Prepping for an In-home Newborn Session | Indianapolis Newborn Photographer

One of the best services I provide my clients is offering on-location newborn sessions.  I bring all of my gear, props, accessories, etc. to you- all you have to do is tidy up a bit, follow a few simple directions, and open the door.  (: 

If you have an in-home posed+lifestyle newborn session coming up, please read the following to understand how to prep for the session, how the session will play out, and what to expect. 


Since it is pretty much impossible to know exactly when your little one will be born, at this point we will just set a tentative date based upon your due date.  However, once your little one arrives, make sure to email me or text me (765-749-4388) so we can agree on a session date that works for both of us.  My preferred window of time is between 6-17 days. Please note that if I am sick, I will reschedule our session. Per my contract, if that puts us outside the window of 3 weeks of age, you have the option to cancel your contract and I will return your deposit. Babies can be photographed successfully outside of the 3 week window but I don’t want to compromise your desired results and I definitely do not want to risk the health of your baby. I will always be open and honest about my health (which good news, I am typically a healthy person - but I have kids and kids tend to bring those germs home). (:

Session Length, Poses, & Props

I try to keep newborn sessions between 3-4 hours but there are instances where it might take longer.  The baby is the boss and please just remember that I am not in any hurry.  Please don’t feel the need to apologize if the session is on the long side – it’s totally okay and normal.  As far as poses/inspiration images go, I cannot guarantee that we will get any specific images but I will surely do my best to get the images that are of most importance to you and your family.  I try to get between 2-3 different setups.  I will bring enough blankets, wraps, hats & headbands for the entire session but if you have something you’d like to use, please feel free to show me when I arrive or even better, give me a heads up in your questionnaire.  I love using family heirlooms and homemade blankets to personalize our session. 


Session Prep

AWAKE - Try to keep baby awake for a couple hours before I arrive.  Give baby a bath, play with baby, tickle his/her feet.  It will help assure that baby will be tired when it's time to sleep for the session. 

FEED - We will get the best images when your baby is sleepy and full.  Please plan on feeding your baby once I arrive so you can be feeding while I set up and baby will be nice and full once we are ready to begin. 

UNDRESS - I’ve found that it is easiest if you wrap him/her in a blanket (vs. clothing) for this feeding. That way we won’t have to bother the baby with undressing before we start. 

CLEAN UP - This is referring to baby and some of the normal flakiness or "eye boogers" that he or she may have.  During that feeding before our session, please take a wet cloth and wipe down baby's eyes and face.  If baby is super flaky, you may consider using a baby-friendly lotion.  This will greatly reduce my editing and turn around time. 

CRANK UP THE HEAT - It is important that the house is at a warm temperature (around a toasty 80 degrees).  Although I will bring a space heater, the baby is usually more relaxed when the whole house is warm since we will be moving around for feedings, etc. 

LIFESTYLE - If you want lifestyle shots taken, please pick up in any rooms where we might take photos (generally ones with ample natural light).  Many couples also like to take newborn/family photos in their bedroom, so you may want to pick up and make the bed.  (:  Less is more for lifestyle photos.  Also, if you could have a step ladder readily available for me during the lifestyle portion, that would be super helpful.  There are a few shots I like to take from higher up + I am vertically challenged.

Setting Up

WALKTHROUGH - When I arrive, I will first perform a walkthrough of the house to determine where I will set up and where we can take some lifestyle shots.  I now shoot newborns with a studio light (don't worry, perfectly safe for babies) so really all I need is a cleared out space for my light and beanbag.  I prefer a room with no direct sunlight coming in and I find that an enclosed room or a semi-enclosed room helps me keep the room warm with my space heater. We will use natural light for the lifestyle portion so the quality of light will dictate where in your home we capture those images.

MY STUFF - I will make a few trips to the car to bring in all my goodies.  With me I will have: a bean bag, a backdrop stand, blankets, a basket or two, a space heater, a box of wraps/headbands/hats, and my camera equipment.  I try to be as non-intrusive as possible but there are times I may have to move a few chairs or a coffee table to set up shop. 

During the Session

SESSION FLOW - All of my sessions start with me wrapping baby for some prop and beanbag shots.   After a few different setups and looks, and while baby is wrapped, we will work in sibling shots.  Also while baby is wrapped we will probably move on to some of the lifestyle portion of the session.  We can unwrap baby as well for some of the lifestyle shots - it's totally up to you.  I keep baby wrapped pretty much as long as possible because when they are snug like that, they are usually very content.  After all of the aforementioned is complete, I end the session with posed shots on the beanbag (typically naked unless you have advised otherwise). 

BABIES CAN BE MESSY - Don't worry about spit-up or messes.  Not my first rodeo. Some of my stuff has been soiled in the past and I have become an expert in removing it. 

FEED, FEED, FEED - You may need to feed the baby more often than you’ve become accustomed to since we might be disturbing baby’s sleep with posing and that is the quickest and most effective way to get baby back to sleep.  With  that said, I always try to coax baby back to sleep using other methods before resorting to another feeding. 

DISTRACTIONS - Please do whatever you can to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session.  I will bring a white noise machine but it can’t cover up all noises.  You may want to make arrangements for older children and/or pets that might be distracting.  I normally take sibling shots after a few posed baby-only set ups so I can let you know when they need to be ready for their photos.   Let’s also talk more about pets. I’m a pet lover but I also want to minimize the interaction between animals and my newborn props, blankets, etc. It is best if animals are kept away from the area that I’m shooting to keep pet dander and hair off of my stuff and to minimize any distractions they may cause. That said, I’m more than happy to include them in lifestyle portion!

RELAX - We know that babies can be unpredictable and it’s impossible to know how each session will play out.  I will take great care to get the shots you desire but I also will follow the baby’s lead.  If the baby is fussy, we’ll just take a break.  Please don’t get frustrated as they can sense stress (especially from their mommy)!   

SAFETY FIRST – My MAIN priority is your baby’s safety.  I take great care in handling your baby and ensuring that he/she is supported properly and is comfortable.  I am a mommy to three kiddos so I know how delicate newborns are.  If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let me know! 

ASSISTANT - There may be times I solicit your help with holding a blanket up or helping me transition set ups.  Even better though - I LOVE when grandma or a relative or a friend comes to hang out and help.  So please don't hesitate to invite someone to come over during your session.  (: 

WARDROBE: As for what to wear for mom and dad - I suggest something simple.  Solid colors are good - patterns or wording kind of take away focus from the baby.   Let's also talk about what not to wear - take your fitbits, apple watches, etc. off or any other accessories that would distract from baby. (:  As for baby's wardrobe during the lifestyle session, a plain white onesie is nice or I have some neutral wraps we can use.  I HIGHLY discourage putting the baby in any complete outfits (pants+shirts, dresses, etc.).  Newborns don't fit in any clothes very well and they just end up being baggy/awkward and covering the baby's face and cute features.  Newborn sessions are about the newness and tiny little features - clothes cover all of that up. 


After the Session

I will have a sneak peek ready for you to view within two days of our session.  Post processing of all of the photos will be completed within 2 weeks (during busy fall season it may be up to 3 weeks) and I will send you a link to your online gallery for viewing, downloading, and ordering of prints, announcements, etc. 

If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to email me or give me a call at 765-749-4388