How To Prep For An In-Home Maternity or Newborn Session

 

The more in-home sessions I do, the more I fall in love with capturing people in their natural environment. It makes sense that we feel more comfortable in our own homes which absolutely reflects in photographs. With that said, when clients ask for in-home sessions it gives us photographers a little anxiety, because we don't know your space or the natural lighting situation. 

It's an honor to be invited into anyones home, so I've put together a little prep-list to help you get ready for our session! General rule of thumb, when it comes to in-home sessions, less is always more. 
 

hannahcochran-DSC07947.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08160.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07949.jpg


1. Clean your space

This one may be obvious, but I doubt as new parents, keeping a catalog worthy looking room/nursery is at the top of your priority list, and that's totally understandable! For our session, if you can have the space clean and tidy beforehand, the less time I have to spend organizing when I get there. I'll usually remove a few things that aren't needed and move around furniture just slightly to best fit the light. 

Extra tip: Natural light and neutral interiors go hand-in-hand. If your room is painted bright purple, sunlight will come through the window and reflect the color purple onto objects in the room (including you) and we don't what that! If you have a room with a neutral color palette and lots of natural light, like the master bedroom or living room, consider having your session there. 
 

2. Wear neutrals

I never tell my clients what to wear, with one exception. To piggy-back off of tip #1, when light comes through a window and hits bright vibrant colors, it can reflect that color onto objects in the room, including you. For this reason it's best to keep your clothing neutral. I also like it when you're barefoot, because who walks around their house in high heels or boots!? 
 

3. Get comfy

More times than not, we'll be working in a tight space. I'll probably be pinned against a corner or a wall to get as wide as possible so I'm not all up in your personal space. However, sometimes this is inevitable, so try to relax and forget I'm there. 

Extra tip: Gather all those little things that mean something to you, like the little one's first shoes, so we can include those in the photographs. 


4. For newborn sessions, have 2-3 outfits ready to go

You know all those cute outfits you bought? Now is the perfect time to whip them out! You can approach outfit selection like hot sauce - mild, medium and spicy. Choose a simple outfit, a more fun outfit, and one extra special outfit. 

Extra tip: Think about if you want some photographs of your little one without clothing. This decision is 100% up to you. I like to bring it up beforehand so you have some time to think about it rather than me asking you on the spot. 
 

5. Select the best time

For most shoots, I try to shoot as close to golden hour as possible. However, with in-home session, we will choose the time your space gets the best natural light. It helps if you send pictures ahead of time so I know what we're working with! 
 

6. Think about story telling

As a photographer, I'm always trying to tell your story through my photographs. Instead of creating "posed" situations, think about creating a task-based timeline that genuinely shows us who you and your family are. I'd love to help you do this! 

Erika's Maternity Session in Snohomish, WA

 

The conditions during Erika's maternity session were by far the hardest I've shot, not just film, but in general. I was so nervous about getting these scans back, because I was certain all of them would be pitch black. If I'm being completely honest, I think my eyes got a little watery when I looked over them for the first time...I just lit up with excitement and relief. They are some of my favorite images ever shot and I couldn't believe how well they came out in such low light. Erika did an amazing job at moving slowly and intentionally and Amy from Gather Design Company designed a beautiful intimate scene for us to shoot in. 

hannahcochran-48722_06.jpg
hannahcochran-48722_08.jpg

Workshop Host: Belle Lumiere Magazine
Lead Photographer: Sarah Carpenter
Stylist + Florals: Amy with Gather Design Company
Film Lab: Photovision
Film Sponsor: Fuji Film
Hair + Make up: Yessie Libby
Location: Bella Luna Farms

Zoe & Geoff's Couples Session at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle, WA

 

Zoe and Geoff's couples session was one of my favorite shoots to date. These two didn't need an ounce of direction — they just melted into each other with every take. Amy from Gather Design Company re-created their perfect summer night and I was lucky enough to get to document it. On any given weekend Zoe and Geoff love coming to the beach, building a fire, having dinner and sharing a glass of whiskey while they watch the beautiful sun set behind the Pacific Ocean. 

hannahcochran-35278_01.jpg
hannahcochran-35278_05.jpg
hannahcochran-35266_16.jpg
hannahcochran-35278_12.jpg
hannahcochran-35278_15.jpg
hannahcochran-35275_13.jpg
hannahcochran-35275_04.jpg
hannahcochran-35274_03.jpg
hannahcochran-35274_05.jpg
hannahcochran-35274_08.jpg
hannahcochran-35280_03.jpg
hannahcochran-35274_16.jpg
hannahcochran-35280_10.jpg
hannahcochran-35280_16.jpg
hannahcochran-35270_14.jpg
hannahcochran-35266_15.jpg
hannahcochran-35290_05.jpg
hannahcochran-48721_16.jpg
hannahcochran-35290_06.jpg

Workshop Host: Belle Lumiere Magazine
Stylist: Amy with Gather Design Company
Film Lab: Photovision
Film Sponsor: Fuji Film

Paige's Bridal Session at Bella Luna Farms in Seattle, WA

 

I have no words for how amazing and truly special it was to work with such talented people for this shoot. Bella Luna Farms, just north of Seattle gave us the dreamiest backdrop for this feminine and whimsical bridal portrait session. Amy from Gather Design Company crafted the most effortless looking florals and tablescape I've ever seen (seriously, I want these exact florals for my own wedding). Our model, Paige was a joy to work with and it goes without saying, but she makes a gorgeous bride. I could go on and on about how I had a great time, but I'll try to let the photographs speak for themselves! Full unbelievably talented creative team listed below.

hannahcochran-35282_15.jpg
hannahcochran-35282_09.jpg
hannahcochran-35277_07.jpg
hannahcochran-35277_03.jpg
hannahcochran-35282_07.jpg
hannahcochran-35284_16.jpg
hannahcochran-35288_12.jpg
hannahcochran-35285_11.jpg
hannahcochran-35283_02-crop.jpg
hannahcochran-35258_05.jpg

Workshop Host: Belle Lumiere Magazine
Lead Photographer: Sarah Carpenter
Stylist + Florals: Amy with Gather Design Company
Film Lab: Photovision
Film Sponsor: Fuji Film
Hair + Make up: Yessie Libby
Location: Bella Luna Farms
Calligraphy + Paper Goods: Jenny Sanders
Ribbon & Silks: Stella Wolfe
Bridal Model: Paige Bonvallet
Dress + Veil + Hair Piece: The Dress Theory
Dress One Designer: Theia Dress, La Robe Overskirt
Jewelry: Ashley Zhang Jewelry
Ring Boxes: The Mrs Box
Cake: Honey Crumb Cake Studio 
Dress Two Boutique: La Vallee Bridal
Dress Two Design: Liz Martinez 

Welcoming Sofia Joy — Tom and Yiru's Newborn Session in Waltham, MA

 

There's only one thing better than getting the privilege of shooting a maternity session for a great couple...getting ask to shoot their newborn session. I was so so so excited when Tom and Yiru asked me take Sofia Joy's first pictures. I think my first words were "are you sure?!" 

I knew they had great fashion sense because their maternity outfits were on point, so I wan't surprised when I arrived at their place and realized they also have great interior design taste. Sofia's nursery is painted in a sweet muted yellow, with all white furniture and little pops of color. If you know me, you know my favorite colors are white and off white - ha. So needless to say, I loved her little sanctuary. The little bunny is from when Tom and Yiru went to Japan last year in hopes they were pregnant! Luckily for me, the nursery got beautiful natural sunlight and luckily for her, her room is filled with stuffed animals and loving pictures of her and her parents. 

hannahcochran-DSC07947.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08451.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08160.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07994.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07984.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07974.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08222.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08213.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08103.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08306.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08316.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08324.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08378.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08288-2.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08045.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC08059.jpg

Hally & Brian's Couples Session in Seattle, WA

 

I absolutely loved shooting this documentary style couples session. Hally and Brian are the definition of two peas in a pod - they even stand the same when making their morning coffee! Almost every weekend they try to stay in bed a little later so they can read and snuggle with the pup. After making a cup of joe, they eventually stroll over to their favorite bakery in the neighborhood. I love the casual, real life, story telling style of these photographs. I hope I get the chance to work with more couples just as sweet as these two.

hannahcochran-35272_14.jpg
hannahcochran-35272_05.jpg
hannahcochran-35271_16.jpg
hannahcochran-35271_09.jpg
hannahcochran-35279_10.jpg
hannahcochran-35279_09.jpg

Workshop Host: Belle Lumiere Magazine
Lead Photographer: Sarah Carpenter
Stylist: Amy with Gather Design Company
Film Lab: Photovision
Film Sponsor: Fuji Film
Hair + Make up: Yessie Libby

Farm Editorial at Bella Luna Farms in Seattle, WA

 

Bella Luna Farms is a stunning location outside of Seattle, Washington in Snohomish. Below are some of my favorite images from this farm editorial session. Besides the early wake up call, I love shooting really early in the morning and I would choose it over sunset any day. I find the sunlight to be just a smidgen softer and I LOVE how the dewey mist adds a little extra sparkle to the images.

hannahcochran-35261_01.jpg
hannahcochran-35262_01.jpg
hannahcochran-35258_13.jpg
hannahcochran-35261_03.jpg
hannahcochran-35261_09.jpg
hannahcochran-35261_12.jpg
hannahcochran-35262_06.jpg
hannahcochran-35261_16.jpg
hannahcochran-35262_11.jpg
hannahcochran-35261_08.jpg
hannahcochran-35259_04.jpg
hannahcochran-35257_09.jpg
hannahcochran-35258_16.jpg
hannahcochran-35256_13.jpg
hannahcochran-35256_06.jpg
hannahcochran-35263_09.jpg
hannahcochran-35263_02.jpg

Workshop Host: Belle Lumiere Magazine
Lead Photographer: Sarah Carpenter
Stylist + Florals: Amy with Gather Design Company 
Film Lab: Photovision
Film Sponsor: Fuji Film
Hair + Make up: Yessie Libby
Location: Bella Luna Farms

Soft and Classic Wedding Inspiration at the Wedgewood Granite Rose, NH

 

The Wedgewood Granite Rose is a beautiful venue just 45 minutes outside of Boston in Hampstead, New Hampshire. It was my first time visiting the location and I loved the big deck that wrapped around the building. The intimate outdoor areas are perfect for small weddings. This was also my first time attending one of Janita's Mestre's styled shoots and I can't wait to attend another! In addition to creating a beautiful scenes and vingettes, she was organized and such a sweet person. 

hannahcochran-DSC07933.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07913.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07405.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07450.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07475.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07477.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07513.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07911.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07930.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07717.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07791.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07412.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07769.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07880.jpg
hannahcochran-DSC07796.jpg

Host: Styled Shoots with Janita Mestre 
Designer, coordinator + stylist: Janita Mestra Photography
Venue: Wedgewood Granite Rose
Bride + groom: Cassandra Noel + Dave Denayer
Solo bride: Elizabeth Eddy
Bridesmaid: Hayley Christine
Hair + makeup: Lindsey Messina
Womans wear: Lulus
Florist: Haus of Blooms
Calligrapher: Molly Grace Makes
Rentals: Peak Event Services
Jewelry: Lisa Hardy
Body products: Ariem Body Co.
Cake: Three Sisters Cake Shop