What can I expect at a posed newborn shoot?
A shoot with a newborn typically lasts about 3-4 hours, with lots of time for feedings and comforting. Newborn shoots should be scheduled sometime during the first two weeks of life, with the best time being around 5-10 days when they're still in that newborn coma and nice and curly. If you're circumcising your baby at your pediatrician's office (rather than at the hospital) please consider waiting until after the newborn session to do so as a fresh circumcision can cause discomfort for your baby when we're posing him naked. It's best to wait at least 3-4 days for him to heal before the session.
Expect to be a little warm! I have a space heater and we'll be heating up the area to keep baby nice and toasty. If you want those curled up naked pictures, baby has to be comfortable since they can't regulate their body temperatures well yet (around 80-85 degrees is ideal). Don't worry about laundry or messes. I've seen many homes in the newborn phase and no one's house is perfectly clean!
I have many props that I'll bring (beanbag, baskets, blankets, headbands, hats etc), but I'm more than happy to use anything you may have that you want photographed with your baby (hats/headbands, blankets, special gifts, etc). Let me know if you have any preferences as to which poses you'd like utilized as well.
I always do a few pictures with the parents and/or siblings if they're up for it! The primary focus, however, will be on the newborn. If your baby uses any of my props as a diaper, don't fret! It happens and is expected when dealing with a naked baby :). I put waterproof puppy pads underneath most of my blankets and props in case we have such an accident.
How can I make sure our pictures go as smoothly as possible?
Relax, be yourself, and have fun! If you're a parent, think about the silly songs and games you can sing/play with your child(ren) to get some natural smiles and giggles. Does your child love Dora? Bring a favorite book to read together. Do you play the guitar? Feel free to serenade us all. It's extremely important that your babies/children be well-rested at the session. Do not plan a session during or too close to your child's nap time and if your child happens to change his/her schedule the day of the session please contact me to see if we can alter the time of the session. Make sure kids are healthy, well-rested, and fed before a session. Don't forget that electronics (especially iPhones) are magic and will often elicit natural smiles from babies and young children. Don't be afraid to use "potty humor" for kids old enough to get it (any parents should know exactly what I'm talking about). It's incredibly effective for getting real smiles!
Fun treats like lollipops or ice cream can look really cute in pictures (usually towards the end of the shoot if it's messy, though treats often get great smiles out of grumpy children). Bringing snacks in general is a great idea as hunger can bring out the grumpy in anyone. I've learned that marshmallows are a good bribe as they aren't messy, but things like chocolate and goldfish crackers gets stuck in little teeth and can ruin a good shot. You can bring props such as balloons, your child's favorite chair, umbrellas, musical instruments, etc - though it's not necessary. Bubbles and hand puppets a great way to distract kids. Show off any special talents like walking on your hands, cartwheels, or even fire juggling (I'd love to see that). Wagons are great for corralling young children into one spot.
There are things that can be photoshopped, and things that can't be (or will cost you a lot of money :)). During the session remember to take anything out of your pockets that will show up in pictures as awkward lumps (cell phones, wallets, keys etc) and spit out your gum before we start. Make sure you iron your clothes in advance and if you hate fly-aways fix them before the session. Make sure your nails are how you want them - either painted or all polish removed. If you plan on having your infant/toddler daughter in a dress or skirt please make sure she's also wearing a diaper cover. Be sure to relax! Have fun with your family and lets capture those natural giggles that only the tickle monster can bring out.
What about my double chin?
If there is anything you're self-conscious about (double chin, upper arms, one eye smaller than the other [oh wait, that's just me]) please let me know at the beginning of our session so I can be conscious of it and help you look your best. I likely won't notice it otherwise as everyone views themselves more critically than others do. If there's something you want photoshopped (double-chin, mole/freckle, gray hair, etc) please email me and let me know. I don't want to alter someone's appearance in that way unless it's the desired end-result. Please tell me if there's something you'd like edited out.
What do we wear?
I can tell you my own personal recommendations (and things to stay away from), but the most important thing is that you wear clothes you love and feel attractive in. Comfortable clothes for kids especially (and husbands) is also recommended. However, comfort is relative for everyone. Personally, I don't find most heels comfortable, but love them in pictures and am willing to sacrifice!
Wear something elegant if that is you! If you're more casual and don't even own a tie, don't go buy one for the pictures. I think it's absolutely okay for a girl to wear a dress with heels while her guy wears blue jeans. Most important...be yourself!
For family and engagement sessions I recommend sticking with 2-4 colors. I do not recommend that everyone wear plain white shirts or that women or girls wear polo shirts. I do not recommend that everyone wears the exact same color or same shirt. You can color coordinate without being too matchy matchy. Funky scarves, hats, boots, leggings for little girls, polkadots, stripes, tutu's, etc are always cute additions to an outfit and textured sweaters in the winter look great. Don't forget to accessorize! Colorful jewelry, headbands, and shoes can make an outfit.
Color combos that I like: green/blue/brown, yellow/purple/gray, green/gray/blue, purple/blue/green, red/purple/yellow, orange/blue/purple/brown, purple/turquoise/white. Neutral colors (like gray) look amazing when a pop of color is added such as a scarf, or if one person is in gray and another has a jewel-toned outfit.
Click here, here, here, here, and here to see a few examples of families that did a great job with their clothing choices. Click here, here, here, and here to see a few examples of couples that did a great job with their clothing choices.
Here are some sites where you can get some super cute, fun clothes for kids!
http://www.shabbyapple.com/ (for girls and women)
http://www.etsy.com/shop/veryKIKI (adorable onesies)
http://www.etsy.com/shop/babybystevie (cute ties for boys)
How long will our session be?
Sessions for families, engagements, children, etc typically last about one hour (look above for information on newborn sessions). The goal is to have fun while making beautiful photographs that capture your love and personalities.
Don't expect to be sitting quietly with a 2-yr-old staring at the camera and smiling the whole time! You can swing your kids around, wrestle, tickle each other, read books, throw them up in the air, play duck-duck-goose, whatever they like and I'll be there to capture it for you!
Where can I get some of those cute hats and headbands for my baby?
If you don't know about etsy.com, go there now! You can find so many adorable hats, headbands, blankets, etc for your baby, and there is tons of stuff for you too! It's basically like your own boutique full of handmade goods at your fingertips. If there's a specific hat or headband you want to purchase, email me and I'll send you the seller information. I buy from too many different ones to post them all here! You can thank me later (your wallet may not).
When is the best time to photograph my baby?
If you're looking for those sleeping, curly newborn pictures we need to shoot in the first two weeks of life (preferably at 5-10 days). If we miss that stage I recommend waiting at least three months before having your baby photographed. Before that is often the awkward baby time when they lose their hair, get baby acne, don't smile much, and don't tolerate tummy-time well. 3-6 months is definitely more animated, but my favorite time to do baby pictures again is about 6-9 months, when baby can sit up unassisted, but can't get away from me too easily! It's such a happy, playful age. They'll play peek-a-boo and laugh at mom and dad's silly antics.
What happens if I forget about or miss my session?
There will be a $50 missed appointment fee. This doesn't apply to a child being sick or injured or any issues with the weather. If you have a family emergency just let me know and we'll work something out.
When do I pay you?
For a portrait session a signed contract and a $50 deposit is needed to secure the date (if we're scheduling a newborn session contact me as soon as possible after baby's birth and we'll schedule the actual shoot), with the remainder of the session fee due the date of the shoot.
For a wedding, a $500 deposit and signed contract is necessary to secure the date, with the remainder due one week before the wedding. Once we have an initial consultation (via phone, email, or in person) and you've received a contract I'll hold your date for one week to give you time to send a deposit and signed contract.
Are all the pictures in my online gallery edited?
All the pictures that you'll see in your proofing gallery have been selected and given basic edits, such as overall contrast and color adjusting.
When I order prints, do they come with your logo on them? Do you do any retouching?
Your prints will not have my logo on them. I do slight retouching, such as skin smoothing, on all print orders 5x7 or larger. Unfortunately, certain alteration requests cannot be accommodated (such as selective color) and others may cost extra due to a demanding time requirement. Please contact me for further clarification.
Do you use studio lights or natural light?
Both! I have studio lighting, but also love using natural light. I often all natural light for the majority of family and baby pictures whether indoors or out. I use available light for the majority of events, but use flash when needed.
Are you a real blonde?
Yep. My mom's doc had never seen babies born with such white hair! The current color is actually a bit dark for me.
What happens if I lose my usb drive?
If you lose your images I can send you another copy for a $50 fee plus shipping. You never know what could happen - fires, theft, volcanic eruptions - so I recommend making several copies and keeping them in separate locations (such as your mother's house).
Can I order prints after my gallery expires?
You may! Depending on how long ago the session expired I may not have access to them anymore, but it doesn't hurt to ask ;).
Do you do photo sessions on Sundays?
No. Due to religious commitments, I do not do any work on Sundays.