the organic planning guide
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Motherhood is an ever changing exploration into the depths of your strength as a human. The beauty of carrying an intricately created life should not be forgotten. The remarkable love when you look down at your baby's tiny new face cannot be lost forever in memories that fade with time. These images will tell a story to the ones who can't remember. Your babies first moments. The beauty of carrying them. For your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. I want to tell your story to them.
During your session I am mostly looking for authentic interactions between you and your loves. So just be perfectly you! While I will absolutely get some images of you smiling at the camera (let's face it, grandma always wants that one) most of the session will be spent with your family just loving on each other and interacting while I move around you getting different angles and capturing that emotion on an image.
I know firsthand that your portraits are important to you. It's easy to let your anxiety take over. Here are my top tips for a successful session
Getting your makeup, hair and nails done is encouraged! Mom's are much more likely to love their images when they have taken this extra step. Whatever you do, make sure to remove any chipped polish from fingers and toes (check your little one's as well!) and avoid the color red.
KEEP IT NEUTRAL
Most of my gowns are white or semi-sheer. Please make sure you are wearing nude undergarments. This should be applied to all family members. The Simple Folk carries children's white undergarments. For baby, plain white diapers with no designs are preferred. A few brands that offer plain white diapers options:
Coteri or Honest Co.
I am all for bribing toddlers with treats and snacks. But the best way to prepare your little ones for a great session is to expect to have fun. Threats and other tactics that could cause tears will set a mood that is hard to undo. If you are having fun they will too. If you set their expectations for a good time, chances are, they will have a good time.
Children and babies (and husbands!) can sense stress and it will set the wrong tone for the day. Just relax. I got this. You think your toddler is impossible? I've dealt with countless toddlers of all personalities and I know what to do. If you are relaxed and having fun, they will be too.
My newborn sessions are done within the first two weeks after birth. I will be reaching out to you around your due date in order to best plan your session day. Feel free to text or email me updates on the arrival of your little one!
Tips for your session day:
The morning of your session you should be giving the baby lots of extra feedings even if it's "off schedule". If you have twins, feed them at the same time. Breastfeeding mamas should consider avoiding spicy or gassy foods the week before. If possible, bring along a bottle of formula or breastmilk. When you arrive at your session we will change baby and then allow you to feed them once more before we begin.
How to make a sleepy baby
Try your best to keep your baby awake the hour+ prior to your session. In my experience, nothing works better to ensure those beautiful sleepy baby images than this one tip. Give them a bath to exert their energy. As long as they aren't dozing off you can give them as long a bath as you'd like. Change their diaper or clothes. Do some gentle leg exercises to work out any gas that could make them uncomfortable. Engage your baby with talking and visual stimulation (brightly colored toys etc...)
what to bring
Bring along a neutral colored pacifier, a baby brush and a bottle of milk. My favorite brand of pacifiers that can work into my images in a pinch are:
Mushie | Natursutten | Bibs
(please do not bring a WubbaNub)
outfits for the whole family
The studio wardrobe is constantly expanding and updating. I like to keep things fresh and new so that if you hire me multiple times in a year you are not left with the same options every time. I currently have a myriad of high end wardrobe choices for Moms and children and a few shirt options for Dads. (no pants for dad in studio...yet) You are always welcome to come view the collection in person and make a selection, but I've been doing this a long time and it's really simple for me to put together a group of outfits that work well together. Understanding your preferences for how you want to look and knowing your general sizes allows me to set aside a few pieces for you on the day of your session. Many of my dresses fit a range of sizes and I utilize some tricks of the trade to make the wrong size become the right size.
If you need to put together Dad's outfit here is a winning combination:
khaki, stone, or light grey colored chinos (no jeans) + a white/cream linen button down or henley
A few little details:
If you would like to help me in post processing, stop wearing your watch (particularly apple watches) a few weeks beforehand to let your wrist tan-line disappear.
Most clients choose to go barefoot in the studio. If you prefer to wear shoes or are having an outdoor session please come wearing dress shoes in brown, cream or nude tones. I would suggest flats or a chunky heel for mom if we are outdoors.
Outdoor wardrobe changes:
If you're having an outdoor session you can come by the studio early in they day to pick up your outfits for the evening. All studio wardrobe pieces will be returned directly after your session so I can launder them properly for the next client. Make sure you bring everyone an outfit to change into afterwards. Some clients do a quick change in the car and others opt to bring along a quick change tent like THIS.
hair and makeup
Here are some inspiration images to help you navigate what to tell your stylist. Soft and romantic hair + neutral makeup to bring out your natural beauty. And links to the girls I recommend for hair and makeup.
A visual representation of colors for nail polish and accessories that will coordinate well with the style of my images
Places to shop:
After you leave your session I begin carefully editing your images. Every portrait you will see is the very best of what was captured at your session. Once your images are ready I will contact you to schedule your design and ordering appointment. This is generally scheduled 2-3 weeks after your session takes place.
Choosing your artwork in person while seeing studio samples takes the guesswork away and ensures you get exactly what you love. Everything is offered a la carte providing you with a truly custom experience.
Design + ordering
I will help + guide you in designing your heirloom artwork as much or as little as you'd like. At the conclusion of this appointment, your gallery of digital high resolution images will be delivered to you if you have purchased them.
All other products will be ordered and custom made by hand. Typically this can take up to 4 weeks to complete but with current supply issues around the globe its hard to determine an exact time frame. I will keep you updated regularly if things are taking longer than expected. As soon as they are complete I will contact you for pickup!
My natural light studio is conveniently located just off of highway 65 in Prattville, Alabama.
Feel free to park in the driveway and ring the front doorbell when you've arrived.
The quality of your images is dependent on the position of the sun.
Your session time has been planned to capitalize on the best light possible.
Please arrive to your session on time to ensure session success.
Virginia Schultz Photography STudio Location
If you have any questions about your session don't hesitate to reach out. You can either contact me below, or just send me a quick email or text.
Luxury Montgomery and Birmingham maternity, newborn and family photographer specializing in motherhood storytelling and custom heirloom artwork. From handmade albums to exquisite, museum-worthy frames, my passion is to serve my clients by designing artwork for them that will last generations.