It's easy to get lost in the magic of the newborn photos you're clicking through on Pinterest. That's part of a photographer's job -- to do the work in providing beautiful images that snapshot a moment in your life that will move all too fast -- removing any of the worry about what it takes to make those particular photos.
So as you consider what type of images you'll want your child to hold in their hands years from now, you'll come to a point where you'll need to decide whether you want to bring your family into a studio or have the photographer come to your home.
As someone who loves both types of photography, I definitely believe there is a place for bringing newborns to a studio. Studio photos are always clean, resources are available at the studio for baby's wardrobe & backdrops, you don't have to clean your house, and the light is guaranteed to be amazing. Photographers at studios are super artistic when it comes to creating artwork around newborns, and I love following this type of work!
With that said, I want to hash out the benefits of bringing your photo shoot to your home. It's different than studio work, but I'm in this camp. Here are my top 5 reasons to hire a photographer to visit your home in baby's first weeks of life:
1) Feeding Baby
As a nursing mom, the first thing that comes to mind is keeping that baby's belly full. There are many ways babies get their nutrition -- breastfeeding, moms who pump and bottle, formula and bottle. And there are many different comfort levels and privacy levels of feeding baby. The PRO of being at home is that moms and dads can feed their baby as they always do. Packing plastics to-go (pump/bottle/formula/storage/ice) is hard, and being home can help parents be more at ease with what is already a tough task. No cons here.
2) Recovery for Mothers & Baby
The ideal newborn shoot takes place between 6 - 14 days or at least within baby's first month of life. Moms are warriors in any kind of birth, but there's always recovery time involved. PRO of shooting at home: The severity of surgical procedures can impact mom's range of movement and travel, so I am in the camp of believing that having the services come home is a benefit to the health of both mom & baby. As an added bonus PRO: right after the shoot, it will take approximately 2 minutes for mom & dad to get back into their jammies, resuming normal life. :) :) :)
CON: By the time you invite a photographer in, mom and dad might be having cabin fever!! I encourage parents I work with to go out for a short walk or to lunch since they look awesome.
3) More Meaningful Scenes to Keep
The biggest PRO here is showing baby in 30-something years (hey, I'm a 30-something) their very first home in their very first city. Baby is going to want to see the world you brought him/her into. For instance, I came home in a wood-paneled station wagon (maybe in a car seat, maybe not...?) and lived in a home with red carpets, popular in the 70s and 80s. My parents wore super groovy plastic rimmed glasses and had long-ish hair. AWESOME, and nothing looks the same anymore. Glad we have some memories in photos!
So let's shoot some photos in baby's nursery and in that rocking chair that mom and dad will spend every night in. Let's use the couch that baby will watch late night movies on in his/her first weeks because baby won't sleep. And let's shoot in front of some other family photos and family heirlooms that might be more meaningful than what you can find in someone else's space.
CON: Ok, you might have to vacuum the carpet. But don't worry, photographer will clean the table, shove around furniture, and hide away the pumping bras when needed. :)
4) Siblings At Ease (Parents, Too)
Newborn shoots typically take between 2-3 hours. They're fun for us photographers and we do our best to keep the family relaxed and at ease. We take breaks for baby's needs. We take breathers when the thermostat is high to keep baby warm and we're sweating. This means siblings can get a little restless, regardless of where you're shooting. If big brother and big sister are at home, PRO: they can relax in their own space with their own toys. PRO: They can get ready at the last minute because ... what kid have you ever met that wanted to put their pants on? It's especially important to be in a familiar space if siblings are still on a nap schedule. When dad is having his solo portrait with baby, mom can retreat to a private place of quiet. Definitely a PRO!
Small CON: At-home sessions can run longer than a studio experience, so if you have a short window of time to shoot with big bro or sis, your photographer will prioritize the sibling shot and family shots first.
5) Accidents Happen -- Your Wardrobe and Vanity Are At Home
Things that happen 100% of the time: spit up, pee, poop, drool, boogers, milk splatter, bottle drips. We can prepare as much as possible with towels, bibs, etc, but accidents happen. PRO: If you need a new shirt, dress, or entire outfit for anyone in the family, it's easy knowing your entire closet is a few steps away (even though we'll likely have plan A and plan B wardrobe already picked). Touch-ups of makeup are a breeze at home, too. No cons here, either.
With that said... here are highlights from a recent session I had the pleasure of shooting at the Pagtama family's home in San Jose. Congratulations, Judy, Anthony and big bro Hudson!