Thursday, September 11, 2014

Newborn Sessions | What to Expect

I have had a flood of newborn session inquiries and bookings lately. There was a time when this would have terrified me! Newborn sessions used to stress me out big time and honestly, I didn't really enjoy them. At one point I truly considered the idea of not doing them at all. Then I figured out why I didn't like was because I was trying to be someone I wasn't as a photographer. I was trying to use a bunch of props and learn these crazy poses and do things that I thought a newborn photographer was supposed to do. So I found my groove...figured out the kind of images I loved and wanted to create for the families who hired me. And now, I look forward to photographing these precious, tiny little people and the love that radiates from everyone in the family during those first days at home. Because I get so many questions about how my newborn sessions work, I decided to write one blog post I could refer clients to. And, as a bonus, I am going to include some of the most recent newborn sessions I've photographed. Each of these families deserves their own blog post, but let's be honest, blogging is not my strong point. :)

(Pictured below: Madelyn--I've already blogged her session, but had to include this pic because its a favorite of mine!)

When it comes to newborn photography, there is a spectrum from super posed/really styled/lots of props, all the way to lifestyle/unposed/totally photo journalistic. I would say I fall somewhere in between. I do not own ANY of my own props. I try to let people know that up front. Although I admire this style of photography, it just isn't me. When I tried to do this style it always felt forced. I do, however, have a beanbag that I'll bring along to some sessions. I cover it with a blanket and it is a great place to lay baby comfortably and to be able to very naturally pose him/her. Please don't ask me to hang your baby in a tree inside a sling (yep, it's happened) or present me with a large pinterest gallery of images you've found of overly styled newborn photos. This just isn't me. I can refer you to some amazing photographers if this is the style you're looking for. (Although I don't know that any of them will agree to a sling in a tree!)

(Pictured below: The Falcon family. I've been doing photos for them for years now and it was so precious to be able to photograph their sweet new Nathaniel while they were still in the hospital.)

I prefer to do newborn sessions on location...most of the time at your home. (Although I do LOVE hospital sessions as well!) It's not necessary to scrub the house to perfection. After all, you've just had a baby! Most of the time I only use the nursery, master bedroom and/or living area or room in your home with the largest window. The key is having a spot with good natural light. I love using chairs, couches, ottomans or some unique spot to photograph baby. No need for anything fancy. In fact, there's nothing better than a naked baby on a plain chair!

(Case in point: Blake. This beauty made us work for her photos but in the end, they turned out beautifully!)

Please consider being in photos with your baby. Although you may not feel at your best, someday you will be so thankful to have pictures of you holding your little one in those first days. Sometimes, just a simple picture of you holding his/her hand or their tiny head is a great way to remember their size. They just don't stay little very long! So don't shy away from those photos. I will want to get the whole family involved!

(Pictured below: Jackson. This baby has a beautiful story and I feel like I've been praying for him for a very long time. He was perfectly peaceful during his whole session. In the last pic of him I used the bean bag I referred to above--just covered it with a simple blanket and voila!)

I prefer to do newborn sessions within the first 10 days. Although babies are considered newborns for the first 3 months, those first days are when they are sleepiest and tiniest. They handle movement and noise a little better in those days when they sleep most of the time. It's best to feed your baby about 30 minutes before I arrive and try to keep the house warm. If it's winter, I may even ask if you have a space heater and if you don't, I will bring one along. Keeping baby well fed, warm and cozy is key to those precious sleepy photos. Of course we can take breaks, when needed, for feeding or calming baby! Relax! I truly believe babies can sense tension. I have three kids of my own and have photographed (and loved on) a lot of babies. Just let me do my job and sit back and enjoy yourself! No need to stress. The important part (and my main goal) is to just capture life and love at this very precious time.

(Pictured below: Audrey. I fell in love with this family's beautiful home and Audrey's sweet, chubby cheeks!)

I hope all these tips were helpful. I realize I won't be the newborn photographer for everyone, but my goal is to attract clients who enjoy my style and feel I can provide them with the kind of photos they are looking for!

(Pictured below: Malcom. This session was pure bliss. One of those times I could just feel the love!)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Shannon & Zack are Married! | Centreville Backyard Wedding

Shannon and Zack were married at her grandparents' home. It was a beautiful backyard affair, celebrating the love and friendship of these two. Every detail was personal and perfect and each moment was full of such emotion and joy! Watching their friends and family come together to make this day happen was nothing short of amazing--bridesmaids decorating tables, groomsmen hanging lights in the was evident from all the hard work that these two are very special to all the people who surround them. Here are some of my favorite images from this sweet wedding day...

Congrats, you two! Wishing you many more years of love and joy!

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