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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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We Kansans are lucky to live in the Sunflower State, and for good reason. While other states might have sunflowers, we have The Sunflower Field to beat all sunflower fields. You'd never happen upon it if you didn't know to look for it, but once you've seen it, you will want to make it a yearly tradition to go the first week of September when these beauties are at their peak bloom.

Whether you're a photographer, a nature lover, a sunflower fan, or just looking for something to do in early September, Grinter Farms in between Tonganoxie and Lawrence, Kansas is the place to be. The farmer and his wife are INCREDIBLY kind to share their beautiful land with the public. They do ask a few things of visitors, the most important I will highlight here:

Rules of Engagement (taken from The Farmer's Wife)

  • This is private property, the owners of which are generous enough to let us enjoy the beauty of these fields, and they have neighbors. Be mindful to park where they ask you to and not go in or block private drives.

  • This is a field - there are no sidewalks through it, there are bugs, there are no bathrooms, and it's a dirt field that gets muddy if it has rained.

  • Sunflowers aren't really a money-making crop. If you cut a sunflower head to take home, leave a dollar donation in the donation box ($1 per sunflower head is suggested). Consider visiting the General Store where they sell t-shirts, sunflower butter, sunflower seeds, and more. And if you're profiting off the fields, like a photographer offering minis, definitely leave a portion of your profit as a donation.

  • This is a field that will be turned over into a crop field. If you drop something, find it. Don't leave behind sunglasses, props, ladders, dirty diapers, blankets, keys, or anything else (all of these have actually happened). These things can damage a combine.

  • These fields are there for everyone to enjoy. Don't ask people to move out of your shot, don't be rude to other people, be aware that at certain times (sunset around Labor Day) it is going to be crowded. Allow everyone to enjoy it.

If you're willing to abide by their expectations, then you definitely need to check out Grinter Farms. Here are some of my favorite photos from Sunflower Minis over the past 5 years.

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For families that don't want to send fall photos out on their holiday cards, or families who just want something different this year, Christmas Tree Minis are a wonderful option! There are so many possibilities for setups on a Christmas tree farm, or even just in a grove of evergreen trees. Any combination of holiday decor plus a place to sit - couch/blanket/crates/etc. - and a few props like holiday books, mugs with hot chocolate (or even empty!), or candy canes, and you've got yourself a mini that your clients will want to book!

Here are a few setups I've done in years past that I've loved!

A couch, a banner, a few blankets, some holiday pillows, a sled, wreath, and some Christmas books - I've gotten 3 years of Christmas minis out of them by just switching up a few things. And with just a few additions and changes, I'll be doing a 4th year this year!

What are your favorite props to use for a Christmas Mini?

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