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Grass Valley Newborn Photographer, Jana Johnston on Posing, Ideas, Newborn Safety and what to expect

Mason Philip was born on June 22nd at 2:15 pm, weighing 7 lbs 2 oz and 20 inches. 💙 He’s a precious healthy boy and his parents Cheyenne and Brent couldn’t be prouder! They want to thank everyone for the sweet words, the continued help and prayers for all of them.. ❤️

So before we even get started, we recommend that you schedule your newborn session PRIOR to your baby’s birth to ensure we will have a date open for you. Contact us during your second trimester and we’ll pencil you in for a date range around your due date. We ask that you call or email us as soon as you can after your baby is born to set up your session.


Newborn sessions must be scheduled within the first 14 days of life. However, the BEST time is between 5-14 days after their arrival. In order to get those adorable, sleepy images we all desire, it’s best to do the session while your baby is still unaware and tired from birth. Plus, babies just tend to do a lot better with the session within their first 7 days. Around 8 days old, babies figure out that they can streeeeetch out and it’s more difficult to get them into those scrunchy newborn poses. After day 14, it’s almost impossible to get baby into that deep sleep that came so easily in their first few days. And, keep in mind that newborn acne (and sometimes colic) is likely to flare up after day 14. While I can edit problem areas, I prefer to do as little retouching as possible to baby’s skin.


Newborn sessions take place on the take place in my home studio at 201 Marvin Ave , Colfax Ca. I can also provide an in home newborn session for additional costs. I am located on the corner of Marvin and Northstar. I can also come to your house for a home session. Contact me for details.

We service Yuba, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, El Dorado and Amador Counties.


I will have the room in the studio heated to a warmer than normal temperature so be sure to wear something light and comfortable and be prepared to sweat a little. Newborns cannot regulate their body temperature therefore we heat up the studio so your baby can be comfortable when we remove his or her clothing.


Please loosen up your baby’s clothing and diaper at least 30 minute prior to our session. This gives time for those little imprint marks and redness to disappear. Your baby will be naked for most of the session so we want his or her skin to be its natural, flawless self.


All of those classic, sleepy newborn images we like to capture, require your baby to be in his or her deepest sleep. It may sounds counterintuitive, but try keeping your baby awake 30 minutes to an hour just before our session time. Don’t stress if you cannot do this! It’s simply a suggestion but baby’s have their own ideas of when they want to sleep and that’s ok too.


Getting baby into that Milk Drunk state is what we shoot for so try to wait to feed your baby until right before we start. Of course, we’ll take plenty of breaks for messes, feeding and cuddling.


If you plan on having some sibling images done, we’ll do those first and then the older kids we be able to leave with Grandma, Dad or whoever can watch them. Neutral, earthy tones are best for clothing and jeans with solid color shirts are preferred.


Newborn sessions can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. The key to getting good images is to be patient. Relax and try to enjoy the quiet while I work.


I expect your baby to poop and pee all over the blankets and props. It happens! I wash everything after each session I do, so don’t worry about it. If you have any extra wipes or towels handy, bring them out for the session. I will always have some clean up items on hand too so don’t stress.


I have a great selection of props, hats, headbands, bowties, blankets, baskets and backdrops to choose from. Please be sure to discuss your desires with me before the session and let me know of any special items of your own that you would like to use.


If you can bring a pacifier for your baby, even if only for the session, this will make the work much easier. Baby’s often love to suck and it helps soothe them into the poses we are looking for and makes for easier transitions and getting them to sleep. If your baby won’t take a pacifier or you do no feel comfortable offering one, don’t worry. I can work with whatever is right for you and your family.

 Let me know what time works best for you I would say either morning or early afternoon would be best as Colfax will be busy that day because they are having 3 July celebration in town . 

Working with an inexperienced photographer is not a safe choice for your newborn. 

I always feel honored when I am trusted to snuggle and pose little babies, and it is my first and most important responsibility to make sure I create a safe environment when I photograph them. 

Babies aren’t props, they are tiny fragile little people. They deserve the greatest care and respect I can give. I will never place your sweet little baby in a position that is unsafe or one that makes them uncomfortable. 

Some parents insist on certain poses, and while I am happy to try those, if your little one isn’t having it, we will skip that shot. No image is worth potentially harming them physically or emotionally. 

As a mother, grandmother I understand how important it is to you to capture these precious images, and I also know exactly how nervous you may be letting a stranger handle your newborn. I have years of experience and practice that set me apart and enable me to make the safest choices while posing your baby.

Some of the super cute, but potentially dangerous images that may come to mind when you think of newborn photography include the head in hands or froggy pose, slingshot or suspending the baby from something, like a branch, sitting upright, either by them self or balanced on the parent's arm. 

Many of these images actually aren’t created in Camera, but are instead, multiple images photoshopped together. Not all photographers know how to capture these images correctly or safely.

I have several suggestions to help you prepare your baby for their newborn session.

Babies should be between 3 and 10 days old.

Babies alter than 10 days, are often very difficult to capture in those sweet, dreamy poses.

I always ask that the parents keep the baby awake for as long as possible prior to the session.

I also suggest that the baby be fed immediately prior to the session.

They should be kept very warm too. As a heads up, excessively quiet environments wont work, so I play White Noise in the background to help drowned out the sounds that may wake the newborn. 

Even if we do everything right and use all the tricks, some babies simply won’t sleep during their session. 

In those cases, or when the baby is 10 or more days old, I often suggest a photojournalistic approach that is more relaxed and natural and includes parents and siblings and their interactions. 

​We travel to Jackson, Amador City, Ione, Grass Valley, Yuba City, Auburn, Placerville, Camino, Foresthill and Lake Tahoe.

Come take a look at this sweet slideshow!

Please contact us if you are having a baby soon! We would love to capture your new little life!

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