How to Prepare for your Fresh 48 Hospital Photo Session
Fresh 48 sessions (I usually call them Hello Baby sessions) are sessions that take place in the hospital while mom and baby are recovering from birth. Usually, Fresh 48 sessions take place in mother-baby in the day or two following birth, and are very simple and (mostly) unposed.
I also offer Golden Hour sessions, which are an alternative that I offer that sort of falls in between a birth session and a Fresh 48 session. These are perfect for people who really want those early days documented, but aren't interested in, or can't afford birth photography. For these sessions, I come to the hospital immediately after baby is born and take photos while you're still in recover in labor & delivery. Due to travel times, Golden Hour sessions are only available to those who deliver at Virginia Baptist Hospital or have a home birth in Lynchburg or just outside of Lynchburg.
1. Think ahead! When you pack your hospital bag, don't forget to pack an outfit that you can wear for your session. For your partner, something simple like jeans and a neutral, solid colored top for your partner (even if it's just a plain white t-shirt!) will work just fine. Be sure that whatever you pack for yourself is comfortable! If you want to wear pants, remember that your pre-pregnancy clothes may not fit right away! Maternity pants or yoga pants are a good option. Some moms like to pack a simple, soft dress or nightgown. Other moms just stay in their pajamas or other comfy clothes and throw on a robe for pictures (like this one from Target). Whatever you choose, just remember to avoid too many bright colors or patterns! Simple is best.
If you feel like taking a shower and doing some light makeup (think tinted moisturizer and mascara) before your session, go for it! But if you're not up for it, don't stress. This is a relaxed session and the focus is on capturing the moments and memories of those first few hours.
Moms who are booking a Golden Hour session don't really need to worry about outfits -- you won't feel up to getting dressed for a while. A hospital gown or a simple robe will work just fine, and will give you easy access for nursing, while still allowing nurses to check your bleeding periodically during the first few hours if needed. Dad usually wears whatever he was wearing during the birth, but he may still want to have a clean outfit or shirt packed that he can throw on in the event that he gets messy during delivery.
2. Be sure that your partner or labor support person has my contact info so that we can communicate to plan my arrival for your session. You may not be up to texting and/or calling me to make the arrangements, so it's best if your partner has my contact information ahead of time and knows that it's their responsibility to contact me. If possible, it is best that someone gives me a head's up once you are in labor (especially if you are booking Golden Hour sessions) and have been admitted to the hospital so that I can start rearranging my schedule if necessary. Be sure that they know to send me your room number and to let me know when you would like photos done, as well as your discharge plans, especially if you are requesting an early discharge. Remind your partner to make sure their phone is on and nearby in case I need to get in touch!
3. Plan to ask visitors to leave or step out during our session. Having too many people in the room can be distracting, and can wear you and baby out quickly! If you have other other children who you want to include in the session, it may be helpful to have one person on standby who can take them to the waiting area while we can grab a few shots of just baby and parent(s). If you are going to want grandparents or other guests included, please be sure to communicate this ahead of time so we can plan to add extra time to your session.
4. Before I arrive, you'll want to undress baby and put them in a clean diaper. Wrap baby in a hospital blanket or neutral blanket/swaddle. You may want to have a plain white onesie or another neutral, solid colored onesie or shirt to dress baby in for a few shots too! Because we want baby to be nice and sleepy for most of the session, I don't recommend changing baby into other outfits. Plus, many newborns don't quite fit into newborn clothes right away, so anything more than a simple white onesie may draw attention to the fact that it's too big. I also don't recommend props, but a simple headband or hat can be a nice accessory to add!
If baby's next feeding is coming up soon, you may want to go ahead and feed them shortly before I come! But don't worry, if baby needs to eat during the session too, we can always take a break for you to nurse. If you want nursing photos during your session, don't be afraid to ask! If that's not your style, that's ok too!
5. Don't stress! Lifestyle photo sessions, like a Fresh 48 session, are intended to be laid back. It doesn't matter if baby won't 'cooperate', because we'll just capture baby doing whatever it is that baby wants to do. I don't focus on capturing perfectly posed images; instead I want to capture all of the details and emotions, so that you can remember those first few hours just as they were.