How long will my newborn session last?
Have you ever wondered how long a newborn photo session lasts? In my preparation guide I always let clients be aware that a full length newborn session can last up to 4 hours while mini sessions only last 30-60 minutes. Why so long? The amount of time your newborn photo session will last is largely dependent on the following three factors - baby, set-up time & family portion.
First of all, the baby. I'm being completely honest here when I say baby is the boss.
My newborn sessions are all baby led which means if baby is hungry or uncomfortable, we will stop and take care of your little one's needs. Depending on what and how quickly those needs are met largely determines how long a session takes. For example, if baby is cluster feeding, or is gassy and needs extra time to work out the bubbles, their session may take a little extra time.
I'm always amazed at how different these little babies can be. Each newborn has their own little personality! So even when a baby is content and has a full tummy we can start posing your little one and find that they really don't like settling on their tummy or may not like the feeling of being unwrapped. In these cases, it might take extra time to soothe them so they can feel secure or in some cases after attempting and spending time on a pose, just nixing the pose and trying something else.
"Most" babies will settle down pretty well when swaddled nice and snug, which is why I'm able to offer shorter swaddled mini sessions that only last 30-60 minutes.
Second factor is the set-up time. In-home sessions vs. my home studio.
As much as I prepare and have set-ups all ready to go, it usually still takes a little bit of time setting up for a full in-home newborn session. From the time I arrive to the time I'm ready to take the first photo can take about 20 minutes. After a session, it'll take another 20 minutes to pack up everything and get it back into my car, so that's about 40 minutes of setting up/setting down time that I’ve got to still plan for that isn’t time photographing baby.
The third factor, is dependent on the family portion.
I honestly LOVE the family photos! I love getting siblings involved and I love seeing the new family connections with a brand new addition! With all the different variations of family photos for example mom and baby, dad and baby, sibling with baby, the whole family with baby, believe it or not, it does take up a large portion of the session!
As much as I love those new 2 year old siblings, it can sometimes take time convincing them to show interest in their new baby brother or sister!
I sometimes hear people say, "I only need one family photo", but what they don't always realize is to get that one "good" family photo I'm taking at least a dozen in case of weird smiles or blinks and sometimes I will reposition if I'm not liking the pose.
Ways to shorten your session time -
Give baby a full feeding, burp them and give them a clean diaper before session.
Before session, don't dress baby in outfits clothing that will be hard to remove. A pair of zipper pajamas is great!
Have a couple pacifiers (without clips or loveys) handy to give baby to help soothe them. Even if your baby usually doesn't seem to take a pacifier, it can still sometimes be helpful.
Bring/have an extra bottle of milk available or be willing to feed baby when needed.
For an in-home session, make sure the heat is turned up and the path and space you want me to set up is clear of clutter/furniture.
Trust the photographer. I've done this before and will always do what's best for your session! I can be super patient and will quietly soothe baby for as long as I need to. If I do need to end the session quickly, I will move on to quicker swaddled poses.
So, depending on the factors, a newborn session can last up to 4 hours! However, you'll know it was worth it when you see your gallery and see all your beautiful images! I love making those memories last forever!
Here are some favorites from the "M" family's Newborn and Family Session for you to view. I love the light shades of blue, green, cream and beige colors that they chose!