Types of Newborn Photography Sessions
NOTE: As of 01 Jan 2019, I’m no longer booking Studio (posed) Newborn sessions. Please see this post: Rorake’s Newborn Session for recommendations for alternative photographers :)
Are you expecting a little one soon? CONGRATULATIONS! If you're here, you might be thinking about hiring a photographer to capture those first days and tiny little details of your new baby. As a mother of three, I'm SO PASSIONATE about creating memories of your children. They grow SO DANG FAST. Here's some of the options that are common for newborn photography sessions, and hopefully will help you chose what fits best for your lifestyle and family!
Studio Newborn (Posed)
This is something that I have spent HOURS and HOURS perfecting. I'm always taking new workshops and courses, and spent 6 months mentoring with a successful newborn photographer in Hawaii before venturing out on my own. Some key things:
This usually happens in a studio, unless the photographer travels. I personally don't travel unless there are circumstances that don't allow you to come to me, as I have a TON of stuff and it's a lot to lug around a HUGE posing bag, light set up (with 86" umbrella!), props.. and more props, and wraps. It's just easier to come to me! In my cozy studio in downtown Waynesville, I can control the temperature to make baby comfortable, and you can relax on a couch within arm's reach of us while I work.
Studio sessions can take up to four hours, depending on baby. We prepare for lots of breaks for feeding, cuddling, and diaper changes. I usually get soiled at least once per session, and wash everything that we use in between babies. Plan to spend a bit of time while I work with baby to get those sweet sleepy poses.
Parents and siblings can be included in some photos on request! I usually do these first, while baby isn't fully asleep to get them out of the way, and if you have a young sibling to allow them to leave the studio with dad or a sitter if you wish. They're more than welcome to stay, of course!
While it's not mandatory that baby be less than 10 days old, it is preferable. The first 4-10 days are babies sleepiest, and after they start becoming more and more alert. Booking your session 3-4 months out assures that I'll have time blocked off around your guess date and be able to get you in right away.
The most important thing to consider is newborn safety. If you chose another photographer, ask some questions: Are they insured? How much experience do they have with newborns? Have they mentored or taken any workshops? How do they pose baby (natural or with a spotter is a good answer!) Always be careful with people who are still building their portfolio- while yes everyone starts somewhere, make sure they have a good knowledge before allowing them to touch your new baby.
Lifestyle Newborn (In home, or Studio, Unposed)
Wanting something a little more laid back? A lifestyle session focuses on baby and you! If we shoot in your house, I'll capture details of the nursery and your home along with all those fun things like feeding, diaper changes, a bath.. etc. All you do is go about your normal routine, and I sit back and artistically document these moments.
This session is NOT posed. I may direct you and your loved ones for a few photos, or put baby on your bed for a few shots, and I will do my best to include details like tiny finger nails and eyelashes, but I won't have props or bring the setup for posed photos. Not even "just one," because honestly getting to the starting point of the "just one" would take up half the session. If you're wanting both lifestyle and studio, we can book a combo session where we do two "mini" versions so you get the best of both!
You don't have to have a perfect house or get super fancy! You just had a baby! Embrace any clutter (or put it in a closet before I arrive). Your children will look back and LOVE seeing the decorations, how you lovingly read "Pete the Cat" for the 7th time in 30 minutes, and how they used to play volcano and jump from couch to couch while pretending the floor was lava. Trust me, they're not going to worry about some cheerios on the floor or that pile of "to do" things on the side table that you just never seem to find time for.
If you still don't think you'll love photos in your home (or maybe you're living situation is a little crazy at the moment, such as mid move or have extended family shacking up), we can totally do a lifestyle session at the studio. We have a big white comfy bed and a couch and can still replicate those sweet "at home" moments in our studio.
For parents wanting all those first moments but not sure about having a photographer with them during labor and delivery, fresh 48 is a nice alternative. I offer two tiers, one that I arrive within an hour after birth, and another where I arrive later in the day or the following morning (usually coinciding with the arrival of family members or siblings to document that moment). I'll capture details from the place you give birth, all those very first moments and excitement new parents radiate!
This is also an unposed session. I am very hands off and just capture you guys getting to know each other! I love including siblings and family members, but also have a soft spot for quiet sessions with just the parents and new arrival. If I arrive a few hours after the birth, you have time to shower and brush your hair (if you want, totally not required).
In a perfect world, when I arrive there will be gorgeous late morning light coming in from large windows. Obviously this isn't always reality, so I have gear that works well in low light and have a flash I can aim at the ceiling to illuminate the room without it being obvious or irritating.
While fresh 48 and birth photography is becoming more and more common, it's important as a photographer to be respectful of the birth location and staff. I've heard horror stories about photographers interfering with nurses duties or touching things that they shouldn't. While I occasionally move a couch or chair, I am very careful to put everything back and I know what is and isn't OK. I strive to leave a good impression with the nurses/doctors/midwives etc, so that I'll be invited back again, and to make a good name for our craft. If you hire another photographer, ask about their experiences in hospitals/birth centers and if they've attended a session at the place you're birthing.
Birth is amazing. If my kids were a little older, I would probably focus on birth photography and films primarily, but alas, having a toddler and two elementary aged kids makes full time birth work hard. I take limited births now, but I have attended 18 in the last few years and am SO PASSIONATE about all things birthy. I've had three children, and each birth was so different: hospital with epidural and complications, hospital cesarean section, and a home water birth (read about my birth story here). I love being in any birth space and watching a woman go through one of the most amazing, powerful experiences ever.
For my birth clients, I'm "on call" from about 37 weeks (earlier if complications arise). I block off my schedule and basically don't leave town near your estimated due date.
I arrive once your in active labor, which can mean 5 centimeters dilated or when you feel like I need to be there. Many women are declining cervical checks now, and I've learned over my past experiences to show up when mama says so. I can usually tell by the tone of your voice if you're still in early labor or active. I also keep in contact with your partner, since you'll be focused on having a baby!
There's no time limit. If your baby comes in 2 hours or 34 (yes, I've been at a 34 hour birth), I'll be there! If you're delivering at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital (GLWACH) on post, I live just down the road. I also service Rolla, Springfield and St. Louis clients.
I can be a fly on the wall, or provide subtle support. I've learned when to step back and I've also had mothers reach out for reassurance. If you need me to step out of the room for a bit, I'm totally ok with that too.
After you deliver, I hang around for up to 2 hours to capture all those firsts- first feeding, weight and length, bath if you chose. You'll receive a birth announcement as soon as I arrive home after your birth.
Want to learn more? Fill out the form below, and I'll send over my booking guide and we can set up a time to chat! I'd be honored to tell your story!