Tips for your newborn photo shoot

When you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, it can be hard to imagine what it is going to be like to have a baby, let alone prepare for a newborn photo shoot in the hospital! The first day or two in the hospital are intense, but a little preparation will help make sure the photos from that special and unique time are ones you will enjoy for years to come.

Decide who you want to be in the shoot

Although there will be individual portraits, newborn photos don’t just have to be of your baby.

We highly recommend planning on photos of the whole newly expanded family at this special time. And yes, that includes you! Your inclination may be to avoid being in the photos, but we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to be photographed with your baby, even though you may not be feeling at your best. In years to come, you and your child will be glad to have these early photos, and you’ll want to include your spouse or partner, too.

Discuss the shoot with your spouse

Get your spouse or partner on board and excited about your hospital newborn shoot. Find out about any hopes, expectations or concerns he may have and how much or how little he wants to be involved in planning. You may be surprised as to what is and isn’t important to him, and you should let him know about what is important to you also. If a friend or family member will be present at the shoot, make sure to get her or his input.

Include siblings in the shoot

Your hospital newborn photos can include siblings as well. They will be pleased to be included in the shoot and your newborn will be excited to see how little his or her older siblings were back at the time of the birth

Pick the baby’s outfit

If you have a special outfit in mind for your baby’s first photo shoot, pick it and pack it in your hospital bag now! You might want to bring a couple of options in case one doesn’t fit well. Focus on outfits with special meaning, but if you don’t have anything in mind, don’t worry. Your baby will look great without clothes or wrapped in a blanket.

Choose accessories

If you have a special blanket, toy or family heirloom, pack them, too. Maybe you have a silver rattle or other keepsake from when you were a baby, or a hand-knit blanket from a special relative (knits are my favorite!) Plain but textured blankets work great in photos, either in muted or bright colors, but avoid busy patterns if you can.

Choose your own outfit

Don’t forget about yourself! You don’t have to get all dressed up. A simple white shirt or black T-shirt will work great along with your favorite pair of maternity jeans (bring a belly band if you’re worried about post-baby fit). A beautiful necklace and some simple earrings can add a special touch.

Pack make-up and hair products you might need

Don’t feel you have to wear make-up, but if a little make-up will go a long way to making you feel confident in front of the camera, put some in your hospital bag now! At minimum, some eye liner and/or mascara, blush and your favorite lipstick will help make you look good on camera. Hair products such as gel or mousse can also help keep stray hairs to a minimum and save on retouching.


How to Prepare for Your Maternity Photos: Tips, Tricks and Advice

Schedule when you’re 31 to 36 weeks pregnant

It is recommended to schedule your shoot between weeks 32 and 37 of your pregnancy. Your belly will have a lovely full shape, but you won’t be too bloated and uncomfortable, as is often the case in the last few weeks, and this time frame will also give you plenty of time to order maternity portraits — and extras, should you need them.

Wear comfortable clothes that show off your bump

Comfort is key when it comes taking a good picture. Even if you’re the most photogenic person in the world, wearing clothes you don’t feel good in will read in your pictures. While you do want to be comfortable, it’s also a good move to wear something that shows off your baby bump. I realize this is a hard line to straddle, but you’ll know your maternity photo outfit(s) when you see it.

Stretchy fabrics that conform to your belly are a great option, as are dresses belted just under your bust.

Undergarments matter, too

Lines from your undergarments may show up on film, so choose the appropriate underwear when putting your maternity photo outfits together. There are “seamless” panties available and some shape-wear will also help smooth out lines. Also make sure you wear a properly fitting bra that completely covers your bust and doesn’t allow for “spillage.”

Lather up before your session

Add to your radiance by lathering up with a nice, luxurious lotion about an hour or two before your session. This will minimize any redness or dry skin. It will also keep you more comfortable if you’re dealing with itchy skin — a common side effect of expanding skin! Do skip oily or greasy lotions and opt for super absorbent lotions, instead. Applying an hour or two before your session gives it plenty of time to soak into the skin.

Deciding on props

With maternity photography, props can add significantly to the overall feel of the images or they can distract. Toys, items of clothing, baby furniture or other creative accessorize can add to your photo. You also don’t have to use them for every take. “If you want more of a lifestyle session, then most likely you’ll forgo the usual props so that main focus is on you.”

Know that you’re beautiful

Okay, this bit of wisdom is a little cheesy, but it must be said. Pregnant women often find themselves uncomfortable in their changing bodies. You may attribute your maternal glow to sweat, but your radiance cannot be denied. That glow — and the feeling of having your best friend developing inside you — shows up on the camera. In years to come, you will be so glad you had those photos done. And so will your baby.