Preparing for your session with Blue Bean Photography

Often l am asked how my newborn and baby sessions work, so I have answered some of the most common questions here. If you have any other queries, feel free to get in touch and I'd be happy to answer them.

Why do I have to book before my baby is born?

With limited sessions available per month, my diary often gets booked up months in advance, and often I do not have spaces to fit new mums who have not been able to book prior to their child's birth so I urge my clients to book just after their 12 week ultrasound scan. There is a limit to the number of newborn sessions I can undertake per month because as well as a newborn photographer I am a mother of three little ones myself. 

Where will my newborn photo session take place?

A seemingly simple question, but I still get asked this regularly as clients often ring me for an address just as they are about to set off and inputting the postcode into the Sat Nav. The studio is based in the beautiful South Derbyshire National Forest, literally on the crossroads of the '5 Counties' South Derbyshire, North Warwickshire, Birmingham, Leicestershire and Staffordshire borders.

Blue Bean Studio ~ Church Gresley, South Derbyshire, DE11 9GP (Please email for full address)

Each photo session takes place in my homely and cosy newborn studio in Church Gresley just 30 minutes in any direction from Birmingham, Leicester, Coventry and Derby by car. The studio is fully equipped with an array of props, backdrops and accessories. I want every newborn session to go as smoothly as it possibly can. In the past I found that when I travel to clients homes I am often constrained by the size of their room, the lighting situation may not be controlled easily plus I have a limit to what props and blankets I can bring with me, that's the beauty of coming to me, it's all here at arms length. 

What do I do once my baby arrives?

Babies being as unpredictable as they are, you can never guarantee when they will actually arrive so your due date will be entered into my diary as a guideline upon booking; it is then your responsibility (or someone close to you as I am sure you will be up to your eyes in nappies and milk) to contact me to firm up your session date, usually within the first few days of birth. 

Once your initial booking is in the diary, if your baby decides it just can’t wait to meet you and is welcomed into the world earlier than expected, then please contact me and I will do anything I can to accommodate your new arrival.

When is the best time to photograph my newborn?

The age of the babies can sometimes make a difference in what type of poses you are able to position them in and whether they will like it or not. All babies are different, and it’s not to say that one baby will be easier to pose over another one merely based upon age, but generally speaking, the age of the baby can dictate how the session will run.

Younger newborns tend to go into certain curly poses much easier than older babies and don’t mind much about having their clothes off if they are kept warm. Typically, I schedule all newborn sessions between 7-12 days after birth or 13-21 if the timing is more preferable. Although I will book in newborns at any age, I strongly encourage parents to schedule sessions when babies are under two weeks old. At this age, they are more likely to curl up in “womb-like” poses, stay asleep longer, don’t mind being unclothed, and usually have their feeding schedules set to at least every two hours.

Why is the photo-shoot scheduled for the morning?

Your baby must be sleepy to pose, so if you bring them in the afternoon when they have been sleeping for hours, this is more difficult. Your baby is likely to have had you up half the night, and I have found they usually sleep deeper in the mornings. If possible it is best to try and keep baby awake for 1-2 hours prior to the session, stimulating baby with a bath or by doing ‘naked time’ prior to the session are some tricks that you can use. Then when you arrive I will give you some time to feed and settle your baby before we begin; this will hopefully help them into a deeper sleep, making them easier to move around without waking. The most important thing to know is that if booking a premier newborn session, it can take roughly 3 hours, sometimes more if baby is unsettled. I want to ensure your little one is happy throughout the shoot, which can often include stopping for extra feeds and lots of cuddles.

Please note that it is suggested you drive or have somebody who is able to bring you to the session. Train and bus journeys are tedious and long and if you arrive late can eat up into your scheduled time slot. Also these journeys often mean that baby has slept for a long period prior to arrival and we may struggle to achieve the results you want in the time allotted to your photo shoot.

What if we arrive early or late to my session?

Sometimes sessions or gallery viewings in the studio are scheduled back to back and I have to setup and warm the space prior to your arrival so please arrive on time and not too much before. Equally if you are late to your session, it will eat into your session time as I myself have childcare arrangements in place that cannot be changed at short notice. Please be prompt, if you feel you may need extra time, please notify me when scheduling your sitting so we can make the appropriate arrangements.

Where can I park?

There is only enough space for one car however parking is available on the driveway directly in front of the black studio door. (Please mind the bush on the left hand grows wild!)

Do I need to bring anything with me?

Yes, snacks and drinks for yourself as my sessions can be long thirsty work, I will be busy with your little one, but feel free to use any of my full equipped kitchen facilities, I have a kettle, bottle warmer, steriliser, cups, bowls and plates. If you have children bring with them a magazine or a tablet for them to occupy themselves although we do have a TV in the studio they may get bored after a short while. Bring enough milk for extra feeds if you bottle feed, and your usual wipes and nappy supply for when you go out for a few hours. If you could bring a blanket that you do not mind being soiled that would be great for the baby to have a familiar smell while I settle them into position. Other than that l have everything l need, a studio full of props hats and headbands so don't feel as though you need to purchase anything prior to your session.

Do I need to feed my baby before I leave home?

Please make sure your little one has a full belly for the session. It is suggested that you feed baby just before you leave for the studio. You can always give them a top up upon arrival. Also, baby should be fed as much as possible in the 12 hours that precede the session, this will allow for baby to sleep as deeply and as long as possible. A full baby equals a settled baby and less stressed parents too, we need a very sleepy and calm baby in order to achieve the sweet, curly poses you see in the images here on the website. The only way we will achieve calm, flexible poses is if baby is fully satisfied and sleeping soundly.

I am breastfeeding, is there anything I need to prepare for before the session?

If you are breastfeeding you may want to avoid foods 48 hours before the session that may cause baby to be gassy. Acidic, spicy or gassy foods such as oranges, berries, peanuts, pizza, spaghetti, fizzy pop, broccoli and asparagus are good to avoid.

If baby happens to be gassy the day of your session, gripe water can be used to help ease baby’s discomfort.

Will you need help in handling my baby?

l will be cuddling, soothing and posing your little one for most of the session, handing them back to you if l feel they need you. The posing l will be doing involves me moving your baby in a very special way, rest assured they will be safe at all times. Your child's comfort and safety are my top priority, and at any point during the session you feel that baby needs a cuddle just ask me to hand them back to you. 

Are you trained and insured to handle my baby?

The simple answer is yes, I am fully insured and top up my training throughout the year in my newborn specialism. Your baby's safety is my number one priority and I will never put them at risk to get 'the' shot. The images you have seen on my website where baby is in a on a swing or with their head in their hands are all carried out using my editing skills to avoid putting your baby in harms way. Some set ups and poses will involve one of the parents giving me a helping hand to ensure baby is safe.

Can I ask you for a certain pose or setup?

You can ask to use any prop you see in my gallery or on my website, that's what's great about having everything to hand in the studio. If you could email me prior to your session with your requests that would help me set everything up prior to your arrival otherwise I will setup in advance using my own creative vision.

I try to achieve up to 5 different setups during a full 3 hour session changing each setup slightly by alternating babies position, shooting front different angles adding different hats, headbands and wraps to each scene, in addition to sibling/parent images we can achieve a fabulously full gallery. I ask clients not to send me 10 completely different ideas as we will not get through them in the time we have. When it comes to certain poses it is not quite as simple as it seems, not all babies are suitable for these setups. l will know if your baby would be happy to try these positions on the day, but their happiness and safety comes first, so I may have to try a different pose. 

Manage your own expectations. Each newborn session is unique so have an idea of what you would like to capture, but understand that depending on the mood of your baby at that given moment, the time restraints within package you have chosen you may or may not be able to capture those specific dream images you had envisioned. Just stay positive and try to go with the flow, although we may not get baby into the bucket you originally had in mind, I will get something beautiful!

Will I need to bring a dummy?

Yes please if you can. Even if you don't plan on using one at home or in the future, for the purpose of keeping baby settled l find that pacifying really does help in most of my sessions. Some unsettled babes benefit from a little extra soothing using a dummy. In fact a pacifier has on many occasions been a lifesaver in calming a baby into a deep sleep so that they can be posed comfortably and calmly without distress. Please be assured that babies do not get attached to them after our session nor do they cause nipple confusion, however if you really are uncomfortable with using one, of course that is no problem just be aware that we may struggle to get some of the shots you may want to get from your newborn session.

Why do some of the photo-sessions take up to 3 hrs?

The session needs to be very calm and cannot make a baby do what they do not want to do. So each session involves a lot of gentle soothing and a quiet environment to get the best and most relaxed looking poses. The photo-session cannot be rushed and I will work as long as it takes within the time booked, however if you have made plans for later in the day I would suggest rescheduling so that our session is not rushed and stress free. Why not make a day of it and enjoy a well deserved lunch after your photo shoot at many of our local pubs or restaurants.

What happens if my baby will not settle or sleep?

This is completely normal for at least some of the morning. It is often the case that I will have only take a few sleepy shots in the first hour. I start each session the same way, by allowing the baby to settle once you arrive whether this take 5 or 30 minutes then so be it. If baby needs to feed again then I can use this time to setup the next shot or get you some refreshments. However please note that if you are booking one of our shorter Taster or Silver collections, these packages do not incorporate trying to get baby to sleep due to the time constraint. If baby is asleep, then we can easily work with your sleepy newborn.

Can I bring my extended family?

The studio is airy and bright, perfect for a newborn, sibling or parent session, however we do not have room to accommodate extended family. If you would like to include siblings in your newborn photoshoot please let me know before the session. When siblings are involved sessions run a bit differently. 

I have other children, can I bring them to the session?

If you have any siblings to be photographed and included in a newborn photo shoot, could I please ask you bring them for the first hour of the session however to ensure the rest of the photo-shoot is not disrupted it is preferential for somebody to take the older children after their sibling photo’s have been completed. If somebody cannot take the older child(ren) after the first hour, the session will be split into two dates for a time when the older children can be taken care of. I am sure you understand that I will struggle to achieve the results you require with disruption and noise.

Please bring plenty to keep brothers and sisters occupied during the shoot – plenty of snacks and quiet games or colouring, and ipad or phone goes down well!

It is a good idea to take older children home or to the park while the newborn session is carrying on. We have a few village shops, pubs, large play parks and with Conkers and Tywcross Zoo just  up the road it is as much fun for adults as it is for the children!

What happens if my baby soils your props?

Don't worry about it at all, it is to be expected I am certainly used to it. All my blankets are washed after use and I always wear black to cover the evidence! These things happen and I am very aware of it so please don’t feel the need to apologise. I do however suggest bringing spare clothes for yourself, just in case!

Is your studio warm enough?

I keep the studio space warm as most shots are taken of baby in their birthday suit and we don’t want them getting chilly; so please be mindful of this and make sure you dress appropriately for the warm conditions.

What do parents wear to the newborn session?

First and foremost we want mum to feel beautiful and flattered... as you did just have a baby. I know as well as anyone how we feel right after we had a newborn. I suggest no sleeves or very long sleeves to flatter, or perhaps a cover up like a cardigan to compliment. Light colours, solid tops are soft and still flattering for mum. I love it when mums opt for a long maxi dress in a solid colour or just with a light detailed pattern. It adds such a softness to your images with baby. Dad can wear a solid top complimentary to mums outfit, again a subtle pattern is also cute and adds interest. As you have no doubt seen in my newborn gallery blacks, browns, creams, beiges and whites work well.

What does my baby wear to your studio?

Dress baby in loose fitting clothes to avoid any lines on baby’s skin and to also avoid disturbing baby when getting undressed. A simple sleeper is best. Please avoid anything that has to be pulled off over baby’s head.

What does my baby wear to the newborn photo shoot?

Newborns in clothing? I am not a big fan and they do not suit this style of photography. knitted outfits, soft stretchy wraps are very cute or anything soft and hand knitted is perfect and I have a studio full of them so don't worry about bringing anything. However 'regular people clothing' even in newborns usually look awkward in photographs, newborns are perfect just as they are, and I choose to highlight their natural perfection in the images I capture. I don’t use a lot of over the top props, as I feel that this distracts from the newness of your little one. The extra material makes posing more difficult and is more time consuming as I would be constantly adjusting so that you can see baby's face and features, I also offer poses that require me to monitor baby's circulation and temperature which is made more difficult with regular clothing. If you are not happy with this, then maybe another photographer would better suit your needs.

My child has scratched their face and has flakey skin, do you edit these out?

I always clean up scratches, baby acne, jaundice and rashes. Birthmarks and angel kisses I tend to ask parents if they want me to leave them in, tone them down, or remove them completely since those are more permanent markings and part of the child. However I do leave in the odd flakes of skin and tiny blemishes which are perfect reminders of how new your baby once was. If you require additional editing which includes extra skin smoothing/lightening/darkening, colour changes, tidying clothing creases, chipped nail varnish or stray hairs there is an additional cost per image. (See terms of booking)

Do I pay for my package on the day of our newborn photo session?

You do indeed, this is to be paid in full on the day of your photo shoot otherwise I cannot proceed with your session. You may pay on the day via my website here prior to you making your way to us, you may make payment just as easily by using our direct Paypal link You are also welcome to make a cash or card machine payment upon arrival to the studio. If you wish to pay by BACs, we can provide you with the banking details.

How long will it be before I see the photos from our photo session?

Dependant on my schedule, galleries usually take 21 business days to complete. If you have purchased the premier package I aim to have a preview ready within 3 days of the session so that you don't have to wait too long.

Recent news and blog posts

I wrote this post about 'How to rock your newborn session' with Blue Bean Photography last year, clients often tell me how helpful is it to be able to prepare for a session, so if you are coming to see me in the coming months, why not have a read >>