Monthly Archives: March 2011

ask megan monday | week #7

This weekend I had a booth at our local Babies and Bumps Expo and after getting the same question from several pregnant moms that stopped by my booth, I thought this topic was deserving of its own Ask Megan Monday. We all know from last week’s Monday post that newborn sessions are best done within the first 10 days of life, but how in the world do you schedule a session when babies can be so unpredictable in their arrival?

Can I get a show of hands from all the moms out there that regret the fact that they never had professional images taken of their newborn baby? (I can raise my own hand here–twice. My poor kiddos and their lack of new baby images.) All of our intentions were good, but once baby finally came it wasn’t at the top of the list. Feedings were. And diaper changes. And trying to catch some sleep when baby was napping. And before we knew it those two precious weeks flew by and that window of opportunity was missed.

So how do you plan in advance for newborn sessions? How do you get something on the calendar that doesn’t have a specific date? Here is what my clients and I do and it works out great for us. We take your due date and schedule a “tentative” session for sometime within that week. Then, either when you go into labor or have delivered your baby, you email or call me to tell me the great news and we adjust that date for that 10 day window. Simple as that. And I’m always able to get your newborn session in since we typically do them on weekdays (my weekends are usually booked out a few months in advance).

And if for some reason we haven’t scheduled your session and you’ve delivered your baby already and want a newborn session, don’t worry. I absolutely love newborn sessions and know how incredibly fleeting that stage is, so I make every effort to get you in. That’s what happened with this beautiful little guy last week. My good friend had referred his mommy to me and I’m so glad she did. We were able to get them into the studio that week and I had a wonderful time capturing these images.

zack’s turn | folsom children’s photographer

“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me now! It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”

The Cat in the Hat — Dr. Suess

I absolutely love themed shoots and luckily so does Zack’s mommy. In fact, we’ve done stylized sessions for two of his older sisters here and here. So when mom emailed to schedule Zack’s three year portraits, I knew it would be fun for Zack to finally have his own themed session. And what better way to represent childhood than with good ol’ Dr. Suess?
undefinedStay tuned for part two of Zack’s session where we headed outside for a little urban, a little nature, and a lot of fun!

ask megan monday | week #6

This week’s question: How do you get your newborns to sleep and get so many different poses during a session? They always seem to wake up when I try to move them from one position to another.

I joke that newborn photography requires the stars aligning. Really, there are so many factors that work together to create a successful newborn session. But when you combine each little detail, everything just flows so well and produces such a great outcome. Here are a few key things that I focus on for each session.

  • The first is the age of the baby. I have found the best ages to be between 5-10 days old. Babies typically sleep much more soundly (and for longer stretches) the younger they are. It is amazing, but honestly, by three weeks of age a newborn baby is so much more alert and we have to work much harder to get baby into that deep, dreamy sleep that works so well for newborn posing.
  • Second is creating a perfect dreamland. I get to my studio about an hour before the session to crank up the heat. And I mean heat. Babies like it warm and since we do mostly bare skin baby images, I make sure that they stay nice and toasty throughout the session. I also place a space heater several feet away from the beanbag that we pose the baby on. (On a related note: I like to remind parents to dress in layers since we do keep the studio so warm–we usually are all sweating but baby stays nice and comfortable and that’s the goal.)
  • A full tummy = a sleepy baby. What do newborns do best? Eat, sleep, and poop (all of which make up a typical newborn session). A baby that has recently been fed usually means that sleep is on the way.
  • White noise is also a huge help in getting baby relaxed and sleepy. I have a sound machine that makes a heartbeat noise that I use but you can even find a white noise app for your phone if you don’t want to use a machine.
  • Slow and steady wins the race. I tell all of my newborn clients that on average sessions last about three hours. Sessions are never rushed and we take all cues from baby. We take plenty of time for feedings, changes, and snuggles–everything is just really relaxed. And I also realize that our newborn session is often their first outing as a family and I know how stressful that can be. So we really take our time to get each pose just so, to get baby relaxed, comfortable, and sound asleep, and to make sure that we get a variety of images for their gallery.

Here is an example of a recent (and favorite) newborn session I did a few weeks ago. Loved this little guy–he was a dream!

happy birthday, abby | folsom children’s photographer

You woke up this morning and the first thing you asked was if you were four already.

Yes, baby girl, you are four already.

Four short years and it feels like I love you in four million different ways. You are everything I hoped for and everything I never knew I needed in a daughter.

I love that you and I are so different–that you take after Daddy in so many ways. That you have his beautiful blue puppy dog eyes that I am powerless to resist. You get your way way too much with those!

I love that you held it together this week when our pet fish died and Jacob fell apart. I know that you were biting your lip to hold in the tears because you were so much more concerned about your brother than your own sadness. I adore this about you–that you always put others first. That you even suffered through two rides of Soarin’ at California Adventure before you told me how terrified you were of it. That when I asked why you went on it twice that you responded, “Because it’s your favorite ride, Mommy.” There is so much I can learn from you and your selfless heart.

You are beautiful inside and out. Sometimes I find myself watching you when you play and am just stunned by your beauty. In your big brother Jacob’s words, “Abby, you are astounding!” And you really are. Daddy’s going to have to invest in a rifle to scare off the boys when you’re in high school–they’re going to be knocking down our doors.

I could never fit into a simple blog post the ways I love you. It was instant and it is forever. Your truly are a gift from God, my sweet girl.


ask megan monday | week #5

Seven days of being stuck in bed with the flu and I’ve come to some realizations.

  • We made a good choice when picking our wall color. Still not sick of staring at it.
  • I dream in photoshoots. Came up with some great session ideas / backdrops this week all from the comfort of my own bed. (Can’t wait to shoot this session this week and show it on the blog–it’s going to rock!)
  • My favorite sound is my kiddos laughing. Even though I’ve been quarantined in my room, I love, love, love hearing their giggles from the playroom upstairs.

So now that I’ve finally joined the land of the living again, I can’t wait to dive back into sessions, editing, and of course–another installment of Ask Megan Monday.

This week’s question: Do you blog all of your sessions and if not, how do you decide which to showcase on your blog?

It’s honestly always my intent to show every session on my blog. Usually sneak peek’s are up within a week of the shoot, but in some rare cases I get a client’s full gallery done before then. In most instances I’ll still do a blog post, but sometimes (like during the crazy busy holiday times) I don’t get around to it.

That happened to be the case for this beautiful family who I did a mini session with last fall. I just love those beautiful autumn colors and golden light (can you tell this California girl is ready for some sunshine?)