Please read the following prep guide thoroughly for a successful session.
One of the most important things to remember at the session is to go with the flow. Your baby will be in charge of the session, and I will only do what makes your baby comfortable and happy. I have developed a posing flow at every session to keep babies safe, comfortable, and relaxed. Altering this routine with lots of prop requests and multiple outfit changes can backfire, causing your baby to be overstimulated and tired. I have everything you will need for your session as far as props go, but if you would like to bring a prop of your own, please make sure to limit it to one or two special sentimental items. My goal, is for you to be able to come in and relax, sit back and enjoy watching your precious baby, and I will take care of the rest! I absolutely love what I do, and your baby will always be treated with the utmost respect and care.
What to expect….for baby:
THE MORNING OF THE SESSION:
The following instructions are suggestions only. You know your baby best, so some instructions may be impossible. However, these tips work WONDERFULLY to help make the most of our time together for a successful session. Lack of preparation can cause the session to be much more complex and last longer. Please don’t stress if you can not do everything perfectly. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and I understand this is a crazy time for your family! However, being willing to alter your schedule for the day can help make your session a success!
**Please avoid foods that can cause gas a few days before your session if you are nursing.
**Please avoid caffeine if possible, the morning of your session if you are nursing.
Feeding the morning of the session:
If you are coming to the session….
WITH BABY ONLY (no siblings): If you live near by, feed your baby immediately before you leave your house to come to the session. If you live more than 45 minutes away, please feed your about 2-3 hours prior to the session, then, plan on feeding him again as soon as you arrive at my studio to get him nice and full before we start the session. Dress your baby in loose clothing so it will be easy to undress him without waking him. We will start with your baby’s portraits right away, and will finish the session with parent photos.
WITH A TODDLER OR YOUNG SIBLING: Please feed your baby immediately before you leave your house to come to the session. This will allow us to start sibling photos right away when you arrive. Young siblings have a short attention span for photos, so we want to make sure we take those photos immediately so the sibling will not have to wait through a feeding. When you get here, I will swaddle your baby in a beautiful wrap and begin the sibling photos. Toddlers have a short attention span, and I do not want the sibling to have to wait a while for baby to be fed before we start photos. Dress your baby in loose clothing so it will be easy to undress him without waking him. We will start sibling photos immediately upon arrival, then family photos will follow. Please make arrangements to have a friend or family member pick up your toddler or young children so we can then focus on the individual newborn portraits. If no one is available, it is best for one of the parents to take the toddler out to grab a bite to eat, visit the local shops, or play at the nearby park while we complete the rest of the session. Sessions can last over 2 hours, and children do not enjoy sitting still for that amount of time. Please make necessary arrangements before you arrive. Thank you for understanding.
FEEDING: When feeding your baby, please take your time and make sure your baby gets a full feeding. I like to use the term “milk drunk, ” meaning your baby eats until he falls into a deep sleep. Please don’t feel rushed during feedings at the studio. There is plenty of time set aside during your session for baby’s needs. It is so important to make sure baby has a full belly to get those sleepy baby poses. A hungry baby will not pose and will remain unsettled during the session.
If you are nursing and pumping, please bring a couple of bottles of expressed milk. If you are using formula, please bring extra formula! More than you think you will need! Babies tend to feed more than usual at the session.
Sessions usually last around 1.5-3 hours. Sometimes a little longer depending on if baby is a light sleeper, or needs to stop multiple times to feed. The easiest way to ensure a sleepy baby is the willingness to nurse/bottle feed on and off. Your baby’s feeding schedule may be a little thrown off on session day, but babies tend to be hungrier during their newborn sessions. Do not be surprised if they want to eat more than normal. **I understand that some parents may be already trying to set a “feeding schedule.” However, please understand that babies may be a hungrier at their newborn sessions because of the extra exercise from being moved around. Please be willing to have a flexible feeding schedule during the newborn session. If a parent withholds feedings and the baby is clearly showing signs of hunger and distress because of they need to eat sooner than scheduled, I will discontinue the session. Please be willing to be a little flexible just for the couple of hours we are together for a successful session. My top priority is your baby’s health, safety, and comfort. **
If you can, bring the soothie pacifier the hospital sent you home with. It’s the bendable, green/blue/orange one, and won’t leave marks. Even if you haven’t used one, just for the 2 hours that I’m posing him/her really helps. If you don’t happen to have one, I keep unopened, sterile pacifiers here in the studio (as well as plenty of newborn diapers). However, if you really prefer that we don’t use a paci, that is fine as well! I will always respect your wishes!
For breast feeding moms, some foods we eat may cause painful gas for our babies. If your baby is experiencing gas pains, here is a great article from Dr. Sears that lists some foods to avoid that may cause gas. However, this is just a suggestion as everyone is different. But some find avoiding these foods may be helpful.
During the session…
TEMPERATURE: It will be around 75+ degrees in the studio. Due to this, I will be dressed comfortably for a warm few hours, and suggest you do to! This warm temperature will keep baby’s skin color nice and even, as well as help him stay warm and comfy since he will be undressed for most of the session. You are welcome to bring the clothes you want to change into, and any makeup for touch-ups. There is a private restroom with a full length mirror for dressing.
MOM & DAD: You are a big part of the show. Photographing the connection between you and your baby is one of my all time favorite things. Just as they encourage in the hospital, skin to skin contact creates the most beautiful images, so refrain from wearing bulky, loose clothing with long sleeves.
Dads: I ask that you bring a well fitting t-shirt/v-neck, (please avoid the typical white “undershirt”) textured thermal shirts look great, or henley style shirt to wear with a good fitting pair of jeans, or if you prefer, a neutral solid button up. White, grey, black, or tan works well, and looks nice for photos. Don’t worry about what kind of shoes you wear, as these will not show. I suggest removing watches to keep the focus on baby.
Poses: Some parents ask if they can request certain poses or shots they have seen on other photography sites or pinterest. Yes, you can request them, and I will make every attempt to get you what you want in terms of poses; however, there are certain poses, that in my opinion, are unsafe and pose harm to the baby. These poses, I will not do. Baby is my number one priority. Some babies are uncomfortable in certain poses, and I will only do what feels comfortable for your baby. **Please note that the above photo is a composite photo accomplished with an assistant. These poses should never be done without proper training. Your baby’s safety comes first!**
My goal is to photograph your beautiful baby and family the way they are. Enjoy your UNIQUE session, and try not to get caught up in re-creating someone else’s family photo session. This session is about YOUR little miracle. YOUR family. Almost always, parents favor the simple, classic poses instead of the photographs with crazy props because they are timeless and will never go out of style.
For Baby: Please don’t stress if your baby has acne or peeling skin. I can retouch all of this at no extra charge. If you prefer to leave some of the peeling skin to show the newness of your baby, please let me know and I will leave those details in your photos. Otherwise, all skin blemishes that would not normally be there will be retouched. Birth marks, scars can be softened ONLY at your request. I like to leave these unique features. Umbilical cords will be left as is and will not be edited out, so please let me know at the time of the session if you prefer that the umbilical cord stays covered, and I will pose the baby in a way so it will not show.
For other family Members: While acne/blemish removal and wrinkle softening are free of charge, there are a few things that will incur an extra editing fee of $40 per image. These requests are very time consuming and may result in editing delays. Please take care of these issues before your photos.
Nail polish color changes/ heavy peeling removal (small chips can be photoshopped free of charge because I know this can happen easily. Nail polish remover is available if needed)
Hair color change or root cover up
Self tanner blotches/streaks and tan lines
Braces removal or tooth repairs/replacement
Large tattoo removal requests (I love tattoos, but if you do not want them to show, please wear something that covers them)
Arriving with heavily wrinkled clothes (a steamer is available if needed)
Excessive food or mucus left on children’s faces
Requesting makeup color changes
Poorly fitting undergarment lines/folds, and brightly colored undergarments that show through clothing. Neutral tones are best.
HOW TO PREP:
Master bedrooms, living rooms, baby’s nursery and spare bedrooms are most common. Opening all blinds and curtains before my arrival will help me to figure out which spaces are best. Please do not feel the need to clean your entire house deep before I come. Please. There is zero need to impress me, at all. I’m a mom… of 3, So nothing scares me. However, if you can, try and declutter items on counters/floors in the spaces you’d like me to photograph in. Less is more when it comes to these type sessions. That’s why spare bedrooms are always clients favorite rooms to shoot in because most of the time, those are the rooms with just a bed. Also, keep in mind your bedding. There are some really wonderful colors and patterns out there (which is amazing) however, if you have a white sheet/blanket/comforter definitely bust that out and lay it on top. The reason being, bright and bold colors will cast shadows and colors on skin, leaving a tint of whatever color the blanket is. So if you can, keep it simple and plain. Whites and creams are always ideal to ensure esthetically pleasing images to the eye.
If you have older children, let me know before we schedule a time. I always like to make sure we aren’t heading toward a nap while I’m there. I try my best to be flexible on the time of day we shoot to accommodate for such schedules.
If possible, try and keep your house warmer than usual. Babies love being warm and cuddly and when the house is cold, they’ll let you know if they don’t like it.
In-home newborn sessions are unique to each family. They tell your story, from the comfort of your home. No rush getting everyone out the door, making sure the diaper bag is packed and baby is strapped in the carseat. In-home newborn sessions are my absolute favorite to shoot. There is little to no posing. From diaper changes to feedings to lounging on the couch, I document it all!
WHAT TO EXPECT:
After your baby arrives, I like to have my mama’s shoot me a quick text after their little one is here, that way I can start to clear my schedule and find a good day for our session. Most all my newborn sessions take place when baby is anywhere from 5-20 days old. This is important because I like to shoot when baby is still in the womb-like stage and very sleepy. (you know… when their days and nights are flip-flopped ;-) ).
WHAT TO WEAR:
Simple is best. Comfort is key. Keep colors neutral but don’t be afraid to add a little bit of color! Whites, creams, grey, and subdued colors always photograph the best. Try and avoid bright and bold colors (neons), super dark colors like black and navy blue and big patterns and shirts with large logos on them because all that can take away from the overall feel and look of your images. We want the focus to be on you and your little one, not what your shirt said. Same rules apply to siblings. Try and avoid clothing with characters, sequins and neons.
From a cozy oversized sweater and leggings, to a pretty floral or linen dress, the options are endless for you mamas!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
My baby is so fussy I’m afraid she’ll cry the entire time you’re here!
-This is the wonderful thing about in-home sessions. We can stop at any time. I give you all the time you need to relax and recompose. Babies cry. It’s totally ok. It’s totally normal.
My son/daughter is afraid of the baby or want’s nothing to do with them.
-This was my life when I brought my second child home. My kiddos are 17 months apart and my oldest son wanted nothing to do with his new brother. It’s ok. It’s normal. A new addition is a huge adjustment to a sibling! I never force or coerce kids to get in the frame. Sometimes a simple game of “can you show me baby’s nose?” does the trick, sometimes it doesn’t and we let them be. The goal is to never force a child or punish them if they’re not feeling it.
My house isn’t Pinterest perfect.
-Mine isn’t either. And it definitely wasn’t when I had little ones. The goal for in-home sessions isn’t about the state of your house. It’s so much deeper than that. And really, all I need is one room with some good light and I can create magic.
I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with just 2 windows. We don’t even have a crib!
-Some of my most favorite sessions had taken place in such a space! It’s all about angles and light. Cribs are not necessary to show you have a newborn. There are so many other places inside your home that we can use! Couches, beds, even the floor!
How long does a typical session last?
- Most sessions last around 2hrs. I like to leave extra time for feedings, diaper changes and fussy babies.
Do you use or bring props?
- No. Being a lifestyle photographer, I tend to lean more towards less is more. My goal is to capture you and your family organically.
We are so awkward in front of the camera. Will you help pose us?
- Yes of course! I totally understand being awkward, because I am too! I will definitely help guide you into a pose and then ask you to engage with your family.
After your session…
The photos from your session will be presented to you in a private online proofing gallery. I will email you the link to access this gallery within a couple of weeks after your session. You will receive an appointment for your gallery reveal, I understand that with a new baby you may prefer to have it in the comfort of your home. I am happy to accommodate and send you a proof gallery viea email. From your gallery, you will be able to “heart” and select your favorites. The amount of images you may select depends on the package you choose. Once you choose the images you would like to have edited (please email me to let me know you’ve finalized your selections), I will then edit them perfectly and send those to you with a print release! (please allow around 2 weeks to be completed.)
From your gallery you will be able to download your digital files. Your photos are presented in a special online gallery where you can download them instantly with one click. No more waiting for your images to be mailed to you! Clients love the simplicity of being able to download them easily from their gallery!
Your notification email will contain instructions on how to download your files, (it is quick and easy!) and it will have a suggestion as to where you can have them printed on your own. If you prefer to purchase prints from me, a variety of sizes of fine art prints and canvases are available for purchase in your gallery.
Thank you again for choosing me to photograph this special time!
It is my hope that you come to my studio feeling comfortable and at home. I am truly honored to be able to document this incredible time in your lives, and look forward to getting to know you and your sweet baby!