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Newborn Prep Guide

Ok…I Admit…This Is Long…

But it’s necessary and helpful, I swear!! This guide is designed to help you get an idea of what to expect and plan/coordinate your session. Nothing is more magical than welcoming a new baby into your family. The tiny, delicate fingers and toes; the precious, soft skin; the certainty that this is a love unlike any you have known. You are certain that your life will never be the same. These moments pass so quickly. It is a privilege for us to preserve this special milestone for you and your family to remember forever.

What Can You Expect?

Basically in-home newborns are all about capturing families playing, snuggling, being goofy, and just loving on each other. I will always do my best to get that desired shot of everyone looking and smiling, of course some organic photos of your newborn all snuggled up and nursery details- but get ready for giving piggyback rides to your kids, dads showing off their kid-flipping skills, having little ones give moms their BEST hugs EVER, and fun stuff like that. Just be prepared to have fun!

***Every client has access to a free, personalized styling service. No more running store to store and no more guessing! Read ahead for more tips or ask about your styling session!

What To Expect

Once Baby Is Born

  • Call me or text me! Once your little one makes their big entrance, we can coordinate to choose a day for the photo session. I have already blocked off time around your due date, but we will need to set up a day that works for everyone’s schedule.

  • Timing. My in-home newborns are generally scheduled during the week day around mid-day.
    Newborn photographs should be taken before the baby is two weeks old, and ideally within the first ten days. If you have a special circumstance, please contact me. I will arrive to photograph when you guys feel ready for visitors (first 4-10 days of life), but before or after family comes to visit.

  • Other Family Members. It's easier to capture your new baby with just immediate family present (parents, siblings) so I will ask that extended family wait elsewhere while we work.

  • Posing. I have a very organic and natural approach to newborn sessions. I do not pose you or your baby, but rather guide them into natural and comfortable positions.

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How To Prepare Your Home

To prepare for our session, you won't have to do much- just be yourself. I will help you guys use the space in your home to document this first week with your newborn.

  • When I arrive, we can take a look around together to determine the best location for lighting. Occasionally we may need to move furniture or other items around to make room/reduce clutter. Make sure you clear any rooms of clutter that you want to highlight in the photos (nursery/your bedroom/living room/etc). I may also want to walk through your house to find special baby items or other locations to use.

  • Please make sure to turn the temp up in your house to about 80 degrees. Even though we may be hot and uncomfortable, baby LOVES it! It's a great way to put them to sleep.

  • If you have other children, please prepare them for our session as much as possible. Make sure kids know that this is FUN! My goal isn’t to get a picture of your child “being good” or just “smiling” but having fun and interacting- I would rather capture them as they are in this season of life.

  • During the shoot, if you are not in the picture, feel free to take a break- grab a snack or a drink. Consider me your personal babysitter. I will try to engage siblings or work with posing your newborn on their own. When I need assistance, I will definitely ask you to come lend a hand. 

  • Keep your hands busy: Hold your child's hand, give kisses, brush their hair behind their ear, play and dance, chase and ask questions, pick flowers, tell secrets, start a tickle fight. Keep moving and enjoy the process. Activities you enjoy doing with one another will help tell an authentic story and capture your true personalities. 

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Preparing Your Baby

  • Try to keep baby awake for a while before your session time.

  • Wait to feed the baby until I arrive for your session. I highly recommend if you’re solely breastfeeding to pump and bottle feed your milk for your baby’s session. I’ve had moms that breastfeed for up to an hour and unfortunately, that does delay the session quite a bit and does count against your allotted time coverage as well. 
    If you do not pump, you can also formula feed baby just for this session. Breast-milk doesn’t keep our babies fuller longer so choosing to formula feed for the session, will not only be a little easier for you but it will keep them asleep longer during the handling and posing for a scene. Moms, please just be advised, it’s just a recommendation so if you choose to do neither, it’s completely okay. As a newborn photographer, I feel it’s my duty to offer any advice or tips that you as a parent can use to maximize the time we have  and in return, you’ll be able to showcase and display more than the average number of baby photos! I have three young children myself so I understand the way you feed baby is very personal and important to your family.

  • Don't worry about baby acne or little scratches. While not Glamour Shots, I will hand retouch your images to either eliminate or drastically minimize these imperfections. If your baby has extremely dry skin, try putting baby lotion on prior to coming to your session and bringing extra with you. I do minor retouching, but I do not do major skin smoothing (like glamour shots hehe). Embrace that peel, fresh newborn skin!

  • Try not have tight socks on their feet, they tend to leave sock lines at their ankles.

  • I may ask for help with propping or holding the baby in certain positions. Please understand that not every pose you imagined may be possible- it all depends on baby. I want to make sure baby is comfortable and safe above all else.

  • One last thing....No matter what your baby does, please know that I am always relaxed. I do this all the time and have seen everything. This session is supposed to be a special experience for you and I don't want you stressed if the baby starts to cry. The baby can sense stress and it usually makes them cry more. We have plenty of time allowed for your session. If we need to take a break to feed, walk, rock, etc. we can do that. I want you to enjoy the experience of your session and this special bonding moment for your family.

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Illness

what to do if someone is sick

It is important that everyone being photographed is feeling 100%. There isn’t anything worse than an unhappy and sick feeling child - they especially do not want to be in front of a camera. At the first sign of any illness, please give me a call.

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Props & Heirloom Items

I prefer to use your home and nursery as the backdrop for our photos. I do not use many props but I will bring blankets and a few hats. If you have a special outfit or heirloom you would like included, please let me know! I prefer a "less is more" type of mentality where the focus is on relationships and your baby. If you need some ideas or want to brainstorm, please don't hesitate to call.

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Session Checklist

  • blankets that are special to you (made by grandma, embroidered with baby name, matches nursery, etc.)

  • hats or booties you love

  • diaper cover

  • plain onesie

  • fun personal items that represent a hobby, favorite sports team, family heirlooms, etc.


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Wardrobe Tips

what to wear

Ah, the age old question always associated with photo shoots. Styling is one thing I try not to have too much of a hand in, since I want you guys to still be you not, Ashley Newman's idea of fashion. But here is my 2 cents:

For mom and dad, think simple and neutral. For siblings, think layers. Probably the biggest difference between sessions that look great and sessions that look wow: little boys in a t-shirt, with a button up over it, along with a blazer. Throw on a fun hat (bowler, fedora, stylish ball cap) and you're set! Little girls: same thing, leggings, fun skirt, tank with a sweater and a tasteful (not too big and overwhelming!) headband.

*Side note: Stay away from gaudy gerber daisy flowers in neon colors and mesh hats with rhinestones, they look dated and tend to take away from your little one's gorgeous features.

Head to toe. Remember to dress down to you and your family's feet! No scuffed Reeboks for boys, but fun shoes like Converse, "boat" shoes, or boots. Same for girls, no Dora crocs, but more traditional Mary Janes or boots work best! 

Coordinate. As you think about your color palette, imagine your family being one complete piece of artwork. Each person/outfit will bring together a feeling of formality and coordination. Instead of everyone wearing the same shade of blue - think about what accent colors might look nice with said blue. Perhaps blue plaid shorts for your son with a t-shirt, vest and hat. Pull some of the colors of his plaid shorts to find a great skirt or dress for your little girl. Dad can wear some jeans and a shirt that coordinates with the plaid shorts and skirt on your daughter, and finish it off with an awesome jacket and fedora. Mom will round the entire family out with some great boots, leggings and darling dress that (again) coordinates with the family color story.

When in doubt, remember, I am here to help! We can design a visual board on Pinterest, I'm available via text or the phone to look at and discuss your ideas. Please do not hesitate to ask for help on your outfit choices.

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Favorite Places To Shop

Price points: $-cheap, $$-average, $$$-high, $$$$-expensive

Don’t forget-  I am here to help you in any way- from texting me outfits you find to helping you pick between one dress or another. I can set you up with a free and personalized styling service. Your styling is free and the style selector chooses from a wide variety of shops like Target and H&M making it easy and affordable to style your family. And it can give you ideas to use what you already have!
or
Shop on your own here:

Children

  1. Alice & Ames Fun, twirly, classic dresses for girls $$$$

  2. HM.com I consider H&M the holy grail for all things boy and men. Their price point is ridiculously low, and the clothes are my favorite. Their trouser pants are around $10 and are amazing quality. Amazing. Keep in mind that H&M sizes are a little different, and they run big. If your son is an average size 4, buy him the size 3-4 pants. The 4-5 seems like the obvious choice, but they’ll be too long and too big around the waist. $-$$

  3. Zara.com This site is not so much my secret anymore but I’m ok with it. There are so many adorable pieces and accessories. Check it out! $$-$$$$

  4. Jcrew.com Guys! I seriously adore their shoe collections for children and don’t even get me started on the kids line! $$$$

  5. Joyfolie.com So many shoes! For girls and women. And if you’re looking for layers- amazing dresses, jackets, caplets. $$$$

  6. Gap.com I love Gap for their “basics”. Just about anything you’d need, you’ll find on their website. $$-$$$

  7. Forever21.com Cute clothes for women of all sizes (and men!) on the cheap. I get a little lost here to be honest but their deals are too amazing not to check out. $-$$

  8. Fleuranddot.com The most adorable girls clothing you’ll ever find if you’re vintage-inspired in your look. Hands down. $$$$

  9. Remie Girl I absolutely love this shop so much- think Alice and Ames! $$

  10. Hannah Anderson All the basics for boys and girls in adorable fun patterns and colors. This is a go-to for me for sure (they even have family pj sets!) $$$

  11. Well Dressed Wolf Boutique quality, girly and vintage all at the same time. $$$$

  12. Tea Collection Has a similar feel to Gap but with different prints and more options. $$

  13. Shop James Vintage and timeless for boys and girls $$$$

Mama

  1. Alter Ego This amazing and fun store reminds me of Free-People but less mola! $$$

  2. Modcloth.com A fun, flirty and pretty affordable site for women’s timeless dresses, fun tops and the best shoes and accessories! $$-$$$

  3. Freepeople.com Free People makes my heart sing. Think easy, breezy, and boho chick. Plus there is now one in the woodlands mall! $$$-$$$$

  4. Anthropologie.com It’s a little bit more on the expensive side, but the clothes are quality, unique and last forever. $$$$

  5. Saved By The Dress From formal to casual or beach vacation- this online store has so many options at great prices. $$$

  6. Zara.com This site is not so much my secret anymore but I’m ok with it. There are so many adorable pieces and accessories. Check it out! $$-$$$$

  7. Shop The Mint Southern to the max! $$

  8. Henly For the super hip chick, I sometimes think this place is too cool for me but also love their outfits so so much. $$-$$$$

  9. Sophie & Trey 

  10. Piper and Scoot

  11. Roolee

  12. Wren & Ivory Classic outfits that do you justice and look good for any occasion. They double as nursing and maternity gowns too! $$-$$$

  13. ASOS $-$$$

  14. Altar’d State Guys! I love this store. You can shop them locally in The Woodlands Mall, or online. Think boho, vintage chic. Literally, they have everything. $$-$$$$

  15. Show Me Your Mumu

  16. Opal + June Rentals Rent a formal gown or a nice dress for any occasion from this amazing local vendor. $$$

Maternity

  1. Mama Bump Rentals

  2. FillyBoo Maternity

  3. Pink Blush Maternity

  4. Wren & Ivory


What NOT to Wear

Remember to Olan Mills look of everyone in khakis + white button down shirts? That isn’t the kind of matching I’d like you to do. Again, think coordinating without matching perfectly. Dads, instead of defaulting to a plain ole polo - look for fun colors, stripes, plaids. Get creative!

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Session Overview

The Cliff Notes

  • Relax. If you are relaxed and happy during your session, that will shine through in your photographs as we capture the moments that share the heartbeat of your special family.

  • Don’t match your clothing!

  • Each baby is different, so our time together can differ. I am a lifestyle photographer, which means while I may do some poses, I am focused on the details of your newborn, and interactions with family. I may rock, or sway with your baby, rub his eyebrows, use a white noise machine, etc. I want to make sure the energy in the room is always relaxed and calm, with lots of trust. They will occasionally cry- please know that this is never a bother for me. I will use a variety of soothing techniques to make your baby feel safe, secure and warm. Think of me as your baby sitter. Baby will never be placed in an unsafe position and newborn safety is my top priority. I have a very hands on approach to newborns and I am very comfortable handling them. Bonus! I am fully vaccinated :)

  • Stay patient and positive. Children tend to go at their own pace – and that’s fine. I promise even if it feels like a crazy zoo, it’s going to turn out way better than you thought. Just know that I am ready for anything and I have three kids of my own keeping me on my toes every day. if we need to take a break, have a snack, change clothes or a diaper- it’s all good! Accept the unpredictable: Embrace the chaos of the moment and this season of life. Honest connections and candid connections create real and specific memories.

  • Be vulnerable and open in front of the camera and your family's story will begin to pour out.

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And so the adventure begins...

Whew! I know that is a lot of info!! Don't hesitate to ask questions of visit this page to re-read it. 
I can't wait to spend time with your family! Each family I get the honor or working with is etched on my heart forever. Please know this process is very important to me and I value the true heartbeat of your family.

Have a question or need some help? I'm here and ready to help make your session come to life!

-xoxo, Ashley