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FAQs and tips for a great session

1. What do you photograph?
I specialize in modern child and family portraiture. I also offer maternity and newborn sessions. I don't photograph events, weddings, or adult models.
2. Where will we shoot our session?
That's entirely up to you! We just need plenty of natural light, an uncluttered background, and room to play to make it all come together. Sometimes it's a park, a playground,  your home, an open field, wherever.  We want the location to serve simply as a backdrop and keep the emotions and interactions shared in your family the primary focus. If you're having trouble deciding on where to do your shoot, we'd be happy to offer some local suggestions. The session fee covers locations within 30 miles of Clinton, NJ. Sessions are available in Bel Mar on the NJ shore for an additional $50. Other locations within NJ are available with an additional $50 per hour travel fee.
3. What is the session like, what do we do?
Play and have fun! I strive to capture the moments that define you as a family. I will be chasing your kids all around the park to capture them in their natural behaviors, and then I'll be snapping pictures as you tickle, hug, and toss them in the air. We want to have fun and capture the genuine joy and love you have for each other. We have plenty of time in our session, so relax, get comfortable and have fun! If your little one needs a break for snacks, diaper change, or even just a moment to calm down we can do so at any time! This is their session and we can work on their time.
If your session is at your home, and we are using a backdrop, I will first choose a location that has the best lighting and set up there. Although many of the pictures can be done using a backdrop, we may also want to do some shots throughout the rest of the house. Please be prepared and have the areas you'd possibly like photos taken as clutter free as possible. Often wonderful images can be taken in the child's room or on mom and dad's bed., so please have these areas photo-ready.
We want to capture your child's natural expressions and genuine emotions, which means letting them do their own thing as much as possible. Please do not give them too many instructions, as this will just make them nervous and uncomfortable. Also, do not tell them to smile or say cheese. Let's get them laughing instead!
4. What should we wear for our shoot?
Almost anything you can play in! Something casual and comfortable and fitting to your chosen location. Loud prints,  large stripes, and large logos are discouraged as they take away from the focus of the pictures which is your children. Hats and other accessories are encouraged if your child is comfortable in them and likes wearing them. Themes and dress-up clothing can be very fun (ie. ballerina, cowboy, angel). Bare feet are preferable whenever possible. If you are having trouble deciding on an outfit, bring both, we always have time to change, and this will give you more variation in your resulting images.  Newborns and young infants are often lost in clothing, so we recommend keeping it simple and photographing them in blankets, hats and diaper covers only.
5. How long does a session take?
Approximately 1 to 2 hours, newborn sessions up to 4 hours.
6. Should we bring anything to the shoot?
We can discuss any props you would like to bring. Maybe a favorite stuffed animal or blanket, extra clothing or accessories, etc. In addition, you should bring snacks and beverages for the kids, a change of clothing, a comb or brush, sun block, bug spray and anything else you typically might need for a few hours at the park. Please do not bring your own camera, as this can be extremely distracting to both me and those being photographed.
7. What if my little one gets sick or gets a bruise before the session?
Basic retouching is included with your session, and minor scratches, bruises and bumps can be corrected. However, if your child (or you) is feeling sick or suffering from any kind of rash or fever, we will have to reschedule. I have a little boy at home and work with many other children including newborns. We will do anything and everything to get another session scheduled for you.
8. Who should come to the session?
Only those being photographed. Grandmas and aunts are wonderful, but are often distracting for the child during the session. In order to get the best images of your child I need to interact with them one on one, and having too many family members around makes that difficult.
9. How far in advance should I schedule my session?
If you'd like an appointment on the weekend, I'm often booked months in advance. Call for an appointment as soon as you decide what time of year you'd like your session to ensure availability. If your session is for a newborn, please call well before baby is born, and we will note your due date and be sure to have an appointment available for you soon after your baby is born.
10. When do you recommend doing maternity sessions?
Around 30 to 36 weeks is ideal. That way you have a nice round tummy, but are not yet super uncomfortable. Please keep in mind when scheduling that we are often booked weeks and sometimes months out. So try to schedule your appointment well before your desired date.
11. When do you recommend doing newborn sessions?
To get good newborn portraits, newborn babies must be less than 2 weeks old, with about 1 week old being the best. Baby acne commonly starts around 2 weeks old, so it’s important to get them in before that happens.
If you would like to schedule a newborn session, I strongly advise that you book your session while you are still pregnant. We will work on changing the session date if it is needed (if baby comes early or late), but by reserving your spot before baby arrives it ensures that I don’t fill my calendar and can fit baby's session in as soon as possible! It is VERY rare that I am able to get a newborn in last minute as our schedule books up weeks and sometimes months in advance, so please do not delay in scheduling this important session.
12. What other ages do you recommend if we miss the newborn stage?
Four months is the next age I recommend having a session. At that age, babies can hold their necks up better, which allows for better angles and a greater variety of images. The next age I recommend is between 6 and 8 months. At this age, babies can sit up and have generally become quite social and love to smile at the camera. At 8 to 9 months, babies begin to crawl and can often stand with assistance. This can make for some wonderful images celebrating these milestones. Finally the one year birthday is a traditional time to have portraits done, so break out the cake and balloons and let's take some pictures!
13. How long do we have to wait to see the photos?
Within 1 to 2 weeks, I will have the images processed, edited and ready for preview. I will post your online gallery on my website for 2 weeks, at the end of which your order will be due. There will be a $50 fee to re-post your gallery.
14. How long does it take to get the prints back?
Typically your prints will be available within two weeks of your order. Some items such as photobooks may take longer, and you will receive an estimated completion date when you place your order.
15. What other tips do you have for my newborn session?
If at all possible, have baby finish up a feeding just before or at the beginning of our shoot. This will make for a happy and very sleepy baby.
Newborn sessions are generally done with minimal clothing, so be sure to have your home very warm. I also recommend having a white or neutral duvet on your bed, as we will do some shots there. And have any other room you may want to have baby photographed in picked up and clutter-free.
Remove clothing and socks with any elastic at least an hour before I arrive. I also recommend keeping baby in cloth diapers for an hour before I arrive. This ensures there are no red marks on baby's skin that can be very hard to remove in post-processing.
It's best if you and hubby wear black or dark shirts, and be sure to have a change of clothing in case of any accidents.
Please be prepared for your session to take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours to make time for feedings, diaper changes, soothing, and getting baby to sleep. Be patient and calm if baby gets cranky or is not cooperating. It happens with all babies, and that's why we have plenty of time built into the session. We will have plenty of time for him/her to get comfortable.
I often do images of baby's little hands and feet. Please make sure that nails are trimmed and clean. Also, please help me to keep an eye on your little one's face to make sure they don't have boogies or tears that will appear in your final images.
Expect your baby to pee on everything. That's what they do. I'll bring cloth diapers to use for our sets, but accidents happen and it's absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. Just be sure to have a change of clothing available.
16. Do you have a referral program?
Yes! Any time you refer a friend to me for a portrait session, both you and your friend will receive a free 8x10 print of your image of choice. If you refer 5 friends, you will also receive a free session.