Maternity & Newborn FAQ

Maternity FAQ

The super-sweet newborn portrait of my littlest babe I was staring at today got me thinking about the maternity and newborn sessions I have coming up, and how crazy our schedule gets during some weeks when trying to fit in last minute sessions. So let’s talk maternity/newborn for this next F.A.Q. segment!


maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

How many weeks pregnant should I be for my maternity session?

Typically, the magic number is between 32-34 weeks. However, this number is flexible depending on your body type and how you are progressing throughout your pregnancy. For example, if you have a small frame and the baby is the only one gaining weight, then you could procrastinate until 38 weeks if you dare 🙂 Those last few weeks of pregnancy tend to be when the majority of us start to swell up rather quickly, so be careful on waiting too late into your pregnancy for your session. Or, you could be like me with my middle child and wait until after your water breaks to pack the car and haul a toddler out to a field, jumping fences to try and get a maternity portrait, all while said 2 year old just wants to run, jump & play anywhere that’s NOT around Mommy, lol… yeah, more on that some other time 🙂

maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

How far in advance should I schedule my maternity session?

Ideally, I like to schedule maternity sessions 6-8 weeks before the anticipated session date. This gives us plenty of time to plan the perfect maternity session for you. I don’t typically like scheduling out too far in the year simply because I love the freedom of being able to plan a family camping trip or attend an important event without working around sessions that were booked months ago. However, if you are set on having a date on the calendar 6 months in advance, I will certainly work with you to make that happen!



maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

Where do you do maternity sessions?

Where we take photos depends on your vision for your portraits. All of this is discussed well in advance of your session. I love to do on-location outdoor photographs that let us maximize our access to natural light. This can be in a beautiful pasture, a quaint park, in the woods or even in urban settings. If you prefer more of a fine art portrait for your maternity session, we can also take advantage of my in-home studio in Martinsburg, WV. We can also do them in your home or in your favorite local establishment with their permission.



maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

Have you done Gender Reveal sessions?

We LOVE these fun and creative sessions! Whether you wait for the actual session to find out if you are having a boy or girl, or if you are just using the session as a way to share the news with family and friends, these sessions are always a BLAST!!! If you are stuck on how to announce it, we have some creative ideas in our Newborn Guide that you can get by clicking the button below!



maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

How far in advance should I schedule my newborn session?

Newborn scheduling is a bit different than scheduling maternity sessions. To get the typical sleeping baby lock that you see in today’s newborn images we like to get your precious baby  in during the first 2 weeks of life before they lose the sleepiness and flexibility to be safely positioned in those cute curled up poses. After around the 14 day mark we can still do a session, but depending on the baby we expect a different outcome for your images. While we can’t set an exact date for the newborn session in advance, of course, we can schedule a temporary time frame based on your due date. That being said, I do have new mommies contact me all the time from the hospital after having the baby to request a newborn session for their day old baby. Rarely can I accommodate last minute requests, especially April-December, but sometimes it works out so it never hurts to ask (plus, I have the best referrals for you if I’m not available!).



maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

Where do you do newborn sessions?

While I prefer to do newborn sessions in my home studio, there are other options. For newborn sessions it’s best to choose a quiet and serene location with a controlled environment. I love doing sessions in your home if there is ample space and window light. This way we can incorporate personal items found throughout your home into the portrait. However, if there are distractions such as barking dogs (Don’t get me wrong, I adore fur babies ❤️)  or an active toddler bouncing about, then the session may not go as quickly and we may have a harder time getting baby in that REM sleep I need to mold them in all those cute poses. When choosing a studio session, I have a large array of props and sets to utilize along with more options for studio lighting to provide more of a variety for you to choose from in your final images.



maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

What should we bring to the newborn session?

As mentioned, we have a wide array of props and sets in our home studio, but there are other items that you can bring to make your session run more smoothly. All of this is discussed in your pre-session consultation.



maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

Is there anything special I need to do if my baby is breastfed?

YES!!! First, let me say that as much of a breastfeeding advocate as I am, I love my formula-feeding moms equally! We all know what is best for our babies, so no judging here 🙂  Now if you do choose to breastfeed your baby, there are certain considerations to take into account. The most important being the food and drink that you consume up to 72 hours before your session. Even foods you eat a couple days before your session (like pizza!) can affect how well your baby sleeps while posing them in certain positions. Even babies who show no signs of tummy sensitivities can have a tough time in those favorite poses we all love where their little insides have a little less wiggle room. My number one priority is your baby’s safety and comfort, so when I sense baby is uncomfortable, I will not force a pose. I have compiled a list of things to avoid or limit (from a nationally-recognized licensed lactation consultant) and pass that along to all new moms who choose to breastfeed.



maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

What if my little one is still in NICU?

The 2 week rule has a few exceptions, one of those being the sweet little babies that need an extended stay in the hospital. Each baby is different so contact us to discuss your individual needs. We will work with you and your doctor’s orders to accommodate an appropriate time to photograph your precious bundle of joy in a safe environment!



maternity newborn portraits by martinsburg wv baby photographer Swadley Studio

How much will I need to spend on newborn portraits?

Our sessions start at $450 for a 3 hour newborn session with 10 digital files that you choose from a proofing gallery of at least 50. You will be able to view images and place an order at the viewing session for a wide variety of prints and products, including more digital files.
While there is no minimum order requirement at this time, our average client ends up spending around $900 on their newborn portraits.