Session Prep

Prepping for a Studio Newborn Session | Indianapolis Newborn Photographer

Thank you for choosing me to capture your little one at this precious, amazing, crazy time in your lives.  This phase will go by quickly so having these images will be wonderful reminders of how tiny your little one once was and how you felt when you brought your baby home. 

I'm looking forward to hosting you in my studio and I want to make it a comfortable and painless process.  Please use these tips and information to prep for the session to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible:

*Try to keep baby awake for a couple hours before you leave for the session. Give baby a bath to keep him/her awake, interact with him/her, tickle feet. I know - so counter-intuitive to what you want to do, but again, we want baby nice and sleepy (:  Maybe even ride next to baby in the car on the way over to keep him/her entertained.  

* The goal is to have baby nice and full for the session, so I usually recommend feeding baby when you arrive.  I have a boppy you can use. (I will remind you when you arrive but strip baby down for this feeding and please take a wet cloth during this time and wipe down baby's face/body to eliminate skin flakes and "eye boogers." If baby is super flaky you may consider using a baby-safe lotion.)

* If baby takes a pacifier, bring it with.

* My studio will be quite warm to help keep baby asleep and comfortable - so plan for that. 

* I have plenty of hats, wraps, blankets, etc so you don't have to worry about providing anything.  My mini studio sessions are completely planned out based on the colors and info you provided in the questionnaire.  My workflow revolves around the props, wraps and accessories I will be using and I work in a manner that pretty much guarantees that baby will stay asleep the entire session, after he/she initially falls asleep.  If you have a special outfit you want photographed on baby, please let me know beforehand, but understand that will probably compromise one of my other setups.  If you want more flexibility with such things, consider a full session as it provides more time to get more special requests in.  Note: hats and headbands are easy to slip on and off so those are no big deal to add as long as they match the wraps I'm using. 

* As for what to wear for mom, dad, and siblings (if applicable) - I suggest something simple.  Solid colors are good - patterns or wording take focus from the baby.

* Session flow: I will wrap baby first and get two different prop shots.  While baby is wrapped it normally doesn't matter if he or she is awake or asleep.  They are usually really comfortable and cozy all wrapped up.  I then will move to a beanbag setup.  Sibling shots (if applicable) will be next and then some family shots.

*The questionnaire you fill out prior to the session is the time to let me know if you have any specific poses you want.  Remember - this is a wrapped session so do not plan on any naked shots.  If you want naked shots, then lets talk about upgrading to a full session because those take longer both posing baby and during post processing.  Also PLEASE do not arrive and show me a bunch of Pinterest ideas on your phone.   I already will have a detailed workflow planned out and I don't like to be mean and say "no."  (: 

*Normal session time is 60-75 minutes but sometimes we go over.  Don't stress if it's taking awhile to get baby settled - it's all part of the process. 

*Just to be upfront, my family or portions of my family will probably be home.  They are used to this routine and will be completely out of the way as my studio is closed off. We do not have any pets. 

*Lastly, you need to know how to get here!  My address is 6525 Briarwood Place, Zionsville. 

*After the session I will post a sneak peek on social media within two days.  My typical turnaround for proofs is one week or less.  Once you choose your 10 favorites (or all of them), expect a 7-14 day turnaround.  Turnaround times are subject to change depending on my workload at the time but I will communicate expectations with you. NOTE: Proofs will not be fully edited.  They will be cropped and have basic exposure and color corrections.  I will complete all of the detail editing for the images you select, including redness removal, extending backgrounds, blemish removal, etc. The final images will be much more polished than the proofs. 

*Please let me know if you have any questions and I look forward to meeting you and your new addition! 

Rescheduling Notice: Please note that if I am sick, I will reschedule our session. Per my contract, if that puts us outside the window of 3 weeks of age, you have the option to cancel your contract and I will return your deposit. Babies can be photographed successfully outside of the 3 week window but I don’t want to compromise your desired results and I definitely do not want to risk the health of your baby. I will always be open and honest about my health (which good news, I am typically a healthy person - but I have kids and kids tend to bring those germs home). (: Since my studio is in my home, I also will have an open discussion with you if any of my family members are sick and we can mutually decide how to proceed.

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Prepping for an In-home Lifestyle Newborn Session | Indianapolis Newborn Photographer

Lifestyle newborn sessions are one of my favorite sessions.  They feature more of a documentary style than the traditional posed sessions.  The goal is not to make everything look perfect (although many families make it look like adding a child to their household is a piece of cake) - the goal is to capture the emotion of those first couple weeks after birth.  Most of the session is unposed. I may direct you based on lighting, but most of the session is meant to be natural and free-flowing. 

Scheduling

Since it is pretty much impossible to know exactly when your little one will be born, at this point we will just set a tentative date based upon your due date.  However, once your little one arrives, make sure to email me or text me (765-749-4388) so we can agree on a session date that works for both of us.  I like to schedule lifestyle newborn sessions during that first month. 

Session Length

Lifestyle newborn sessions typically last about 1.5 hours.  If baby is upset, we'll take a break.  Feeding time is also a great time to get some photos taken, whether mom is breastfeeding or dad is feeding with a bottle.  Trust me - you will want to remember everything! 

Session Prep

TIDY UP - I completely understand that you just brought a little human home and babies need so many things!  And these new things are probably scattered throughout your home.  If you can, please tidy up in any rooms that we may use during the session.  Your bedroom and the nursery are popular spots, if they have ample light.  Make the bed, pick up any random bedside table items, etc.  Less is more.  If conditions are good, we can also venture outside. 

AWAKE - Try to keep baby awake for a couple hours before I arrive.  Give baby a bath, play with baby, tickle his/her feet.  It will help assure that baby will be tired when it's time to sleep for the session. 

FEED - I recommend feeding baby right before I arrive, that way we have the best chance of a cooperative and happy baby during our session.  As I mentioned earlier, if we need to take a break for feeding, no big deal!

WARDROBE: As for what to wear for mom and dad - I suggest something simple.  Solid colors are good - patterns or wording kind of take away focus from the baby.   (:  As for baby's wardrobe, a plain white onesie is nice or I have some neutral wraps I will bring.  Or some people just prefer a diaper or diaper with a cover. I HIGHLY discourage putting the baby in any complete outfits (pants+shirts, dresses, etc.).  Newborns don't fit in any clothes very well and they just end up being baggy/awkward and covering the baby's face and cute features.  Newborn sessions are about the newness and tiny little features - clothes cover all of that up. 

Go-Time

WALKTHROUGH - When I arrive, I will first perform a walkthrough of the house to determine the best rooms for photographing your family and little one.  Lifestyle sessions are shot with all natural light so I'm looking for rooms with nice and ample light.  We may even use a guest bedroom that you never use, if the lighting is good.

NATURAL - I try to let the session flow naturally.  I will definitely help pose and direct you into the best light but I look for cues from baby and mom and dad to get some great natural shots.  We will get a variety of images and groupings from the session.  If there is any specific shot you want, please let me know.  Lastly, relax.  Gaze at your newborn and smile and trust me, the session will come together perfectly.  Lifestyle sessions are so amazing because the emotions are so real. 

After the Session

I will have a sneak peek ready for you to view within two days of our session.  Post processing of all of the photos will be completed within 2 weeks and I will send you a link to your online gallery for viewing, downloading, and ordering of prints, announcements, etc. 

If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to email me or give me a call at 765-749-4388

Prepping for an In-home Newborn Session | Indianapolis Newborn Photographer

One of the best services I provide my clients is offering on-location newborn sessions.  I bring all of my gear, props, accessories, etc. to you- all you have to do is tidy up a bit, follow a few simple directions, and open the door.  (: 

If you have an in-home posed+lifestyle newborn session coming up, please read the following to understand how to prep for the session, how the session will play out, and what to expect. 

Scheduling

Since it is pretty much impossible to know exactly when your little one will be born, at this point we will just set a tentative date based upon your due date.  However, once your little one arrives, make sure to email me or text me (765-749-4388) so we can agree on a session date that works for both of us.  My preferred window of time is between 6-17 days. Please note that if I am sick, I will reschedule our session. Per my contract, if that puts us outside the window of 3 weeks of age, you have the option to cancel your contract and I will return your deposit. Babies can be photographed successfully outside of the 3 week window but I don’t want to compromise your desired results and I definitely do not want to risk the health of your baby. I will always be open and honest about my health (which good news, I am typically a healthy person - but I have kids and kids tend to bring those germs home). (:

Session Length, Poses, & Props

I try to keep newborn sessions between 3-4 hours but there are instances where it might take longer.  The baby is the boss and please just remember that I am not in any hurry.  Please don’t feel the need to apologize if the session is on the long side – it’s totally okay and normal.  As far as poses/inspiration images go, I cannot guarantee that we will get any specific images but I will surely do my best to get the images that are of most importance to you and your family.  I try to get between 2-3 different setups.  I will bring enough blankets, wraps, hats & headbands for the entire session but if you have something you’d like to use, please feel free to show me when I arrive or even better, give me a heads up in your questionnaire.  I love using family heirlooms and homemade blankets to personalize our session. 

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Session Prep

AWAKE - Try to keep baby awake for a couple hours before I arrive.  Give baby a bath, play with baby, tickle his/her feet.  It will help assure that baby will be tired when it's time to sleep for the session. 

FEED - We will get the best images when your baby is sleepy and full.  Please plan on feeding your baby once I arrive so you can be feeding while I set up and baby will be nice and full once we are ready to begin. 

UNDRESS - I’ve found that it is easiest if you wrap him/her in a blanket (vs. clothing) for this feeding. That way we won’t have to bother the baby with undressing before we start. 

CLEAN UP - This is referring to baby and some of the normal flakiness or "eye boogers" that he or she may have.  During that feeding before our session, please take a wet cloth and wipe down baby's eyes and face.  If baby is super flaky, you may consider using a baby-friendly lotion.  This will greatly reduce my editing and turn around time. 

CRANK UP THE HEAT - It is important that the house is at a warm temperature (around a toasty 80 degrees).  Although I will bring a space heater, the baby is usually more relaxed when the whole house is warm since we will be moving around for feedings, etc. 

LIFESTYLE - If you want lifestyle shots taken, please pick up in any rooms where we might take photos (generally ones with ample natural light).  Many couples also like to take newborn/family photos in their bedroom, so you may want to pick up and make the bed.  (:  Less is more for lifestyle photos.  Also, if you could have a step ladder readily available for me during the lifestyle portion, that would be super helpful.  There are a few shots I like to take from higher up + I am vertically challenged.

Setting Up

WALKTHROUGH - When I arrive, I will first perform a walkthrough of the house to determine where I will set up and where we can take some lifestyle shots.  I now shoot newborns with a studio light (don't worry, perfectly safe for babies) so really all I need is a cleared out space for my light and beanbag.  I prefer a room with no direct sunlight coming in and I find that an enclosed room or a semi-enclosed room helps me keep the room warm with my space heater. We will use natural light for the lifestyle portion so the quality of light will dictate where in your home we capture those images.

MY STUFF - I will make a few trips to the car to bring in all my goodies.  With me I will have: a bean bag, a backdrop stand, blankets, a basket or two, a space heater, a box of wraps/headbands/hats, and my camera equipment.  I try to be as non-intrusive as possible but there are times I may have to move a few chairs or a coffee table to set up shop. 

During the Session

SESSION FLOW - All of my sessions start with me wrapping baby for some prop and beanbag shots.   After a few different setups and looks, and while baby is wrapped, we will work in sibling shots.  Also while baby is wrapped we will probably move on to some of the lifestyle portion of the session.  We can unwrap baby as well for some of the lifestyle shots - it's totally up to you.  I keep baby wrapped pretty much as long as possible because when they are snug like that, they are usually very content.  After all of the aforementioned is complete, I end the session with posed shots on the beanbag (typically naked unless you have advised otherwise). 

BABIES CAN BE MESSY - Don't worry about spit-up or messes.  Not my first rodeo. Some of my stuff has been soiled in the past and I have become an expert in removing it. 

FEED, FEED, FEED - You may need to feed the baby more often than you’ve become accustomed to since we might be disturbing baby’s sleep with posing and that is the quickest and most effective way to get baby back to sleep.  With  that said, I always try to coax baby back to sleep using other methods before resorting to another feeding. 

DISTRACTIONS - Please do whatever you can to keep the noise level to a minimum during our session.  I will bring a white noise machine but it can’t cover up all noises.  You may want to make arrangements for older children and/or pets that might be distracting.  I normally take sibling shots after a few posed baby-only set ups so I can let you know when they need to be ready for their photos.   Let’s also talk more about pets. I’m a pet lover but I also want to minimize the interaction between animals and my newborn props, blankets, etc. It is best if animals are kept away from the area that I’m shooting to keep pet dander and hair off of my stuff and to minimize any distractions they may cause. That said, I’m more than happy to include them in lifestyle portion!

RELAX - We know that babies can be unpredictable and it’s impossible to know how each session will play out.  I will take great care to get the shots you desire but I also will follow the baby’s lead.  If the baby is fussy, we’ll just take a break.  Please don’t get frustrated as they can sense stress (especially from their mommy)!   

SAFETY FIRST – My MAIN priority is your baby’s safety.  I take great care in handling your baby and ensuring that he/she is supported properly and is comfortable.  I am a mommy to three kiddos so I know how delicate newborns are.  If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let me know! 

ASSISTANT - There may be times I solicit your help with holding a blanket up or helping me transition set ups.  Even better though - I LOVE when grandma or a relative or a friend comes to hang out and help.  So please don't hesitate to invite someone to come over during your session.  (: 

WARDROBE: As for what to wear for mom and dad - I suggest something simple.  Solid colors are good - patterns or wording kind of take away focus from the baby.   Let's also talk about what not to wear - take your fitbits, apple watches, etc. off or any other accessories that would distract from baby. (:  As for baby's wardrobe during the lifestyle session, a plain white onesie is nice or I have some neutral wraps we can use.  I HIGHLY discourage putting the baby in any complete outfits (pants+shirts, dresses, etc.).  Newborns don't fit in any clothes very well and they just end up being baggy/awkward and covering the baby's face and cute features.  Newborn sessions are about the newness and tiny little features - clothes cover all of that up. 

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After the Session

I will have a sneak peek ready for you to view within two days of our session.  Post processing of all of the photos will be completed within 2 weeks (during busy fall season it may be up to 3 weeks) and I will send you a link to your online gallery for viewing, downloading, and ordering of prints, announcements, etc. 

If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to email me or give me a call at 765-749-4388

 

Prepping for a Family Session | Helpful Tips | Indianapolis Family Photographer

Preparation is key in having a successful photo session.  It doesn't have to be complicated - you don't have to spend hours shopping for new outfits, practicing poses, or training your children to smile.  I always want my clients to come relaxed - ready to be yourselves.  The tips below are helpful tools to assist us in capturing the best photos we possibly can that portray the reality of your family. 

DRESS:

- Coordinate without completely matching.  Hey, it is your session, and if you are dead set on everyone wearing white shirts, then by all means, go for it.  BUT - I highly discourage it.   (:  Variety is definitely more interesting.  I tell my clients to pick a couple coordinating colors and dress the family in a mix of solids and patterns of these colors.  Then maybe add a splash of color (if needed) in a scarf or accessories.

- Wear what you are comfortable in!  If you are not comfortable or confident in the clothes are you are wearing - it will show in the photos!  Many of my sessions also happen at parks and I will not make anyone do anything they don't want to do, but I love to have my clients sit in tall grass or even take their shoes off and stand in a creek.  (: 

- Dress for the weather.  I know it may not be ideal and you may have had a special summer outfit picked out and it's 50 degrees, but you want to be comfortable. 

- Bright fluorescent colors are a NO NO!  Whether you realize it or not, bright colors will reflect off of skin and clothing, so anyone standing next to that person wearing the hot pink shirt will have hot pink skin.  I can't edit that out. 

- If you have glasses that don't have the non-glare lenses, you might consider taking them off for the photos. 

- Women - don't over-accessorize.  We want the focus to be on the beautiful faces of your family, not on the big hoop earrings you are wearing. 

- Children -

  • Make sure the clothes on your little ones fit and they are comfortable in the clothes. If you go out and buy something new, I know it's hard to buy clothes that aren't one size up, because you know they grow so quickly. But baggy clothes will swallow up little ones, especially if they are sitting down.

  • Shoes matter - The rugged sneakers or Spiderman boots with the nice khaki pants might not be the look you are going for. I will say with that, please make sure they are comfortable - I have seen way too many times that parents go buy new shoes and they don't fit properly or they are not comfortable and that makes for unhappy kids.

  • Vests and coats - I have a love/hate relationship with vests and coats - they can be great for photos but so often they ride up and cover the kids faces. If you do want them wearing a vest or coat, please make sure it properly fits.

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BEFORE YOUR SESSION:

- If you have an evening session, I recommend keeping the kids on a normal schedule for the day.  Taking them out all afternoon and missing naptime will prove disastrous for the photo session. 

- Make sure kids (and you) are fed before the session or at least have had a heavy snack.  We all get cranky when we are hungry! 

- Plan ahead, set clothes out, check timing/directions, and save my cell number in your phone (765-749-4388).  It's hard when clients show up and they are frazzled because they were in such a hurry and the kids are all crazy, etc.  I know things come up, but if at all possible, leave plenty of time to get ready, get dressed, and drive to our location.  If you are running a little late - DON'T FRET - it's not going to be detrimental to your session.  Just text me to let me know.  I would rather you be 10 minutes late and show up relaxed than show up on time with screaming kids. EXCEPTION: If you are participating in a fall or spring mini and have a session after you, then showing up late will probably greatly reduce the number of photos we capture. 

- Please fill out the questionnaire if possible, to help me plan the best session possible. Click HERE and it will take you to the questionnaire. 

- Ask yourself, did I submit my contract and pay my invoice?  (: 

RESCHEDULING POLICY: If you have a conflict come up, please let me know ASAP. I normally am fine with rescheduling and transferring your deposit to another session. But please know that if it’s during my peak fall season (Sept, Oct, Nov), I have likely turned down business to hold your spot and I will have to charge a reschedule fee of $100, per our contract.

Rescheduling based on weather will always be a day-of decision and we will try to work that decision out as soon as possible in the day so that we both aren’t spending time prepping for a session that won’t happen. I will be in touch via text the day of to discuss the weather and gather both opinions. If you have a morning session, I will be in touch the evening prior to that to discuss weather. During my peak fall season (Sept, Oct. Nov.) I will be less lenient about rescheduling. Rain, thunderstorms, strong winds, temperatures under 40 degrees will qualify for rescheduled sessions. Misty weather, cloudiness, only a potential for severe weather, and unseasonal (warm in fall, cool in summer/spring) temperatures will not qualify for a reschedule unless mutually agreed by me. And just to make it clear, if fall doesn’t feel like “fall” or the colors are not peaking at the time you thought they would - that is not an acceptable reason to reschedule and I will not agree reschedule based on those reasons. This girl cannot control the weather or the pretty fall colors. (:

AT YOUR SESSION:

- If possible, place your PHONE, wallet, bulky keys, etc. in a bag to carry around or hand them to me to put with my stuff.  These things bulge in pockets and peak out of pockets and they just look funny in pictures.  I usually am carrying around a bag and I can store your stuff.  Please don’t leave valuables in the car - there have been reported car break-ins for photographers and clients at parks. People are unfortunately preying on us since they know we’ll be gone from the parking lot for period of time and possibly are leaving belongings in the car.

- If you have young children - try to make sure their faces are clean before getting out of the car.  I don't know about you, but my kids always seem to have bits of food, yogurt stains, and/or snot on their face.  Yes, I can edit this out but it's much less time-consuming if I don't have to.

- Please do not take photos with your cell phones during sessions.  (Unless you want to take a picture of me taking pictures and post on FB about what an awesome photographer I am).  (: 

- If you have promised your kids a special treat after the session - please let me know so I can have it in my back pocket just in case.  I also carry Smarties candy with me - FYI - I will always ask before giving to your child.  I use Smarties because they are clean and small.  Please don't bring chocolate, sticky, messy treats for obvious reasons.

- If you choose a nature outdoor location in the spring, summer, or early fall, please check yourselves for ticks after the session and before getting in the car.  And again when you get home.  It's just a precaution; I actually have yet to see a tick on myself or a client after a session, but we know they are out there. 

- Most importantly - RELAX, have FUN and be yourselves!  I love capturing candid moments so if you feel inclined to pick up your kids and swing them around, please do so.  Yes, I will help pose, but especially with young children, we will also follow their lead.  I want this to be a positive and fun experience - I'm not just selling you photos - I truly want you to enjoy the entire session experience. 

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AFTER YOUR SESSION:

- Your work is done!  You did it!  I will ask permission to post a few sneak peek photos on Facebook within a couple days.  Perfectly fine if you don't want this.  I will finish editing and send you an online gallery within 14 days (21 days max during my busy fall season). 

If any questions arise at any point in the process, please don't hesitate to contact me.  kellymartinphotos@gmail.com or 765-749-4388.