Planning our newborn photo session

10 December 2015

Way back in January, I traded some graphic design work for a photo session with our dear friends Sam and Graham Terhune. I’d do anything for them, of course, and would also do just about anything for some of their beautiful photos! For several months afterward, they pestered us to set up our session, but I always evaded them with vague excuses – because I had a very specific use for this session in mind, and that was newborn photos! :) Though I think some maternity photos can be lovely, I would choose a newborn session 1000 times over if I could only do one. About a year later we’re finally ready to cash in on our end of the bargain, so I thought I’d share some of the inspiration I’ve been collecting!










From top to bottom and left to right: unknown, both by Cassidy Brooke, @themamacircle, Cassidy Brooke, DeFiore Photography, Nicki Sebastien, Elate Photography via 100 Layer Cakelet, Petite Sweet Peas and Me, unknown, Amy Frances via 100 Layer Cakelet

I still don’t think all babies are that cute, but these photos sure make them look good :) The newborn photos I tend to like best are simple, understated, quiet, and intimate. That’s right in line with Graham’s style, and I know he will do an amazing job!! I’m also super grateful to be able to work with a dear friend on these, since I doubt we’ll feel like we have anything together after just a few days of adjustment.

Since I am relatively hopeless with hair and makeup under the best circumstances, I’m considering hiring a pro to give me a little extra boost for this session. I can’t think of a time I’ll probably need help more or be more grateful for a little pampering, and I can’t think of anyone better than Sam of Lula Hair + Makeup to lend a hand. I have been lucky enough to have her do my makeup a few times in the past, and in addition to being incredibly talented, she has the sweetest and most peaceful spirit — probably the only type I’d be able to tolerate in those vulnerable days! Contacting her is on my to do list for this week.

Finally, I think we’ll do the majority of the session in our guest bedroom – the duvet cover is white and the headboard is solid gray, so it will be a nice, simple background. Plus, that room gets some of the best sunlight in the house. We have lots of sweet blankets and swaddles to play with if we want to add a little more color!

As with most things about labor and the first few weeks (and months!), I’m trying to keep my expectations for our session low — not with Graham or our photos, of course, but with how I’ll feel and how baby girl will behave! If you’ve done your own session, feel free to share any tips with me, or even links to favorite sessions, in the comments!

P.S. Want to see the finished photos? Here they are!

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December 10, 2015 8:01 am

I love all these inspiration pictures and I think having someone there to pamper you is a great idea. My son was born in June and the word vulnerable really sums up how I was feeling at that time. I didn’t know how to comfort him yet and was just really overwhelmed with everything. Having low expectations, someone to make you feel beautiful, and a photographer you are comfortable with will set you up for a good experience! I would also recommend wearing something comfortable and forgiving so you aren’t stressed if it doesn’t fit right or uncomfortable in spanx. That time is so priceless and having someone capture the itty bitty days will mean the world to you. They might not be that cute when they’re so little but when it’s yours, it’s the most beautiful baby in the world!

December 10, 2015 8:41 am

Love this so much! I can’t wait to see how the photos turn out. The thing is, even with your expectations low.. the pros know how to pull out a few money shots for ya. :) I vote for getting your hair and makeup done for sure. It’d be totally worth it to have one less thing to worry about.

December 10, 2015 9:15 am

@Victoria Haha yes! And I should clarify, my low expectations are not at all with Graham, but more with how I or John will feel and how Baby Thomas will behave!

December 10, 2015 10:36 am

I love this idea! And I love that you are saving money by not doing a maternity shoot so that you can really do the newborn shoot the way you are dreaming of with the hair and makeup artist and everything. That’s awesome! I can’t believe you are so close to meeting your little girl! Good luck with the final stretch of pregnancy!

December 10, 2015 12:33 pm

I cannot wait to meet baby girl. We are honored to be a small part of this next adventure! love you guys!

December 10, 2015 9:19 pm

I wish I had the forethought to hire a hair/makeup artist for our newborn photos. We did our shoot when my daughter was 5 days old and I felt so sloppy still from labor. I didn’t even get dressed until 10 minutes before the photographer arrived haha. Also, I spent the first hour breastfeeding and comforting baby girl before we could even get started. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! One of my favorite photos from that day is of Joanna’s little face scrunched up crying. It’s real life :)

December 10, 2015 10:41 pm

We were really naive, but we had no idea that newborn photos take like 3 hours, lol! So definitely be patient with your little one needing to stop and nurse, the photographer needing to take time to pose the baby, you needing to take a break, baby wetting/pooping, etc. Also, make sure you drink lots of water, Mama! :)

Honestly, if you just relax and go in with the mindset that you don’t have to make the memories perfect– they make themselves– you will do great. Our daughter was born at the end of July and I absolutely LOVE her newborn photos because they are HER and us. :)

December 11, 2015 12:10 pm

Having just taken newborn photos of our daughter this past September, I’d highly recommend having someone do your hair and makeup! Getting our daughter ready and myself ready – in those short breaks between nursing and napping sessions – was the hardest part! Especially when I was still so tired from labor and delivery. If we have another baby, I would definitely hire someone to help with that part! :)

Also – our daughter cried through most of her pics, but, amazingly, you can’t really tell in the photos. The photos somehow made everything look relaxed and peaceful – wish I would’ve known that and stressed less! Ha. :)

December 13, 2015 10:54 pm

We had a friend offer to take ours and I love them so much! I was super overwhelmed and had a rough recovery those first couple weeks so we just kinda went with the flow. We stopped when baby had enough, fed him when he needed to be fed, etc. I was hesitant with doing it altogether because I was exhausted and wasn’t doing well with too many visitors coming over so soon, but it turned out great and we got some beautiful photos! We did it when my son was 15 days old and I felt like that was a good time for us.

December 15, 2015 1:49 pm

I am beyond excited for this!! Thank you for your very kind words. I cannot wait to capture this incredibly special time in your lives. :)

December 22, 2015 1:20 pm

We had newborn photos taken when our son was 10 days old. I meticulously planned out his schedule that morning so that he would be bathed, fed, and sleepy when our photographer arrived. Of course babies never do what you expect, and he ended up awake and crying through the entire session! I was so nervous to get the pictures back, but our photographer did an incredible job of capturing him at just the right moments so that you can’t tell he was upset at all! Graham is wonderful, so just know that even if your perception is that the photo shoot was a disaster, the photos themselves will still turn out beautifully!