A lot of people are wondering how in-home newborn and family sessions work, so I figured I would make a blog post to help explain! Many of you might even be on the fence if you should go to a studio or just have the photographer come to you.
If you are expecting your first baby, you are probably already obsessing over things like “going home outfits” and should I get myself a pretty robe (possibly to match my babies swaddle) to wear in the hospital…things like that. You are probably already thinking about newborn photos and what you and the entire family will wear. Then you give birth and your world is rocked. All the things that mattered before like outfits suddenly do not matter at all. Now your mind is thinking things like, Is this a proper latch? Is the colostrum really enough to fill her up? Why the heck isn’t my milk in yet? Is this car seat in right? Whoops! I forgot to put her in the going home outfit, oh well! The hospital onesie works just fine, but is she buckled in correctly???
Then you get home. You are on a strict 3 hour feeding schedule and possibly even a pumping schedule because SUPRISE! Baby doesn’t want to latch so there goes the first step of your feeding plans. Now you have to have time to feed and then pump for 2o minutes afterwards to ensure you don’t lose your supply of milk. Not just in the fridge but in your body as well! You experienced moms know what I am talking about. And then theres the….blood. Ok, I won’t get into detail but yea…it gets hard to leave the house for long periods of time. We can leave it at that.
So, between the strict feeding and pumping schedules, and taking care of your own self every few hours, plus there are the hormonal sweats you will be experiencing, HOW IN THE HECK are you supposed to get everybody ready and looking pretty, plus have everything packed ( oh my there are so many things needed for such a tiny little human when you leave the house ) and off to the a studio for a newborn session that can last 3-4 hours?? When you have to be home to pump, feed and whatever else? The answer is, you don’t! You have an in-home newborn and family session done instead.
Now, there are 3 types of in home newborn photographers you can hire. There is the kind that come with minimal props, maybe a blanket and a few headbands and lay the blanket on the couch and drape it over the back and take a few photos of the baby laying on her stomach, call that a pose and then proceed to do a family photo of everyone sitting on the couch with whatever available light is in your home and call it a session. Now lets be honest, any photo of your baby is going to be precious and you will cherish it forever. But if you can afford it, try to find someone who has a little bit of experience with posing and lighting and I promise, you won’t regret it!
Then there are the lifestyle newborn photographers. These are done with zero props with your home and nursery as the back drop and overall, the baby in her natural family setting. These can be beautiful sessions. You get family photos with the baby and if you have other little kids these sessions can be a lot of fun and have a ton of personality. But you still will get the baby laying there and none of the cutesy-bundled-up-posed-like-an-angel photos which are still just too cute not to get!
Then there are the photographers like me, who come and set up a miniature studio right smack dab in the middle of your living room. You don’t have to do a thing. You sit there and you feed that little babe until she is off to dream land. Im not gonna lie, its gonna look like I moved in once I get everything out of my car and in your home. I have a light, so we do not have to worry about which room has the most light. Actually, too much light can mess with me and be a problem. Ive got the fake wood floors, so you don’t have to wish you had more rustic beat up wood floors just for those baby in a bucket pose. Ive got the buckets! Don’t worry about dumping out plants for their pots and finding cutesy laundry baskets at home to put the baby in. I got you! Ive got the headbands! Ive got the floral head crowns and the tie backs. Ive got the dainty little rustic bows on twine. Ive got the wraps. Ive got the bonnets. Ive got the blankets and fabrics we will use for the backdrops. I don’t need your couch to use to pose the baby on. Ive got my own bean bag and backdrop stand. I don’t need you to turn the heat on in the house when its 90 degrees outside. Ive got my own heater, to blow near the baby just to keep her little area warm. Im telling you. I.Have.It.All. You do not worry about a thing. You go pump. You go change that pad. You go make yourself a snack because your blood sugar is getting low from breast feeding. You are in the comfort of your own home and you can do whatever you need to keep yourself and your new little baby happy and comfortable, all while I’m over here making magic.
So now, I will walk you through a typical session. The day before the session I will usually ask you to try to keep the baby up for about an hour before our session start time and to feed the baby about half an hour before we start. The idea is to get the baby as full and sleepy as possible. Also, I prefer to have the baby dressed down to a diaper and then just swaddled for warmth that way we don’t have to worry about undressing if she is asleep. If the baby is not asleep by the time I am all set up and ready don’t worry! I start off with a wrap anyway which usually will knock em right out and if it doesn’t then we will start with awake shots. I usually do my bucket shots first then move to fur shot, possibly do my floral shots if we have discussed that you wanted them, etc. I usually do detail shots of toes, lips and eyelashes here as well. Here are a few examples of bucket and fur shots and also my floral shots..
Once we get all of these set ups completed I hand the baby back to you and break it all down and build an entire new set up. This is where I set up the bean back to do the little nakey poses. Not all babies will let me get them undressed and posed but most will and this can either go super quick or take a little while, just depends on the baby! Sometimes we will do a quick top off with food for the baby before we start these. Here are some example of a few done on the bean bag…
After these, the babies studio style solo shots are all done! Next we move on to family photos. I usually look for a plain wall to give more of a studio look and just do photos here from the waist up. We do the whole family then some momma baby, daddy baby ones. If there are siblings we can do some on my flokati fur. After we get these I always like to grab a few lifestyle family ones as well in the nursery or on your bed. I mostly use natural light for these but sometimes I will bring my light around from room to room just depends on the light in your home. I will get some details of the nursery, the baby in the nursery and in her crib and just laying naturally in general. If there are any other rooms you would like photos in we do them here as well, and after all of that, the session is finished! It usually lasts about 2-3 hours sometimes 4 if the baby isn’t a deep sleeper. Here are some family examples, studio and lifestyle…
And thats the session!! After I pack up and “move out” , it takes about 2-3 weeks to view your gallery. But don’t worry, I always send a sneak peek within the next few days to hold you over! And that is pretty much it! It’s pretty painless. If you were at a studio you would probably be rushing out the door for a feed or a pump session, or if there are siblings that need naps and lunch. Basically, booking a session with me avoids that awful car ride where everyone is crying on the way home 🙂 It’s the way to go, trust me!
Here are a few behind the scenes photos taken by the lovely Lilian Rose Photography.