There are so many questions that go hand in hand with finding the right newborn photographer for your growing family. And me, well, I think I’m a pretty open book! I want my clients to know it all before we book. I want to know that we are such a great fit before moving forward! I’m often asked many of the same -really great- questions throughout the booking process and after, so what better way to address them all than here on the blog.
Here goes… the answers to all of those frequently asked questions about a lifestyle in-home newborn session with me, Melissa Lucci!!
WHAT THE HECK DOES LIFESTYLE MEAN?
Authentic, natural, a little more true to life. (At least that what it means to me!) I’m NOT a photographer who is going to overly pose your newborn. I’m NOT going to overly pose you with him/her. I WILL swaddle them and photograph them in the nursery or maybe on your bed. I WILL shoot to document all of those tiny details. I WILL ask you to hold them, look at them, kiss them, love them. I’m photographing your new family as your are, where you are most comfortable – at home.
HOW DO WE SCHEDULE A SESSION IF I DON’T KNOW WHEN MY BABY WILL ARRIVE?
Since we are shooting for more natural images, there is less pressure to shoot in the first 7-10 days post delivery. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to give families the time that they need to be ready for in home sessions. Every delivery is different and sometimes newborns and mamas need a few extra days to settle into home and bounce back from it all. So we aim to schedule in the first 7-14 days but I have to tell you guys that one month is just as good. So… go with your gut and choose a date that works for everyone!
WHAT IF I GO PAST MY DUE DATE… OR BEFORE?
When we book a newborn session, I use your due date as a temporary placeholder on my calendar. I only take a certain number of newborn sessions each month because your sweet babies… well, their arrivals are a little hard to predict. I get it and, I forgive them! I take a great deal of pride in truly being there, and being flexible for the families who choose me from all of the other talented photographers in the area To best serve them all I make sure not to over book myself.
WHEN DO YOU TYPICALLY SHOOT IN HOME NEWBORN SESSIONS?
Generally I’m shooting in home newborn sessions on weekday mornings! (My weekend availability gets snagged up pretty fast by families, especially in the Fall months!) If you MUST shoot on a weekend though, I make it work! There’s a good chance that you will still be figuring your newborn and their “schedule” out by the time I arrive. (I say the word schedule loosley here, because a lot of veteran mamas will laugh at the word schedule and newborn being in the same sentence). I tell clients to speak up if they are noticing that baby is ferocious in the mornings for example or extra adorable and snuggly in the late afternoon!
Light will also play a role in our start time, whenever possible. If there is ZERO natural light coming into a room that you know you want to shoot in during the morning hours, we will most likely move the session to accommodate!
DO YOU EVER COME TO THE HOSPITAL TO TAKE PHOTOS?
Yes, YES I DO! And I love it! Time in the hospital is a blur and it happens so incredibly fast. Those true first days with your baby are absolutely worth documenting. I offer FRESH 48 HOSPITAL PHOTO SESSIONS as an add-on to a newborn session (or as a replacement of an in home session). When this kind of documentary session is added to your in home newborn session, I suggest shooting newborn a little closer to one month post-delivery to space the session out a bit!
HOW LONG DOES A SESSION LAST?
Baby is going to run the show. And I’m 100% okay with that. Plan on your session lasting 2-3 hours. This allows time for nursing/feeding, diaper changes, etc.
WHAT SHOULD EVERYONE WEAR?
Babies – I come with a few neutral swaddle cloths. When I arrive, have your little dressed in a simple onesie. Try and avoid any neons or colors that will cast unflattering light on baby skin. Neutrals, neutral print/stripes are always best!
Parents and siblings – Same goes with neutrals, or at least avoiding colors that cast unnatural color onto skintones! Wear something comfortable (especially mamas), but something that you want to see in photographs.
I go into greater ‘what to wear’ detail with clients before their session and am always happy to help make suggestions/selections. One less thing for you to think about!
CAN YOUR PHOTOGRAPH MY DOG/CAT WITH MY BABY?
Of course. You’re talking to a mama who before her baby girls, only had time for Cody… our fur-baby! I always do my absolute best to photograph newborns with their four-legged siblings (#dogsarefamilytoo). That said, I set expectations with all of the parents that I work with. All dogs are not snuggly with babies and I’ve only truly photographed 1-2 cats that wanted to even be in the same room as their new brother/sister. Doesn’t mean that I won’t try for you. It’s ‘safety first’ with pets (and older siblings, who sometimes act like lovable little animals, ha!!). You MUST trust that your pets will not be overly jumpy around your baby, etc. I have some tricks up my sleep to attempt some shots with the whole family but will only do what parents are comfortable trying!
WHAT IF OLDER SIBLINGS AREN’T COOPERATIVE?
First up – let’s think about the change that they are experiencing. It’s exciting, overwhelming, scary (to share mama and daddy), and did I mention SOOOO exciting to become a big brother or sister. I make them feel just as special as the baby and also have a few ways to get them involved to achieve those adorable siblings shots that every parent and grandparent want!
Please know also that I have two little ladies of my own so I’ve lived it. I photographed them together all throughout those newborn days. It takes some extra patience, which I just so happen to have!
CAN GRANDPARENTS TAKE PART IN THE SESSION?
Please – YES! Short and sweet. Yes. The more the better when it comes to grandparents showing up for a portion of the session. Always!
WHAT IF THE NURSERY ISN’T READY OR MY HOUSE ISN’T GORGEOUS AND STYLED TO PERFECTION LIKE SOME OF THE OTHER HOMES YOU’VE PHOTOGRAPHED?
I’m a sucker for a well done nursery. They are beautiful and take so much work, planning, and love. I mean, how many hours did it take to assemble that crib anyway?! I’ll always want to celebrate that effort. Can I tell you a secret though? My first born: her nursery wasn’t completely finished until she turned about 5 months old. (Try not to judge. I never will.) Life happens and a nursery that isn’t completed or there at all is just fine. Same goes for the rest of your house. We are shooting in your home. Cuddle up on a couch or a big cozy bed. Sit near a window or on the front porch if it’s nice outside. If you’re loving on your brand new baby, it won’t matter what room you’re in. Pretty light and emotion trumps a million dollar nursery, in my opinion. Give yourself a break… you just had a baby. I’m not showing up to see if you’ve dusted and tidied up. MOMENTS > PERFECTION.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING THE SESSION?
I get to your home with a few neutral swaddles in my RAISE GOOD HUMANS tote, a step stool, and a bunch of camera gear! When I arrive I will ask someone to show me around. This is when I’m looking at the light in your home and coming up with a plan! I’ll ask a bunch of questions, while I prep my gear. “When did baby last eat? How was delivery? Remind me again if you had any special items we need to work into the session.” Etc…
I usually try to photograph baby alone right after they eat. Other than that I bounce around taking turns asking mom, dad, and siblings to hold baby. It’s truly as simple as that and I really do shoot it all – diaper changes, nursing (if you’re comfortable), the laughs, the yawns, baby toes… all that love.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER THE SESSION?
I generally delivery galleries within 7-10 days of the session. You will receive and email with a link to your gallery as well as a one-click download of all of your hi-resolution images. If we didn’t already talk about print and product add-ons, I’ll send an email with a link to your sample album and other options before your online gallery expires (3 months after you receive your full set of images).
I really, really love these sessions and will never not want to document real moments for families with more new love than they know what to do with!