How to stage a successful newborn session

Newborn photography is like no other discipline, says Karen Marie Hourscht of Belly Beautiful. You can’t just show up and wing it.

To stage a successful newborn session, you need to prepare and work a good system.

© Belly Beautiful

Inform. Before the session, send info to the client. This allows them to be prepared and to feel less anxious. Include everything they need to know—from what to feed babies to avoid gas during the session to exactly what you’re going to do in the session.

Warm. Keep the room warm. Add a space heater to the room, if necessary.

Remind. Send an email the night before with tips and reminders about the session. Maybe even call the mother before the session to see if there’s anything she wants or needs.

Assist. Always work with an assistant. If you can’t afford an assistant, raise your prices and hire one. Having another person there to keep the baby safe while you’re behind the camera is critical.

Prepare. Have multiple setups ready before the session so you can get through different concepts quickly and show different things to the client.

© Belly Beautiful

De-stress. Make sure people in the room are not anxious. If mom is stressed out, baby is stressed out. Do as much as possible beforehand to prepare her and set her mind at ease.

Collaborate. Get the client involved in the process. Have them pick out props and wardrobe. Invite their feedback and inspirations.

Feed. Have the mother feed the baby while you do your last-minute preparations. When the baby is fed and happy, you can begin.

Soothe. Have things ready to soothe the baby, like a white noise machine so he is more likely to relax and fall asleep.

Check. Have a checklist to run through before every shot. For example:

  1. Is the lighting good?
  2. Is the pose good?
  3. Is the baby safe and comfortable?

Click. Make the magic.

RELATED: Learn more about Hourscht's work

Jeff Kent is the editor-at-large of Professional Photographer.