What a crazy time we're living in, and even crazier time of worry for those with newborns. Many parents have lost hope in being able to capture their baby's first weeks or months because of isolation and quarantine.
But as time goes on, this does get easier, and it is possible.
First let's start with the fact that if this is something you feel you are ready for, these sessions MUST be approved by your baby's Pediatrician. As a doctor, they are able to asses the present risk given your baby's health and development. Make sure to take note of their specific recommendations, or get them in writing if need be.
Need to wait a few weeks or a few months? That's okay! The newborn phase is quick, yes, but pictures of your baby and family are still a huge milestone, no matter when they take place.
No outside props? Also okay, and a new standard for a while. Instead of props we will be focusing on the family connections and details of the baby while being held or while in the crib, bed or couch. If your doctor doesn't have an opinion about props the most I will offer at this time is dropping off my custom swaddles ahead of your session to allow you to personally wash them before the session. I can pair that with some of my favorite swaddling videos for you to practice ahead of your session. But if your doctor advises against outside items we will focus on you using what's in the home.
Leading up to your session I will be monitoring my health and any changes in it. For the most part, I'm still not leaving my house with the exception of maybe a grocery run every other week. But regardless, I will still check my temperature prior to appointments and make sure there are at least 2-3 days in between each client session for now. I ask that you and your family do the same. Monitor any changes you might have in your overall health. Since in most cases this virus can go undetected, it's important to know how you're feeling and to note any changes.
We will discuss the rooms we will be using based on your evaluation of the best light. I just ask you clear those rooms of as much clutter as possible the morning before. Night stands, nurseries... less items or small things that are out and visible, on counter tops and floors, the better.
The phrase "proper safety protocols" always make me think of those videos filmed in the 80's explaining proper handling of bio hazards, removing gloves, handling patients, etc... But that's actually because for the first 4 years of living here in Charleston I actually worked for a Physical Therapy office at a retirement home and I dealt with patients and standard DHEC safety protocols for everything. Never thought that would apply in life as we know it now, but what does that mean?
1. Sanitizing all camera equipment and camera bag before and after each session. I don't plan to put anything down during my session, not even my bag, but in the case of an emergency and I need to literally drop what I'm holding to assist in the safety of a client or infant, I know my gear is already clean.
2. Showering right before and after my sessions. Sounds silly, but that seems to be the habit we've all adapted these days. And actually, it's always been my normal protocol for newborn sessions. Studies have shown that things can live on your clothes and other places for hours at a time. So by showering directly before, wearing clean clothes, and heading straight over, with no pit stops, that's about as clean as it gets. Unless you prefer to hose me down before coming in, that's fine too.
3. Wearing a mask. This one has become pretty obvious, this is the world we live in. My mask is worn at all times from when I leave my car to approach your home until I get back in it.
4. Removing shoes before entering the home. This is as important as the above. Your shoes can carry loads of bacteria from all over the place so it's important NOT to wear those into your home. I'll also be bringing a clean pair of socks to wear while in your home, almost like medical booties. They are worn inside and washed once I leave.
5. Hand washing. It's important for everyone to wash their hands or sanitize before we begin working. This has always been normal protocol but I think it's important to point that out again.
6. No touching, keep our distance. This is really the hardest one. Obviously, newborn sessions have always been a hands on experience for me as a photographer. I am trained in safe handling and posing of infants and I'm also a hand-shaker and hugger. Newborn sessions are also all about the intimacy of the family and the little details, so this has been the hardest one to adapt to. I will do my best to instruct all families in proper posing based on the available light and expressions, while keeping the most distance I can while inside your home. I will instruct you on things that need to be moved out of the frame, moving your hair that has fallen in the wrong way, adjusting clothing, etc. These are all things I love to help my clients with, but now I'm going to have to ask you to help me.
All in all, we are going to work together to create the best possible images for you and your family to remember this milestone. It's not entirely what it used to be, but it's still just as special of a moment and worth capturing no matter when you feel the time is right.
Let's be safe, let's be smart.
I look forward to seeing all of my clients, whenever that time may come. I hope that everyone continues to stay safe and healthy. And if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out.