How to prepare younger siblings for newborn session

Preparing a younger sibling to participate in the newborn session is so incredibly important for 2  reasons:

  • safety: younger siblings can accidentally cause harm and injury to a newborn posed next to and on them
  • cooperating with newborn: posing a young child next to a newborn has to be a relatively quick process as newborns are unpredictable in behavior and can easily wake up and unsettle during the posing process

Including a younger sibling/s can often times be the most stressful experience during the entire shoot. The best chance to avoid potential roadblocks is preparation before the shoot. Here are a few suggestions to try to prepare your younger child for the newborn session. There is never a guarantee when working with younger subjects, but doing the following steps before a shoot can greatly improve the chance that we capture that elusive sibling portrait:

  1. talk through the situation days before the shoot. Talk about my house, studio, me, the camera, the lights, and everyone who will be there. Talk through expected behaviors and the need to cooperate during the shoot
  2. show them some examples of what you want to achieve for the shoot. Pinterest is a great way to show your younger child what we want to photograph so that there is an expectation of what mom/dad wants to achieve and what the camera is trying to capture. Get them excited by asking them to pick their favorite poses or things to do with the baby for the shoot (send me those ideas if your younger child picks any!). Check out this board I pinned for potential sibling shot ideas to share with your younger child
  3. practice! Days before the shoot, play pretend and act out the newborn session with the younger sibling. Grab your iPhone and try to create excitment and fun in posing the siblings together. Do spot the baby during this process but practice having baby lie next to the sibling, in their arms (if they're able). Practice asking them to sit and lie down next to the baby. Practice having them look at, kiss, and lean towards baby on cue. Make sure to create a big hoopla and give a ton of praise for cooperation
  4. prepare to bribe. Think about what rewards you are comfortable offering should you need to bribe the day of or during the shoot and come prepared
  5. loop me in! Do you notice anything during your practice runs? Is the sibling particularly rough or excited around the baby? Is the sibling unwilling to sit near the baby? Is the sibling totally uncooperative during mock sessions? Email me in advance and loop me in! The more advance notice I have as to what to expect, the more I can prepare to negotiate with sibling come session time
  6. don't lose your cool during the shoot. One of the easiest way end a sibling session is if the parents get mad or frustrated. Younger children respond especially poorly to this. They are incredibly sensitive and it's important to note that they're asked to pose in front of the camera in a stranger's house with that stranger around! This can be a daunting and uncomfortable situation for even adults so it's so important that you leave the coaxing to me and just be supportive and excited during the posing process

There is no scientific reason but I've found that girls tend to cooperate less than boys of the same age in sibling posing. Another suggestion if you find yourself in this situation is to have your younger child pick out her outfits before the shoot. Little girls might be more cooperative if they can look their best for the shoot. 

It's important to note that no amount of preparation can guarantee a younger child will cooperate the day of the shoot, but I hope that the above few suggestions can preemptively deter some potential bumps for day of. I can't wait to meet your family!! I can't wait to see some magic and some disaster. We can laugh about it later!


Did you find this post helpful? Check out these other session prep posts.

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5 tips to prepare for your hospital newborn session aka the Fresh48

You're days away from meeting your brand new baby, you can feel it in your bones. You are packed and ready and have briefed all your family members and friends on appropriate and expected behavior when the big day is here. You are ready as ready can be and have even booked a photographer for your birth and/or a Fresh48 session. (click here if you've never heard of the Fresh48). 


Now what?

Consider these 5 tips from me to you. Whether or not I'm currently on call for the arrival of your new little, I'd like to share these tips with every expecting mom so that you can have the most seamless and stress-free hospital lifestyle newborn session possible. 

Tip #1 - pack all your toiletry/styling tool/makeup essentials in your hospital bag. You may or may not look or feel your best the day of your Fresh48 and don't want to be without that magic in a bottle of a concealer or your favorite mascara. Your hair might also need a little TLC and before your brain completely goes to mush, make sure that they're packed and ready for you come shoot time

Tip #2 - pre-educate all potential visitors on expected behavior before and during the shoot which essentially boils down to, clear the room or schedule visitation outside of the session time. Your photographer will most likely just be photographing immediate family, the session can take upwards of 45 minutes depending on the cooperation of your new little one

Tip #3 - if sibling/s are present for the shoot and under an age where verbal negotiation and agreements don't always work reliably, be sure to have on hand treats of high value that have a proven history of bribing success

Tip #4 - give your cell phone to Dad for day-of communication with the photographer. Make sure Dad knows when to expect texts/calls from the photographer and keeps an eye on the phone. You won't remember to, your brain and heart will be fully focused on baby

Tip #5 - do nothing else! Don't move furniture around that might be in the way, don't change the baby into new outfits, don't clear up space, don't fret. Your photographer should be able to do all of the following should he/she need to during the shoot. The idea is for you to relax and interact with baby, be candid and have fun! Stressing before the shoot will be counterproductive. The photographer is a fly on your wall, so I make it a point to tell moms to do nothing in preparation for me except the above mentioned tips. I will handle the rest

Bonus Tip: in case you were wondering, because I always wonder about tipping etiquette, you are not expected to tip for any of your sessions with me. While I've received tips from clients before, it is always unexpected but nonetheless appreciated. Please understand that this is not an expectation of LLP. 

Are you currently expecting and intrigued by the Fresh48? I'd love to chat with you about it!

Know someone who might find these tips helpful? Share it for us please!

How to dress for your studio newborn portrait session

This, is a potentially touchy subject to cover because it is just so darn subjective. This is also one of the most commonly asked question by clients who want to join their baby in their newborn session and pose with their little one. I love posing parents with their brand new baby, mostly because it's one of the most comical experiences in my studio. Dads, especially, always crack me up due to their complete lack of confidence in their ability to smile and not drop the baby.... 

You see... dressing for your newborn portrait session is especially tricky because your co-model is a brand new baby, days old, and totally pooing around the clock. 

So first and foremost, bring CHANGES of clothes. Photoshop only goes so far and is no match for explosive episodes of you know what. Be mindful to pack clothes that are easy to get into and out of (avoid back zippers/buttons, or shirts that need to be taken off/put on with the help of someone. That helper most likely won't be available to help dress you day of...

Secondly, wear neutral colors! Trust me or not, from behind the camera, the more neutral the outfit, the better it all comes together in your final image. I'd highly recommend avoiding patterns like plaid, polka-dots, or large/loud prints. Some of my clients are complete fashionistas and I trust their outfit choices completely. In case you are less confident in your closet, come in neutral colors like cream/off-whites/tans/greys etc. 

Lastly, they see a picture is worth a thousand words and as much as I can list on my tips and suggestions but isn't it always better to show you? Click here to see an outfit inspiration board I put together on Pinterest! 


In the end though, it really doesn't matter what you's how you wear it. In the end, it's not about your Sunday bests and Pre-Labor Day whites, it's about capturing the tender love that you feel toward your brand new baby. Trust me, that love will come through. 


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You find the following posts helpful: Must bring items for a studio session, 5 Tips for picture day

Must bring items to your studio newborn shoot

If you're like me, packing for anything proves a more daunting task than warranted. I always, always feel like I've forgotten something. I can't tell you how many times, we've left the house and came back, just because I felt like I forgot something. In reality, I never do... the list-maker in me doesn't allow for anything to be left behind, but there is always an incessant nagging that follows. Getting a newborn out the door when the baby might be fussing and you are definitely sleep deprived can result in a frazzled car ride. The last thing you want to do is wonder if you've forgotten anything, worse yet, have to turn around because you did forget something. 

I've come up with a simple packing list that you can check the morning of. This is by no means comprehensive! I send all my clients a prep guide that highlights all that you might want to consider bringing with you to the shoot, but this short and sweet list will guarantee that you have everything you need!

  1. baby
  2. diaper bag (diapers, wipes)
  3. change of clothes for baby and everyone who will be photographed
  4. my studio address
  5. phone
  6. wallet (driver's license)
  7. food in whatever form if you are not breastfeeding

That's it! Make sure to have the above 7 things and you will have everything you need for your newborn session. Take a photo of the list on your phone and check it the morning of as you're headed out the door! Anddddd you're welcome :)


Found this helpful but curious to see my studio prep guide? Email me for a complimentary copy of my comprehensive studio newborn session prep guide!

The Secret is Out: My Lovely Prop Vendors

Every once in awhile, not often, but every now and then, clients ask me if I make the props I display and use in session. I always, incredulously, answer, that I most definitely do not. They are purchased from a very special group of vendors. What my clients don't know is the lengths I've gone through to secure some of the props I have in the studio.

I have done the following including but not limited to:

  • setting multiple alarms on my phone for shop updates
  • googling the timezone that a particular vendor is located in and schedule my whole day so that I'm plopped by the computer when the shop "opens" virtually
  • begged and negotiated with vendors to make me items that were OOAK (one of a kind) and sold to another photographer. 
  • placed a single order with a vendor totaling over $500. I really hope Mike doesn't read this...
  • set up actual phone calls to talk about specifics of custom ordered loveys and bonnets to make sure that my crazy idea translates to an item that will actually look good and is feasible to make with vendors
  • raced down the 10 freeway to get to my computer on time for a shop opening (for which an alarm was set but sometimes your errands run long and then you run some red lights, no biggie)
  • other stuff I'm too embarrassed to share online but I think the above 6 items give you a good idea of how I've come to procure the props and accessories that I provide in my studio for your newborn shoot

I've listed some of my favorite vendors below who deserve my gratitude on behalf of my clients. I wish I could tell each of you the countless times someone's commented on your craftsmanship, attention to detail, talents, materials, and creative design. I'm always so proud, even though I didn't make it. I'm proud because of the lengths I've gone through to acquire them and how I've supported businesses which are so very excellent. 

I'm nothing without you. Your work totally makes every photo here at Lucy Liora Photography. Thank you!

1.    The Wooly Possum
2.    Riley’s Mom Makes Hats
3.    Prop Me Up Propshop
4.    The Felted Attic Prop-Shop
5.    Lelas Propshop

Happy shopping!!

5 things to do to ensure a stress-free picture day

  1. fully review my studio prep guide days before your session
  2. pack everything you need the night before. Trust me. 
  3. if you are bringing other siblings to the session AND they will be photographed with the baby AND are under the age of 7, read this RIGHT NOW
  4. map/waze directions to the studio the day before at the time you'd leave for the session to gauage traffic (we live in LA, let's not kid ourselves, driving 10 miles can take 2 hours) budget travel time accordingly 
  5. please be sure to bring your calendar as well as the schedule/calendar of all other financial decision makers to the shoot. We need to set up your in-person ordering consultation after the session so that you can see your images as soon as possible! 

Contact me for a copy of my full newborn session prep guide.

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Fresh48 (?)

If I were completely honest, Fresh48 sessions are my very favorite type of session to shoot. In case you’ve never heard of this type of newborn session, here is some basic info (getting right to the point for once, I've heard your feedback ahem):

When: hours or days after birth! Just as long as you're still in the hospital/birthing center

Where: in the place of birth, BEFORE you go home; unless it was a home birth, of course

How: sometime after the baby is born and before you are discharged, your Photographer (me hopefully!) comes to photograph the lifestyle hospital session

Who: your baby! And immediate family. Due to the nature of the shoot, extended family and friends are asked to schedule visitations outside the hours of the shoot

Length: short and sweet to accommodate mom and baby’s rest, roughly 30-45 minutes

Fee: head on over to my investment page to see details

That’s the short of it! Here’s some other info you might find enlightening. The Fresh48 is such an up and coming session in the newborn photography industry. While these sessions are still relatively unknown to expecting moms, that makes these precious photos all the more compelling and memorable for you and your family. If becoming a parent is a crazy blur, the first couple of days is probably the most blurry of all! This is especially true for first-time moms. While you certainly can pack a camera/camcorder/smart phone on you, it is so assuring to know that even if you never took a photo, this monumental event in your life will be beautifully and artistically documented. Another thing is, you will ALL be in the photos without needing to take a selfie or ask your nurse.


Consider booking a Fresh48 and check that off your list of to-dos. Pregnant and thinking of booking a Fresh48 session with me?  

-contact me to book your session today!

-check out this blog posts on 5 tips to prepare for your hospital newborn session

-check out these recent Fresh48 galleries: Baby Cyan, Baby MaxBaby Zoe


Gassy Baby? This MIGHT be why...

One of the main things I check for right before the shoot is if the baby's stomach is distended. To check, I gently place the base of my palm on the baby's stomach and give just the gentlest pressure, if the belly gives in to pressure, the baby is not gassy, if the belly feels quite hard like a very ripe tomato, the baby is quite possibly very gassy. 

From the prospective of a newborn photographer, this just means that the baby won't be comfortable in certain poses. All this would mean is poses where the baby's feet are coming up over or under the belly will be skipped in flow posing. 

From the prospective of a mom, a brand new, sleep deprived, going slightly crazy mama, this means a whole lot more. A gassy baby is a fussy baby and try as you might, it'll be very hard to calm the baby to go into any sort of uninterrupted sleep. Your baby could be experience gas for a number of reasons but if you are breastfeeding it can very well be related to your diet. Below I share my nursing guide that I send to all prospective clients to help avoid a gassy baby for the session. This, of course, is not an end all be all solution to your baby's discomfort, so definitely consult your pediatrician and doctor should the condition persist. In the meantime, check to see if you've ingested anything on the list and remove it from your diet immediately. It takes time for the food you eat to transfer to baby so give it 48 hours to adjust. 

newborn-photography-food- prep-guide

Oh and have you tried gripe water? This can help too. Please do plenty of research and consult your doctor before administering anything to your baby. LLP did not and does not have any medical training and the content of this article should not be taken as medical advice in anyway. 

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Cheers to happy sleepy babies everywhere,

Community Over Competition

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of “befriending” in a very loose but altogether heartwarming sense of the word, a few fellow newborn photographers. One is close, so close as to be considered a local competitor, while a few are geographically much farther. All have a singularly impressive thing in common: they’ve provided help and guidance as well as much needed encouragement. 

Starting a small business is no easy task. No longer do I have the luxury of delegating any task or picking/choosing which project I’d like to involve myself. When you own a business, the work never stops. (blogpost on work/life balance post-public accounting coming soon) I’ve felt defeated and discouraged many times this year and have at times questioned if I’ve indeed made a wise decision to leave such a lucrative career. Words truly can’t describe how grateful I am for each of these women on this rocky journey this past year. 


Thank you all for the ways you’ve guided my thinking, inspired my heart, helped my business, critiqued my work, shared your secrets, and cheered me on. I am endlessly grateful for you, however new that friendship may be. I hope this year brings you each amazing blessings professionally and personally. I am excited to watch your businesses grow. A fan/friend always. Thank you. 

In case you're looking and happen to live in one of these awesome cities:

Chicago: Hannah Drews Photography

Singapore: Bows and Ribbons Photography

LA: Nurture Photography