Recently, a sweet momma and her family expressed an interest in not only capturing the first hours of their little one's life, but also capturing those precious moments at home within the first few weeks after birth. This got me thinking....What if someone had to choose? How does one choose between a "Fresh 48" session and a lifestyle newborn session?
Here's my take.
A "Fresh 48" session is just that; it's a session that takes place in the hospital within the first 48 hours of a baby's life. These sessions can often be unpredictable as it's nearly impossible to tell what a birth will be like or if there will be any complications that would prevent photography from taking place. Photographers have to be on stand-by, waiting for messages from the mother or family members to determine when or if the session can take place. There is a certain rawness and vulnerability to these sessions that I positively love. If mom is having a baby in the hospital, it's likely that nurses will be stopping by to check on the baby, it's almost guaranteed that mom will still have an IV in place, and baby will be adorned with hospital bracelets and monitors. These images convey a story, each of which is unique to that one family. Even when there are unavoidable problems, such as the baby being sent to the NICU, it's all part of that individual family's story.
There is a certainly level of emotion present in these sessions that can't be faked or recreated. When a photographer captures siblings
meeting for the first time, the gasp of astonishment becomes this fleeting moment in time that fades away so quickly into loving stares or impatient toddler cries for snacks. When grandparents meet their newest grandchild, that first deep stare and connection made is priceless. Even parents, who have had a few precious hours to meet their little one, connect with one another in such a powerful way. These images are often used in baby books and as a way to remember that freshness and newness before settling back into daily life. Also, it's worth a mention that most of the maternity wards I've been in have had rooms with enormous windows!!! Talk about amazing light!
A Lifestyle Newborn Session is just what it sounds like as well. It's working with a photographer to capture those moments at home, mess and all, when siblings share their most precious possessions with their new brother or sister. It's a time to capture those details in a nursery or create memories bonding together as a family. In many ways, it's more comfortable for a family. There are no visitors, hospital bracelets, medical staff, etc. It does, however, mean that the photographer is limited to using the spaces in your home (unless it's very warm outside and you have outdoor spaces to utilize) and using the available light in your home. The photographer might be limited to using spaces in certain ways due to lighting. These sessions hold a special place for me as well. As the photographer, it's a chance to slow down and capture details and create simple portraits. These types of images are typically found in birth announcements and wall art.
So, how does one choose? For me, it comes down to how you want to use your images and where you feel you would get the images you want. Do you want to create a baby book with those hospital images? Do you want images that can be sent to grandparents and to use as birth announcements? Are you creating a photo gallery in your home? Imagine what you would do with your images and let that lead you! If all else fails, ask questions! Your photographer would be happy to help you figure out how to best realize your own vision!