What an exciting time! You’re welcoming a brand new person into your family and you already know that you want to capture all those teeny tiny details before they grow and change right in front of your eyes. My first nine years in nursing were on the maternity and newborn floor at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, MD, and I can give a firsthand account of how fast they change. I’d meet new babies before their first baths when they still had Jesus all over them and see them two days later right before discharge – and they already looked different to me. The time to capture those precious first details is right there in the hospital during your sweet babe’s first hours of life. So, to help you prepare for your Fresh 48 session, I’ve compiled a list of tips that will have you remembering your first days with that tiny baby like it was yesterday.
Prepare For Your Fresh 48 Session by Hiring the Right Photographer Well Ahead of Time
This is one of those things that you’ll want to prioritize well in advance of your due date (as calling a list of photogs won’t exactly be the highest item on your to-do list while in labor) . Make sure you do your research and choose someone whose work you love. Check out websites and blogs to see examples not only of the type of shooting that the photographer does but also to make sure that Fresh 48 sessions are in their wheelhouse. Not every photographer has experience with newborns and you want someone who has done this type of shoot and is comfortable capturing the moments you want to remember. I’d recommend booking a photographer during your second trimester, if not earlier, so that you can cross it off your list and feel confident that you are on their books. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call if you’re 38 weeks pregnant and have suddenly decided that you must do a Fresh 48 session – definitely reach out! But no photographer will ever say you booked too early if you make contact as soon as you see that positive pregnancy test 🤣(ok, I don’t know anyone who’s done this…but it wouldn’t be a Liz Viernes Photography blog post if there wasn’t some form of comedy in here somewhere).
Prepare For Your Fresh 48 Session by Making Room in Front of the Window
I am a natural light photographer which means that I prefer to avoid flash if at all possible. When I come to your hospital room to do your Fresh 48 session, I’m going to be looking for the shades to be wide open and as much natural light flooding in as possible. That may mean scheduling in the afternoon if the hospital room you’re in faces west or being ready to go at the first morning light if your room faces east. A good photographer will be able to work with most any light she is given but of course she’ll be looking for that natural light before anything else. And I get it, hospital rooms are tiny and things have a way of spreading out but try to clear as much clutter away from the window as possible. I like to position the baby right in front of the window for pulled back photos as well as detail shots so be ready for me to camp out there for a time – and just know that all you’re going to want to remember is that sweet baby and not the flowers from your co-worker (though that was really nice of her!) or the suitcase spilling all of its contents out right next to the bassinet. I, of course, will move things around if needed but it saves a lot of time if you take care of some basic tidying before I get there.
Prepare For Your Fresh 48 Session by Bringing Some Baby Details
Have the baby’s going-home outfit nearby along with the footprints taken in Labor and Delivery and the measuring tape used to measure his length and head circumference. Or bring something from home that has special significance to you. Maybe it’s something that you bought early on in your pregnancy before you could share the news or a special blanket your grandma crocheted before she passed away. These tiny details sometimes get lost in the shuffle so let me capture them in a photograph so that, if they’re misplaced over time, you’ll still have them for your memories. If there is a small memento from your nursery that you want to bring or a comb and brush set that you used as a baby and plan to pass down, bring those along too! I’ve had clients include the flowered headband they wore at their baby shower or a favorite book that they read to their baby while pregnant. If it has meaning to you, include it!
Consider Breastfeeding Shots
One of my very favorite photos ever taken of me is sitting on a bookshelf in my bedroom. It’s a shot my husband took of me nursing our firstborn shortly after we came home from the hospital. I was a mess, hadn’t showered for days, sitting half-dressed on the couch in our living room so, trust me, it wasn’t a picture-perfect moment. But I don’t see any of that. What I see when I look at that picture is a fresh young mom gazing lovingly at her tiny boy, his hand resting trustingly on her breast as he nurses. I’m instantly transported back to that moment in time, when the most important thing on my plate was providing nourishment to that tiny boy in my arms. There was nothing pulling at me and I was free to bask in the perfection of that moment and I’m so grateful that Brandon saw it, grabbed the cell phone, and captured it. Otherwise? I probably wouldn’t remember it. Breastfeeding shots don’t have to be propped on your mantel. No one besides you and your husband ever need to see it. But trust me…you will want to remember that time ❤️
Schedule your session to avoid newborn testing and pediatrician visits.
The Fresh 48 session ideally takes about an hour to complete. We’re more likely to hit that time frame if the nurse isn’t knocking on the door to collect baby for his circumcision, jaundice blood test or pediatrician visit. Try really hard to figure out when those (important) items are going to be scheduled and have the photographer come once they’re finished or well before they need to be done. The same thing goes with visitors: have them come before or after the session so that you can focus on photos and then focus on your visitors but not both at the same time 🙂
It can feel like a lot to prepare for your Fresh 48 session but I’m here to help. Let’s get those memories captured!
Liz Viernes Photography is based in Silver Spring, Maryland, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.