Lifestyle Newborn/Family Session Welcome Guide
Congratulations on your new arrival, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing Leslie Crane Photography for your newborn/family portrait session! This guide will help you to plan for all aspects of your photo shoot.
I love small babies and I love everything about shooting these sessions. I love family connections, and I love capturing what is real, authentic and beautiful about you and your life with a new baby.
My photographs are known for their depth, richness, artistry, and clarity. I am extremely detail-oriented and I've worked very hard to be able to achieve technical excellence and genuine emotion in my work.
Equally at home in the studio or on-location, I love to use light and color to tell the story of YOU. My sessions are a lot of fun - we’ll laugh (hard), I’ll fuss over you and bring out your best.
I am so excited to meet you and your new little one!
Welcome to the newest member of your family! I adore babies, and I am very excited to meet yours.
The first thing you should know is that my newborn sessions are natural, relaxed, and real. I don’t do the “posed” newborn work that many of my colleagues do so artfully; instead, my focus is on the whole family, on your connections with one another, and on what your real life with Baby looks like. Most often I do my new baby sessions in the family’s home, but I am also happy to have you out to the studio, where it’s simple and homey (and you don’t have to clean up!). My clients tell me that they love how simple and informal these sessions are, and they love the little details and special moments that we are able to capture and preserve.
I am very comfortable with tiny babies; many years ago I worked my way through grad school as a nanny and child care worker for small infants. I am a mother with two kids of my own - so I really understand what these early days are like for you! I work hard to make your session not a source of stress, but something sweet and wonderful for you.
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS
Your lifestyle newborn/family session
WHERE WILL MY SESSION TAKE PLACE?
We can do the session at your house or at my studio. At your house we can use whatever rooms get the best light, and possibly use baby’s nursery, the parents’ bedroom and main living areas. At the studio, I have a couch and a bed, and both natural and studio light, and we can get a simple, homey feel there. If the weather is nice, we can even go outside (at either location)!
HOW LONG WILL THE SESSION LAST?
Typically sessions last between one and three hours. We will take all the time we need, and I always consider your baby’s need for feeding breaks or just to mellow out from all the stimulation.
WHEN DO YOU SCHEDULE YOUR PORTRAIT SESSIONS?
I usually shoot these sessions on the weekends. I am flexible on the time of day, but we should consider both the light in your home and your family’s schedule, especially if there are siblings.
HOW OLD SHOULD MY BABY BE?
Well, here is one of the things I love best about in-home lifestyle baby sessions: the window of opportunity is pretty wide, compared to typical “posed” newborn photography. I am comfortable doing these types of pictures with babies 3 months and younger. The younger your baby, the sleepier and “curlier” he or she will be, and more happy to be swaddled. Older babies, though may give us a few smiles! So the time frame is really up to you.
WHAT IF I NEED TO RESCHEDULE?
Not a problem. I know that people get sick, or emergencies arise. I appreciate 24 hours’ notice if you need to reschedule, and I will find another time for you.
I REALLY WANT THIS SESSION TO GO WELL. WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING THE SHOOT AND WHAT DO YOU DO TO HELP US LOOK GREAT?
Sessions with me are fun and relaxed. Below I outline some guidelines and tips for you, so you can get the most out of our time together. But most of all, I want you to just enjoy yourselves. I don’t expect perfect behavior, and I know babies cry sometimes... The session should be something to look forward to and remember fondly. Generally, I like to start with Baby alone, if he or she is awake, then get the whole family together, and any siblings together as a group, then Dad and Mom with Baby, and then if Baby falls asleep, some sleepy shots. Though the whole way through, we will let Baby lead the way. I don’t try to force anything just for the sake of a picture.
WHAT ABOUT PROPS?
My style is really simple and clean. I believe that the best prop for a newborn session is a set of loving arms. I have a few items I will bring, but I don’t really use props.
HOW MANY PICTURES DO YOU TAKE? DO WE GET TO SEE THEM ALL?
I take many, many pictures. When I prepare your proofing gallery I narrow them down to the very best ones, at least 35. You will not see blinking shots, outtakes, unedited proofs, or 10 of the same shot. I carefully “polish the gems” when I edit and show you only my best work as a complete gallery - the full story from your session. DO YOU DO RETOUCHING? Yes, it’s included. In addition to my custom hand-edits, I remove blemishes, and do other types of retouching. More involved edits like braces removal will incur an extra charge.
What to wear
I generally prefer no real "outfits" or bulky clothing on very small babies - they tend to engulf a little one and don't photograph well. Simple is always better. I love plain, solid onesies - and I have both short-sleeved and long-sleeved white onesies that are new and cleaned in baby-safe detergent. I always have those on-hand, just in case.
I also love the look of just a diaper with a neutral diaper cover (I have a knitted one).
I have some stretchy swaddling blankets in neutral, natural colors, as well as a few knitted bonnets, for some sweet, cozy, wrapped-up looks. If you have special blankets or quilts that are meaningful, I am more than happy to use those, too.
I don’t put babies in baskets, bowls or buckets nor do I use a posing beanbag. I do love to use blankets, beds, and a parent’s loving arms.
FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY:
Again, I love simple, timeless looks - especially in an indoor setting.
Mom: many new moms are not really focused on their wardrobes - so if you are looking for an easy option, try a simple tank or tee in white, gray, or black for a comfortable, low-stress look. You can add a cardigan, a flowy dress, or open blouse over it to change your look or coordinate with the family, too.
Everybody: coordinate, rather than match. Start with one outfit you love and build the rest of the look from there. Pull colors from your inspiration piece or find other colors that compliment it and are in the same color intensity. For example, all medium shades, or all soft neutrals. I really love creams, whites, tans and grays. Stay away from bright neons - they don’t photograph well. Consider the colors in your home as well, especially if that’s where we are shooting the session.
If you need further family wardrobe inspiration, check out my Pinterest board with tons of family and child session clothing ideas.
Preparing for your session:
Before the session: turn up the heat and feed your little one. A warm and well-fed baby is a relaxed baby. Cranking the heat up generally helps newborn babies to fall asleep easier and relax more, as does a full tummy. If you are hoping for some images of Baby sleeping, then see if you can keep him or her up a while before the session starts.
Do not stress about this stuff, though - if we need to take a feeding break during the session, or baby just needs some comforting, we will do that! I know that babies cry, and sometimes they don't fall asleep easily when there's a lot going on. So we will always let Baby lead the way during the shoot. No matter what, the photos will be lovely and sweet and natural, and I'm in no hurry for anything. I will take what I get rather than force something to happen just for pictures.
Tidy up possible photo spots in the house (bedroom, nursery, main living area) as much as you can. But please know that I will not be judging your home for cleanliness! I am WELL aware that the time following a baby's arrival is sometimes chaotic and a little bleary-eyed, and I have kids of my own, so... if there is something that needs to be moved out of the way, I can do that at the time, and I will always ask first. One quick and easy thing that will make your home look tidy in pictures, is to clear off the nightstands in your bedroom. If that's all you do - I'm good! And if you forget, or can't get to it - I'm good!
Before we start: when I arrive I will take a few minutes to look around your house for good lighting and other features that will make great spots for photographs. I'm mostly looking for good, soft light, but not direct sun streaming into the windows. I often like to use the parents' bedroom, baby's nursery, and main living space, but there may be other spots that work, as well.
A FEW MORE THINGS
Don’t worry about blemishes or breakouts on you, or baby acne or other marks on your little one. Everyone gets them (everyone!) and I am a good retoucher. It’s not an issue.
Mom, if you have recently given birth/had a C-section, please know that I understand that your body looks and feels different to you right now. I will pose you in a way that makes you look and feel wonderful. Please tell me if you have any concerns at all about being in pictures. I promise I get it and I’ll help you out in every way I can!
I don’t ever provide treats, candy or toys to reward cheerful cooperation from child siblings (or dads!). But YOU may!
Just be ready to have fun and feel special. Bring your ideas, your thoughts, your personality, and don’t worry about a thing. It’s going to go great!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - THE SESSION PROCESS
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I BOOK MY SESSION?
The earlier the better! I do book up quickly, so four to six weeks in advance during the busy season is ideal. Once in awhile I have an opening sooner than that, so it never hurts to ask... but I always recommend planning ahead to secure the date you want.
HOW DO I BOOK MY SESSION?
It’s very simple - email or call me and we’ll choose a date. We will choose a location and design a session to fit you perfectly. You will be sent an online contract to e-sign and instructions for paying the session fee. All set!
WHEN IS PAYMENT DUE?
Your session fee is due at time of booking and payment for print, product and digital file orders is due when you place your order.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
Cash, Check, PayPal & Credit Cards. Minnesota state sales tax applies.
HOW SOON AFTER OUR SESSION WILL WE BE ABLETO SEE OUR PICTURES?
Sneak peeks - typically the next day. A password-protected online gallery of your images will be available within two weeks after your session. You will then be able to view your private online gallery and select your favorite images.
HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO PLACE OUR ORDER?
Two weeks. When your proofs are ready, I will contact you right away to find out what two weeks would be best for you to make your decisions. Two weeks after the opening date you chose, the gallery will expire.
HOW DO WE ORDER OUR PICTURES?
You may place your order online within your proofing gallery. Or we can get together for an ordering session and I can show you samples and help you select exactly what you need. As soon as payment is made, I put your prints, albums, canvases and other products into production. Digital files will be made available for immediate direct download. Smaller print products can be shipped to you directly or you can pick them up. For larger, heavier items we will arrange for pickup.
HOW LONG DO YOU KEEP OUR IMAGES, AND CAN WE ORDER MORE LATER?
I will hang on to your images for at least a year from the date of your photo shoot. It’s usually longer than that, but I can only guarantee to archive your pictures for one year. Subsequent orders are welcome during that time - however, if no order was placed during the initial 2-week gallery window, then a $50 retrieval and re-upload fee will be charged for a late order. For a second order, there is no retrieval/re-upload fee.
DO I GET THE DIGITAL FILES? HOW ABOUT THE COPYRIGHT?
You get digital files if you buy them. Pricing for individual files and collections is linked below. Copyright for your digital images remains with me - you do not own the copyright nor do I transfer copyright. However, you DO get print rights! With every digital file purchase I provide a release form giving you permission to print your images, crop them, and post them online to your social media accounts and share them with friends and family. You may not alter them in any way other than cropping, as it is illegal to edit copyrighted material without permission from the work’s creator.
WHAT IS THE BEST METHOD FOR REACHING YOU?
I prefer email, because I like to keep a tangible record of everything we discuss regarding your session. Also, I occasionally respond to emails at times of day that aren’t really convenient for phone conversations! However, you are always welcome to call me to talk about any aspect of your session.
Have another question? Click the "contact" link above and ask me! I'll be happy to answer you right away.
Session fee: $250
The session fee includes one to two hours of shooting time, as well as a private online viewing gallery of at least thirty-five images.
The portrait session fee does not include prints or digital files.
To add a makeup artist/stylist: $200 per person. She will come right to your session, style you and stay for part of the session.
All products and digital files are available a la carte. Generally, clients budget anywhere from $800 - $1600 for their custom portraits.
The full pricing guide is here.
I am thrilled to be working with you, and promise to make this experience wonderful and fun for you and your family!