I just finished up writing a blog post about my new studio space. Want to see pictures? Click here! I've been using it for a few months now, and after doing only in-home newborn portrait sessions for the last 4 years, I've made some interesting observations about the advantages and disadvantages of both. Not sure which setting you would like for your baby's newborn portrait session? Let me help you decide what might be best for your family.
Advantages of a Studio Session
1. More variety. At the studio, we have access to every prop and piece of equipment I own. I can easily do portraits of baby alone on a blanket on the bean bag, baby in a bowl or basket, and baby being held by her parents. With a home session, I have to leave a lot of it behind. I can only bring my bean bag and blankets. It's not feasible to bring my wood floors and bowls.
2. A quicker and more efficient session. I can set everything up before you get here, so we can get started right away. When I come to your home, it takes me at least 15 minutes to set everything up and pack it all back up at the end. You don't need to worry about cleaning your house, moving furniture, or finding room for the equipment. You don't have to worry about heating up your home and making everyone sweat for the sake of a happy baby.
3. A less stressful session. This one really surprised me. I hesitated on creating a studio because I always felt that having a session in a client's home would be less stressful for them. But strangely, I've noticed that parents seem much more relaxed in the studio. Maybe it's a relief to get out of the house. Maybe it's because they don't have to worry about cleaning or how their house looks. Maybe it's being away from the distraction of everything that needs to get done at home. I'm not sure, but it's clear that parents seem less stressed out when they come to the studio.
4. A less expensive cost. In-home sessions cost $100 more than a studio session, to cover the time it takes to pack up, drive, unpack, etc. Coming to the studio is a much more budget-friendly option.
Advantages of an In-home Session
1. No need to leave the house. With an in-home session, you get to stay put. You can be in your pajamas and eating a bowl of cereal while I photograph your baby (I do need one adult to stay with me to lend a helping hand). I've had moms go off to shower, nap, pump, or just relax during the photography session.
2. It's easier on older siblings. If you have other children, I often recommend an in-home session, especially if the big brother/ sister is a toddler. The studio is small (and boring) for a little kid to hang out in for 3 hours. At home, they can participate in a few family shots and then be on their way to eat, nap, and watch Paw Patrol. Families with multiple children are welcome to come to the studio, but it's asked that a parent or relative take the sibling home after the family portion is finished. I've had older siblings, like 7, 8, and 9 year olds come to the studio for the whole time and they've done great.
3. A better option for a rough recovery. If you have a c section or are having a difficult recovery, an in-home session can be the better option. My studio is on the second floor of my home. I've had several mamas come to the studio who had c sections, but if you're not recovering well or want to take it easy, it might be best to stay home.
4. More candid family portraits. Depending on your style, you may like that the family and sibling portion of the newborn session are more candid and "photojournalistic" in style. I don't bring backdrops or props for family and sibling shots. Instead, we may have you all cuddle together on a couch, bed, or out in your yard on a nice day. A baby's nursery is always a great option to get those family portraits.
For the last four years of having my photography business, I've been doing all of my newborn portrait sessions in my clients' homes. I loved that I could offer this to my families so that they could stay home and relax. But of the last year or so, I started to notice how very limiting it is to work out of my clients' homes. Not only that, but as I got busier, it became absolutely exhausting to pack up my equipment and drive to every session. Between packing, driving, and the session itself, I would come home in the mid to late afternoon absolutely exhausted, so tired that I didn't have the energy to do much of anything the rest of the day. I just couldn't sustain it any longer.
I talked with my family about possibly using a room in our house. My 7 year old son's room was the perfect choice. I had attempted newborn sessions in our dining room right inside the front door, but because of our open concept design and small size, it was very, very hard to heat and not ideal for sessions. My son's room, on the other hand, is upstairs (where all our heat inevitably floats to) and is on the south side of the house. The room gets so toasty and bright that I almost don't even need a space heater, even in the winter. It's not a large room, but somewhat big for a bedroom. It's around 11x13', a humble studio. But when your subjects only weigh 7 lbs, you really don't need that much space.
Take a look at my new space. I still have a few decorative touches to add, but I think it has a nice, comfortable feel to it.
I went to work painting over the bright teal left over from my son's nursery. The color I picked is a calming, neutral shade of beige. It's called "almond wisp" from Behr. I bought furniture and decorated the room with some fun accents. My husband loves woodworking, so he built me a large white storage shelf for all of my backdrop fabrics. Above it hangs a chicken wire frame that he also made me, and it holds head bands and little hats to use during sessions. I really like a clean, uncluttered look, so the rest of my props, including an assortment of flokati rugs, swaddle wraps, bowls, and baskets stay in the closet when they aren't being used.
Another change in my photography has been the switch to studio lighting. I have been so anti-studio lighting for years. I'll admit, I can be so stubborn about learning new things, especially when it comes to expensive electronics that I can easily break! Studio lighting felt so intimidating, but it really wasn't hard to learn how to use. I think it helps a lot that I've already been photographing newborn babies for years and have learned so much about using light. Using a studio light was just like a big window that I can move around. I've fallen in love with the light. Ever since I got it, my photography has been so much more consistent and editing is much easier for me.
One thing I love about my studio is that it really shows you what my style is like. As you can see, I'm a minimalist. I don't own giant puffy flowery headbands, stuffed animals, or whimsical outfits. I appreciate a classic and timeless style over one that might feel dated in a few years. I love color, but prefer soft, pastel, earth tone, and often neutral colors. While I absolutely love working in my studio, I do still offer newborn sessions in home. Not sure which location is right for you? Read the pro's and cons of each right here.
Erica Courtine Photography is located in Fuquay Varina, outside of Raleigh, NC. Interested in newborn photography? I'd love to hear from you. Click here to get in touch with me.
I am really loving my new studio. It's a humble little space, really just a spare bedroom in my house, but I repainted it, decorated it, and outfitted it to be comfortable and private for newborn portrait sessions. Although it's not a large space, it can also accommodate baby sessions, head shots, and even maternity sessions. I was so happy to have this little girl come to the studio right after Christmas. She was such a petite little thing and slept so well. She barely made a peep and we were actually able to do the session fairly quickly because of it. Take a look at some of her beautiful newborn portraits. We loved using a lot of lavender and green. Ever since I started using my studio and my new studio light, I've rediscovered my love for shadows. I love how the lighting can really define the beautiful features of a baby.
This was probably my favorite image from the session. I thought it was absolutely adorable that this little girl found her thumb and went right to sleep once she figured out how to suck on it. It is so much fun to capture sweet little moments like this one.
Newborn photography is my passion. Most of the newborn babies you see in my blog and on my website are under 2 weeks old. They are so brand new and will quickly change. Many times, I get to see these little babies a few weeks after the session and it's marvelous how much they've changed, just in a few weeks. Newborn portraits like these are treasured for years. More more information on newborn portrait sessions, click here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I'd love to help you plan out a session for your new baby.
I knew from the moment I drove into this family's neighborhood that I wanted to do the family portrait section of their photography session outside. It was a gorgeous, warm, fall day and the leaves were at their peak of color. Not only that, but this family lives in one of Raleigh's more established neighborhoods, with giant oak trees lining the streets. I stumbled upon a little park in the neighborhood, perfect for family portraits. We wrapped up baby boy in a muted mustard colored swaddle and headed outside.
After capturing some sweet moments of cuddling in the park, we drove the quarter mile back to the family's home where we finished off this baby boy's first photography session. It was fun to use some bold and softer colors. This little guy was so easy to work with. He slept almost the entire time but did open his eyes for a few minutes, long enough to get some really cute wide-eyed shots.
I love using color in newborn portraits, but I always prefer softer, more subdued colors that you'd find in nature. I love the teals, yellows, and browns that we used with this little boy. With every session, I always try to do some of the photos with white or cream. It gives photos a timeless, pure look and puts all of the focus on the baby. I love how these turned out.
Looking back at this little boy's newborn portraits, it's hard to believe that so quickly afterward, he's completely changed. They are truly only this fresh and new for a short while. Soon enough, every baby will grow and change. Every new milestone makes a baby's newborn portraits even more treasured than the day before. I love that I can help capture these fleeting moments in a family's journey.
If you are expecting a baby and are interested in freezing this precious time, I would love to talk with you about your newborn portrait session. Whether it's in your home or in my studio, whether this is your first or your third baby, we'll collaborate to make it special. Contact me here and let me know what questions you have.
I was so excited to hear that this lovely family was expecting their second baby. I remember meeting their little girl two years ago for her newborn session and it didn't feel like it could have possibly been over 2 years ago. She's going to be such a wonderful big sister. I know that this family is so excited to meet the new baby. The gender is a surprise, so no one knows if it will be a boy or a girl. Here are a few favorite shots from their maternity session. These were taken at Sugg Farm Park in Holly Springs, outside of Raleigh. Although we had to reschedule a few times due to the hurricane this fall, I'm glad that we waited and were able to have such a beautiful sunset during the session.
It was so cute when the little girl stole her mom's hat and insisted on wearing it. She was so shy, but this hat somehow made her more brave.
It's also nice to be able to capture some more candid images, like the family looking at Mama's belly or giving big sister a break to read a story with Daddy.
I think it's clear that this little girl has a strong bond with her mama. She always wanted to be by her mommy's side.
Maternity sessions are such a wonderful way to remember a special time in a family's story. Maternity sessions can be booked with newborn sessions to save money. If you'd like more information about booking a maternity session, click here. Maternity session are usually done at outdoor locations in the Raleigh area, but I can also do these at my new home studio as well or in your own home.