LITTLE SMILER SESSION GUIDE
HOW TO PREPARE AND WHAT TO EXPECT
So your session can run as smoothly as possible, I have compiled a prep guide to help us get the most out of your session!
Whilst I appreciate that most legal restrictions surrounding Covid-19 have now been lifted, I would really appreciate my Client’s continued support in following my guidelines during their appointments with me, in order to protect all of my customers (including newborn babies and vulnerable adults) as much as possible.
I will continue to wear a face mask throughout indoor appointments and will thoroughly wash my hands before and after sessions and use hand sanitiser when necessary. Whilst I understand that face coverings are no longer a legal requirement, I would appreciate if Client’s continue to wear a face covering or mask during appointments with me (whilst not being photographed) for the time being. I regularly have contact with newborn babies and vulnerable adults and therefore I ask Clients to continue to wear face coverings in order to help me keep all Client’s safe as far as possible during their appointments with me. I appreciate your co-operation.
You can find out more information on the Covid-19 procedures I have put in place here.
Booking your session
The age of your baby will determine the props and poses used, as well as the overall length of your session.
These sessions are suitable for babies aged 3 to 6 months of age and usually last around 2 hours, depending on how well baby settles. The main differences between baby’s at 3 months old, compared with older babies is that your baby may be more likely to sleep for at least some of their session (I swaddle babies of this age to encourage sleep) and there is more chance of achieving some images which look newborn-ish, as well as awake images.
You should be aware though that it is not usually possible to pose babies over 4-6 weeks of age in those classic newborn curled up positions, due to them being more alert and less flexible at this age. However, it really depends on each baby as to what can be achieved. For babies over 12 weeks, the images will mostly likely be of them awake and will be posed in a more natural way. Babies nearing 6 months of age may be able to sit up for short periods, although if you’re after mostly sitting photos I suggest booking in for a Little Sitter Session.
How long does a My Baby photography session last?
Little Smiler Sessions usually last around 2 hours, although on occasion, if baby is unsettled or particularly hungry, your session may last a little longer.
What should I bring to the session?
Please bring plenty of nappies, wipes, muslin cloths and a change of clothes for baby. There’s no need to bring lots of changes of clothes as I provide outfits, wraps, headbands etc. If your baby has a dummy, please bring at least two sterilised dummies with you as these will help settle baby for their photographs.
Please bring extra milk for your baby (if formula/express fed).
Wear thin layers yourself as the studio will be warm!
Individual bottles of water and packets of biscuits will also be available in our studio.
Please feed baby just before you set off from home.
This is really important and helps the session to run as smoothly as possible! A full tummy will help your baby to be settled, so we have the best chance of capturing a beautiful set of images. Upon arrival I may ask you to top up baby’s feed, depending on when they last fed and how much milk they took at their last feed.
If your baby is in an established feeding routine that you would rather not change, it may mean that if baby get’s hungry they may not settle as well. Whilst this is of course your choice, I can only capture what I can when baby is settled. If baby is formula/express fed, please bring extra feeds in case they are particularly hungry (babies go through lots of growth spurts!).
Should I keep my baby awake before the session?
For babies under 12 weeks old, I suggest you try to avoid baby having a big solid block of sleep just before their session. Try to interact with your baby before their session to give the best chance of a good settled period during their time with me. However, if baby is falling asleep before their session, please just let them sleep and continue to feed them as usual, as a tired, hungry baby is often far more difficult to settle!
What should I dress my baby in to arrive at the studio?
Please dress your baby in a front-fastening baby gro/sleep suit, with no vest underneath (unless it’s particularly cold!). I’ll most likely ask you to remove this (keeping nappy on) at the start of your session.
Can I have photos taken of my baby with their siblings/with us?
Yes! If you would like your baby to be photographed with their sibling/s or with you all as a family, please let me know before your session. I take sibling and family photographs at the end of the session and ask that wherever possible you arrange for your partner, a family member or friend to drop sibling/s off for the last portion of the session. This is to allow me to focus on capturing the best photographs of your baby during the first part of your session. Baby sessions can be pretty boring for small children and siblings can distract little one’s fro having their photos taken, so I recommend you follow this advice if at all possible.
How should I prepare older kids?
Please ensure that all children arrive to the session fresh from a nap (if applicable) and well fed. Children should arrive in clean clothes (or with a change of clean clothes if you intend to change them on arrival). Please ensure that any chipped nail varnish and/or temporary tattoos have been removed prior to the session (including adults!).
My advice would be to say very little to your children about your planned session! By all means, mention you are going for a photo shoot and that it’s going to be fun, but please don’t worry about telling kids that they must listen and smile, as it’s often counter-productive. The best possible thing you can do is to ensure that young children have had a good nap before their session and that all kids have something to eat beforehand.
What should we wear?
If you plan on being in some of the photos with baby, I suggest wearing plain, well fitting clothing that you are comfortable in. Please avoid patterns, logos and prints and instead opt for two or three colour tones that compliment each other and please avoid wearing black wherever possible. Although you might not generally like dressing ‘matchy-matchy’ as a family, for photo shoots, this actually looks great! I always ask that shoes & socks are removed, as honestly, they never look good, so pleased be preparaed to pop these off!
Below, I’ve put together a PDF to download, for some colour ideas and options for you to consider. These are only guidelines, but from experience I would suggest for family portraits you choose from the cool, neutral tones palette or the warm, earthy tones palette.
Download the PDF colour guide here; Studio Sessions What To Wear.
For a brief visual guide on clothing ideas, check out my Pinterest board here.
Can I bring my extended family or friends to the session?
Only immediate family (i.e. those participating in the session) should accompany baby to a session in my studio, due to limited space. Having other’s there can be very distracting for little ones!
Advice for breastfeeding mothers:
Sometimes babies can be unsettled due to tummy ache/wind which can, in part, be due to foods you may naturally include in your diet. Whilst this isn’t likely to be something you need to consider day to day, in preparation for your session you may wish to exclude these foods from your diet 24 to 48 hours before your session; Spicy food (garlic, curry and chilli), gassy vegetables (broccoli, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, and peppers), citrus fruits and their juices (oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit), strawberries, kiwifruit, pineapple, fruits with a laxative effect, such as cherries and prunes and chocolate (yes, sorry about that last one!). This might seem like a long list, but it’s only advice and you do not have to follow it. But if you can avoid having a curry the night before or decide not to drink your usual 1 litre of orange juice the day before, then it may help your baby settle! (Please note: this is not medical fact and I am not qualified to advise you medically).
What about the comfort and safety of my baby?
My studio will be warm and cosy, so baby will be comfortable throughout. I have 17 years experience as a full-time professional photographer and 14 years experience as a medical photographer, where I photograph patients’ conditions with a great deal of care, sensitivity and patience. I am fully aware of cleanliness requirements and hand hygiene protocols when handling babies. I have also undertaken posing, photography and safety training with some of the top baby photographers in the country. As well as my usual practices, I have introduced a number of enhanced measures to ensure my studio is Covid secure and you can find out more here.
What if my baby doesn’t settle well?
I only book one Little Smiler Session a day, so don’t worry, we have plenty of time to get baby settled and a lovely gallery of images. On rare occasions, if baby doesn’t seem to be settling at all after the first hour and I’m unable to get many photographs, I may advise that it would be best to rearrange the session to take place on another day instead. This decision is at my sole discretion and if I feel we have achieved a full gallery of images then I won’t offer a reschedule.
Our Sickness Policy
If you (or anyone in your party) have been feeling unwell in the days prior to your appointment, please contact me to rescedule your appointment. Where an illness is viral, contagious or involves sickness and/or diarrhoea, please observe the 48 hour free from symptoms rule.
Covid-19; Should you (or anyone in your party) develop Covid-19 symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 in the 7 days prior to your appointment, please contact me to reschedule your appointment (unless you have taken a lateral flow test to confirm a negative result).
Need to reschedule?
I get it, stuff happens. If you do need to reschedule your session, please let me know as soon as possible. Your booking fee is non-refundable but I do allow rescheduling once, due to genuine illness or emergency. Please give at least 24 hours notice wherever possible. If you do not arrive to your session or are more than 30 minutes late without letting me know, then you’ll need to pay a late cancellation fee to book your new date. If you need to reschedule at short notice due to symptoms of Covid-19 or if you have been in contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19, then I will waive late cancellation fees on a case by case basis.
When will I see my photographs?
At the end of your session we will arrange your viewing & ordering appointment to take place in approximately 2-3 weeks time and this is when you will get to see your beautifully edited gallery of around 25 images, choose your favourites and place your order. Payment for an order is due at your viewing appointment. I always advise that all decision makers are present at the viewing and ordering appointment as you may find you need help choosing your portraits! Viewing appointments are currently taking place in my studio as usual, at 1m+ social distancing with the use of face coverings in addition.
When will I get my order?
Once you have placed your order, you can expect your purchased digital images and prints to be ready for collection in approximately 3 weeks time. If you have ordered wall art or albums then these will be ready in around 4-6 weeks time.
Where is your studio?
You can find me at; First Floor, 29 Station Road, Steeton, West Yorkshire, BD20 6RL (above Imagine Hair & Beauty Salon).
Please enter via the front door and head up the stairs, where you will find my studio on your right. There is no on-site parking at the studio, but I will advise you of close-by on-street parking options before your session. Please try to arrive on time, but if you are running late, please message me on; 07956114916.
I’m looking forward to meeting you all and as always, if you have any questions, please just ask!