Newborn Photography Guide
I get a lot of questions about my newborn sessions, understandably. It’s a short window of time to capture an incredibly precious stage of infancy, and you want to make sure you choose the right photographer to invest in. I created this guide to go over literally everything I could think of that has come up in past conversations with expecting parents so that *hopefully* you have a very clear understanding of what I offer and what to expect.
I currently offer two types of newborn sessions — a full session and a half session. Below I will explain the main differences between them to help you make the right choice for your family. I will also go over what a typical newborn session is like so you know what to expect. Let me know if you have any questions!
To schedule a session with me, please send me an email with your due date, your home address, and the type of session you’d like to book. Ideally, you would reach out at least 2 months before your due date, but sometimes I can accommodate families even on short notice so it doesn’t hurt to ask! I usually schedule newborn sessions on the weekends, but beginning September 1, I will be able to schedule sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings as well!
Once you’ve emailed me your due date, I will send you an invoice for 50% of your session fee. This is a non-refundable retainer to reserve space in my schedule. (More on this in a minute.) The best time for newborn photography is when the baby is 7-14 days old. Because labor is unpredictable, we will wait to schedule the exact date and time of your session until after your baby is born. (Exception: If you have a scheduled c-section, we can schedule in advance of delivery.)
Once I receive your retainer, I will block out space in my schedule around the time of your due date, give or take a week or two. Once you deliver, you’ll need to contact me as soon as possible so I can send you the dates and times I have available to do your session. Again, the best time for me to come is when your baby is around a week or two old, especially for full sessions, but if you need more time to get settled at home, just let me know, and we can schedule it a little later.
Once we’ve set a specific date and time for your session, I’ll send you an email confirmation with wardrobe advice. You’ll also get a reminder email two days before your session with instructions on how to prepare for my arrival as well as an invoice for the remainder of your session fee.
I am now asking clients to pay 50% of their session upfront. Because labor is unpredictable, I have to block out time in my schedule across several days/weekends. This means I cannot book sessions with other clients during those reserved times. If you cancel your session, I keep the retainer to offset the lost business.
Your retainer will be good for up to 3 months from your delivery date, so if something comes up, and you need to reschedule your session, you will have up to 3 months to schedule a new date and time with me. If you are not able to reschedule within 3 months, you will not receive a refund, and I will keep the retainer to offset the lost business. (Exception: If your baby ends up in the NICU, you will have up to 6 months, or longer, to schedule. Contact me to discuss if this happens.)
Half Sessions: $150
- Up to 45 minutes in your home*
- 15 high resolution digital images
- Use of my newborn swaddles
During a half session, we will spend most of the time taking pictures of you and your family in different combinations such as “mom+baby”, “dad+baby”, “sibling+baby”, “mom+dad+baby”, and “mom+dad+sibling+baby”. I will guide you through posed photos, while also prompting candid moments for more lifestyle shots. I will also take a few close up photos of your baby in your arms, lying on a bed, or in a crib. There is not enough time in a half session for any outfit changes, props, or styled sets. Close up pictures of your baby will be strictly lifestyle (i.e. unstaged). I can wrap your baby in one of my newborn swaddles, or you can provide your own clothing or swaddle. (If you’re willing to sacrifice some family photos to make time for more pictures of just the baby, let me know ahead of time.) Here’s an example of a typical half session:
Full Sessions: $300
- Up to 90 minutes in your home*
- 30 high resolution digital images
- Use of my newborn swaddles, textured blankets, baskets, and other props
During a full session, we will spend about half the time taking pictures of you and your family in different combinations such as “mom+baby”, “dad+baby”, “sibling+baby”, “mom+dad+baby”, and “mom+dad+sibling+baby”. I will guide you through posed photos, while also prompting candid moments for a few lifestyle shots. With the rest of your session time, I will pull from my collection of wraps, textured blankets, and baskets to create beautiful, styled portraits of your baby. You can expect a variety of family photos as well as styled close ups of your baby. Here is an example of a typical full session:
With either session, I will deliver all fully edited images via an online gallery within 2 weeks of your session. You can download the digital copies, print them, and share them however you like. As I sort through the photos from your session, I will choose which photos to edit, and if I have enough to send extras, I will. But I cannot guarantee extras, and I ask you to trust my judgment during the selection and editing process. I do not offer proofs.
* My newborn sessions take place in the comfort of your own home. All of my sessions include my travel time up to 20 minutes one way. If your home is outside of those boundaries, a travel fee will be added to your session (usually between $5-$25 depending on your location). Alternatively, we can rent a studio for your session for an additional $40-$60 per hour if you’d prefer. Let me know in advance if you’re interested in a studio session so we can discuss options and availability.
Are you fully vaccinated?
A. Yes, I am! I still wash and sanitize everything I bring into your home, but I am no longer wearing a mask for in-home sessions unless requested. If you have not been vaccinated, please let me know so I can be extra careful.
Do I need to clean my house?
A. No! Please don’t clean for my sake. (I’d rather you sleep!) I am here to take pictures of your family and your baby, not your house. If you’ve put a lot of love and elbow grease into decorating a nursery, let me know! I’d love to snap a few pictures of those details. But otherwise, if there’s anything in our way, we’ll just push it out of the shot. No need to clean!
Can we include our pets in a photo? Do you have any allergies?
A. I do not have any pet allergies, and I’m very comfortable around your fur babies! With a half session, there may be time at the end to include your pet, but it really depends on how well he/she follows directions. It may be more feasible with a full session because there is more time built in. Again, it just depends on how well your pet cooperates. The more time we spend posing an animal, the less time we have to get other varieties of pictures. I’m always willing to give it a try! But be prepared to scrap the idea if it’s taking more than a few minutes to get everyone situated.
What To Expect During Your Session
I will ask you to do a couple of things before I arrive: wait to feed your baby until right before I arrive (if possible) and open all the blinds and curtains to let as much natural light into your home as possible.
If you’re able to fit in a feeding shortly before I arrive, that will help your little one sleep through most of the session, which will make it easier for us to get a lot of pictures. That said, sometimes newborns need a quick cuddle or a quick feeding during the session to settle back down. Even if you’re trying to maintain a specific feeding schedule, be ready to do a small feeding if necessary. The same goes with pacifiers. If your baby could benefit from using a pacifier in between sets, have one ready, even if that’s not something you would usually resort to.
Just like every baby is different, everyone’s homes are different. Different layouts, different lighting environments, different decor, etc. When I first arrive, I will probably take a few minutes to get acclimated and figure out what camera settings I need to use. You can show me what rooms you’d like to use, or if you don’t care, I can make suggestions once I’ve looked around. I try to work with natural light as often as possible, but if your home doesn’t have enough light in the room, I may bounce an on-camera flash off your ceiling or walls. (I will never point my flash directly at you or your baby.)
If you’ve selected a full session, we will most likely start with the styled portraits of just your baby. This will give you a little bit more time to finish getting ready if you need it! The posed pictures really require a cooperative baby. So I like to get those done first when your baby is most likely to be content and sleepy. After being handled over the course of the hour, some babies get fussy and want to be held. (Not ideal for posing.) So we’ll start with portraits, and then move into family photos.
When I’m creating styled portraits of your baby, I will most likely need to hold him/her in my lap to wrap them. Sometimes, I can use a nearby couch or even the floor! But I will be touching and holding your baby to help soothe them into position. If this makes you uncomfortable in any way, let’s discuss it before your session. I can always coach you through what I would do so that I can be entirely hands off. That said, I absolutely LOVE newborns, and I have a lot of experience working with them. I am always very nurturing, gentle, and careful, and I take as much precaution with your baby as I would with my own.
When I’m taking family photos, I try to find two different areas to put you. Maybe the couch + a bed, or the floor in front of the crib + a couch, or a bed + the front porch, just to give you some examples! Again, you do not need to clean! I’ll give you some direction for posed photos where everyone is looking at me and (hopefully) smiling! But we’ll also try to just hang out and capture some authentic family moments with your new baby. If you have older kids, this part may take a bit longer, but have fun with it.
The last photos I’ll take will be of just you and your baby. Again, some of these will be directed and posed, while others I’ll ask you to just look at and love on your baby so I can capture those genuine smiles and touches.
If there are any specific photos you want, please let me know ahead of time. For example, some parents like to recreate the same newborn photo for all of their kids. Or perhaps you saw something on Pinterest that inspired you! Feel free to send me ideas, and I’ll do my best to capture your vision.
A Note For Families With Older Siblings
When my son was born, my older daughter was kind of a wild card for about 2-3 weeks. She loved being a big sister, but she also experienced a lot of new emotions, and her temper tantrums and mood swings were unpredictable. If you have other children, please keep very low expectations of them during your session. I will do my best to encourage cooperation and lots of giggles, but I don’t want to overwhelm them or put unnecessary pressure on them when they’re already going through a big life change. If they act out or are uncooperative, please don’t let it stress you out or embarrass you, because I promise you, I’ve seen it all, especially from my own children!