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Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Anyone involved in social media marketing/planning/strategy right now will tell you that whatever your content area is, you need to niche down. Really hone in on one hyper-specific area and become a pro of that area. And I totally get the logic. No one wants to be and/or work with the Jack of All Trades/Master of None. I completely understand the allure of a high school senior wanting to work with a photographer who specializes in senior photography. They have the location suggestions, the hair/makeup artist recommendations, and the expertise in posing high school seniors. And that's great! There's nothing wrong with that at all. Pick a wedding photographer for your wedding; a newborn photographer for your newborn photos; a family photographer for your family photos; etc, if that's what you want.

But here's my thing, me, alone, the owner and sole proprietor of Taylor Made Photo KC --- I want to be your photographer for life. For all your big life moments. Book me for your wedding, and you get a complimentary engagement session. So I shoot your engagement session, then your amazing wedding. Then the next year, I shoot some fall photos for your holidays cards. Maybe at some point you need headshots or branding photos for your career. Then you two move into a new house and you want to show it off with some lifestyle photos in it. The year after that, for those that want to have kiddos, we do a pregnancy announcement or maternity photos. Then newborn photos, milestone photos, family photos. And then we have a reason to see each other every year because we're documenting the way your family changes, and it's so amazing.

So it's completely wonderful for photographers to niche down to a specific area - seniors, families, newborns, weddings, whatever. But I won't be doing that because I absolutely love being the one to capture all of your big life moments. I want to be there for all of those big life moments. And I will be there as long as you let me.

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Let's say there's an occasion to get the whole family together - a wedding, a significant anniversary, a big birthday, a family reunion - and you think that seems like a great time to get photos with the whole family and individual family units at the same time. But trying to coordinate that many people, that many households, that many outfits, that many moods, that many opinions, that can all be pretty stressful, especially if 'it's all your idea.'

So what can you do to tone down the tension and make sure everyone has a good experience?

  • Have a photo list of all family combinations you want photos of ready for the photographer. This will help the photographer be able to determine how much time will be needed for the session, but it will also help keep things on track with a checklist. And making that photo list in an order that makes sense - starting small, adding onto that group little by little, (or vice versa) then switching groups - helps a lot, too.

  • Make sure everyone is fed and watered before the session starts. But then bring back-up snacks and drinks. No one is in a good mood when they're hungry. And having snacks on hand that can also be handed out between photos can work as quick bribes for kids who are getting a little restless.

  • During the session, be okay with flexibility and switching up the plan when necessary. Maybe you have a small kiddo who isn't scheduled to be in one of the first photos, but they show up in a great mood and the parents want to capitalize on that before it potentially turns. It's okay to ditch the order of the list if it's for the benefit of getting the best out of everyone. But make sure that someone is keeping track of what photo combinations have been done and which haven't so you don't accidentally forget one by skipping around.

  • With a large group, it's best not to be too nit-picky about wardrobe. You can state a preference for a certain color palette or theme, but within that, let people wear items they want to, whether they're most comfortable in jeans and a shirt or in a dress with accessories. Don't risk having people show up grumpy because they're in clothes they don't like, aren't comfortable in, or don't feel their best in.

  • If your session will have small children, bring along a couple of their favorite toys or books. At any signs of discontent, you can take a break with them and let them play or read to them. And if the worst case scenario is they end up only smiling for photos if they get to have their stuffy with them, then that's fine! What a fun memory for when they're older and they can remember how much they loved that particular item. Plus, isn't having a small distraction in their hand better than having a crying toddler for the photo?

  • When there are physical considerations for any participant, keep that in mind when choosing a location, determining how many different locations you'll use, what props you have (blankets, chairs, stools, etc.), and the terrain. If there is someone who is somewhat limited in mobility, keep your location(s) close to a place you can park, fairly level ground, and bring along seating if that would be helpful as well. Even without mobility considerations, with a larger group, having some seating options to put people on different levels can be really helpful so you can avoid having everyone stand in a straight line.

  • Last tip: have a sense of humor. When you have a bigger group of people, you're going to have opinions and attitudes and preconceptions and ideas about the importance of photos. Kids will take turns having meltdowns. Adults will take turns rolling their eyes or snapping at their spouses. The weather might even go back and forth with cooperating. Keep in mind the reason you're there: everyone is together, maybe for the first time in awhile; the people there all love each other, even if you can't stand each other sometimes; and having photos together is important for so many reasons. When something goes wrong, laugh about it, adjust as necessary, and move on. Don't get hung up on little things not going to plan. Don't get frustrated with little snafus. Enjoy the company of people you love, let your photographer take the reigns, and remember how grateful you will be to have photos of all these people you love at the end of it all.

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This month, September of 2022, I finally got to do a Fresh 48 after most hospitals not allowing non-family visitors for over 2.5 years thanks to the pandemic. And to be honest, during that time where I had no Fresh 48s and very few in-home newborn sessions, I considered letting that part of my business go so I could focus on other session types. BUT TO THINK I could ever give these sessions up now is ridiculous because I am SO in love with getting to capture the first couple days, and then first couple weeks, of a newborn's life. All the sweet little details that change so much so quickly; all the scrunched up cuteness of a Fresh 48 that then goes to BIIIIIIIG stretches during an in-home newborn; all the curious one-eye-open looks between sleeping spells that then turns into eyes wide open for short periods of time when they're 2-3 weeks old.

So yes, I truly love and will forever offer Fresh 48s and in-home newborn sessions. But here's what I love most about Fresh 48s and why I think every baby born needs one.

  • If you're a parent, you know how much your baby changes just from the time they're born to the time you take them home and have 2-3 weeks to figure things out before an in-home newborn session. Their head shape, their facial expressions, their awareness, their stretch-ability, ease of nursing, routine, sleep schedule - the list goes on and on.

  • When you're still in the hospital, you're still in a bubble. You haven't taken your baby out of that bubble yet. You haven't put your baby in a car, taken your baby home, gone to the grocery store with your baby, had a bunch of visitors to your home to see your baby, tried to sleep through the night without the help of nurses for your baby, worked on nursing your baby without a lactation consultant. There's something beautiful about that bubble, and a Fresh 48 session captures that beauty.

  • What do you have to do to get ready for a Fresh 48? Have a baby. That's all. If you want to have matching outfits with your baby, that's great. If you want to have a cute robe or nursing dress or whatever, that's great. But if you want to be in your hospital gown and have your baby in their hospital-issued blanket and hat, that totally works too! You don't have to clean your house. You don't have to make sure your space is de-cluttered. You don't have to have cute outfits for your newborn, yourself, and others. It's all about the hospital room and the people there. That's all. And that's enough.

  • Truly. Honestly. Babies change SO MUCH so quickly. If you've had a kiddo, think about how they were in the hospital as opposed to how they were at 2-3 weeks old. Those details at 48 hours old deserve to be preserved because they're wonderful, but they also happen to change the quickest. If you want to freeze those moments, those early details, a Fresh 48 is absolutely necessary.

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