Client Tips

The Ultimate Guide to a Relaxed Lifestyle Newborn Session

May 4, 2019

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I'm Helena!

A sunny gal from Cali living in the south of France. I adore slow living, magic, and celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I’m a self-proclaimed Disney nerd (as is my husband!), obsessed with cats and cocoa, and you can often find me swimming with the fishies in the salty sea. Come along and enjoy the magic, the simple joys of life with me...



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Looking for a relaxed, stress-free lifestyle newborn session experience? One with a photographer that values consistency, quality art, and fine-art custom storybooks and artisan wall art to remember this special moment in your life?

Why, hello there!

I first want to thank you for choosing our studio for a custom experience that celebrates your family’s history with treasured portraiture.  My studio team and I dedicate ourselves to creating beautiful heirloom portraits of your family as your newborns and children grow over the years. More than anything, I value love, joy, real stories and memories, and being able to preserve your family’s memories in art is my true purpose and shared gift to my clients over the years.

Your Guide to a Stress-Free Lifestyle Newborn Session

classic timeless baby portrait, guide to stress-free lifestyle newborn photo session

My Top Priority as a Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

After having spent the last 4 years handling newborns – both on-location as an at-home lifestyle newborn photographer and at the hospital (both in and out of the NICU), you can rest easy knowing that your newborn’s safety and comfort are my top priority.

Keeping baby well-supported, at a warm and comfortable temperature throughout the session and always comfortable and well-fed is my main job while photographing your new family member.

new parents holding and smiling their newborn baby photographed by Connecticut photographer

Newborn Messes Will Happen

Be prepared for your baby to pee and/or poo at least once during the session, most likely more! It’s not a matter of if the baby will pee, but when baby will pee! No need to worry or panic, as I always bring plenty of wipes, towels and hand sanitizer. The knit blankets and wraps I bring to your home are always thoroughly washed with non-toxic/fragrance-free chemicals for sanitary purposes, and please make sure you both have a couple of neutral/solid colored clothing changes prepared for when a mess ensues.

new parents holding and smiling their newborn baby photographed by Connecticut photographer

Posing and Moving Your Newborn During the Session

I often ask Dad to help me with certain poses, keeping a strict and watchful eye on baby while I move blankets, cloths, wraps, etc. Mom is often seated away from the beanbag, where we will be posing your newborn, as baby can smell mommy, which might trigger the want to feed more often, even though baby doesn’t necessarily need to. This can lead to baby stirring and possibly waking. While I always like to incorporate a mix of awake and asleep portraits, in order to document those beautifully posed and lifestyle portraits,  90% of the gallery will need to be photographed when your newborn is asleep.

My sessions always start first with solo newborn portraits, followed by lifestyle family images with your newborn at home.

new parents holding and smiling their newborn baby photographed by Connecticut photographer

What To Bring & What To Wear

I know that figuring out what to wear is one of the most stressful parts of booking a session, and I have to say, it is important. The right outfit elevates an image from so so, to one that looks timeless, coordinated and intentional.

For babies, I suggest dressing your newborn in a diaper and in a tight swaddle blanket to start. I suggest quality materials and great textures as it does make a difference in portraits. I personally love the classic simplicity of white clothes, so don’t fear wearing white! Try to avoid logos and busy patterns. Neutral pastels look nice with lighter hair colors, while darker hair colors look nice with bolder colors.

A Note About Props

Although I mostly do not use props at my newborn sessions, some photogenic or sentimental ‘props’ such as a favorite book, wooden toy, stuffed animal “lovey” or family heirloom in a few photos from your session can personalize things.

new parents holding and smiling their newborn baby photographed by Connecticut photographer

Prepping your Newborn Tips

Once the contract is signed and payment has been received by the studio, it is time to prepare for your session!

In order to get those timeless, cuddly newborn portraits of your new baby, there are a few ways we can make sure the session goes as smoothly and safely as possible while getting quality heirloom images as a result!

  1. It’s helpful if you interact with your newborn as much as possible before I arrive at your house for the session. This will help baby sleep longer during the session, and while I will be sure to capture some images of your baby awake at the end of our time together, it is preferred to have them asleep during most of the session.
  2. To get those classic, curled-up poses, we will need your baby to be fully asleep, warm, comfortable and happy as possible. Make sure to feed your baby in the 30 minutes prior to the session start time. Even if baby is still feeding as Helena arrives and sets up, that is fine – as long as baby is well-fed and sleepy.
  3. If you have a space heater or a white noise machine, that helps a lot with helping baby sleeping soundly. We want the house to be warm (approximately 80-85 degrees) with a nice hum to calm baby – basically, just like how he/she slept in the womb! If you don’t have a white noise machine already, Helena will bring one with her to the session.

new parents holding and smiling their newborn baby photographed by Connecticut photographer

Set the Room Temperature

The house should be kept warm for baby to be comfortable. Keeping the temperature between 80 and 85 degrees for the comfort of your newborn will ensure the session goes well and baby is happy. Newborns lose their body temperature fairly quickly once you unclothe them, so it’s essential to keep them warm at all times. Dress in layers so you are comfortable as well.

What to Dress Your Newborn In

Dress your baby first in a diaper, and then in a zip-up or snap-up onesie – nothing that goes over the head because that tends to wake up your newborn if we need to pull clothes off over the head. Later on during the session, I will dress your naked baby in natural wraps, a white stretchy knit or a light cream scarf – my studio’s signature simple, classic look that never goes out of style.

Importance of Indoor Natural Light

Our studio holds all of our lifestyle newborn sessions in the comfort of your home. If you’d like to hold your newborn session indoors, we would just need to see pictures of your living space and nursery and the natural light in advance if you wanted to do it inside.

Because lighting is so critical to the success of a stunning newborn session gallery, plenty of soft, natural light, space and large windows is necessary for the portraits to come out with my studio’s consistent quality and style.

Therefore bright skies or lightly overcast skies are necessary for shooting. If the skies are darker than usual or it happens to rain, we will happily reschedule the newborn session date and we ask you to trust our studio’s judgment in rescheduling.

Best Time to Schedule Your Lifestyle Newborn Session

Don’t wait too long to schedule your session. We only book 6 sessions per month, so please contact our studio when you know of your due date.  We also always advise that you have your newborn session 5-8 days after birth. After 2 weeks, newborns tend to sleep less frequently, less deeply, are more finicky and much harder to pose.

What Should Mom and Dad Wear?

Be sure to view our studio’s Pinterest, as we have tons of curated style inspiration boards that look timeless on camera! For maternity and mothers, we have this board and this one.

I’ve also written a full blog post on what to wear to your family portrait session here!

Newborn Session Checklist

  • The temperature of the Room should be between 80-85 degrees
  • Dress the newborn in a diaper with nothing over the head; Zip-up or snap-up onesie/sleeper.
  • Bring a pacifier, if you have/use them.
  • Interact with your newborn as much as possible prior to the session start time.
  • Be sure to feed ahead of time, within 30 minutes of the session.
  • Clothing for parents and siblings: simple, neutrals, solid colors; avoid logos and busy patterns. Flowy ethereal dresses look amazing on mom!

After the Session

After the cameras are packed away, I begin culling the gallery and send the best hand-selected images to our team of highly skilled editors who enhance and Photoshop the images. About 2-3 weeks after your session, you’ll receive a link to view your personal online digital gallery.

For Signature Sessions, we’ll schedule our in-person viewing presentation to present you your 45+ edited images. For Simplicity Sessions, 10-12 images will be uploaded to a personal online gallery site for you to download, share and print as you wish.

Are you expecting a baby and looking for a maternity and at home lifestyle newborn photographer?

I travel all over New York City, Connecticut and France for my clients. I recently returned from Portugal, Germany and San Diego and I am next off to Connecticut and New York in October and November! You can view at more detailed look at my travel schedule HERE. Please inquire for session details and more information on booking.

If you’d like to join my newsletter and receive love notes of joyful inspiration, encouragement, and to be the first to get on my boutique studio’s family session calendar openings (helloooo Fall and cherry blossom sessions!), click here. I only share these coveted dates to those on my email list, and I begin booking these popular cherry blossom sessions 9-12 months out.

At most, I send out love notes directly to your email twice a month, so don’t worry – I definitely won’t spam you!

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How to Prep for Your Newborn Session for momsHow to Prep for Your Newborn Session for moms tips

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I'm Helena, your new kindred spirit.

Sunny free-spirit, writer and creator in love with documenting the simple joys of life. I am passionate about noticing light and truth around me and reflecting it back to others.

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