Fresh 48's with Brittney Hogue
How to prepare for your baby's first professional portraits
Hospital lifestyle portraits are by far my favorite images to take of newborns. There is something so very sweet about being able to photograph a baby and record those tiny details of the first days of life. So let's look at how your session will evolve and what steps you may take as a family to have a laid back and enjoyable experience!
When to schedule
Scheduling is simple. Send me a text to 309-642-7029 with your name just in case you are not in my contact list yet. Let me know you think you are in labor or you have a planned day of birth on your calendar. This gives me a bit of advanced notice for childcare. Send me another text when you have been settled into postpartum and let me know how you and baby are doing, if there are any health concerns or restrictions that are being observed right now. I will tentatively plan to come out the morning following your birth unless you request me to come sooner and my schedule accommodates it. Fresh 48s typically take place between 9-11am or 1-3pm. If it is day of discharge for you, we will plan for 9-11am.
What to bring to the hospital
For a timeless image and one that truly reflects your hospital stay, I prefer to keep newborns in their hospital kimono top or a simple bodysuit. Your family cannot wait to see every inch of your new child, so it is my hope to not bury her in clothes and accessories that detract from how splendidly perfect she already is. For a flare of uniqueness and individuality in your collection, I would encourage families to bring a couple of swaddle blankets. One will replace the blanket covering the pad in the bassinet, the second will be to wrap your baby in. There are several retailers that offer beautiful three pack swaddles in coordinating colors. Aden and Anais and Tula offer beautiful muslin and bamboo fiber swaddles that will be lasting staples for any little in the first year of life if you need a little inspiration on what to pick up!
Mothers also can choose to make their sessions a little more personal by bringing in a pretty shorty robe (also convenient for nursing mommas in the first days of life) or plan to put on their own "going home" outfit. If your hair is a wreck and your make up isn't applied, don't fret. A clean face and a good brush through is all you need to plan for. The focus of this collection is on your baby and the bond you share.
Other items we can incorporate into your session may include notes or cards from big siblings, your baby book if you brought it with you for footprints (have baby’s stats filled in though!) and items already in the room like hats, bracelets, small signs and more.
What to expect when I arrive
There are a few steps I take in every session when I first arrive. I will always open up the shades to flood your room with natural light. As well, I will turn off any ambient lights in the room as they produce an unflattering yellow in your photographs. I'll then tidy up the room a little bit. This might include moving bags, unmaking dad's sleep nest on the couch and putting it aside, or even moving a few things into the bathroom to make enough space to move around easily. Let's be honest, hospital post partum rooms are small and it's easy to find your possessions have become scattered in the few hours you've been there. But a little tidying goes a long way in terms of having a beautiful collection of images!
If you are nursing or otherwise feeding baby, I'll just stick around and likely ask how delivery went. If you'd like a breastfeeding portrait, please just mention it! If at any time a nurse needs to examine baby, I have no qualms with waiting. Ensuring your little one is in great health and doing well is more important. If you would like to have our session uninterrupted by hospital staff, please let me know and we will put a sign up on your door to not disturb except for mom and baby vitals as needed.
If your birth plan doesn't go as planned
Sometimes birth is everything we hope it to be, and sometimes complications arise. In some instances emergency interventions are needed, recovery is harder than expected or your new baby just needs a higher level of care. In these instances, we have options. In the event your baby is placed in the NICU, as a family you may choose still to have your session take place there. I only ask that your nurse or the pediatric hospitalist agree your little one is well enough for portraits and to come up with any restrictions I may need to observe. I am happy to return on day of discharge for a complimentary NICU graduation day session. I am also open to rescheduling to in home when mom, baby and family have all adjusted to their new lifestyle.
I always try to photograph Fresh 48 sessions in the same pattern. It works very well for babies and your support team visiting with you. If you have a lot of guests with you, we will ask them to leave the room for the first 20 minutes or so to focus on just your baby and mom portraits. I'll first change your baby down to just a dry diaper if needed and leave on her kimono top if she hasn't been holding temperature well quite yet. Remember, the simpler your baby's dressings are, the more we end up focusing on the tiny little features. I'll ask for your swaddle blanket if you opted to bring some in and swaddle your little one back up to settle down after being handled. Then I will start photographing just baby in the bassinet. If mom is feeling up to coming over to the bassinet, there are a few images that might include her hands on her new baby. Then I'll pass baby onto dad for a quick five to ten minutes. Participating siblings or grandparents may also have their opportunity here and are welcome to join us again at this time. Lastly, we finish up with mom and baby portraits and ask dad/siblings/support team to gather for one last group portrait.
When to expect your collection
Fresh 48 sessions are my fastest turn around! I know there's no greater joy than sharing your child's first portraits with family and friends. I strive to have your collection back to you in 24-48 hours. This may mean you'll see a blog post with highlights from the session before having your images available for download. Your images will always be available for download within two days of your session. Please let me know when you have announced the birth of your baby on social media. I always want to make sure families have announced before displaying anything on my website, Facebook or Instagram page.