Nicole Murphy Photography » maternity, newborn, infant, child and family photographer Marquette, Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions: Newborn Sessions

Hey Everyone!

First of all, HAPPY FRIGGIN FRIDAY. My husband has been gone for work a ton the last few weeks, leaving me the impossible task of trying to juggle all things mom as well as all things business related. Between Nathan teething (ie. not sleeping and generally acting bearish) and my two oldest boys constant fighting, I am more than ready for a Saturday morning of sleeping in and sipping my coffee in silence while Keith takes them ice fishing.

I’ve had this idea for a blog post for some time now, but quite frankly, by the end of the day I’m barely left with time to shower let alone time to blog. Since my new years resolution has been to a.) be more organized and b.) blog more, I figure I need to quit making excuses and just do the damn thing already, so here goes.

Quite often, during either the initial inquiry emails or during the actual session, I’m asked a lot of the same questions regarding a newborn session. I figured I would sit down and write out/answer all of the frequently asked questions I get regarding newborn sessions.

1.) When do I book?

I typically recommend booking in the second trimester (13-27 weeks). This usually gets you into the “safe zone”. I do, however, encourage clients to book early (as in before baby is born), as my schedule can be unpredictable and I need to be able to have an estimate on how many newborn sessions I cant take in one month. While I do encourage early booking, I’m not known to turn babies down. 😉

2.) How long is the session?

Sessions typically last between 2-4 hours, depending on the session package as well as baby. Sessions are 100% controlled by your little one, so sometimes it may take a little longer and THAT’S OK.

3.) What do I bring?

A fully stocked diaper bag (diapers, wipes, extra change of clothes for baby, bottles, formula if needed), some snacks and something cold to drink. It’s not uncommon to have to stop to feed baby midway through the session (in addition to feeding baby upon arrival) so having extra bottles and your can of formula on hand if not breastfeeding is always a good idea. My studio is private so you may also bring your pump along too if you want. I keep a boppy pillow as well as a feeding cover on hand for those who wish to use them.

4.) What do I wear?

If you have a full newborn session booked, then you’ll be in the images with your little one as well! I always recommend that dads wear a plain, fitted tshirt and jeans. For moms, a plain white tank top or fitted tshirt. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I just had a baby. Why the hell would I want to wear a fitted tank top? One word: timeless. In twenty years, your plain white tank top/tshirt will still be in style. Trust me, I totally get not wanting to wear anything fitted a week after giving birth. Typically for photos of mom, baby is posed right up by your face and I tend to shoot pretty closely cropped. I do this for a few reasons, but the most important being to really show the close bond of mom and baby. With dads, I have a few different ways I pose, depending on baby’s temperament.

For siblings, follow suit with parents. Brothers = plain white tee and jeans. Sisters, plain white tank top or a plain white dress. Avoid bright or neon colors at all costs. If you must have patterns, I suggest soft florals for big sister. For all sibling shots, baby is wrapped, so you only have to find something for older siblings.

5.) Do I need to bring props for baby?

No. I have a studio FULL of props. Hats, beanies, bonnets, headbands, tie backs. I have baskets, bowls, buckets. A variety of different colored blankets for posing. Unless you have a really special family heirloom you would like to include, there’s no need to buy special props to use once for photos. I gotchu lol.

6.) Speaking of props, where *do* you get all of these from?!

I started out buying from Etsy. I bought stuff for no reason other than I thought it was cute. What happened was I ended up having all of these props but nothing really coordinated. Now I buy things intentionally knowing I have other things that will already coordinate with it. Since I’ve been doing this for so long now, I tend to buy from the same prop vendors over and over, which helps in keeping my style cohesive. A few of my favorite vendors include:

7.) What happens if baby won’t sleep?

This is something I’m asked all.the.time. during sessions, usually at the beginning of a session when baby is eating and maybe a little fussy. Trust me, eventually they will sleep. They *can’t* stay awake that long. Since I have you keep baby awake for a little more than an hour before you even come to the session, by the time they get to the studio they are ready to eat and sleep. Occasionally I’ll get a baby that is very touchy, has a bad belly ache or is just fussy. For those babies, I wrap, wrap, wrap! While the naked posed shots are so adorable, if baby isn’t feeling it, I can’t force it. The good news is that I can ABSOLUTELY give you a completed, full gallery with baby wrapped the entire time. While it may not be ideal, baby ultimately runs the show. What baby wants, baby gets.

8.) Do I have to buy prints from you?

In short, no. You are not obligated to purchase prints through me. All of my newborn packages have the edited images with print release included in the session fee. I do however, have a variety of beautiful, heirloom print products available for purchase. Prints with gorgeous paper and texture options, lay flat albums with your choice of covers options. I also offer wood prints and canvases. While you are more than welcome to take your prints and head to Target (or Walmart, or Walgreens. Hell, you can even upload to Snapfish if you want to) I CAN’T guarantee quality from any of the big box stores. Color quality is vastly different for sure.

9.) Can I book a maternity session too?

Abso-friggin-lutely! I love maternity sessions. Like, LOVE them. I have a variety of dresses available for clients to choose from to use for their sessions as well. Typically, I recommend shooting your session when you are between 27-37 weeks along. Sessions can be done either in studio or at an outdoor location. They’re scheduled for an hour before sunset to get the prettiest light. Want to include your significant other or dog? Sure thing! While I do tend to keep the focus of the session on mama, a few shots with SO are always welcome.

Newborn sessions are my absolute FAVORITE sessions to shoot. If I could only shoot babies forever, I’d truly be a happy woman. There’s just something so rewarding about working with these little lovebugs. My goal for every session is that parents walk away with beautiful portraits of their little one(s) that they truly love and will cherish forever. As a mama of three myself, I know the feeling of pulling out your photos of your babies when they were so little and just smiling, knowing that even though we may have wished away the sleepless nights, we probably would give anything to have our babies that small again (even just for a minute or two for a quick snuggle and baby sniff). If you have any other questions about newborn sessions (or any of my sessions for that matter) just hit the Inquire button at the top of the page in the tabs.  I look forward to working with your growing family!

Nikki

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