Why I chose to only shoot no-contact, outdoor newborn sessions during the Covid-19 Pandemic

In the past I have strictly been an in-studio, posed newborn photographer. But like the rest of the world, I had to find a way to pivot with Covid and the many challenges this pandemic has thrown our way. My first priority in making this decision was to keep you (my clients), your babies, and myself safe while also keeping my commitment to photographing such a meaningful, fleeting time in your life.

A lot of factors came into play as I thought about the implications of the pandemic and how to move my studio forward. Could I go the route of department stores with temperature checks, sanitizing procedures and avoiding clients with symptoms? But one thought continued to come back to me over and over: What if one of us was asymptomatic?

Let’s think about this. What could happen if I was asymptomatic and gave it to you? Or what if you were asymptomatic and gave it to me, and then I passed it to the next client? How do we know where it originated from and how many people we have each come into contact with sense? I would be devastated if this happened…

Per the CDC, in general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Newborn sessions are upwards of 3-4 hours long in my small studio room with close interaction between myself, my clients and the newborn. It would also be virtually impossible to maintain 6 feet of distance.

Common Questions I’ve Received:
“But Sarah, there is plenty of room in my house! Can we shoot inside?” That’s great! We could easily maintain 6 feet of distance. But let’s think about this. Many of us aren’t wearing a mask in our own homes – that would be silly. So even if we put masks on during the session I’m still breathing in all of the particles that have been floating around. Remember – I wear a mask for you, but you’re in many of the pictures, so you are not wearing a mask… The CDC has established that “indoor spaces with less ventilation where it might be harder to keep people apart are riskier than outdoor spaces.”

“But Sarah, I don’t have any symptoms or a fever.” I’m glad! But in order to keep all of my clients and myself equally safe, I need to assume that every client is simply asymptomatic. According to the CDC estimates, 35% of those infected with the Corona Virus are asymptomatic. Again – it comes down to keeping all of my clients safe while giving everyone the experience and photos they deserve – especially when life and death is on the line.

“I’m ok with you touching my newborn because I know how safe you are being.” I feel that I wouldn’t be being safe if I had contact with you or your newborn. Period.

Furthermore, according to CDC the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Taking all of these factors into consideration I came to two realizations: the first thing I realized was that, according to CDC guidelines, the only way to move forward was to not have any contact with anyone. Second, I also needed to move my studio outdoors. An indoor session in any location, at any studio, is no longer an option. Period.

Keeping these guidelines in mind, the No-Contact, Outdoor Newborn Session was born. I wanted to provide clients with an experience that is safe but still gives each client the beautiful newborn experience and photographs that they have come to expect out of me.

How the Session Works:

Before your session:

We will agree on a location, typically near your house so that you can have all of the comfort and amenities of home while I set up. Florida heat can be brutal! Then, before your session, I’ll email you a practice video so that you will be prepared to swaddle your newborn for the session. Just so you have a good idea!!

Day of your Session:

On the day of your session, we will meet at the agreed-upon location. You will sit in the AC while I get backdrops, props and wraps set up for your session. Once it’s time for the first set I’ll sit 6′ from you with my “fake” baby and walk through swaddling with you. Then after each portion of the session, you’ll change the wrap color of the baby so there is plenty of variety!

Guidelines for your Session:

  • We will stay 6 feet apart.
  • You will be in charge of wrapping and adjusting your baby.
  • I will provide direction and feedback every step of the way – you’re never on your own and you will always know what to do!

I do not plan to go to posed in studio photography until there is a cure or a vaccination. One thing I realized while designing this for my clients was that other newborn photographers will be in the same boat as me! So, I am designing a course for other photographers, if you’re a photographer who has come here looking for the course you can find it here: No Contact Newborn Course.

Check out some of the recent no-contact outdoor newborn session images below!

Newborn wrapped in purple flowers at her outdoor newborn session
Newborn boy wrapped in star prop with guitars surrounds at his outdoor newborn session.
Siblings laying on rug with newborn at her no contact outdoor newborn session.
Baby laying on purple rug with flowers all around her at her no contact outdoor newborn session.
Mommy holding baby in green wrap during his outdoor newborn photography session
Baby wrapped in bucket with flowers at her no contact outdoor newborn session.
Newborn held by mom in pink with flowers at her outdoor newborn session
Father Kissing Newborn Baby Boy on head with black backdrop at his outdoor newborn session.
Newborn Boy in blue on blue background at his outdoor newborn session.
Newborn wrapped like a flower in pink at the outdoor newborn session
Newborn twins wrapped in stars at the outdoor newborn session
Newborn girl wrapped in white with a bow at the outdoor newborn session
Mom in cream with newborn daughter in pink at the outdoor newborn session
Dad holding baby while mom kisses his head during his outdoor newborn photography session
Mom laying with newborn on purple rug at her no contact outdoor newborn session.
Newborn twins with moms with cream backdrop at the outdoor newborn session
Dad nose-to-nose with son wrapped in blue at the outdoor newborn session
Newborn by in teal wrapped on wood at the outdoor newborn session
Mom holding baby in blue with a black backdrop at the outdoor newborn session
Newborn boy wrapped in blue laying in star at the outdoor newborn session
Newborn laying on bed in yellow at her at the outdoor newborn session
Dad kissing mom while she holds her newborn at the outdoor newborn session
Newborn baby in gray laying in woods at the outdoor newborn session
Newborn mom with tattoos holding son at the outdoor newborn session
Big brother holding newborn in blue at the outdoor newborn session
Mom holding newborn in blue with black backdrop at the outdoor newborn session

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