Pittsburgh Newborn and Family Photographer

A Step-By-Step Guide to
Acing Your Session


call me, beep me, if ya wanna reach me

I’ve made the first move, here: you’re on my website, reading my words and checking out my galleries, where I hope I’ve shown my heart through and through. Have you decided I’m the photographer for you? Choosing and trusting a photographer to capture your family’s unique personality is a big deal. For so many of life’s precious moments, like newborn, maternity, and senior pictures, there’s no do over. So if you want to create beautiful, emotional and authentic images with someone who cares deeply about your family…well, I’m your girl. 

That means it’s your turn: reach out and give me a tap on the shoulder! I’ll get back to you quickly with more detailed collection information and availability. Expectant mamas, let's start by reserving your due date. I’m available for lifestyle sessions in the Pittsburgh area, whether in-home or on-location. Are you out of town? Let’s talk!


book it + plan it

I make the booking and planning process a breeze for you. You pick your package, and a deposit reserves your spot. From there, I talk to you about your vision for your session to match your personality— are you a chic, cosmopolitan family with a downtown vibe? Do sunsets and sunflower fields make your heart skip a beat? Based on your vision, I can suggest beautiful locations to match, or we can pick somewhere special to you. Newborn sessions all take place in your home. You’ll get access to a client portal to make the planning stages even easier, home to wardrobe advice and access to a personalized styling tool to help put the finishing touches on your shoot.


have fun, make memories

Do you feel awkward in front of the camera? You are not alone— me too! But don’t worry, I won’t let you feel awkward for long. We’ll get together, either in your home or on-location, and have a truly, genuinely fun time. I’ll come armed with some Dad Jokes and you can bring a few of your own. Family sessions last around an hour, and newborn sessions around two. You can expect me to be relaxed and patient, and to give you posing ideas to ensure you look your best. It’s my job to care about things like lighting and angles, so all you have to do is focus on the people you love most in the whole world. This is the part where we get to celebrate and capture all the little pieces of your family that you know make you extraordinary.


love your gallery, print your images, be so darn happy

Drumroll please: your images are back! In a snazzy online gallery! Within two weeks you’ll receive a link to a private gallery where you can relive the magic of our session all over again. You'll be able to download, favorite, and share your images from your private gallery. You’ll also be able to order prints, gallery walls, or heirloom albums with a click of a button.

And that’s all there is to it. Session? Booked. Photo shoot? Nailed it. Images? You’re gonna love them, for life.

Cliche, maybe but THIS GALLERY IS SO US!!! How am I ever going to thank you for these? You’ve frozen this phase of beautiful chaos for us and my heart is so happy to have each and every image.
— Melissa L


Does your session price include the digital files?

YES. The images we make together are your memories— you should be able to have them, fully. I always include the custom edited, high resolution digital images as part of your session package so you can print and cherish your memories for years to come. You can print your images through my lab— and I keep pricing affordable to encourage you to have professional-quality prints!—but you are by no means obligated to purchase an additional print package on top of your session fee.

When do I book my newborn session? How do you schedule if you don’t know when the baby will arrive?

Most expectant mamas book anywhere from a few weeks to several months in advance. The earlier you book, the better likelihood of my availability— I only take a limited number of newborns each month so that I can give booked sessions my undivided attention. I also send out wardrobe and styling advice and a guideline for "what to expect” during your session, so having time to plan in advance is helpful.

As for scheduling the actual session date— babies seem to care a lot less about due dates than we do. When you book, we use your “due date” as a placeholder on my calendar. Then when your babe finally makes his or her grand appearance, shoot me an email and let me know! Once you are home and settled, we’ll find a day and time that works for me to come to your home for your newborn session. I typically schedule newborn sessions within the first two weeks, because that’s when they’re at their snooziest. But if for some reason we need to wait until later, that’s fine! The beauty of lifestyle photography is that it really doesn’t matter— you’ll just want to document the time before babe gets TOO big and stops looking like a newborn (it’ll happen faster than your heart is ready for it!).

Will you dress my baby up like a ladybug taking a nap in the middle of a daffodil?

I shoot lifestyle newborn photography, which differs from posed studio work in several important ways. The focus is on your little one, of course, but it takes place in the comfort of your own home, in the nursery you lovingly created, with baby usually in a simple onesie or swaddle or just a diaper, to keep the focus on what matters most: your new family. 

I know that the first few weeks of bringing home baby are an absolute blur. It’s a time filled with immense highs, but also immense challenges— sometimes as new moms we just feel downright rotten and the last thing we want is have someone take our picture. But please trust me— these days are also filled with some of the most awe-inspiring moments as well. For just an hour or two, we’re going to focus on the real and the beautiful and make some images together that will forever remind you of the unparalleled sweetness that lives inside those first few days, too.

And you are going to be in the photos too, mama! You are important and you matter. Motherhood and fatherhood is so immensely important. And I shoot to reflect the tiny miracles that are hidden inside these new identities and relationships, because someday they are going to mean the world to you, and to your little one. When you look back at these images, I want you to see the strength, confidence and authentic love that exists within your new family unit, in your own home...simple and uncomplicated and real.

Do you require a deposit to book?

Yes- a $150 deposit holds your session date or due date on my calendar. The deposit gets applied to your balance, and the remainder is due at the time of the session.

What if it rains?

If we have planned to shoot outdoors, we’ll reschedule at your convenience! I don’t make anyone take pictures in the rain…unless you’ve got some littles who are just itching to go jump in some mud puddles!

digital files are great, but Can we order prints, gallery walls, and albums too?

Yes, yes, yes! I’m proud to partner with one of the premier print labs in the country, offering high-quality prints and albums for you to fully remember your memories for years to come. While you will receive the digital files and can print your images anywhere, I offer affordable prints through my lab because I believe EVERYONE should have their professional images hanging on their walls and bound up in an album for big and little hands alike to love on.

There is something sacred about walking through your home and seeing your joyful family reflected back to you— when you’re having a bad day, when you’re lugging the third load of dirty laundry through the hallway that morning, when you’ve lost sight of the magic in a sea of mundane. Printing your images forces you to slow down, practice mindfulness and show gratitude for your blessings, and that can make all the difference between an ordinary and an extraordinary day.

What should we expect on the day of our session?

You should expect to have FUN. My clients continually say how comfortable they felt working with me, which makes the difference between a gallery you adore and cherish for years... and, well, ending up on AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. Sessions are an opportunity for us to take an hour or two to forget about the laundry and dirty dishes and embrace with full hearts the love of your family. When you’re at ease and having fun with the people you love, it translates into authentic images. Yes, you may feel a little uncertain and nervous in the beginning because we all do when we’re in front of the camera. But you can also expect for me to give you lots of coaching or guidance if you need it. In no time at all, you'll find yourself and your little ones interacting in REAL and organic ways to create memories you’ll treasure forever. In other words, expect to feel completely and wholeheartedly like yourself. And expect to love it.

What should I wear?!

Are you like me and have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? When you book, I send a styling guide with advice on what to wear so you look and feel your best. You'll also receive complimentary access to a personalized styling tool that allows you to effortlessly style and shop the whole family’s wardrobe right from your couch. Trust me— it’s a game changer.

When and how will we receive our images?

My editing turnaround time is 2-3 weeks. You’ll receive a link in your email to an online gallery of your finished images— from there you can easily share on social media, mark your favorites, and order prints directly from my professional lab! Your gallery will be live for three months—after which time I recommend downloading your images so you can keep them forever. Better yet, let’s get them printed and hanging on your walls or bound up in an heirloom album for you to see and love on every day!

which is the best fast & furious movie?

The fifth one, because The Rock finally shows up, the gang is all together again (sans Letty) after world travels through Tokyo, Mexico, LA and Miami, there is an epic car chase/jail heist where they drag a giant safe through the streets of Rio, crime lords, a surprise pregnancy announcement— there’s something for everyone!

Our session was BEYOND ‘worth it.’ Rachel captured not only our images but I can feel the unconditional love for my new little family every time I look at them. I have already recommended her to my best friend!
— Lauren K