Newborn FAQs – Newborn Photographer in Northern Virginia


Northern VA Newborn Photographer-57When should I book my newborn session?

The short answer is, as soon as possible. It is not unusual for me to have moms book in their fifth or sixth month, particularly if they are interested in maternity photos as well as newborn. However, please don’t hesitate to contact me to check availability even if you are late in the game. Whenever I am able to squeeze them in, I do accept last-minute bookings – sometimes even after the baby is born. (The only newborn session that cannot be scheduled that late is the First 48). There is never any harm in asking!


How long will my newborn session last?

Northern VA Newborn Photographer-60Generally, I tell clients to set aside 4 hours for a full newborn portrait session that includes family images. Often we will finish before then, but my cardinal rule is that I am never in a rush. Usually the parents are ready to leave before I am ready for them to go! I never schedule more than one session in a morning so that I can focus 100% on each client. Bottom line, I will work as long as it takes to get images that satisfy my quality standards. I strive to give each and every client to highest quality service and ensure that you have beautiful images to remember your baby’s first days. A lifestyle session usually will take closer to 2 hours, sometimes as short as 90 minutes if baby doesn’t need to be fed while I am there. First 48 sessions usually take an hour to 90 minutes, depending of course on baby’s needs.



What do I need to do to prepare for my newborn session?

newborn baby photographer in Alexandria VA - newborn baby girl in side lying pose on white backdropA few days before your session, I will send over a detailed “what to expect” guide that will lay out everything you need to know about how to help make your newborn session successful. It will include suggestions about what to wear if you need help deciding, and give you a basic idea of how the session will flow. The most important thing is to relax and be yourself! One of my core principles is that I am never in a rush during a session. If we need to stop and feed baby again, that is no problem! I like to use that time to chat with my clients and get to know them better.



Do I need to provide any blankets or props for my newborn session?

Northern VA Newborn Photographer-15For newborn portrait sessions: I have at my studio or will bring all the blankets/backdrops and wraps that I need for the session. I do not tend to use props, but if you have a special item that you would like me to incorporate into the session, I would be happy to use it! I always take into account your nursery colors in planning which backdrops and wraps to use.




oakton newborn photographer - mom and dad kissing newborn baby wrapped in swaddling blanketFor lifestyle newborn sessions: I generally rely on items in your home for these shoots so that your images will be unique to your family and reflect the items that you are actually using with your baby. If you have a particular blanket or other item that you like or that has sentimental value that you would like to incorporate into the session, please feel free to have it out and bring it to my attention when I arrive. I love to use items that are special to the family!




8M8A9009-2For First 48: one of the things that is so special about these sessions when they take place in the hospital is the distinctive nature of the hospital provided blankets, shirts, and hats. I tend to just use those, although parents sometimes like to provide their own sleepwear for baby to have on in the hospital and that is fine too. If this is an in-home session, the plain muslin swaddling blankets work well, but whatever you have planned for baby to wear or use during this time is fine. These sessions are meant to be very true to life and documentary in nature, so using whatever you would normally use keeps the images authentic to your family.



What do you mean you don’t use props?

northern VA newborn photographerBy props, I mean any item a baby could be placed in, on, or with in order to achieve a stylized or themed look to an image. So, I don’t use baskets, buckets, bowls, and the like for posing babies. I also do not use elaborate prop setups such as sports themes (e.g. baby posed on a basketball or football) or animal themes. This kind of newborn image doesn’t fit with my style or brand.

The other type of props that people commonly ask about are wearing apparel such as hats, bonnets, headbands, and little knitted pants or outfits. I do not maintain a collection of such items since my style is very simple and focuses on baby with no adornment (other than fabric wraps). However, if you have made, purchased or received an item as gift that you would like to incorporate into the shoot, I am more than happy to use it during your session. Examples would be hats, blankets, stuffed toys, headbands, etc. I love to use items that have special significance to the client!


Northern VA Newborn Photographer-23What precautions do you take to ensure my newborn is safe during her portrait session?

It is very important that whoever you hire to handle your precious little one be educated and fastidious about newborn safety. I have 2.5 years of experience posing newborns in addition to having had four newborns of my own. I am fully up to date on all CDC recommended vaccinations, as is everyone in my household. If I have any symptoms of illness in the days leading up to your session, I will inform you of this and reschedule the session. It is rare that this occurs, but it is definitely not worth risking a newborn’s fragile immune system! In terms of posing, I utilize only beanbag posing and steering clear of any poses or images that would require a parent to spot. I will never put your baby in an object she could fall out of.  I am always careful not to force babies into a pose if their bodies don’t want to bend in a certain way. If baby seems uncomfortable with a certain pose, I will move on to another. I am always within arms’ reach when a baby is on the beanbag. And I keep an eye on the temperature to ensure that the room is neither too cool nor too hot for baby, and by monitoring her color, especially on the hands and feet. Your newborn’s safety and comfort are my top priority.

What kind of packages do you have for ordering prints or digital images?

When you select your session, the listed price includes the creative fee and a certain number of high resolution digital images with printing rights (a few packages also include an album). Your digital images will be delivered in an online gallery that is serviced by my professional print lab. You can order a variety of products through your online gallery, including small prints, canvas, standout prints, and mounted prints. Family members with whom you share the gallery may place their own orders as well, and the products are shipped directly to the buyer. It’s fast and convenient!

Where should I print my images?

This is such an important question! I strongly recommend that clients order prints and wall art through their online gallery from my professional lab. I cannot guarantee the results when images are printed through big box stores or online print retailers such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. These retailers are focused on quantity not quality, which is why their prices are so low. They do not calibrate their printers as often or as well as a professional print lab, and for this reason the prints from these stores will often have issues with the exposure and colors. It is less expensive in the long run to get it done right the first time! If it is necessary to use a consumer lab, I recommend as the best of the consumer options.

Why should I order an album?

I encourage all my clients to consider purchasing an heirloom album for three reasons: (1) an album is the perfect way to enjoy your newborn images for now and for many years to come. It’s portable and easily accessible on any shelf or coffee table. (2) the albums  you can order through me are amazing quality. I work with some of the top album vendors available to provide my clients with albums that are vastly superior in quality and durability to the photo books offered by big box retailers. (3) when you order your album through me, I take care of the design work and make sure that the project is completed in a timely way. Once you receive your album, you can cross it off your to-do list!

What is your turnaround time?

My turnaround time is 2-3 weeks. Each image is edited by hand to make sure that baby looks her best in each one. Skin is lightly smoothed and retouched and any baby acne or red blotches and flaky skin on the face are removed. If your baby has a stork bite or other temporary birthmark, let me know if you would like me to edit it out or leave it as is. Permanent birthmarks are left intact unless requested to be edited.

What gear do you use?

I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III paired with the 24-70mm f/2.8 L the majority of the time. I also use the Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 from time to time, and my backup body is a Canon 5D Mark II. For newborn portrait sessions, I use my Canon 100mm f/2.8L macro lens for the newborn detail images. I edit all my images in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC. My studio light is an Einstein from Paul C. Buff paired with an 86″ PLM umbrella.