Boston Newborn Photographer

How to Prepare for your Newborn Session

Paula Swift Photography, Inc. Boston Newborn Photographer with a professional photography studio in Sudbury Mass. Paula Swift is a Master Photographer, Photographic Craftsman and  Certified Professional Photographer whose newborn photography has been recognized internationally by the Professional Photographer’s Association as well as awarded in the annual International Photographic Competition.

Paula Swift offers newborn sessions in her Sudbury studio, at your home or outdoors in the warmer New England months.

Congratulations on your new baby! Thank you for choosing Paula Swift of Paula Swift Photography, Inc. as your professional photographer. Paula is entering her 29th year as a professional photographer and 18th year a mom. Paula has three children herself and understands the importance of capturing your new baby in a stress-free and caring way.

As a mom myself ( 3 times now) I remember all the stress of welcoming a new baby and then feeling rushed to get those early fleeting moments of your baby photographed. Breath … take a few minutes to see what you would like to have captured of your new baby and family.

While we do suggest pre-booking your session before you baby is born and having your baby photographed with in 2 weeks of being born, we do completely understand that babies are born early,  born late and parents get completely overwhelmed . Adding a professional photography session sometimes ends up becoming the last on the list. I hope this guide will help to you at ease and prep you for your new baby(s)’s first photography session. As always pre-booking your session guarantees you are on our busy studio schedule and offers you the flexibility of moving the session up or back to fit your baby’s arrival.

Newborn sessions are best done when the baby is between 5-21 days old.  For this reason, the session is booked well in advance.  When you book your session, you are actually providing your projected due date or c-section date.  That is the date that is put on the schedule, knowing that is may get moved up or back depending on baby’s arrival.  When the baby is born you should contact us as soon as possible so that we can confirm session date.  There are several factors that go into choosing a date equals first is availability.  Mothers who had a c-section probably need to wait until the second week so they have time to recover.  If your spouse is only off work for a short period of time, we try to work around those schedules as best as possible.  Second, for baby boys, is when the circumcision took place.  We don’t want the baby to be sore down there during his session.  Third is birth weight.  If the baby was very small at birth (under 6 pounds) sometimes it is best to wait until closer to the two week mark so he/she has some time to fill out a bit.  A bigger baby needs to be photographed at a younger age so that they are still easy to put into those sleepy newborn poses you see featured on our website and blog. If your baby is already born, don’t worry we still have a few tricks to get your baby to sleep during the session. However please be prepared to have beautiful wide-eyed portraits captured of your precious new baby if we are past that 3-4 week mark.

Be prepared…the session lasts 2 hours depending on how well and deeply the baby sleeps it may go a bit longer  Yes, babies sleep a lot in those first week. However  in a new place, being moved and having each part of their body carefully positioned, it generally takes the baby awhile to fall into that deep sleep.

Here are some suggestion to help Baby sleep when you arrive:
  1. Try to keep Baby awake for an hour before the session, move he/she around, change clothes, if he/she is old enough, give a bath or sponge bath…tire baby out. I know this is hard if you are traveling more than 30 minutes away…so don’t worry if baby falls asleep.
  2. If you live less than 10 minutes from the studio, you can feed the baby right before you leave the house.  Be sure to dress the baby in something that is easy to remove, so that if they are asleep when you arrive we can try to move them directly from the car seat to start photographing.  If baby is due for a feeding right when you are leaving, see if you can hold them off until you get here. Then we can your find him/her right when you get here and baby falls asleep here.
  3. If the baby gets hungry on the way to the studio and you are less than 10 minutes away, I recommend that you don’t stop to feed him.  It may be a little painful to listen to him cry, but I promise he will be okay.  Plus, the crying will get him a little sleepier!  Once you get to the studio he will be ready to eat and ready to sleep!  There will be a rocking chair and a boppy waiting for you!
  4. As mentioned above, dress the baby in something easy to remove, a zip up sleeper or onesie is suggested.

The session should be very relaxed for you!  Don’t worry…sometimes it takes the baby awhile to fall asleep.  We are very patient and know it may take awhile for baby to sleep. Please feel free to bring an ipad , laptop where you can access the internet on our wifi, or a book and don’t forget to bring some snacks for yourself.

What to bring:
  • Plenty of diapers and wipes – diapers come on and off several time during the session!
  • Plenty of formula or be ready to breastfeed.
  • An extra change of clothes for the parents just in case your baby showers you with spit up or another bodily function.   Dress light, the studio is kept really warm for the baby!
  • Snacks for siblings and parents. – the session can take hours.
  • Bring siblings dressed for session so we can start with them first with baby.
What to wear (for the family):

There are several different options of clothing combinations for the family.  For great for a soft, natural look that puts all of the attention on the baby and the relationships we suggest beige/whites/tans/grays. When in doubt take a peek at previous sessions featured on blog and website.

A few more important tips ….

  • Nursing moms should avoid spicy foods (or any food known to upset baby) 24 hours before the session.
  • Make sure your baby has a full belly prior to the session or be prepared to feed baby right when you get here in our private changing/feeding room.
  • Dress your baby in a button up or zipper up sleeper; anything that has to be pulled over their head should be avoided.
  • Have multiple clean pacifiers handy.
  • The area I shoot in is typically kept warmer than normal, so parents should dress in layers on the day of the shoot.
  • This is your time to relax and let Paula do her “baby whisperer magic”; relaxed parents equal a relaxed baby – which will give us lots of those sleepy poses.
  • If the baby is sick, definitely reschedule the photo session for when he or she is feeling better.
What to wear (for the baby):
  •  Baby is best photographed down to just a diaper cover or wrap
  • In the studio we have tons of baby hats, head bands, wraps and diaper covers ( which are washed after each session)
  • If you have a special outfit that you have, yes please bring it. We can definitely photograph your baby in it. Its best to have your baby try it on before the session. Sometimes those 0-6 months outfits will not fit until they are actually 6 months.
  • Also if you have any of your own hats or headbands, please confirm those fit as well. For baby girl headbands, make sure the flower or decor on the headband isn’t any bigger than your baby’s eye. Sometimes those big flowers etc are so overwhelming on baby, you only see the headband because its so big.


 I love including big brothers and sisters in newborn sessions. There’s nothing more sweeter than watching them kiss, hug and snuggle with their new sibling. We will  start the session photographing them first along with newborn and parent.  I know that 15-20 minute window of patience kids 4 and younger have. Please bring them dressed for the session as well. You don’t want to loose precious time changing clothes on a stubborn 2 year old. Then if you have a friend, parent another family member available, have them take them home. Then we can just focus on baby. If baby feels the stress of their siblings who are bored with the session, they may not sleep. Younger siblings especially this will be suggested. Older siblings have a bit more of a time window of patience.

If you just want baby photographed, that is completely fine too.

We hope you find this info helpful for your newborn’s first professional photography session.

Looking forward to photographing your new baby very soon.

Haven’t booked your session yet or need more info, please contact me here

Paula Swift, M.Photog., Cr., CPP

boston newborn photographer 2014

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