How to prepare for your baby's first professional portraits

Hospital lifestyle portraits are by far my favourite images to take of newborns. There is something so very sweet about being able to photograph a baby and record those tiny details of the first days of life. So let's look at how your session will evolve and what steps you may take as a family to have a laid back and enjoyable experience!

What to bring to the hospital

For a timeless image and one that truly reflects your hospital stay, I prefer to keep newborns in their hospital hat and a simple bodysuit or sleep suit. Your family cannot wait to see every inch of your new child, so it is my hope to not bury her in clothes and accessories that detract from how splendidly perfect she already is. For a flare of uniqueness and individuality in your collection, I would encourage families to bring a couple of swaddle blankets. One will replace the blanket covering the pad in the crib, the second will be to wrap your baby in. There are several retailers that offer beautiful three pack swaddles in coordinating colours. Aden and Anais offer beautiful muslin swaddles that will be lasting staples for any little in the first year of life if you need a little inspiration on what to pick up! 

Mothers also can choose to make their sessions a little more personal by bringing in a pretty shorty robe (also convenient for nursing mamas in the first days of life) or plan to put on their own "going home" outfit. If your hair is a wreck and your make up isn't applied, don't fret. A clean face and a good brush through is all you need to plan for. The focus of this collection is on your baby and the bond you share. 

What to expect when I arrive

There are a few steps I take in every session when I first arrive. I will always open up the curtains to flood your room with natural light. As well, I will turn off any ambient lights in the room as they produce an unflattering yellow in your photographs. I'll then tidy up the room a little bit. This might include moving bags, unmaking dad's sleep nest on the couch and putting it aside, or even moving a few things into the bathroom to make enough space to move around easily. Let's be honest, hospital rooms are small and it's easy to find your possessions have become scattered in the few hours you've been there.  

But a little tidying goes a long way in terms of having a beautiful collection of images! 

If you are nursing or otherwise feeding baby, I'll just stick around and likely ask how delivery went. If you'd like a breastfeeding portrait, please just mention it! If at any time a nurse needs to examine baby, I have no qualms with waiting. Ensuring your little one is in great health and doing well is more important. 

Session flow

I always try to photograph Fresh 48 sessions in the same pattern. It works very well for babies and your support team visiting with you. I'll first change your baby down to just a dry diaper if needed and leave on her vest if she hasn't been holding temperature well quite yet. Remember, the simpler your baby's dressings are, the more we end up focusing on the tiny little features. I'll ask for your swaddle blanket if you opted to bring some in and swaddle your little one back up to settle down after being handled. Then I will start photographing just baby in the crib. If mum is feeling up to coming over to the crib, there are a few images that might include her hands on her new baby. Then I'll pass baby onto dad for a quick three or four minutes. Participating siblings or grandparents may also have their opportunity here. Next, I will make a bit of a nest at the foot of mum's bed to have a few full body portraits and some unique angles separate from the crib. Lastly, we finish up with mum and baby portraits and ask dad/siblings/support team to gather for one last group portrait. 

If your birth plan doesn't go as planned

Sometimes birth is everything we hope it to be, and sometimes complications arise. In some instances emergency interventions are needed, recovery is harder than expected or your new baby just needs a higher level of care. In these instances, we have options. In the event your baby is placed in the NICU, as a family you may choose still to have your session take place there. I only ask that your nurse or the ward doctor agree your little one is well enough for portraits and to come up with any restrictions I may need to observe. Often times, this will mean your session may not take place until the day of discharge. I am also open to rescheduling to in home when mum, baby and family have all adjusted to their new lifestyle. 

When to expect your collection

Fresh 48 sessions are my fastest turn around! I know there's no greater joy than sharing your child's first portraits with family and friends. I strive to have your collection back to you in 24-48 hours. Your images will always be available for download within three days of your session. Please let me know when you have announced the birth of your baby on social media. I always want to make sure families have announced before displaying anything on my website, Facebook or Instagram page.