D. Willey Photography | Newborn Prep Guide

Please read this guide thoroughly and follow it to the best of your abilities to ensure a successful newborn session.



Newborns are best photographed within the first two weeks of life. The best age for a successful newborn session is 7-9 days old as they are still sleepy and flexible! This is also a good time because baby acne usually has not appeared yet. This is essential to creating a true newborn look and poses for your session. Newborns should be no older than 14 days old but things happen and I'm always willing to work with slightly older newborns. 


THINGS TO DO: Be Prepared

Breastfed Babies:  If nursing, try to avoid eating anything spicy or anything that will cause gas and might upset baby’s tummy for 24 hours preceding your scheduled session. A gassy baby will not pose well during the session due to their little tummy being upset.

Keep Them Awake or Stimulate them:  Interact with and keep baby awake for 1-2 hours before your session to ensure he/she is good and sleepy for the session. This is very important. Without this, we spend too much time getting them to sleep and not as much time photographing them. Stimulating baby with a warm bath before the session usually does the trick!

Feed Them:  Make sure baby is nice and full for the session. I give you time to feed your little one upon your arrival but many clients choose to feed baby before arrival. It is not unusual for your little bundle to eat during the session as well. A full baby = a sleepy baby, and we need a very sleepy and calm baby in order to achieve the sweet, flexible poses you see in my portfolio. Many of our clients are visiting us from neighboring towns so feeding baby beforehand, may not be feasible. Don't worry, you will have the opportunity to do so at the beginning of your session.

Dress Easy:  Dress baby in loose fitting clothes to avoid any lines on baby’s skin and to also avoid disturbing baby when getting undressed. A simple sleeper is best. Please avoid onesies or anything that has to be pulled off over baby’s head. Loosen diaper tabs prior to the session.

Grooming: A bath is always nice but some pediatricians may advise to wait so....if possible, please make sure baby's nails are trimmed and face is clean. It's also a good idea to use a little Eucerin or Coconut Oil to smooth baby's skin. We can edit most blemishes but this will make my job a lot easier and you're sure to get your images back sooner that way! 

Pacifiers:  Bring a pacifier if possible – they can be very helpful during the session! If you do not plan on using a pacifier, that's fine too! The most popular amongst newbies are the Avent Soothies brand.

Turn Up The Heat:  Babies are most comfortable in a nice warm space. You will likely notice the space heater and warmer climate within the studio. Dress in layers so that you may be comfortable. For in-home sessions I will bring a space heater but the most successful shoots are when the house is around 85 degrees if possible. If we're not sweating, baby is probably not warm enough. This makes a HUGE difference, trust me!

Pick the Place:  The majority of newborn sessions are done in my studio but for an additional travel fee, we may set up in the comfort of your home. I use soft studio light in studio but when traveling, I will use natural light. This means my set up must be near a window or door that lets in the sunshine! A few days before I arrive, figure out the best place to set up. I will usually bring an assistant so we can move things around as needed, and most likely we will have to. (don't worry we will put everything back!) 

Accessorize:  Grab any special blankets, mementos, toys, stuffed animals, hats, etc that you think you might want to include in the session. There is no guarantee that we can use all that is there but it is good to have out just in case!



Nakie Baby:  Your newborn will be photographed in his/her birthday suit for the majority of the session, but I pay careful attention to ensure private parts are not exposed in any photos. Clothes tend to be bulky and awkward.

Little Boys: If possible, schedule your son's circumcision for after their newborn session. I ask this because it can take about a week for them to heal and it's heartbreaking when their little bits catch on the posing fabric or props. If you're unable to schedule accordingly, please forewarn me so that we may plan ahead. Baby boy will most likely need to be wrapped or clothed for his session. 

Safety is Key:  I will NEVER put your sweet baby's safety at risk. Any and all poses attempted are well practiced and baby's well being is kept at first priority at all times. I am a mom myself and have numerous experiences handling newborns. 

Don't Fret:  Babies cry, poop, pee, spit up and lots of other fun things. I am used to it! I know specific techniques to soothe babies when crying. Trust that I will hand baby over if they are truly upset, and know that I will trust your parental instincts too! Do not worry about my blankets or backdrops involved in messy accidents. This is normal and I don't think I can tell you how many times I've been pooped on! (honestly, let them get it out and they sleep much better!) All my blankets and props are washed after each session with free and clear detergent. 

Slow & Steady:  I spend a lot of time getting every little finger and toe positioned perfectly when photographing your little bundle.  First and foremost, it is important to me for your baby to look comfortable and peaceful in the photographs and for each image to be a piece of art.  My motto is quality over quantity when dealing with newborns. It may seem like we are moving at a snails pace and you may be afraid we wont get in enough poses, but babies work better when there is little stress or movement and they can relax. I'd rather you have a handful of great photos than a ton of "okay" ones.

Time: The session will be anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on how cooperative baby is and can last as long as 6 hours in some cases. This leaves room for changing, feeding, and soothing breaks! Also, through the years, I have created a workflow in such a way as to take full advantage of my time with you and your adorable new baby. I allow enough time for two creative setups if you choose to have those done. It is nearly impossible to get more than that done during your session so it's important to talk this over with me beforehand. 

Poses: Please keep in mind that not all babies will cooperate or do all the different poses. Trust in me that I will attempt what you want me to but if I feel like it's not going to happen, I will let you know and we will move on. I will listen to your wishes and try my best to accommodate you. Sometimes, babies just don't want to cooperate and it's not uncommon for a sweet little baby to become quite stubborn when it comes to "THAT ONE" setup or pose that mama is wanting. It happens. So please be prepared for this.