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Newborn Session Guide

IMPORTANT! Before your session: 

 Once your baby is born, contact me to let me know he/she has arrived! When you have a moment, just shoot me a quick email anytime.(natasha@goldandgracephotography.com) I will get back with you asap between M-F (9am-8pm) I’ll send you some available dates I have, and we can schedule your exact session date. I love photographing newborns and infants at all stages, however for those tiny squishy photos, the first few days of life works great. Anytime between 5-14 days old is best!  Please keep in mind, If you are having a boy & he is being circumcised,  I will wait until your baby is 7 days or older.

If you are coming to me with a baby who is older than 5-14 days, do not worry! I photograph newborns up to 1.5 months old! 

Business & Contact Hours:

STUDIO: Open by appointment only

OFFICE/CONTACT HOURS: Monday- Friday 9:00am-8pm

CLOSED: SUNDAY

EMAIL ANYTIME: natasha@goldandgracephotography.com

STUDIO ADDRESS

2336 E. Highland Road Suite 104 Highland, MI 48383

Located in the Zeibart Plaza, between the Ziebart Building & Marco's Pizza.

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Please read the following prep guide thoroughly for a successful session  

One of the most important things to remember at the session is to go with the flow. Your baby will be in charge at the session, and I will only do what makes your baby comfortable and happy. I have developed a posing flow that I use at every session to keep babies safe, comfortable, and relaxed. Altering this routine with lots of prop requests and many outfit changes can actually backfire, causing your baby to be over stimulated and over tired. I have everything you will need for your session as far as props go, but if you would like to bring a prop of your own, please make sure to limit it to one or two special sentimental items. My goal, is for you to be able to come in and relax, sit back and enjoy watching your precious baby, and I will take care of the rest! I absolutely love what I do, and your baby will always be treated with the utmost respect and care.

SICK POLICY: VERY IMPORTANT!

If a family member is sick, please DO NOT bring them into the studio. If the ill family member must be present for the photos, please reschedule your session for a later date when they are well.

Since I work closely with newborn babies, it is very important that I stay healthy for these precious little ones, as well as keeping germs out of the studio. I sanitize and disinfect my studio top to bottom before each session. (Including all door handles and switches!) I do all I can keep myself healthy, and make sure I am current on all of my vaccinations. If you or a family member is ill (and has not been symptom or fever free for at least 24 hours) PLEASE call to change your session date.

If a person arrives and is obviously sick, I may ask that client to leave and reschedule. (And that is super awkward!) I greatly appreciate your efforts in helping me keep myself and my clients healthy!

BEFORE YOUR SESSION:

Please make sure you have filled out the Newborn Session Questionnaire. This is mandatory for all studio visitors. Failure to fill out the form will result in a cancelled session.

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THE MORNING OF THE SESSION: 

The following instructions are suggestions only.

You know your baby best, so some of these instructions may not be possible. However, I have found that these tips work WONDERFULLY to help make the most of our time together for a successful session. I find that lack of preparation can cause the session to be much more difficult and last longer.

Please don’t stress if you can not do everything perfectly. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and I totally understand this is a crazy time for your family! However, willing to alter your schedule just a bit for the day can help make your session a success!

**Please avoid foods that can cause gas a few days before your session if you are nursing.

**Please avoid caffeine if at all possible the morning of your session if you are nursing.

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FEEDING THE MORNING OF THE SESSION:

If you are coming to the session….

WITH BABY ONLY (no siblings):  If you live near by, feed your baby immediately before you leave your house to come to the session. If you live more than 45 minutes away, please feed your about 2-3 hours prior to the session, then, plan on feeding him/her again as soon as you arrive at my studio to get him nice and full before we start the session. Dress your baby in loose clothing so it will be easy to undress him/her without waking him/her. We will start with your baby’s portraits right away, and will finish the session with parent photos. 

WITH A TODDLER OR YOUNG SIBLING:  Please feed your baby immediately before you leave your house to come to the session.  This will allow us to start sibling photos right away when you arrive. Young siblings have a short attention span for photos, so we want to make sure we take those photos immediately so the sibling will not have to wait through a feeding.  When you get here, I will swaddle your baby in a beautiful wrap and begin the sibling photos.  Toddlers have a short attention span, and I do not want the sibling to have to wait a while for baby to be fed before we start photos. Dress your baby in loose clothing so it will be easy to undress him/her without waking him/her. We will start sibling photos immediately upon arrival, then family photos will follow. If you are able to, please make arrangements to have a friend or family member pick up your toddler or young children so we can then focus on the individual newborn portraits. If no one is available, it is best for one of the parents to take the toddler out to grab a bite to eat, visit the local shops, or play at the nearby park while we complete the rest of the session. Sessions can last over 3 hours, and children do not enjoy sitting still for that amount of time. Please make necessary arrangements before you arrive.

Thank you for understanding. 

FEEDING:  When feeding your baby, please take your time and make sure your baby gets a full feeding. I like to use the term “milk drunk, ” meaning your baby eats until he/she falls into a deep sleep. Please don’t feel rushed during feedings at the studio. There is plenty of time set aside during your session for baby’s needs. It is so important to make sure baby has a full belly to get those sleepy baby poses. A hungry baby will not pose and will remain unsettled during the session.

If you are nursing and pumping, please bring a couple of bottles of expressed milk. If you are using formula, please bring extra formula! More than you think you will need! Babies tend to feed more than usual at the session.

Sessions usually last around 3 hours. Sometimes a little longer depending on if baby is a light sleeper, or needs to stop multiple times to feed. The easiest way to ensure a sleepy baby is the willingness to nurse/bottle feed on and off. Your baby’s feeding schedule may be a little thrown off on session day, but babies tend to be hungrier during their newborn sessions. Do not be surprised if they want to eat more than normal. **I understand that some parents may be already trying to set a “feeding schedule.” However,  please understand that babies may be a hungrier at their newborn sessions because of the extra exercise from being moved around. Please be willing to have a flexible feeding schedule during the newborn session. If a parent withholds feedings and the baby is clearly showing signs of hunger and distress because of they need to eat sooner than scheduled, I will discontinue the session. Please be willing to be a little flexible just for the couple of hours we are together for a successful session. My top priority is your baby’s health, safety, and comfort. **

If you can, bring the soothie pacifier the hospital sent you home with. It’s the bendable, green/blue/orange one, and won’t leave marks. Even if you haven’t used one, just for the 2 hours that I’m posing him/her really helps. If you don’t happen to have one, I keep unopened, sterile pacifiers here in the studio (as well as plenty of newborn diapers). However, if you really prefer that we don’t use a paci, that is fine as well! I will always respect your wishes!

 

For breast feeding moms, some foods we eat may cause painful gas for our babies.  If your baby is experiencing gas pains, here is a great article from Dr. Sears that lists some foods to avoid that may cause gas.  However, this is just a suggestion as everyone is different. But some find avoiding these foods may be helpful.

DURING THE SESSION...

TEMPERATURE: It will be around 75+ degrees in the studio. Due to this, I will be dressed comfortably for a warm few hours, and suggest you do to! This warm temperature will keep baby’s skin color nice and even, as well as help him stay warm and comfy since he will be undressed for most of the session. You are welcome to bring the clothes you want to change into, and any makeup for touch-ups. There is a private restroom with a full length mirror for dressing. 

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Additional Family/Guests:

Covid-19 updates – No additional guests allowed at this time unless they are helping you take siblings after their portion of the photos are finished. Thank you for understanding. 

My goal is to focus on the safety and comfort of your baby, and make sure I can give you the best images possible while being in a soothing, calm environment. I am always happy to have family members come and watch, but please limit extra guests at the session if possible.  Extra guests can prohibit me from being able to move around during the session, and can cause distractions. I also ask that all other children please stay in the client lounge area for safety. Session Retainers are for immediate family members only (mom/dad/siblings). If you would like to include other people to be photographed, there is a $50 charge per person.

 

Thank you for understanding.

 A few additional thoughts…

Food: You are always welcome to bring a snack or lunch since the session will take place during lunch hours. There are a few restaurants around Highland that offer lunch (Marco's Pizza, Subway, Highland House, Burger King, Hungry Howies, and TJ's Express) These businesses also offer Grub Hub, so if you get hungry during your session you can order out as well. 

A bottle warmer is available if needed.  Snacks, coffee, and beverages are available as well!

 

A private restroom is also available for you to use. I also have a changing table that is stocked with diapers, wipes, and whatever  you may need!

Pets: I am a total pet lover. (I have 2 fur babies of my own I adore!) However, pets are not allowed in the studio out of respect for allergy issues other clients may have. But I would love to have them join us at a future outdoor session!

Props: I have just about everything you will need for the session. I have tons of baskets, blankets, wraps, hair accessories, and other simple props such as pants and bonnets for your baby’s session. I believe in simple, clean, classic portraiture, a style that focuses on your beautiful baby. My style is very organic and simple and I generally avoid a lot of bright, props or outfits ( unless bright colors are requested by parents). This way your baby will not get lost in the image. Some of my favorite images have no props at all! Just baby. Beautiful and perfect on their own.

What to bring: My goal is for you to only have to bring your baby and milk! I have diapers, wipes, burp cloths….just about everything you can think of, and then some!

I have everything to style your session at my studio. However, if you have some props / items that you would like to incorporate into your photos, you are welcome to bring them. I ask that you keep props to a minimum, or just bring items that are of sentimental value. Covid-19 updates – Outside props are discouraged at this time, however if  you have a sentimental item please email Natasha before your session to discuss.

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Poses:

Some parents ask if they can request certain poses or shots they have seen on other photography sites or pinterest. Yes, you can request them, and I will make every attempt to get you what you want in terms of poses; however, there are certain poses, that in my opinion, are unsafe and pose harm to the baby. These poses, I will not do. Baby is my number one priority. Some babies are uncomfortable in certain poses, and I will only do what feels comfortable for your baby. **Please note that the above photo is a composite photo. These poses should never be done without proper training. Your baby’s safety comes first!**

 

My goal is to photograph your beautiful baby and family the way they are.  Enjoy your UNIQUE session, and try not to get caught up in re-creating someone else’s family photo session. This session is about YOUR little miracle. YOUR family. Almost always, parents favor the simple, classic poses instead of the photographs with crazy props because they are timeless and will never go out of style.

Retouching:

For Baby:  Please don’t stress if your baby has acne or peeling skin. I can retouch all of this at no extra charge. If you prefer to leave some of the peeling skin to show the newness of your baby, please let me know and I will leave those details in your photos. Otherwise, all skin blemishes that would not normally be there will be retouched. Birth marks, scars can be softened ONLY at your request. I like to leave these unique features. Umbilical cords will be left as is and will not be edited out, so please let me know at the time of the session if you prefer that the umbilical cord stays covered, and I will pose the baby in a way so it will not show.

For other family Members: While acne/blemish removal and wrinkle softening are free of charge, there are a few things that will incur an extra editing fee of $40 per image. These requests are very time consuming and may result in editing delays. Please take care of these issues before your photos.

  • Nail polish color changes/ heavy peeling removal (small chips can be photoshopped free of charge because I know this can happen easily. Nail polish remover is available if needed)

  • Hair color change or root cover up

  • Self tanner blotches/streaks and tan lines

  • Braces removal or tooth repairs/replacement

  • Large tattoo removal requests (I love tattoos, but if you do not want them to show, please wear something that covers them)

  • Arriving with heavily wrinkled clothes (a steamer is available if needed)

  • Excessive food or mucus left on children’s faces

  • Requesting makeup color changes

  • Poorly fitting undergarment lines/folds, and brightly colored undergarments that show through clothing. Neutral tones are best.

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Thank you so much! Can't wait to meet your little one!
Xoxo, 
      Natasha