By the time you’re ready to give birth, you’ve probably received all the guidance and advice you could ever want about how to raise a tiny human. One of those helpful hints may have gone something like this: “She won’t be this little forever.” As the days go by and your newborn undergoes rapid growth and change, you know it’s true.

Which is why it’s so important to document these early days with some photographs.

Picture day can be stressful for anyone, even when the subject of the photos sleeps through it (or when you’re concerned that he might decide not to sleep through it). But it doesn’t have to be like that! In fact, I don’t see any reason why photo sessions can’t be relaxed and fun.

With that in mind, here are a few ideas to help you prepare your baby for his first photo session. (It’s good practice for those family photo sessions you’ll have in the future!)

Have a Family Meeting

Discuss the photo session with your spouse so you’re on the same page about what types of photos you want and what you’d like to use them for. You might be thinking of birth announcements; your partner might be thinking of wall art. The same photos might not be suitable for both of those purposes (depending, for example, upon the decor and colors in your home). It will be helpful if you both share the same goals for the photo session.

Black & White Family Portrait

Pack Well

It doesn’t take a lifetime of parenthood to realize that going anywhere with a baby requires some careful packing. It would be nice if you could just hook your whole house up to the car so you don’t forget anything, but that makes it difficult to find a place to park.

Pack a diaper bag just like you were going anywhere else, complete with diapers, wipes, pacifiers, and a bottle. For the photo session, you might also want to include a blanket, toy, or special item you want included in the photos and a change of clothes. Speaking of wardrobe:

Dress for Success

Babies don’t always share their parents’ vision for wardrobe changes, which is why it may be wise to consider one outfit, maybe two, and plan to do the rest of the shots in nothing but a diaper or even just a blanket or wrap.

It is a good idea to have a back-up outfit, just in case of a good ol’ fashioned diaper disaster. (You’re probably already trying to forget those events; future you won’t want any photographic evidence.)

Kid portrait with hat

Sleepy Baby: Easy-to-Photograph Baby

We can get great shots of your totally awake and alert infant, but many parents want those adorable sleeping baby shots, with tiny arms and legs folded just so. Unless you’ve discovered the magic trick that makes a child sleep on demand, you’ll want to do what you can to make it as likely as possible that your baby will sleep during the session.

This might mean keeping her awake for a couple of hours before the shoot, maybe by playing with her or giving her a bath. You might also feed him right before the camera starts clicking.

Be Camera Ready

Mom and Dad, you can be in these shots, too! Just let me know during the consultation what you envision for your baby’s session. You might want to include some family photos, or the pictures might feature your hands, arms, or feet. This might mean scheduling a manicure or pedicure the day before the shoot. (Dads, too!) This is an important point to discuss during your family chat about the photo session; no one wants to be told, “Surprise! You’re going to be in a very important picture! Hope you like that shirt you’re wearing, because it’s going down in history!”

Take It Easy

Great news: babies are adorable. There’s pretty much nothing we can do to get anything except beautiful photographs, whether your baby sleeps through the session or not.

So don’t worry about it! Simply take the prep steps mentioned here, reach out if you have any questions at all, and then trust the process. We’ll capture these precious moments of your baby’s first few days on earth, and you’ll cherish the images forever.

Baby portrait