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The Sitter Session

Is there a "best" time to photograph your baby? I love photographing ALL stages in a baby's first year but I have a favorite for sure. Read on to find out which one it is and why (the title of this article is a clue)!

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The newborn stage is such a fleeting time and the type of posed newborn photography that I do can ONLY be done during those first few weeks after birth and I feel like that makes it extra special and unique. The resulting images are SO precious and beautiful and I love seeing them on my walls and remembering how tiny my own babies once were! My friends who are done with the baby stage often comment that they are tempted to have another one, just so I can photograph their newborn! This type of photography was pretty new still when I was having my first babies. It has come a long way since then and many of us moms wish we could have images like the ones below of our first babies. Compared to other types of baby sessions, a newborn session is a bit of a time investment (and totally WORTH IT!). My newborn sessions typically last three to four hours to allow for feeding breaks and lots of snuggles to get baby sleepy and comfortable for posing.

The next stage most people think of hiring a professional photographer for is the first birthday cake smash session. That is also a super fun time...I love seeing how big my client babies have gotten since their newborn session and seeing how much they've changed. Watching them try their first taste of cake and capturing that moment is such a treat! The first year is amazing but it's also full of challenges and sleepless nights. A first birthday session is the perfect way to commemorate completing that first year (for both baby and parents!). This stage can be a challenge because some babies are going through the "stranger danger" stage (mom and dad are super helpful for these sessions when it comes to getting baby to smile for their photos). They also are typically fast movers by now...they are expert crawlers most of the time and have often taken their first steps by this point (my own boys were RUNNING by their first birthday). Getting their attention for an in-focus shot is WORK! A cake smash session typically lasts about an hour. We start with a non-cake setup, move on to the cake smash, then a bubble bath, and then finish up the session with snuggly robe post-bath pictures. Keeping things moving and switching things up helps keep baby's attention and provides lots of opportunities for baby to have fun so we can get those big cheesy grins we all love as well as lots of shots capturing their personalities and the entire experience!

I also offer "roller" sessions. This type of session takes place between 2-4 months when baby is typically alert and awake much more than the newborn stage but can't sit up yet. This is when we can capture some of their very first giggles and their budding personalities but we are limited to babies lying on their backs or on their bellies for posing. This is a great session to consider if you missed out on capturing the newborn stage or you want to capture all of the major stages of baby's first year (newborn, roller, sitter, and first birthday). A roller session has to move quickly because babies at this age have very brief periods of awake happy time. I try to keep these sessions to 30-45 minutes. Occasionally a baby starts to get sleepy during their roller session. At that point, I give the parents the option to be done with the session, or, if they have time, we can try to put the baby to sleep and get some lightly posed sleepy shots of the baby.

My absolute FAVORITE stage to photograph, however, is the "sitter" stage! A sitter is a baby who has just learned to sit up unassisted. This typically happens between six to nine months of age. Ideally the session will take place as soon as baby can sit up unassisted but before they can crawl away. Once your baby is crawling or walking all they want to do is explore! That can make it a challenge to photograph them. Most babies in the sitter stage aren't mobile yet. We can dress them up adorably and see all of those sweet outfits clearly as they show off their new sitting skill!

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Babies usually reach peak chubbiness before they begin to crawl and start burning more calories. The resulting thigh rolls and dimply knuckles are the CUTEST! They're generally super personable at this stage and we can coax smiles out of them more easily than any other baby stage. Because those smiles tend to come so easily at this stage, we can move through outfits and setups fairly quickly. A sitter session typically lasts thirty minutes to an hour and we schedule them to take place right after a nap and feeding so that baby is well-rested and happy. I basically just keep going until baby is over it lol!

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I have a huge collection of outfits available for the sitter stage for both boys and girls. My client closet outfits are beautiful and unique...mostly hand-made pieces that you won’t find in stores. This is always a relief to my need to search for pricey outfits that are only going to be worn once! I provide all backdrops, props, and outfits for these sessions. Everything is taken care of!

Bella Rose Portraits Client Closet and Props

Like any other stage in your baby’s first year, the sitter stage passes quickly. They will be crawling and walking in the blink of an eye and changing so much every day. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your baby grows up and how easy it is to forget how small they used to be. My youngest just turned two and he looks SO little in his sitter pictures in comparison. I truly treasure the photos I got of that stage and am blown away by how much he has changed in such a short period of time.

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You can book any of your first year milestone sessions (roller, sitter, and first birthday) in conjunction with their newborn session or shortly after to ensure availability. I have many families who are on a “grow with me” plan. This means that, in addition to a newborn session, they may come in for two more milestone sessions during baby’s first year. A sitter session and the first birthday cake smash session are the most popular choices but a roller session is an option too (and can be added on the a grow with me plan if you'd like to book all three milestone sessions in addition to your newborn session)! Milestone sessions can be booked at any point during baby's first year but booking two sessions in conjunction with a newborn session earns a free session fee (a $200 savings!).

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Excited to start the booking process? Click here to contact me for more information about a newborn, roller, sitter, for first birthday session and instructions on how to book!

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