Hello again! It's the very beginning of a brand new year, so I wanted to talk to all of you about when you should be scheduling your sessions. The answer varies depending on the type of sessions, so I've broken it down a bit according to which session you are booking, but first here is some general timing advice:
If you are looking to have portraits done for your holiday cards, I recommend that you follow the "Early Booking Rule". What I mean by that is that you should book approximately 4-6 months prior to when you will need your portraits available to use. Fall (especially fall in the DC metro area) is an exceedingly popular time for family portraits. Find your photographer and book them early. This is the way that you will be able to secure a session before they get completely booked for the season. Please keep in mind that because fall is the most popular time for sessions to occur, your photographer will be working extra hard to provide you and all of their other clients with gorgeous portraits. During the rest of the year, there is usually more flexibility.
I prefer to have maternity sessions done around 34 weeks. Your belly is usually showing enough to photograph beautifully and you usually have enough energy to do an hour long session. I've done sessions with women that were anywhere from 24 weeks to 39 weeks and 1 day. Baby bellies are beautiful, no matter how far along you are.
Photographers vary on when people should book their sessions, but for me, I like to have your newborn session booked prior to delivery. This is the easiest way to definitely be on my schedule for our session. If you decide to do a newborn session after the birth of your little one, I recommend that sessions take place before they are two weeks old. Why is that? Newborns have just emerged from a very small, very secure space where they have been all curled up and warm. They are the most flexible and the most sleepy directly after their birth.
As a photographer, I am looking for them to be content, sleepy and flexible during our session. Can I photograph them without them being content, sleepy and flexible? Yes, but we may not be able to get the newborn images that you are looking for. Can babies still be content, sleepy and flexible outside of that two week age? Yes, but it's less likely. Will I still work with you if your baby is over two weeks old? YES! We will still be able to capture beautiful images, regardless of their age.
** For boys, specifically, if they are being circumcised, I prefer to do their sessions at least three days after this procedure. It is more comfortable for them to be on their bellies when they have had some time to heal.
Children and Family Sessions:
Family sessions definitely follow along with the early booking rule. Children's sessions may require the early booking rule, but they may also be flexible. It depends on the purpose of the session.
The bottom line is that you should always try to book your sessions early. By doing so, you are able to secure your spot in your photographer's schedule and you are able to prepare for the session in terms of both planning and finances.
I hope that this has given you some good guidelines for planning for your portraits this year and I'm looking forward to all of the beautiful moments that we are going to capture together!