Crystal Lee 


FAQ’s | Sleepy Newborns, Assistants & Session Prep

Mar 20, 2013

Welcome to another edition of FAQ’s! Every now and then I ask for questions from Photographers on my Facebook page, and answer them here on the blog.

Remember… the beauty of this business is that there are a million different ways to do everything. My opinions and techniques may not work for everyone, and that’s ok. 🙂

Do you have any magic tricks to keep newborns asleep?
Patience! Seriously… there’s a reason why I block out a 4 hour window for my newborn sessions. Most of that time is spent soothing baby, feeding baby, cleaning up baby messes, and soothing baby some more. I turn the heat up to 80 degrees, play some white noise on my iPad, make sure baby has a full belly, and pose baby slowly and patiently. If baby is awake at the beginning of the session, I’ll start with a swaddled pose to try and get their eyes open. It’s tough, but if you can capture that moment when a newborn locks eyes with your lens, it’s amazing! Newborns can’t control the movement of their limbs, so swaddling helps keep those little twitches at bay and baby can relax.

If baby needs soothing, I bring her back over to Mom and Dad and let them have some snuggle time. If some time passes and baby still won’t settle, I will take the baby myself and see if she will relax for me. If Mom is breastfeeding, the baby may smell her milk and associate that with food time. A pacifier (if baby takes one) is also a fantastic tool to keep on the side. Newborns have a natural urge to suck, and pacifiers help them feel comfortable and relaxed.

The biggest tip I can give is to just be patient… stay relaxed, and take baby’s cues. Not every baby will do every pose. Just remember that baby’s comfort is more important than ‘the’ shot that you’re determined to get for your portfolio. 🙂

Do you plan the colors for the whole session to coordinate with each other? Or do you try to different color setups throughout the session?
I’m a major planner… I like to know exactly what I’m going to do. It makes the whole session just flow so much better if I’m not fumbling around trying to decide what color backdrop to use. My main objective with my newborn and milestone clients is to come up with something that is special to them. This bit of personalization is what differentiates my boutique studio from the chain studios.

I start by finding out what colors and themes are in the baby’s nursery. Mom worked hard on making the nursery special, and I want her baby’s photos to reminiscent of that. If I have enough time before the session is scheduled, I can even purchase backdrops and props specifically for that particular client.


Do you work with an assistant?
For weddings, yes, I always hire an assistant. For my baby sessions, no. Unless it’s something complicated, like triplets, I have no need for an assistant. If I’m doing poses with baby that require a spotter or a composite, I will have Mom or Dad jump in and help me out.

And that wraps up another FAQ’s post! Feel free to ask additional questions in the comments section, or send me a message on my Facebook page. 🙂



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Wedding     |     Newborn     |     Milestones     |     Pets