Newborn & Children FAQ

LET’S PENCIL YOU IN!

One of the first decisions you will need to make is whether you want a “Lifestyle” or “Studio” newborn session.  The information below will help you make that decision. Once you decide, then we schedule your newborn session PRIOR to your baby’s birth to ensure a spot on our calendar. Contact me during your second trimester and we’ll pencil you in.  Here is my number (406) 326-2145, and my email is cbakkephotography@gmail.com  Then, again give me a call or shoot me an email soon after you deliver so we can arrange a time for the session.  

BIRTH DAY

Newborn sessions SHOULD be scheduled within the first 7 days of life. However, the BEST time is between 3-7 days after their arrival.  I’ll be moving them around and scrunching them into those sweet sleepy newborn poses, so we want to make sure they’re sleepy enough to allow us to handle them.  

Plus, babies just tend to do a lot better with the session within their first 7 days.  Around 8 days old, they learn how great stretching is, and once that happens…they’re not so fond of those curly poses.

After they hit the 14-day mark, it’s almost impossible to get them into that deep sleepy state, and some of those more bendy newborn poses.  Keep in mind that newborn acne (and sometimes colic) is likely to flare up around day 14. I can easily edit problem areas.

LIFESTYLE SHOOT IN YOUR HOME?

The majority of my newborn sessions take place in my studio.  However, “lifestyle” shoots are becoming so popular, and I love to do them.  It’s also an “easier on the parents” way to include the siblings, who are better able to have their needs met just simply because they are home with their toys, favorite blanket and food, let’s face it, those are important!  

We can focus on baby, mom and dad while others are entertaining themselves or taking a nap.  I find that the older siblings become comfortable quicker with me in your home than they do in my studio.  I can also capture those precious moments between the new baby and siblings throughout the session – you know the poking and in your face moments.

If including siblings and entire family in your newborn session is your desire, then this is the best choice for you.

Lifestyle shoots are usually shot in your homes available light, I don’t bring my studio lighting to you home, that being said, we will have to schedule your lifestyle shoot during the best time of day to get the most natural light available.

Worried because your house is a mess?  Don’t even stress out! You just had a BABY!  If you didn’t have dishes piled in the sink, dirty clothes and baby items strewn all about, I’d think you were weird.  Clutter is definitely expected! Every home has a spot and I’ll find it. We may have to move your furniture a bit, or make room, but don’t worry – I will put it all back when were done.

LOVELY LIGHT

We can open all of the blinds and curtains in your home so I can find the best source of natural light.  Nothing flatters like natural light, so I prefer to use it whenever possible. For this reason, I suggest sessions be done mid-morning to late-afternoon when window lighting is as its best.   We will walk through your home and look for the best light and that is where we’ll do a majority of the shoot. Sometimes the best location ends up being a foyer, by the backdoor or kitchen…usually wherever there is a large window or sliding glass door.  I do have reflectors and additional small lights I bring with me if we need them.

CRANK THE HEAT

I recommend that you keep your home around 80 degrees for the session, so depending on the time of the year you might need to crank the heat.  Newborns are used to being all bundled up, warm & cozy…and then I come in and yank off all their clothes for those adorable naked baby shots. They don’t like that too much.  Pushing up the thermostat is guaranteed to make the session flow more smoothly and help them sleep better. I guarantee I will be sweating, but baby will be nice and warm…and that’s really all that matters!

LOOSEN UP

Please loosen your baby’s diaper and clothing at least 30 minutes before the session. This gives those little imprint marks time to disappear. Your baby will be naked for many of the shots, but we pose them so that all the “important bits” are not on display.

SLEEPY

Most of the images we’ll be shooting work best if the baby is in a deep sleep. To encourage this, we recommend that you do whatever it takes to make sure baby is nice and exhausted. Keeping your little one awake on top of your own sleep deprivation might feel like torture, but we think it will be worth it in the end!

HUNGRY

A well-fed baby is a happy baby! Please arrive to the studio and plan to feed and burp baby right before we start your session to ensure a happy, sleepy baby. We’ll also be more than happy to take as many breaks as needed for nursing, and in those first few days of life, they may not have all that figured out yet.

VOLUME CONTROL

If you have other children in the home, it’s best to encourage them to use their inside voices.  Most babies are used to the volume of noise that they were born into. If they have siblings, then they are pretty used to the noise levels that happens in that scenario.   We just don’t want to startle the baby while we are getting them to sleep. I have a white noise app I play during newborn sessions, which might help.

*If we are in the studio, I suggest that we get the sibling pictures out of the way as soon as possible, then maybe dad can keep them occupied, bring some of their toys with you to keep them busy.  I usually need at least one parents help throughout the shoot, so yes, you’re my assistant for the day. Don’t worry; I will walk you through it!

PATIENCE IS KEY

Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-3 hours. It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Unfortunately,…this isn’t something we can predict! We 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.

RELAX

Your baby is in safe hands, I’m a mom of two girls, who have so far survived my parenting skills.  

So yes! Feel free to rest, bring a book or even leave the room for a bit if you’d like.   Us 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, but I promise I will capture some great moments with your little one.  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, we’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.

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.

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 our blankets (or us) as his/her own personal potty.  This is natural and we expect it! Please don’t feel embarrassed or worry when this happens, because they all do it. I get peed on almost every session. I wash all of our props and blankets between each session with non-scented baby detergent.  If were doing a lifestyle shoot in your home, it would be helpful to have a stack of old towels, extra wipes and blankets available for when things get messy.

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 right up.

PROPS

I have a collection of bowls, baskets, blankets, knit hats and headbands that we’ll be bringing to your session. You are also, of course, welcome to use any of your own props. Look for items with texture and color to help make your images unique.  We may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but we’ll look through them with you to determine how to style the shoot.

* I STRONGLY recommend that we discuss ideas for your shoot ahead of time and have a basic color scheme and plan in mind.  I you have props or poses you have in mind please feel free to share them with me.

THE NOSE KNOWS

As a mother, your smell is so recognizable to your baby, that it may be necessary for mom to step out of the room for a bit during the session. This is not meant to hurt your feelings, only to allow us to help the get baby thinking sweet, sleepy thoughts…instead of “where’s my milk?!”

SPEAK UP

Your baby’s safety comes first! If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let me know! I take every measure to ensure that your baby is never in any danger. For that reason, I always make sure that a parent or assistant is nearby to lend support if needed.

WHAT TO WEAR?

Parents are the most important “props” baby has. Mom should feel beautiful… 

Siblings should be in solid, neutral colors (cream, white, grey) to keep focus on the baby.

Baby will be naked for some of the images. This is the one time in their life it is ok to be photographed nude.  

Moms, I know! You just had a baby and aren’t feeling your best. But 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 we want to capture all of that…so take care of yourself first!  Feel free to tell your husbands that the photographer is 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.  For moms, we suggest cotton knit cami and knit tops. I’m also a big fan 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. A little clothing advice?  Short sleeved knits are best.  (Make sure there isn’t too much bagginess in the sleeve. Undershirts also work well. I suggest some comfortable blue jeans and a nice solid color T-shirt. *Wrinkles do show up in photos, so please make sure all clothing is ironed or steamed. The retouching involved is extensive and will incur an extra fee.

MAKE THE BED

Is there anything simpler + more gorgeous than a new family cuddled up in bed together? The answer is no!  So, we might suggest that we move the session to your bedroom at some point. If that’s something that appeals to you, a few tips:

  1. Make the bed, just this once.
  2. A solid blanket/comforter (or something that isn’t TOO busy is best.)
  3. We highly recommend white to light cream bedding to keep things light and airy. And are more than happy to bring some along if needed.

Additional Information

Planning a newborn photo session? Here are our five most frequently asked questions—and tips for your newborn photo session. Get ready for the cutest pictures ever!

What should baby wear?

Unless there is a sentimental or special outfit, don’t worry about how baby is dressed. A simple onesie or diaper (if you want those cute naked baby shots) will do just fine. We have a variety of wraps, baskets and other props we can utilize throughout the shoot. Make sure to keep the diaper loose prior to the session to avoid lines or red marks on the skin. Also, avoid socks which can also often leave marks on the skin.

We’re shooting in the house—how should I prepare before you arrive?

Turn off the AC and any fans, and let the room get warm. Babies hate cold, especially when they’re naked! Also, turn off the TV, radio or any other distracting devices so we can focus, and the environment will remain calm and peaceful for baby.

What props should I have on hand?

A Boppy is a great tool to have on-hand for sessions, as well as a cushy blanket or two so the set can be comfy.  Other props can be added. We will plan this more when we talk in advance of your shoot. If you see something you like, let us know and we’ll be sure to coordinate it ahead of time.  And if you don’t see what you had in mind prop-wise, let us know, too. We work with a number of amazing vendors and can source just about anything!

How should I prep baby?

Make sure his/her belly is full—even if it means he/she will be a little sleepy at the start of the session. Look at other newborn photos, and you’ll likely see sleeping newborns in most of the shots. That’s because while they’re sleeping, they naturally fall into the best poses—and that means adorable photos! Their eyes will definitely open throughout the shoot, so we can capture those “waking” moments, too.

Anything else I need to know?

While we will never leave baby unattended or in a precarious pose or prop, we do ask that you stay near your baby with a hand on or near him/her at all times. If you’re not able to do so please bring along someone who can!

There are additional charges to add other members of the family (besides, mom, dad and siblings) so please let us know in advance so we can prepare and provide you with an accurate quote and time frame.

That’s it, I know it seems like a lot, but weather we are shooting in the studio or in your home, this guide and simple tips will help assure that we get some great photos of your sweet baby.

Thank you for allowing me to capture your life through the lens! If you have any questions, please send me a message or give me a call!  I look forward to your shoot and meeting the new member of your family.