Ruth’s Newborn Photos | At Home With the Russells
Ruth’s Newborn Photos – At Home With the Russells
Ruth’s first birthday is almost here! As I was preparing for her celebration, I found myself reminiscing on the sweet and fleeting season of having a newborn and the unique newborn photo experience. I feel like it took me a few months to really ease into motherhood (heck, it even took me a few months for it to sink in that this was my little person!) Now, almost a year in, I’m much more confident, and my love for Ruthie is immeasurable. We treasure our newborn photos and the experience in a whole new way now that time has passed and she is no longer this little – I can only imagine how regretful I would feel if we did not have these.
Choosing a Newborn Photographer
I’ve been following Amy Rau the last few years and have admired her work from afar – there is an authenticity and ease to all of her photos and her film work is stunning. My friend Laura Eddy (who took our maternity photos on film – they are equally as dreamy and wonderful) had booked her for their newborn photos with her daughter just two months before us! There were several other photographers we considered as well – it wasn’t an easy decision with so many talented friends! I started by thinking about what I wanted our photos to feel like. Natural, comfy, gentle, warm, and at home were all words and phrases that came to mind. I knew a film photographer like Amy would achieve that and Amy had the experience with newborns we were looking for.
How to prepare for newborn photos
Amy arrived in Bartlesville mid-morning. Naturally, I had been scurrying around the house trying to put away all the “extras” and leave things out of sight. The diaper bag, burp towels, dirty dishes and clothes, trash, my robe…I wasn’t sure exactly where we would spend the most of our time (and thankfully most of our home gets great light so we had plenty of options!). We ended up doing almost all of the photos in the nursery and master bedroom (which are the most common rooms I shoot in for my own clients). It was helpful for me and my type-A personality to have a reason to throw everything in baskets, get a little more organized, etc. in the midst of such a chaotic few weeks.
BUT if you’re a newborn mama and reading this as you prep – don’t stress! Throwing everything in a closet is unnecessary. Focus on the places with the MOST natural light – this is where your photographer will likely want to be – and they can always hide things here and there. It’s less about the room you’re in and more about the love and connection between you and your family.
For our next baby, I’ll probably have a few extra items on hand during photos. Here’s what I recommend to prepare ahead of time for my own newborn clients:
If you have a SnuggleMe organic, doc-a-tot, or Moses basket, make sure those are easily accessible! It’s nice to have a pretty place to lay baby for solo shots (we used our white and beige bedding in the master!). Any light or neutral colored blankets are helpful to have on hand as well (even if they’re not explicitly baby blankets).
What to wear for newborn photos
I wasn’t sure what I was going to wear leading in to the session. How in the world are you supposed to know what will fit 10 days postpartum? Especially when you’re 40 pounds over your normal weight at 9 months pregnant while planning? I was so thankful Amy had a couple of dresses she let me borrow and I loved them! This offering from her was what sparked my motivation to start the client closet – an option for full lifestyle sessions (not just newborn moms!) to borrow from my closet of picture-perfect dresses in a variety of sizes. I’ve had many clients (like Meghan and Dusti) borrow a client closet dress throughout this year and they really take your images to the next level!
If you are shopping, Amazon was truly one of the easiest places to order, try on, and return (especially if you’re last minute shopping or want a backup!) I’ve pulled some of the dresses I considered and more photoshoot-worthy dresses here.
You also might prioritize having nude undergarments or shape-wear on hand, too!
Typically, Dad will look best in a classic denim and neutral tee or button down. Jonathan almost always wears his wrangler cowboy cut jeans and an Old Navy or Target shirt.
When thinking about what baby wears for newborn photos, it’s actually a lot simpler than you would think! I recommend having a couple neutral colored blankets and swaddles picked out. I love to capture their tiny features – hands, toes, hair. And sometimes that means leaving them in just a diaper! You can never go wrong with baby dressed in a knotted gown from Caden Lane or Lou Lou and Company and having a few bows/hats/bonnets on hand. Plain white diapers are a bonus!
When to take newborn photos
Most newborn photographers recommend booking your date for 7-14 days after delivering. This was my preference for ours as well, so we ended up taking them about 8 days postpartum. Amy was super flexible with us, even though we went about 5 days past my due date. Of course when it came to the actual session/day, I had in my head that Ruth would be asleep for most of it. I had seen countless newborn photos of sleeping babies and wanted nothing more than for that to happen with Ruth! Of course, the exact opposite happened! She was bright eyed and bushy tailed! Not only that, but I think we were hitting a growth spurt – something I was totally unaware of before I became a mom. There are several throughout the newborn stage, but the first one often happens between 1 – 3 weeks old. Ruth was also colicky, so we had the odds stacked against us, but Amy was patient, understanding, and still got some of the sweetest photos.
When I’m talking to mamas for their newborn photo timing, I like to put two dates on the calendar – one for the week of your due date and one about 2-3 weeks after. That way we’re covered no matter when you deliver! Some mamas even like to wait until baby is 6-9 weeks and that works well, too! Keep in mind the tidbit about the growth spurt. This is common and I’ve not only dealt with it in our own newborn photos, but I’ve worked with clients who have experienced it, too. Rest assured, babies will cry (that’s just what they do sometimes!) and I know how to shoot and pose in a way that not only captures the sweet details and connection regardless.
It is so fun to look back on these photos now….Ruth hasn’t wanted to miss a beat since she was born. She is sociable, happy, easy to love, and has never met a stranger. We are thankful for this little girl’s life, the light she brings to ours and to others, and the opportunity to raise her and bring her up in the Lord. We pray many things for her, but specifically that she would be bold, loyal, respectful, wise, warm, discerning, and a light for God’s truth.
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