What to Expect During Your Newborn Lifestyle Photo Session

What to Expect During Your Newborn Lifestyle Photo Session

What is a Newborn Lifestyle Photo Session?  This is the type of session where I come to your home and capture your newborn in a natural setting, which includes interactions with the family.  I offer posing guidance that inspires natural interactions without looking staged.  So if you’re looking for a more minimalist approach that’s less posed and focuses more on connections, this is the shoot for you!  This does not mean that there won’t be shots of the infant alone.  It just means that those shots will not include props such as baskets or bowls.  I’m happy to use whatever is in their natural environment. I offer Newborn Lifestyle Photography in the Austin, Texas  area.  Occasionally I may offer these when I’m traveling to the Portland, Oregon area.


How to prepare for the session

  • Think about natural light.  We will not shoot in every room, so take note of which rooms have the best natural light at the time of day the shoot is taking place. Often the best rooms are the master bedroom, the nursery, or the living room. Tidying and organizing those rooms is certainly nice-to-have, but it by no means needs to be spotless.
  • Unsure of how to dress?  I prefer that the baby is dressed simple and comfortable.  This includes onesies, swaddles or just a diaper.  I think simple and comfortable applies to you and your other family members as well.  Neutrals work really well, but feel free to add some color as long as they aren’t conflicting with each other.  For tips, Check out my post on what to wear.
  • Don’t worry about trying to make sure the baby is comfortable and cooperative during the shoot.  They are unpredictable, which is why I have planned for enough time to allow for breaks, feedings, or diaper and outfit changes.

What a session looks like

  • When I arrive, we will talk about the lighting and we can check out the space together.
  • Next, I will talk to you about the shots we will be taking and then decide where to start.  There will be different combinations of shots, and depending on which package you choose, you will get more or less of them.  To see which combinations come with each package, check my lifestyle packages page.  To see some of these combinations, check out my gallery. Keep in mind that I am open to substituting shots if you have a preference.  Below is a list of every combination, which is included in the deluxe package:
      • Individual newborn
      • Family with newborn
      • Siblings with newborn
      • Parents with newborn
      • Dad with newborn 
      • Mom with newborn

What happens after the shoot

  • I will edit all of the images in my style and provide a link to your online gallery within a week. I will be able to provide a more specific timeframe at the shoot.
  • At this point, depending on which package you choose, you will select which images you would like.
  • Next, I will provide more edits if necessary and once that is completed, you will receive a dropbox link with all of your high resolution files for printing, all of the low resolution files for social media, along with your print release.  I include black and white versions of every image.  Then I will let you know how long it will take to receive your book or print if that’s part of your package.

If you are ready to book a newborn session or have questions about this type of session, please reach out to me!  Make sure to check out my gallery for ideas and see my newborn lifestyle packages page for pricing info.

Make Yourself at Home: Benefits of an In-Home Family Lifestyle Session

Make Yourself at Home: Benefits of an In-Home Family Lifestyle Session

In Home Lifestyle

Staged family photo sessions help document meaningful moments in time, with everyone put together and looking their best. But there is also beauty in the more casual moments of a family’s day-to-day interaction in the home, and that is just as worthy of capturing on camera. An in-home, family lifestyle session consists of images capturing family connections through guided direction. Focusing on candid moments rather than posed, these types of sessions uniquely convey a family story through the authenticity of everyday life.

A few things to keep in mind when considering this type of session:

The Perks of a Lifestyle Shoot

  • You’re never late! Leaving the house with kids is not always quick and easy, let alone for a more formal photo shoot. Me coming to you means no packing makeup, diapers or back-up outfits.
  • No need to weather the weather: air conditioning prevents any hot summer discomfort or grumpiness, and taking a “raincheck” is no longer necessary.
  • When everyone is comfortable, people are usually in better moods, and necessities such as bathrooms or snacks/water are not a worry.
  • Natural, authentic moments can sometimes be easier to capture when children are at home doing normal activities. Without the pressure of smiling and looking to camera, kids and adults alike can relax and truly be themselves.
  • Children inevitably grow up, and things may change around your house. This type of session is a great way to look back and remember these simple, beautiful, memories.

Pre-Shoot Prep

Whether I am taking photos for families or senior high schoolers, I like to prepare for the session.  I will often go through some of my favorite poses, and even look for new poses that I want to try with my clients.  Basically I’m creating a shot list and I usually vary the list between clients.  I read through their online form to learn about the family or person, which may help when deciding which poses to implement.  I’m not always committed to every pose, but doing the research ahead is extremely helpful considering the variety of tasks involved during a session.  Aside from directing my subjects, I must also think about camera settings, composition, details on the person, as well as details in the background.

Organizing and Sorting Images

Before we even meet, it is important for me to understand more about your family and goals for the session. My pre-shoot questionnaire will help me better understand key factors including ideal lighting, where around the home you’d like to set up or activities that could make for a good shot. Still stumped? Not to worry! I am also happy to provide a long list of ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

After you fill out the form, I may ask you additional questions via email to determine the best time of day to photograph. Often mornings before 11am work well, but we can find a time and date that works for us both. Keep in mind I try to allocate an hour and a half for this style shoot, with breaks factored in. With the format being everyone in their natural habitat, the hope is children are able to last a bit longer than your more formal, staged sessions.

Tips for a Successful Session

  • Communication is key. If there are specific “must have” activities and shots, definitely let me know. If there are any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
  • Unsure of how to dress? Check out my post on what to wear…and what not to wear.
  • Ask yourself, “Which rooms work best?” We will not be shooting everywhere in the house, so take note of which rooms have the best natural lighting and can accommodate various activities. Tidying and organizing those rooms is certainly nice-to-have, but it by no means needs to be spotless. Dust thankfully doesn’t show up in photos!
  • Weather permitting, don’t feel limited to the indoors! Happy to take advantage of any yard space that makes for a good shoot location.

Think you and your family are ready to shake up your next photo session? Let’s talk! Check out my photo gallery for ideas, and take a look at my session info for pricing. Contact me here for booking or additional information on print and digital file pricing. Looking forward to working with you!

Behind the Shoot: My Photography Process

Behind the Shoot: My Photography Process

Austin Photographer Portraits

Most people know what occurs during a photography session, or at the very least it becomes clear once the session is complete.  But not everyone knows what a photographer does both before and after a session.  Recently I had a conversation with a friend about what my process looked like when people book a session with me.  She wanted to hear about all the details involved, and being on the consumer end, thought  it might be interesting for future clients to know what happens before and after the shoot.

Most photographers don’t just show up, take some photos, download the images, then send them out.  I may not be able to present every detail of the process for all photographers,  but what I can do is provide some information based on my experience as a lifestyle and portrait photographer.

Scouting for Photography Locations

If a client requests a specific photography location that is new to me,  I will usually travel to that place in advance so I can find the best possible spot to shoot at that time of day.  Lighting is an important factor in this process.  I find that scoping the scene out ahead of time is really key for being prepared, this way I can focus all of my energy into the shoot.  I also go out every so often just to find new places to shoot.  Being fairly new to Austin,  it’s been a fun way to explore and get to know the city. To learn more about locations in Austin, see my article about photo session spots.

Preparing for the Photoshoot

Whether I am taking photos for families or senior high schoolers, I like to prepare for the session.  I will often go through some of my favorite poses, and even look for new poses that I want to try with my clients.  Basically I’m creating a shot list and I usually vary the list between clients.  I read through their online form to learn about the family or person, which may help when deciding which poses to implement.  I’m not always committed to every pose, but doing the research ahead is extremely helpful considering the variety of tasks involved during a session.  Aside from directing my subjects, I must also think about camera settings, composition, details on the person, as well as details in the background.

Organizing and Sorting Images

The first step after downloading the images to my computer is called culling.  This is where I go through and narrow down which images to keep and which to get rid of.  This process can be time consuming for me because I try to narrow things down as much as possible to make things easier for the client.  I don’t want to overwhelm them with tons of images to look through when I post their gallery.  At the same time, I try to consider options the client might prefer, and not just what I like most.

Post Processing Images

The next step in my process is editing.  Back in the day, this was called “the dark room.”  When I worked in the darkroom, I had to expose light through the negative onto the print.  In doing so, I might expose more light to some areas of the image than others.  For example, a sky might need more light exposure in a sky to burn in the details of the clouds.  Or I may want less light exposed to darker parts of the image so shadowed areas still have detail, which is called dodging.  This process can be done from editing software in the modern world.   But that is not everything that can be done with editing software.  Aside from burning or dodging parts of the image, there are tools to adjust color, shadows, highlights, sharpness, saturation, etc.  Although there are some edits that can be done once the client has chosen their images, most of them need to be done just to present the gallery.  Because there are a significant amount of tools, I can spend quite some time on the images, especially since I’m a bit of a perfectionist.  I can easily spend a few hours and even more if I don’t stop myself.  It’s a struggle because it’s somewhat addictive for me considering I really enjoy this part of the process.

Export and Publish

After all of this, I then export all images and upload it all to a webpage.  I then need to make adjustments to some of the thumbnails for presentation purposes.  This is when I send the gallery to the clients for review.

Post Editing Selects

Once the client has gone through their gallery and selected the final images, I will sometimes perform a few more edits, such as taking people/things out of the background, or touching up blemishes on the face.  I then make copies of everything in black and white and again, need to adjust contrast, highlights and shadows.  Then everything gets exported out and the client will receive a dropbox link to download the images.

The goal for this post is to provide the client with an understanding of what I do as a photographer. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what is included with your session fee!  And if you have any questions about my photography process, feel free to contact me.

Guide to Great Austin Photo Session Spots

Guide to Great Austin Photo Session Spots

 The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Finding the right location for photos can be tricky depending on the time of year.  The hardest time of year to find great backdrops for Austin are the winter months, when there are so many bare trees.

I took a little trip and went to visit some places that I thought still worked for winter.  Most of these were taken this February.  The are two exceptions.  The senior photos on South Congress were taken in September and because this is an urban location, it would also work well in the winter.  The other photos not taken in February are the family photos at Butler Park, which were taken in December.   Additionally, all of these locations would be great during spring, summer and fall months. See my photos and descriptions below for examples of what each location has to offer.

 SEAHOLM DISTRICT

The Seaholm District was once an industrial section of downtown Austin.  This has gone under an extensive transformation, which is currently a mixed-use urban neighborhood.   This area includes the Library, the Butterfly Bridge, Shoal Creek and the Seaholm Power Plant. I captured photos at the Butterfly Bridge (by Shoal Creek) and down by the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail that is along Lady Bird Lake.

 PFLUGER PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE

This is both a pedestrian and cyclist bridge which overlooks Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, connecting north and south sides.  It features a “double-curve” design. This connects Seaholm District to Butler Metro Park and can be a great place to stop and get a photo if you’re walking from one place to the other.

 BUTLER METRO PARK

This park runs between Riverside Drive and Barton Springs Road, and between South First and South Lamar.  This area has beautiful backdrops of the Austin skyline.

 THE LONG CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

The Long Center is a venue located on Butler Park, which is along Lady Bird Lake.  This is a great place for photography not only for its great skyline views, but the design of the building is stunning with it’s glass structure, circular “ring-beam” and aluminum paneled roof.

The photo at the top of this article was also taken at the Long Center.

Fun fact: During the renovation, 95% of the material from the Palmer Auditorium was recycled and incorporated into the first phase of the Long Center.

These first four spots are technically close enough and within walking distance to include in an hour long session.  However, this all depends on how much time is spent at each location.

 SOUTH CONGRESS

This district features hip boutiques, restaurants and trendy hotels.  There’s plenty of options that make for fun backdrops in a photo session.  When planning a shoot here, it’s probably best to avoid busy times, such as Friday/Saturday late afternoon to early evenings.  This is the only location where my photos were taken in the summer.

 BULL CREEK DISTRICT PARK

Located just 20 minutes Northwest of downtown Austin, Bull Creek offers a variety of backdrops, including a running creek, hiking trail, rock formations and lots of trees.

I am hoping that this article will be helpful when planning a photo session.  Contact me to book a session.

2021 Photography Bucket List

2021 Photography Bucket List

2021 Goals Family Photography

Cheers to 2021!  I think everyone agrees that last year was not as great as we hoped for.  Not that any of us could have foreseen what was coming.

Despite everything that happened in the past year, I did gain some new clients and am thankful for that.  I was limited to shooting outdoor only with smaller groups.  In the near future, I will still be shooting outdoors only.  No indoor Lifestyle sessions at this time.  However, I’m hoping that things will be different later in the year.  I have some new goals for this year that will hopefully inspire new and past clients.

Communicate

Last year I started an email list.  The goal is to collect emails to send out a monthly newsletter.  The newsletter will cover my blog posts and upcoming deals or mini-sessions I may be offering throughout the year.  These things can also be found on my Facebook page.  However, to get first access to these offers, the newsletter is the way to go.  Anyone can sign up for my newsletter by adding their email here.

Another form of communication is through my blog and Instagram page.  I plan to update my Instagram page more often this year, which will include not only imagery but sometimes session information.  My instagram page offers images that you most likely won’t find on my website gallery.  Although there are a few of the same.

Explore

2020 was not the best year for getting out of the house.  While I did a bit of exploring, I plan to get out more once Covid cases begin to go down.  It’s important that I scout for new locations for photography sessions.   I did find a few new locations last year and plan to write a new blog post in the near future which will cover my new findings. Although it’s not just about location,  time of day means everything.  I’m hoping  to see locations at different times of the day to see how the lighting effects it.  In most cases the hour before sunset is the most ideal.  However, not everyone is available during that time, so it’s good to have other options.

Offer Mini Sessions

Last fall I offered School Portrait Mini-Sessions from my backyard and it worked out very well.  I plan to offer more this Spring for those who missed it.  I’m also planning to offer Spring and Fall mini-sessions this year for families, siblings, couples, etc.  I live in South Austin, so mini-sessions most likely will occur here for this year.  Sign up for my newsletter to find out first!

Create a Showcase

When I lived in Portland, Oregon, I had exhibits occasionally at an event called Last Thursday.  This event took place on a street called Alberta where people could walk and view art from street vendors or within places of business.  Mine was displayed in a wine shop.  This was a lot of fun for me, but takes money, time and work.  Since then I haven’t been shooting much aside from people.  That said, I would like to get back into landscapes and I know there is a lot to explore in and around Austin.  This was a goal for last year as well, but things were thrown off when the virus hit.   I’m hoping this year will be better, especially with the purchase of a new camera!

Educate

I really enjoy working with kids and considering the idea of offering some type of 1/2 day summer camp for those who are interested in photography.  It would be very basic, covering lighting and composition mostly, so any camera will do.  It will most likely be in my backyard.  If you have a child that you think would be interested in this, do let me know by sending me an email from my contact page.  Or sign up for my newsletter to find out my plans during the year.

That concludes my goals for 2021.  If you have any questions or would like to book an outdoor session, then send me an email.