Congratulations on your new baby! Thank you so much for allowing me the amazing and rewarding privilege of photographing your new little bundle in their first weeks of life. Newborns are one of my passions and I consider myself truly lucky to be around these little miracles all the time.
This guide is designed to help you get the most out of your session. So have a read and let me know if something is not clear or you have any questions.
My Studio is at 23 Witbrock Crescent, Burnside, Christchurch. This is the two story house on the very corner with the brick and white wood fence. There will be parking space on the street by the gate.
Please note that sessions taking place from April onwards will be at our new studio! This is just a couple minutes away from our current studio, on the top floor of the building just right of the shops: Unit 2/First floor, 162 Kendal Avenue, Burnside. There will be parking on the street outside and a sign on our door.
Unless planned otherwise, your session will start at 10am. You can text me on 021 277 1987 if your running late on the day.
If you are on Instagram, feel free to take any photos or videos for your ‘stories’. Be sure to tag @hazelandcassphotography so I can share it in my story.
What to expect & how to prepare for your session
I prefer to photograph newborns the first 14 days of life. The younger your newborn is the more relaxed and sleepy they will be, which allows for more artistic poses. Don’t worry though – they all wake up at some point during the session and we usually get some images of them looking straight at the camera too.
If your baby arrives earlier or later than expected, this is no problem, I am very flexible. I also understand that some of our sweet little ones need some extra time in the hospital. In these cases, we can re-schedule your newborn session for when baby is home and healthy
If your baby is having a tongue-tie fixed close to the day of your photo shoot. Please advise so that we can reschedule, as I like to give them a few days to recover before the photo shoot.
Before the photo shoot
Please feed your baby for 2 hours prior. And plan on feeding him/her as you leave or as soon as you get here too.
Keep him/her awake for 1-2 hours beforehand. Play with them, give them a bath, let them kick with only a nappy, tickle their toes, and even let them fuss for a little bit beforehand. This will ensure we get those squishy, sleepy newborn pictures! Don’t worry if baby isn’t asleep or doesn’t usually sleep during the time of the booking.
What to bring
Dress your baby in loose, easy to remove clothing. This makes it easy to undress them on arrival if they are asleep (your baby is likely to fall asleep in the car journey). If they are asleep, we will attempt to start posing right away until they need their next top-up feed.
It will be very hot in the studio to keep your baby nice and warm while they are undressed. I dress lightly for a warm few hours and suggest you do too! I provide cold water, cold drinks and coffee, but please feel free to bring snacks and lunch for you.
Bring any items you would like in the photographs. For example, blankets, shawls, special teddys etc. You will also have access to my props and accessories.
Bring a spare bottle or two of expressed breast milk or formula if you can. This means we can top-up feed while baby is in a pose and avoid disturbing them to feed.
During the session
Sessions normally last about 2-3 hours. Sometimes longer if baby is a light sleeper, or is hungry! If your newborn doesn’t want to sleep or is a bit cranky and you need to attend to his/her needs, then that is more than ok. We will have plenty of time to capture him/her in this time frame.
You may need to feed your baby throughout the session. The easiest way to ensure a sleepy baby is to breast /bottle feed off and on during the session. Please do feel comfortable to feed freely in the studio, as I myself am still breastfeeding. Bring along a spare bottle or two of either expressed breast milk or formula if you can, so that we can top-up while in a pose and avoid disturbing baby to feed.
You will have full access to my props and accessories. So you will be able to choose any items you like when you get here. I can almost guarantee that baby will pee, poo, or spit up on the blankets and props. This is OK! It is expected and I never want you to feel bad or stressed about it. I wash all of my items after every session, and it will all come out.
Your baby may cry or need a little extra time to soothe. This is expected and completely normal. I take my time and there is no pressure when your baby needs to feed and settle again with you.
I sometimes need to use pacifier/dummies during my session to get the most out of baby. Even if you haven’t used one before and don’t plan on ever using one, this is just for the few hours that I am posing your baby. They will not pick up a ‘habit’ from the session alone and it tends to settle them between feeds. If you prefer not to use a pacifier/dummy during your newborn session, that’s fine as well. Please just let me know at the start of the session.
My sessions are 'baby-led' so I never make these tiny humans do anything that they don't like. Some babies like to be on their tummies, naked, wrapped, while some babies hate it. It is ok to have a few specific set ups and poses in mind, just let me know at the before or at start of the session and I will do MY BEST to get them for you. I have your baby’s safety in mind and won’t put them in poses that aren’t natural to them.
For Mum & Dad
Mum & Dad you are a big part of the session! Photographing the connection between you and your baby is one of my all time favourite things. If you get stuck with what to wear I have a small selection of plain t-shirts and singlets in studio.
Dads: I ask that you bring a plain tight fitting t-shirt to wear with a good, snug pair of jeans. No logos or patterns. Please also clean and trim your nails before your session, because they will likely find their way into your images (see images below).
Mums: You can bring along a singlet/tank top in a neutral colour and simple design, natural coloured pretty shirts are always nice too. Think nice details on the shelves and trimmings. If you are going to to wear a T-Shirt, make sure it is tight fitting around the arms. Avoid fake tanning (as it doesn't photograph well). Be sure that you have either just painted your nails or have no nail polish on at all as your hands will make their way into the images. Also, rest assured, I aim to photograph using flattering angles and light to bring out the natural beauty in your family.
If siblings will be joining you for the session, please bring snacks, drinks, and a reward/treat for them in case we need to employ a bribe! We photograph the siblings together first thing, and I do ask that you arrange for your partner or another family member to take them away after we get the photos. This is simply because the siblings can become restless as the session wears on, and they can disrupt your newborn during posing.
Sisters: I have a large range of dresses in the studio. If you have something specific in mind for her to wear please bring that. I ask that girls hair be natural (or in braids) and free of bows, headbands, etc. Just as with mom, no nail polish please.
Brothers: A snug pair of jeans and a tight fitted tops or shirtless, please take a few moments to chat with your guy about this so he feels prepared for the session (before you arrive) - though if he prefers not, a tight fitting t-shirt is fine. I have a range of Jamie Kay tops in studio size 1-3.
Other Bits & Bobs
My lovely sister Maddy usually helps out during the photo shoot. Having Maddy assisting will ensure the utmost in newborn safety, hygiene and comfort.
I use studio lights. This is one of the best you can buy in the world for Newborns. it is also 100% safe. It is run on the lowest power setting and the strobe is bounced away from the baby, defused twice before getting to the baby. Because I use these lights the room is nice and dim. which helps keep the baby more settled.
Nice and natural Hair and Make-up if you are getting family photos taken and would like hair and make-up, my newborn assistant Maddy is available to do this for you during the session. This is only an extra $25.
9 hole macro frame. I don’t usually take 9 close up photos in a session. But if you are interested in this frame with the 9 detail photos, let me know so I can take extra photos to fill the frame.
Fresh floral rings: Floral Wreaths $70, Foliage Wreaths FREE
Please give me plenty of notice to arrange as I need to order flowers and source the day before the shoot. I also use the flowers in other prop setups during the session too. For the foliage wreaths the rings are free as I just forage greenery from the garden. You will see in the examples below that we put boys in our floral wreaths too. Nothing beats a fresh baby in fresh flowers.
Bonus if you decide to get the flower wreath framed in a 20x20 or larger, the flowers are on me!
Special items Bring with you any items you would like in the photographs, blankets, shawls, smock dresses, special teddys, foot castings or photos of previous angel babies. For example Mason is lying in his mothers sentimental wedding gown. Allegra is holding her grandmothers pearls and her hanky is tucked in the circle. Henry is cuddling a bunny his granny made. Lila is lying with her parents childhood toys. The twins are lying on there shawls, Kiwa is holding a baby feather her Grandmother found, symbolic to her beliefs, and Henry has his mums childhood teddy and blanket.
Sibling portraits Let me know if you would like me to spend a little bit of time to capture one or two portraits of the older sibling/s. Often older sibling photos are overlooked. But it is lovely to be able to celebrate them too.
After the session
In roughly 2-3 weeks you will be invited back to the studio to view your images.You will view your photos in print on our 'Reveal Wall'. We then discuss what you might like to do with your images. I have a gallery of different options and wall displays at the studio that will gives you an idea of the possibilities.
Baby announcement cards, I am able to design, get these approved by you and printed ready for you to take away when you come to your viewing.
You can pay on the day or I can provide an invoice for the outstanding balance. If you pay on the day, you will be able to take your matted printed images away on the day. Your digital negatives will be sent out in an online gallery.
Once we receive payment for your order it goes into production. Custom made frames and prints can take 3-4 weeks.
You are welcome to bring your newborn to the viewing session as well. The viewing session can take up to an hour so it is recommended that all decision makers are present as this appointment is designed for you to place your order
Baby Announcement Cards
These are personally designed baby announcements by myself (double sided) and 50 printed cards. I keep my designs classic and simple with your baby as the main feature.
I have many classic templates to choose from. You can have a look at them in the studio during your session. And fill out an order from there. Colours and fonts can all be customised to your liking. But also feel free to email me anything you love and would like me to draw inspiration on. I can do more custom options.
You are just billed for your cards when we do the rest of your order.