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How does a newborn session work?

For the past few weeks I’ve been gathering your questions about newborn sessions. Before I became a photographer I had no idea what went into one or really even why you were supposed to have one. Below are some questions I received and hopefully a thorough explanation of exactly how a newborn session works…

Aaaaand we’ll start by backing up. Just a little.

1. The maternity session.

If you follow me on Facebook you probably know that you receive a complimentary maternity session when you book your newborn session. That’s how much I want you to get a maternity session done. There are lots of ways to celebrate a new arrival but they usually involve either buying material things or sitting in a doctor’s office. This is a way for you to relax and soak in the little moments before you become a mama (either for the first time or again!). And later it will be meaningful for your child to look back and see what you looked like and who you were before he arrived.

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2. How long does it take? My buddy said it took forever…

Sooo… this is a dad question – almost always. And just like hanging out to the farm to take pictures (and possibly my Pepsi machine full of beer), dads also love my answer to this one: not long at all. We’ve all heard of newborn sessions taking four, five hours or longer but I can assure you that mine do not. Here’s why… my sessions are more lifestyle in nature. If (like sweet Ben below) your baby is asleep and content then we’ll place him among some blankets in a little basket and see if he likes it. If he doesn’t then I stop and simply move on to something else.  I will never – ever, ever – try to make your baby do something he doesn’t want to do.

virginiachildphotographer004-20140208Is your baby happier in your arms? Then that’s what we’ll do! All babies love to be held (and should be) but some little ones naturally feel safer and more secure in your arms and I think that’s beautiful enough to be captured.


3. Can we all be in the pictures?

Yes and YES. I don’t think of your baby as a model – what I really want is for you to have real, solid memories of this time of your life. I want you to look at these and see how big your other babies suddenly are next to those tiny, tiny feet. Or how you and your husband stand a little closer and hold hands a little more now that he’s here.




4. Do you use props?

Ehhhhhh… maybe? Not a lot. Sometimes a basket. Sometimes a pretty bowl… again… only if they’re up for it. I feel like the attention should be on your baby and not a huge bow or busy backdrop. Your baby is lovely enough that a sweet, simple image is perfection.


5. What sort of images do you take during a newborn session?

I do love pretty pictures. Don’t we all? Those images (like the one above) that you’ll frame and share with your family. But I also love the real images. So when your baby is fed up with me and starts to cry, I’ll snap one very quickly before picking her up to soothe her. Right now you may not see the appeal of a wrinkly-faced infant in a bad mood but when she’s 16 you can glance over at your husband and say “Remember how she used to squinch her face up when she was mad at us for changing her diaper?”… and later her own husband can say “Oh my goodness – he wrinkles his nose exactly the way you used to“.

Because that’s the whole reason behind maternity and newborn pictures isn’t it? I’m not just taking pictures for now – I’m taking them for 10, 20, 30 years from now. So that you’ll always remember how he sat up so high in your belly that you could barely breathe and what it was like when she was mad or how her foot felt when you stroked the bottom of it with your finger or how he settled right down when you made that shushing sound that he loved so much.

The real things. 

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March 28, 2014 - 5:40 am

Rachel - A lovely post! I even teared up at the end! I just love the way you approach a session!


Editing & Composition Workshop – Spring Edition

This popular workshop from the Fall is back! This is the next step after the Beginnings workshop… it’s taking your new technical knowledge and adding the artistic component. It’s also great for those who have been shooting a while and just need a refresher or some new inspiration!

We will have a portfolio-building session immediately after the editing portion so that you’ll have shiny new images to practice on at home! Not only will you learn Photoshop but we’ll really dive into composition, light and framing.

Cost: $125 – Click here to book



lori | pure honey boudoir

I met Lori about a year ago when she offered to model for a  freshly wed project. Since then we’ve become good friends – I think mostly because we both talk about Mad Men as though the characters are real (shhh… don’t tell me it’s fictional). When she scheduled her boudoir session I knew it would be one I wanted to splash all over my portfolio. All at once she is beautiful, strong, vulnerable and lively. I adore her.


February 17, 2014 - 8:50 am

AmiP - These are fantastic!!! Lori, you are beautiful!

February 17, 2014 - 9:30 am

Stacey Petersen - Beautiful!!!

February 17, 2014 - 4:51 pm

kel ward - GAH! I love these all SO much! She’s smoking hot and I love her hair, tattoos, everything! I am so in love with your style of boudoir photography. It’s edgy, artistic, and yet soft, elegant, and organic. HEART!