How do newborn photoshoots change as baby grows? Meet 7 Week Old Baby Parker

A common question I hear when talking to new parents who wish to have family photos with their newborn is: "Is it too late? Have I missed the window for newborn photos?" Often times, mommies and babies need extra time to settle in and recover (dads and siblings, too!). It's a huge life event to have a new person rock your world, so taking some extra time for yourself is really reasonable.

In short, the answer is it's never "too late" to have photos of your little one. Though sessions are designed for younger newborns (somewhere between 1 week and 1 month old), I work with newborns over a month old all the time. Simply put, we adjust the styling and pacing of the photo shoot to match baby's growth, and his/her wants/needs/opinions (yes, these babes have strong opinions!). 

Here are some key shifts between an older newborn shoot (over a month old) vs. a super-fresh newborn shoot (under 2 weeks). We will see with older newborns:

  • More more wake time!
    We will see more of those beautiful bright eyes in an older newborn.
  • A wider range of emotions.
    Because they're getting used to being in the outside world, and learning how adults will react if they cry or coo, we'll see more emotions that range from happy and silly to downright hungry and mad. And their mad faces are pretty cute, too.
  • A growing physique including weight and flexibility changes.
    This one is important to consider. A fresh baby is used to being swaddled up tight with their knees up (hey, mom's belly was pretty snug), and it's really calming for them to be wrapped up. Thus, younger newborns will often receive the photography tiny swaddle treatment. Older newborns past 1 month old may still enjoy being wrapped up tight and being styled as so, but more often than not, they'll want to stretch out their growing muscles and may prefer a different kind of wrap (looser, blanket overlays, etc). Newborns who have matured over several weeks will find it comforting to be in mom & dad's arms, so we will see more of that as they grow. This is really beautiful, considering that they are still so tiny and will not always be this small in your hands. :)

    If you have a preemie baby who has grown toward their original due date, their adjusted age will reflect a varied amount of muscle strength, emotions/wake time, and comfort in styling. We will let baby and mom provide feedback on what's comfortable in terms of posing and wrapping. Above all, I make sure baby is safe and takes breaks for eating, changing, and cuddles.

With that said, meet 7 week old newborn, Parker! He is so handsome; a perfect blend of his mom, Elizabeth and dad, Peter. We used props and scenes from his very first home -- all very unique to his family. Check out his solo pics in his beautiful crib and his incredible bassinet! White on white could be my new favorite. 

Thanks, Elizabeth and Peter for inviting me into your home to spend time with you and Parker! xo

Celebrating Baby #2 at The Palace of Fine Arts - Family Maternity Photography

I am so thrilled for Laura and Ian on their growing family! They traveled from Philadelphia to visit San Francisco with their first born, and in between adventures to the Redwoods and soaking in the coast line, I was lucky to spend some time capturing photos of this family in their last couple months as a family of three (followed by Thai food!).

We visited The Palace of Fine Arts, a great place for expecting mamas, as it's super walkable and a gorgeous San Francisco icon. Although I was prepared with umbrellas for the expected rain, we were greeted with the most beautiful warm sunshine! 

Here are a few favorites from our time together. Congrats again, Laura and Ian! I can't wait to meet your second little one. x

Enjoying Autumn and Getting Into Halloween Spirit in Denver!

This month, California is experiencing one of the most tragic set of wildfires it's ever seen. We have a toddler with a sensitive respiratory system, and had no choice but to evacuate the air deemed hazardous due to smoke. Many families had to do the same, and we were lucky enough to have my husband's parents to stay with in Denver, Colorado! We hope to return home soon to cleaner air, and of course wish all the best for those who lost so much in Northern California.

Something I love about Denver is the presence of real seasons. This sounds silly, but San Francisco is pretty much the same all year, hovering between 50 - 70 degrees and either clear or foggy most of the time. But here in Denver, Autumn is in full force, and we had to take advantage of the falling leaves and gorgeous warm colors everywhere. 

I should also mention that I'm so thankful that my 3 year old, Noah has returned as my #1 collaborator. We went through a spell of him not wanting to participate in pictures for a brief few months after his baby sister arrived, and in hindsight, it was a challenging transition for us all to grow from a family of 3 to a family of 4 -- most difficult for Noah, even if sad for me. But now he's back to saying, "mommy, I have an idea!" and we'll do it! The Halloween theme was his idea and he was super enthusiastic to wear his "Mr. Bones" shirt.

Children are the best. Family is everything! Here's to good health and easy breathing.

Amazing 6 Year Anniversary "Candy" Gift Idea: Hayes Valley Mommy & Me Photo Session

I had to share this adorable mommy & me session. In a stroke of genius, Lauren came up with an idea to give her husband a photo book themed "candy" for their traditional 6 year anniversary gift. Together, we came up with visiting a candy store, and the best one I know of is Miette in Hayes Valley. Not only is everything delicious, but the shop is as cute as can be, and it's in one of the most colorful and vibrant neighborhoods in San Francisco. 

I have limited mini sessions coming up on 11/4 in this same neighborhood and have 1 or 2 slots left. Email me if you're interested! Here's a preview!

Happy anniversary, Matt & Lauren! 

Why I Love San Francisco's Crissy Field + Baby Bradley Turns 1!

I have a couple of special things happening here. First -- mini sessions are nearly sold out, and I'm so happy I'll be reunited with families from last year, as well as meeting new faces! Some slots are available for the incredible, colorful, family friendly Hayes Valley, but Crissy Field is sold out. If you're still interested, let me know and I will open up a new date. stephanie@marilee.co

This brings me to the other special thing -- one of my newborns turned 1 year old! Proud parents Grace Ann and Brad brought baby Bradley to play in the late afternoon sunshine, and I was bewildered to see him walking (even chasing me!) in the blink of an eye. There is such joy from behind the camera over this past year. Thanks G&B for inviting me to cover his first year! 

If you've never visited Crissy Field before, you'll see amazing views of the San Francisco Bay, but the most prominent part of your view will be the Golden Gate Bridge. Crissy Field used to be a former U.S. Army airfield until 1974. Residents now enjoy a huge stretch of grassy field right along the water. 

We met & hung out by the Warming Hut for a few reasons: 1) great parking, 2) there's a pier! 3) beautiful proximity to Golden Gate Bridge and the downtown skyline, 4) lots of grassy fields, 5) tree line to create some shade when needed, 6) there's a little beach! All this is within stumbling distance, so it was great for baby Bradley to roam around. So if you've booked a mini session with me, you'll get to see some of these scenes. 

Here are a few of my faves! Enjoy.