kisa koenig photography » newborn, family & portrait photographer | teton valley, idaho & jackson hole, wyoming

the anatomy of a newborn session



Newborn photography is a genre that has emerged just in the last 5-10 years. More and more newborn photographers are out there producing beautiful images of tiny babies under 2 weeks old. But since it’s a new segment of the photography world, it comes with a lot of questions. So what can you expect if you are considering a photo session with a brand new baby?

First of all (and I can’t stress this enough,) you MUST find a photographer before you deliver. It’s important to get images while your baby is still under 2 weeks old, and many photographers won’t be able to fit you in if you call when your baby is a week old. So why so young? Babies come out of the womb curly and sleepy, and this is how we get sweet, snuggly images. This quickly fades as your babe learns to stretch and explore the world outside. In addition, baby will need more and more food as he/she grows and will be more wakeful as the days go on. Again, to achieve the types of photographs we aim for, we need SLEEPY, CURLY babies so we need to take advantage of that first week or two. In addition, newborn acne and dry skin make their appearance around the 2 week mark.

So you’re baby has arrived. You’ve sent a quick text to let us know and you’ve booked your official appointment. When you arrive on the day of your shoot, you will be welcomed into a warm, cozy studio with a couch to put up your feet. I ask that parents let me take baby out of the carseat because we’re often able to start shooting if baby is still sleeping. I begin all shoots with baby on a bean bag since many of those images are on their belly or side and he/she can remain snuggled and asleep. Now, if siblings are present, we will often do those first so that the older kids can ideally be taken home by dad, grandma or anyone else who might be helping. If we’re only photographing baby, we’ll start with these images like the one you see above.

From there, we move on to shots with mom and dad, if baby is more wakeful or baby in a prop…a basket, a bundle of fur, curled on a bench, etc..if baby is still sleepy, with mom and dad shots to follow. Prior to the shoot, clients fill out a questionnaire so we have an idea of what sort of style you like so most things are set up when you arrive. But you can also feel free to point out a certain prop, colored wrap or nubby blanket that you love and I’ll do my best to incorporate it into the shoot…likewise with anything special you might have brought.

All this time, we are able to stop and feed baby as needed. In addition, mom and dad are hopefully getting some good rest time, with yummy food to munch on and even a tv if they need to catch up on some House of Cards episodes. There’s a changing table and a nursing boppy, and a warm cup of tea. And naps are acceptable and encouraged. But when you are awake, there’s nothing better than watching the process.

I remember picking up my son from daycare when he was a baby and wanting to WATCH him as much as I could before he saw me. It’s kind of like that. You get to see your little one from the outside since right after birth, you are still in the process of physically detaching from your baby and most of the time you are eye to eye, body to body. In fact, most parents enjoy watching the process as much as seeing the images themselves.

Hopefully, this makes leaving the house with a brand new human a little less intimidating. I’ve been there 3 times: unshowered, hormonal, scared and tired…so you don’t have to feel like you need to put on a happy face here. Once we finish up shooting, you are free to sit and nurse or feed your baby before rushing off. Because that’s how a newborn shoot goes…slow and completely catering to what you and your baby need.

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