While my favorite place to do session work is definitely in the great outdoors, there are wonderful benefits to doing a newborn session in the client’s home. It almost always presents a challenge for me as the photographer, but that is not always a bad thing! There are several key benefits, so don’t be afraid to give it a go!
The top benefit is probably the client’s convenience. I’m speaking only from my own experience, but there is no way I would have had it together enough to get out the door when my first born was a week old. I was constantly amazed at the resilience of these young moms who would come to my studio on the east coast, looking gorgeous and put together with a newborn baby in tow, and sometimes a toddler! At that point in my daughter’s life, I was a hot mess. Regardless, this kind of togetherness is not for everyone, so an in-home session can be a great option for some folks!
The comfort of home cannot be replaced. It doesn’t matter how cozy your studio is, it is not the baby’s home, and doesn’t have all the familiar smells and sounds that the newborn baby knows so well. He or she hasn’t been alive long, and their eyesight isn’t keen yet, but their sense of smell and sound are pretty awesome! Because of these factors, that tiny little one can tell when they are someplace new, which in my own experience with more sensitive babies, is not the optimal experience.
The challenge is always fun. There have been a handful of apartments or houses that presented me with structural or lighting problems, but I love a good test! These kinds of sessions keep me on my toes. I don’t check out the client’s home before I arrive there on their session day, so everything I see, I am seeing for the first time. It’s best to come prepared! My car is filled with various props, blankets, a posing pillow, a portable backdrop stand, and even some cute, clear umbrellas. I’m ready to go, no matter what the situation. When the home is super clean, organized, bright, and beautifully decorated, I love to be able to bring in elements of this and pull back a bit, getting lifestyle shots, as well as closeups of the baby. These are the greatest and so much fun! Not every client wants this, however, and we have this discussion prior to setting the appointment, so I know if this will be a good fit for the client. If not, I take about 30-minutes to set up my ‘studio’ and we get started. I’ve done my makeshift, in-home studio with a dozen people watching t.v. in the background. Anything goes. I normally like there to be white noise, and a heartbeat sound going in the background, but if the tv is blazing when I walk in, this is what the baby is used to, so I leave it on!
An in-home session can sometimes be a lot more fun, with a whole lot less predictability. I had a studio for so many years on the east coast, I hardly made house calls. I think I missed out. By the end of winter, I definitely felt a bit stagnant in my studio, and I find this whole experience very refreshing! Of course, it is ultimately up to the client. Some people worry they won’t get their house clean enough, which I totally understand. Truth be told, I have been to spick and span places, and quite a few more lived in homes. I’ll go either way, but nothing beats the benefits of stretching your mind (and sometimes your body) in an unfamiliar place to keep your creative juices flowing!