How To Get the MOST Out of Your Newborn Session!

Having your newborn’s portraits created can feel super stressful. You are tired, overwhelmed, and babies are SO unpredictable at that age!

I remember having my own daughter’s portraits done by a fantastic photographer – and while she was an easy baby and I knew the photographer was great – I was still really worried!

What if she cried the whole time?
What if I drive all the way there, give up my morning sleep in and we get nothing?!
What is she pees on everything?
What if , what if, what if..

I’m basically a professional worrier, so you can see how quickly that list of worries could escalate!

The reality is that the session went great, she slept like an angel and I now have gorgeous portraits to remember every detail of her tiny (well, tiny compared to now – she was a whopping 9lbs 12 oz at birth) little self.

Honestly – that is usually the case.

Clients come in stressed, and leave feeling relieved because it wasn’t so bad after all.

Ironically, it’s usually the babies who are fussiest at home that LOVE the studio and pose like rockstars.

Portrait of newborn baby girl in floral wreath by Durham Region newborn photographer Annya Miller of Pickering

Some babies WILL cry… and that’s ok! I have a ton of tricks up my sleeve. I’m a photographer, but my true job title really should be “professional baby soother”.

Most babies pee on me (or worse)… and that’s ok too! It comes with the territory and I’m not at all phased. Also – all of the props and blankets are washable!

3 times out of many, many (hundreds, if not thousands) or babies I DID have a session where I got nothing. We rescheduled, tried again and they now have beautiful portraits of their sweet baby too.

There are a few ways though, that you can prepare to make sure that your session goes as smoothly as humanly possible!

Portrait of newborn boy by Durham newborn photographer Annya Miller

1. Wake your baby 1 – 2 hours prior to the session.

Play with them, talk to them, give them a bath. This will ensure that they are sleepy for their session. Most newborns will not stay awake for this entire time, but providing some awake time and a bath will help.

2. Feed them right before leaving for the appointment.

Most babies will happily sleep in the car. This means that having some awake time in the hour or 2 prior to leaving, then having a feed and getting in the car will almost ALWAYS encourage the baby to pass out en route to their photo shoot.

3. Dress them in something the zips or buttons up the front!

Now that baby is comfortably sleeping in the carseat, the LAST thing I want to do is unintentionally wake them while trying to get their outfit off. Typically I will very carefully undress the baby on my lap, and after working with hundreds (thousands?) of babies I have a pretty good track record regardless of what they are wearing – but it is SO much easier if I can just unbutton/zip and take it off.

4. Bring lots of food and a pacifier if they will take one.

This can make or break your session. Newborn feeding schedules can as unpredictable as the babies themselves. If you are bottle feeding make sure to bring a few extras just in case. Babies often eat way more at a photo shoot where they are being moved and posed than they would while sleeping peacefully at home. If you are nursing I recommend wearing something that you can easily feed the baby in.

Soothers are a hot button with many parents, and I will NEVER force a parent who isn’t comfortable to give one to their baby. If it IS something you are comfortable with then bring one along – whether baby typically likes it or not – as most times if a baby is on edge it can save the shoot!

5. Try to relax.

I know… you just birthed this beautiful human (or watched your partner birth them for the Dads), you are probably exhausted and your hormones are a mess. You are probably completely overwhelmed and nervous that this isn’t going to work. That’s ok. I’ve got you. Even if you are a ball of nerves, once you get to the studio you can relax!

First of all, I really want you to enjoy this experience! Watching a professional pose your baby is like magic, and I want you to look back on your experience fondly.

Also, babies are AMAZING at picking up on the emotions of people around you. If you are feeling stressed then your baby will experience that, and become more challenging to settle. So take a few deep breaths, we can throw some chill music on if you like, bring a snack and enjoy having BOTH of your hands free to eat it!! ?

New baby boy posed in basket with bear hat by Durham Region newborn Photographer Annya Miller of Pickering.



If you are expecting or have recently welcomed a new baby into the world, then first of all congratulations!! And second, I would love to chat with you about creating your newborn’s first photos!

I am a professional photographer with a cozy studio located in Pickering. It serves Toronto, the GTA and Durham Region, including Ajax, Whitby, Pickering, Oshawa, and beyond.

With over 12+ years of experience photographing newborns I am able to create gorgeous results for each of my clients while keeping their baby safe and comfortable through out the appointment.

For best results I recommend booking an appointment between 5 – 14 days of age. If you have missed that window, or end up being unable to make it in the first two weeks please don’t stress! I am able to photograph babies in a newborn style session up to 6 – 8 weeks of age with great success.

For more samples of my newborn photography work please check out the newborn portfolio. To find out more or speak to me directly please reach out at or 647 272 5450.

November 8, 2019

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