Sarah Danelle Photography » Brisbane Newborn, Maternity & Family Photographer

Preparing for your Newborn Session with Sarah Danelle Photography

Beautiful images of natural newborns curled up or in their families arms are an incredible beginning to documenting a person’s life, and should not be missed. This is the perfect way to capture the essence & pureness of a newborn. Newborn portraits are different than any other portraits your new baby will ever have.

I take a minimalist approach by eliminating background distractions, and using natural, organic muted colours so your newborn is the primary focus of the image.

Newborn sessions are done in the comfort of your own home, using natural window light.  Everything I need I will bring with me.

How long will our newborn session take?

I let your little one set the pace of the session, which means it could take a short time if they are sleeping peacefully through the whole thing, or longer if needed.

My sessions are typically 1-2 hours and up to 3 hours for twins.  It all depends on baby’s mood and willingness to sleep. Unfortunately…this isn’t something we can predict! Remember to be patient, calm and relaxed. If your baby is getting upset and/or not “cooperating”, don’t worry. We have ample time to allow you to feed and get your baby comfortable & give lots of cuddles.

If your baby needs to be fed or a nappy change we can take a break at any time.

Don’t worry if your baby does wake up during the session, wide eyed newborn photos are beautiful too! So long as baby is happy and content, I will keep working away.  Some babies are awake for the majority of their session!

Most importantly, I want you to relax and feel comfortable while I photograph your baby. Take some time out to sit and relax, while I take care of your little one.

How do I get my home ready for the session?

To create the beautiful images that you see on my website and Facebook page, I require a spot in your house that lets in a large amount of natural light. Usually a lounge or similar area with a big floor to ceiling window or ranchslider/french doors.  Usually not too much space is needed, but I may need to slightly move a lounge suite chair if possible. It will all be put back to normal before I leave!  3×3 metres is a good guage of space and this needs to be as close to the window light as possible.   For family images I use a plain wall in your home, preferably white, cream or grey. If you only have walls that are an alternative colour, please let me know in advance. I may need to move a picture off the wall, but again I dont need a large wall, just enough for you to stand with clear space either side of you.

If you feel your house is quite dark, or you do not have a large window I can get close to for the session, please let me know as we may need to make other arrangements to ensure you receive high quality images. This may mean moving the location of the session.

There is no need to tidy JUST for me, I realise you’ve just had a baby, and things may be a bit chaotic in your household. I only need a small area to work, and I completely understand the chaos !

Crank the heating up! I recommend that the room is kept at a warmer than normal temperature just prior to the session, so your baby is comfortable for portraits with very little clothes on.

In SUMMER it does get quite hot here in Brisbane, so we dont want to overheat.   If you have aircon, please set it to around 26-28 deg so its not too freezing, or if you only have a ceiling fan that will be fine also.   In WINTER I will also bring a small fan heater for use if you dont have heating.   The room needs to be warm – around 28 degrees.   Us adults may feel hot, but your baby will love it and will sleep a lot more comfortably. You may think it is warm enough, but it needs to be fairly warm to ensure your baby sleeps as soundly as they can with little on.

If you have pets please ensure they are put away for the photo session.  A lot of my props and items I bring are very delicate and hand wash only.   Dog/cat hair in particular can get into all sorts of places, and for hygiene reasons of my sessions & other babies, I’d like to minimise this where possible.   If we are including your dog in the session, we’ll bring them out when needed.

When do I feed my baby?

Try to plan so that your baby has a big feed right before the session and finishing as I arrive, particularly if your baby takes a long time to feed. Babies sleep best when they have a full tummy or are ‘milk drunk’. If your baby will take a dummy, it would be great to have that available as well. It’s great for settling and we can take it out for photos.  I will also play white noise to help soothe and settle your baby.

Also be prepared for top up feeds during the session. If you are bottle feeding, have a bottle on hand ready if needed. If baby wakes, or is unsettled, I allow time for resettling and we can take a break whenever is needed.

Do your best to time it so that baby has been awake for a little and/or feeding just before I arrive. It may be harder to achieve the sleepy photos if they have been sleeping for 3 hours when I arrive and now is their time to be awake 🙂

What happens if someone is sick and are you vaccinated?

Your baby’s safety and health is my number one priority during the session.   These things happen, so if you or someone who is due to be at the session is unwell, please let me know in advance as we may need to reschedule the session or make other arrangements.  I have other clients with newborn babies that I need to be mindful of also and if I myself fall sick,  I may then have to reschedule a lot of other sessions.   I am fully vaccinated against Whooping Cough.

Do you have props that you bring?  

I have a collection of blankets, flokati fur, wraps, knitted products and headbands that I’ll be bringing to your session which make up my unique style and allow me to create the beautiful art that you see on my website.  I do blanket setups on a large beanbag and I also have a selection of round wooden bowls as props for your baby to get snuggly and curled up.  My primary focus is on timeless photos of your little one, without too many distracting elements.  Prior to starting, I’ll discuss favourite tones that would suit your home and walls. The majority of my work is using soft muted, neutral colours and a light colour palette.

If you have a special blanket, a meaningful toy or something similar that means a lot to you or is a family heirloom please feel free to have it ready for the session! I am more than happy to incorporate things that would mean so much to your family. We can have a chat about what we can use and what will be suitable. I may not get the chance to use ALL of the items, but I’ll look through them with you to determine what will work best.

I am only able to use my own props and this includes any costumes etc.

Can I request specific poses and photos?

Please familiarise yourself with my gallery and style if you haven’t already, this will give an overview of what your session

will look like – colours, tones, wrapping etc : http://www.sarahdanelle.com/newborngallery.html

I will typically use 2-3 colours in your session with beanbag and prop setups for each colour.

You are welcome to show me your favourite photos and ideas from my galleries and portfolio that you would like to be used in your session, if you have a preference.  I love that you have booked me for my art and as such I have my own unique images that I create without copying others that may have been seen on Pinterest etc.  Please understand if I’m not able to replicate these.

I have a workflow that I will go through with your baby, but I do not guarantee specific poses.  I will try my best to achieve similar poses you have seen in my portfolio but this is very dependent on how settled baby is, as some positions require the baby to be completely relaxed and asleep for safety (eg the tummy pose).  Some babies will be comfy on their back only, and wont like being on their tummy etc.   I want your baby to be comfortable at all times and they dictate how the session will run.  I will not force them into anything for the sake of a photo 🙂

Your baby’s safety is my highest priority and as such I will not do any hanging or balancing photos with your baby.  I understand you may have seen some gorgeous images online, such as the froggy pose, but these are usually highly edited images with the use of assistants and these are not something I include in my work.  I have many other gorgeous positions I put your baby in.

 We have a family dog, can they be in the photo session?

I have a dog myself, so I understand how they are a member of the family.  I’m more than happy to include them in the photo session with your baby, provided they can be relatively calm and sit/stay on command or with treats.  Your baby’s safety is the highest priority and these photos are done only with baby inside one of my wooden bowls, and your dog lying nearby.   If your dog is too hyperactive, there is a risk they may jump or accidently stand somewhere they shouldnt.  Please make a sensible decision when choosing to include your pet or not, you know best what they are like.

What if my baby has flaky skin, acne or has just scratched their face?

You are welcome to moisturise or use a light oil on your baby’s skin before the photo shoot to help with flaky skin.   This is all part of your beautiful newborn’s first few weeks on earth.
I am absolutely able to do some light editing for any acne or marks that inevitably appear just before a photoshoot.

What do we wear for our session?

Your baby will not be wearing clothes for their session, only their nappy, so no need to worry about anything fancy.  Dress your baby in a simple layer of clothing that is easy to remove once they are fed.  Preferably just in their nappy with a wrap around them, so I dont need to disturb them if they have just fallen asleep.   This makes it really easy to get them ready once we are good to go. Your baby’s nappy is left on for the session and they are wrapped in such a way that this is not visible.   My style is more wrapped/partially wrapped rather than completely naked.  This helps the flow & length of my newborn sessions & ensures a settled baby.

Please ensure the nappy your baby has on, is as plain as possible.  Disposables are preferred, and please avoid ones with bright colours or patterns that will show through the wraps.   If possible even if you use cloth nappies, a disposable is best, as the cloth are big and bulky and not suitable for leaving on when baby is wrapped into small, curled positions.

Before your session, as mentioned above, we turn up the heat, so that we have a warmer environment to work in. Most babies will hate being unwrapped, so we keep it as toasty & warm as possible. We can take our time; if your baby gets upset once they are undressed I’ll wrap them up in a blanket until they are calmed again, and we can go from there.

Clothing for mum & dad – Simple is typically best. Wear clothing that flatters your figure.  I recommend light neutral colours such as cream, beige, white, light grey etc.  Darker colours are ok too – but not so much black and more along the lines of dark navy blue or dark grey.  Ensure both mum and dad are wearing similar colours that compliment each other.   ie both wearing light or both wearing dark.   Plain without distracting patterns or logos is best.

For photos with older siblings, dress them in something also plain coloured, in a similar colour palette, and I will match baby’s wrap to what they are wearing. I usually photograph these lying down depending the age of the children involved.   Older siblings we can also do a sitting photo against a background.


Can other family members be at the photo session?

For families that include other siblings, I love to reserve some shots at the beginning or the end of the session to document the bond between the older children and the new baby. I keep this short, and then suggest they are occupied in another room while we work with just baby.  If they are happy to play quietly, I have no problem with them staying around, but loud noises should be avoided if possible, just to ensure we get the best out of your session.

I include immediate family only in your newborn session (parents, siblings and grandparents), however if there are going to be a large number of extended family present, please advise me prior so I can make sure we have minimal distractions for your session and it will run smoothly.

I encourage both parents to have photos with your new baby, together and individually, and these are usually taken later on in the session. Those precious moments when they are so little and the bond between new parents is amazing.   These photos will be treasured in the future.

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