How to Prepare your Baby for Pictures

Baby's are notoriously unpredictable with their moods and a photography session is no exception. Baby's are extra sensitive to anything that makes them uncomfortable, distracted or feeling secure. You can reduce the impact of these influences at the session. With that said, babies will still be unpredictable but these 5 tips will help.

1. Help them be Less Tired.

Babies can't “tough it out” when they feel uncomfortable. If they are tired they will be cranky. We want to photograph them when they are awake and happy.

drooling little boy

Work within their schedule

Babies can't “tough it out” when they feel uncomfortable. If they are tired they will be cranky. We want to photograph them when they are awake and happy.

Don't change your schedule

It would be best to have everything packed and ready for the session the night before. Many moms unknowingly change their schedule by rushing to get a few last things ready for the session.

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It's okay to sleep in the car

I hear a lot “I tried to not have them go to sleep in the car”. It can be a good thing to have your baby sleep in the car. I have had some of the best sessions when the baby has slept in the car. However, plan on being to the session a little early. Your baby will need time to wake up and start to respond to the photographer.

2. Help them be Less Hungry

Depending on how old your baby is your strategy might change with food. If your baby is more a newborn, it is good to take time just before the photo session to feed her. If your baby is closer to 12 months, it is better to feed him at home so he has time to get his mind off of the food.

boy laying on a stool

Food at the Photo Session

You should bring a snack your child likes that has the following characteristics:

  • It should be small
  • It should be able to be eaten quickly
  • It shouldn't be sticky
  • It shouldn't change the color of your baby's skin or clothing

You want to have this treat so you are prepared, but, talk to the photographer before you give your child the treat. I have had many sessions ruined because once the child was given the treat we were unable to get their attention again.

It may be necessary to feed your newborn several times at the session, however. It is better to bring more food than you think you need than not enough. Many newborns eat a lot at a photography session.

3. Help them be Less Distracted

The key word here is “simplify”. A good baby photographer has a lot of techniques to work with babies. We want the interaction to be between the baby and the photographer or the baby and the parent.

What not to bring

Do not bring older siblings. It takes a lot of work between the parent and the photographer. When other siblings are there the parent usually can not focus on the baby.

Do not use electronics to get your child's attention. Many children become like zombies when they play with electronics. We completely lose the character of the child when electronics come out.

excited girl

What to bring

Do bring things your child likes to play with. They will help your child feel comfortable and they can be things with which your child can interact. Plan on using whatever you bring in the pictures. It doesn't work to give the child a toy to get them quiet and then take it away for the picture.

4. Help them Feel Protected

Imagine from the child's perspective; mom brings you to a photographer, sits you down and leaves. Nothing could be more terrifying. It is important for the photographer to test how the child will interact with him. You and the photographer are a team to help the child feel safe and to get some good interaction.

If your child is working well with the photographer, it may be better to let them interact. If your child is afraid of the photographer you will have to do much of the work. Each child is different.

5. Follow the Photographer's lead

A good portrait photographer who has worked with a lot of babies knows what will help the session and what will derail it. If you have chosen a good photographer you will be able to work together to get great images from your child's portrait session.

girl in red shoes

Making your child comfortable, focused and feeling protected will go a long way to getting great baby pictures. Chances are you will still have difficult moments but you will have a much better chance at capturing those super cute expressions your child gives you all the time.