Preparing for your Session - Heather Petersheim Photography

Photos

Newborn Session:


Besides the basic (yet important) recommendation that newborn sessions are done between 4 and 10 days old, here are some helpful tips to help ensure our newborn session runs smoothly and we get the beautiful results we both desire. It would mean so much to me if you would take the time to read this valuable information!


1)  Be prepared for our session to last 3 to 4 hours.  This is how long any good newborn session takes, nomatter which professional photographer you are using. Why does it take that long? Because each pose can take up to a half hour!  I assure you when you oooh and ahhh over an adorable professional newborn shot that the photographer didn't simply plop the baby down in that position! Babies are strong and love to cover their faces with their hands etc... You will watch me patiently hold your baby into position and soothe them. I will be changing backdrops, blankets, swaddles, and props as well as their positions and my position. We also need to follow baby's lead and if he needs a change, a feed, or just a snuggle  we abide! (You surely have noticed in just these few short days who is in charge now, hehe).


2) Your baby should have a full feeding before we start, to ensure her tummy is full and she is satisfied. If you just fed your baby a half hour to hour before our session, plan to top her off right before we start. It is also necessary for you to have backup  milk available for quick pops in their mouth for soothing purposes. Don't worry - I understand full bellies will be emptying consequently and that is why I do wash after every newborn session :) And on that note I can tell you I am a germophobe and will be running a hepa uv anti germ air filter in the room as well as scrubbing my hands before I begin with your baby!


3) If your baby takes a pacifier - bring it, and maybe a backup too!


4) Dress yourself for a very warm environment! We're talking tank tops! Babies need warmth, and your baby will be partying in his birthday suit for much of our session. While we will swaddle and cover him in between shots, I use a space heater to keep the room over 80 degrees. I also use a heating pad where baby will be laying, to mimic a warm body. 


5) I will be handling your baby, getting her  into position, swaddling, soothing, swaying and shushing. While I might need your assistance from time to time, take this opportunity to sit back and relax!  It is a long session and you can feel free to take breaks knowing your baby is in good hands. 


6) I am a natural light photographer which means I rely on the sunlight coming through the window to perfectly light your baby. I have my things set up just right in the perfect position. It is important for nobody to be standing in front of the window or the light will not be so pretty! 


7) I have plenty of props and backdrops and quite honestly, everything your baby needs for our session is what she was born with - just beautiful baby skin! That being said, please feel free to bring along any outfits or items that you would like included in your photographs. If you can, send me a description or picture ahead of time!


8) I know you are just getting acquainted with your tiny bundle,  but already nobody knows what makes them happy or mad like you do. Please do share! Does he like to be swaddled, or does it make him angry? Does she despise laying on her belly or is it her favorite? Is he an arms out kind of swaddler or does she only fall asleep with arms straight at her sides, tightly bundled? 


9) If you would like more than just shots of baby - like mommy/baby shots, daddy/baby shots, or sibling/baby shots, let me know! I would be happy to take some of those as well. I recommend solid tops and jeans or khaki style pants/shorts. I have black, white, and tan backdrops as well as some patterned ones, but keeping it simple is usually best in this type of shot. Wear or bring along solid black for black backdrop shots. Feel free, actually encouraged, to bring an outfit change or two. 


10) Before you come, I would like you to picture in your home where you will be hanging your newborn photographs. Will you do one here and one there? Will you make a collage wall? Is your home light or dark? Will a white backdrop and light colors look best or will a black or brown backdrop and darker colors look best? Do you want a lot of different looks or all of the images to compliment each other and blend together for a whole look? Communicate these things to me and I will carefully choose props, backdrops, and setups that will suit your style and your home. 


Family Sessions:


1) One of the most important things I have learned is that lots of white does not photograph well outdoors. It can tend to throw off my camera's color balance and can look bright and blinding compared to the rest of the image, as well as making skin look pale. A little white here and there is fine but just be prepared that unless you are on a beach before sunset it isn't going to be picturesque! 


2) Solids beat out prints almost every time. Especially trendy prints that you will look back on in a few years and say, "What was I thinking?!". You don't want the patterns in your outfits to clash and compete, but rather to showcase your faces, not distract from them. 


3) That being said, if your whole family is wearing black shirts, or the same shade of red shirts, you will blend into each other and individuals won't stand out. Monochromatic themes look nice (many shades of the same color) or everyone in jeans or khakis with shirts in similar shades is just fine. 


4) Don't come feeling pressured to smile in every image. Some of the best shots are candid shots that capture the true essence of family dynamic and individual personalities! Genuine laughter and smiles are better than force frozen ones in my opinion! One reason I highly recommend a full session for a family with small children is that it allows us to go with the flow. If a child is feeling uncooperative, forcing them to hold still and smile at a stranger is not going to work. We will let them play and explore a little, feel like they have a bit of control to the situation, and rest assured I will capture smiles! Then, we can try again for posed smile shots.


5) I will be doing test shots often and changing my lens occasionally too. Be prepared to hold your pose and smile for more than a few seconds. 


6) Think beforehand about what you'd like hanging on your wall. Do you want individual shots of each child/family member? Do you want some couples shots of you and your partner? Do you want sibling shots? What is most important? I love to hear what it is you want most so I can make best use of our time to get you the results you desire.