent most of my adult life training as a developmental psychologist so I’ve spent my life working with children in one way or another, so I'm very comfortable with children of any age. 


  • Just as important as trusting me is letting me know when you aren’t comfortable.  Please just speak up if I’m doing something you are not comfortable with.


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