After many sleepless nights as a new mom, the last thing you want to think about is a photo shoot for your newborn, a la Angelina Jolie, Behati Prinsloo and Hayden Panetierre. At first, the idea sounds trivial, superfluous and not worth the effort of finally learning how to use that car seat. But mom after mom has offered up the same piece of advice — savor this stage in your baby’s life because it passes too quickly (translation: within a matter of weeks).
The problem, however, lies in finding a photographer who is able to capture dreamy, homespun moments in lieu of overly stylized snaps (put away the bows and ribbons, please). We sat down with NYC-based photographer Lola Melani for her top tips — read on for more!
Time It Right
For the first two weeks, newborns sleep soundly and are very flexible, which makes it easier for them to curl up into precious poses. After 14 days, babies tend to lose flexibility and are harder to settle, plus, things such as colic and baby acne can develop. An awake or alert baby is much more difficult to work with. Got a preemie? Schedule a session within the first few days after he or she goes home.
Rise and Shine
The earlier, the better, because this is when babies are most relaxed. Morning light produces soft, beautiful images; shadows and harsher light are a risk during afternoon sessions.
Keep It Simple
Soft, hand-knit outfits photograph beautifully and look adorable while adding texture to photos. For snuggling parent and baby portraits, a simple solid onesie, a knit diaper cover and a cashmere blanket are all great options.
Dress the Part
Moms should wear solid, neutral colors such as creams, off-whites, soft beiges and light grays. Think timeless and effortless when choosing your wardrobe for family images. (Hint: flowy dress or a casual top and jeans.) Ask yourself, “Will I still love the outfit 10 to 20 years from now?”
If your baby gets fussy, try these techniques:
1. Sounds in the womb are very loud (some say they can be as loud as a vacuum cleaner), so newborns will sleep soundly with white noise in the room — there is no need to speak in hushed tones. Invest in The Baby Shusher.
2. A nice tight swaddle always seems to do the trick in helping newborns relax.
3. A pacifier can work wonders to soothe a baby back to sleep.