Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve noticed that there are always questions that come up in the first encounter, and I figured why not get to know me before our first conversation. I find I always enjoy an experience better if I know the person with whom I am sharing it. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions. Some are more factual, and some are about yours truly: Me! Stephanie of Stephanie’s Photographs – Gatineau Newborn Photography.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Where are you located?
Stephanie’s Photographs, Gatineau Newborn Photography, is located in Central Gatineau, Quebec. You can find the studio a few minutes from the highway 5’s Hautes Plaines Blvd exit. We typically photograph local residents from Aylmer, Gatineau, Hull, Templeton, Buckingham, Chelsea, Wakefield, Edelweiss, and we have many clients come from the Ottawa, Ontario side of the bridge from Orleans, Nepean, Kanata, Barrhaven, Stittsville, Rockland, Cumberland, Cassleman, and even as far as Cardinal. We also welcome anyone willing to travel to our studio, no matter from how far, and we are happy to make special arrangements for immediate portrait viewing afterwards for non-local clients.
Do you have a studio or will you travel to our home?
Newborn, Maternity and Grow with Me Milestone sessions are typically done in studio to benefit from the large collection of backdrops, props, accessories, and setups we have for you to choose from for the posed style portraits.  Outdoor posed newborn sessions are available June through August. In-home lifestyle (not posed) sessions are offered within 15kms of our studio, and are available for maternity and newborn sessions with a minimum print order. Travel is decided on a case-by-case basis and is not available during the winter. Birth Photography is offered in the Gatineau Ottawa area in local hospitals, birth centres, or homes all year round. Stephanie’s Photographs travels locally (at no extra cost) for outdoor maternity and family portrait sessions in parks or industrial locations.
What products do you have?
I have many products to offer my portrait clients. I have gorgeous hand-bound heirloom photo albums, lovely memory books, keepsake photo boxes, large wall portraits (canvas, mounted, framed), personalized greeting cards, and multiple sizes of smaller gift prints.  I have scouted the best professional print labs across the world for these items and will continue to do so in order to provide the best quality products possible; some are local and some travel a long way. I’m also looking into adding some other new add-on products like magnets, image cubes, and/or calendars. Want something in particular that I don’t have listed? Odds are I can get it, or refer you to a vendor that has it available.
Do you have insurance?
YES!  The only thing I care more about than you loving your portraits is the safety of your family. I take every precaution to carefully inspect any props to be used in portrait sessions prior to purchase for dangerous attributes and before every session for damages, to make sure there are no germs or allergens in the studio, and prevent injury with the proper newborn safety standards in addition to the upkeep of the studio. Insurance is a backup plan in the event that my prevention policies and precautions were not enough to prevent an unforeseen or non-preventable accident; the goal is to never need to use it.
Have you taken any workshops or had any training in posing newborns?
Short Answer: Yes. Long Answer: Newborn safety is my number one priority. I have taken the proper precautions and have educated myself on what a typical newborn can and cannot safely do. I’ve done many hours of scientific research for purposes of knowing when a typical baby develops certain anatomical features, and what their bodies are actually capable of. I’ve taken a few courses on proper newborn posing, on post-processing skills (for programs like photoshop) that allow for SAFE poses and “removal” of the spotter’s hand(s) [poses that may look unsafe or impossible to a viewer who did not participate in the session to see that the spotter never let go of baby], for aesthetic wrapping and setup techniques, in addition to having taken courses on the basics of photography and how to properly utilize my camera equipment to its full capacity and understand the how & why of using light. I am always continuously learning.
How long have you been working with newborns and children?
 I have been working with newborns professionally for over 2 years. Each baby is different, and the biggest challenge is learning how to sooth each newborn all over again; some like to be swaddled, some like to be rocked and others bounced, some prefer lying on their bellies and others prefer on their backs, some love soothers, and some just want to eat. I’ve worked with children for as long as I can remember, and professionally for at least 8 years as a camp counsellor, a teacher, and a photographer. Kids love me and I love them, so once I get a peek at your child’s personality, I just need to coax out that gorgeous smile.
At what age do YOU (the photographer) prefer to schedule newborn sessions?
It is best to photograph a newborn in the first two weeks of their life because until then, their bones have not quite begun to fuse and they are still very flexible in addition to being very sleepy. For breastfed newborns, it is best to schedule their session between days 5 and 14 to make sure that mom’s milk supply has reached its full capacity so baby isn’t hungry for the entire session, and we can more easily soothe baby to sleep for the adorable curly portraits. For multiples, as they are often early arrivals, sessions are typically scheduled closer to their scheduled due date to make sure that they are fully developed to ensure they can safely be photographed. Premature babies follow that same guideline, we usually wait until they have achieved a safe weight and size to go home, and it is usually closer to their original due date. All babies vary in weight and size; full term babies can be very tiny and I’ve seen some early arrivals with quite a bit of chub. I love the chub, so no complaints there :)   We gauge timing based on your baby, but typically we photograph them within the first 14 days. That being said, I will NEVER turn away a baby because they are “too old”. That’s silly! Just because they’ve passed the ideal time frame does not mean we cannot photograph your baby past that 2 week marker. I’ve photographed 3 week, 4 week, and 6 week olds fabulously (and some not-so-much, so there are certain expectations to be lost). I capture gorgeous wide-eyed portraits that parents love! We just can’t expect any curly or squishy poses because as their bones begin to fuse, they become less and less flexible. If we manage to get your little one to sleep in our toasty studio, we do make the effort to pose your baby in altered versions of the curly poses that are just as adorable.
When should WE (the client) be scheduling our newborn session? (and maternity)
 I always recommend scheduling as soon as possible to ensure you reserve your space with us in addition to having priority in choosing dates. Most people book their newborn sessions when they book their maternity sessions as most have them both done as a bundle. Since maternity portraits are best done weeks 26 through 36 (usually scheduled a month in advance), that’s also the ideal time to book your newborn session. However, unlike any other session type, newborn session dates are not chosen in advance; we wait until baby has arrived because you never know when a baby will decide they are ready. We take note of your scheduled due date, and reserve a spot on our calendar for a larger time-frame. Since we only schedule a limited number of sessions per week to make sure we fit everyone in, we will always have time for our newborn sessions. Once baby arrives, you send us a quick message or phone call letting us know and we book from there (ideally within 2 weeks of birth, often later for preemies). While I am a huge stickler for advanced planning, I do welcome last minute bookings. I do my best to fit you into the schedule, and capture those once-in-a-lifetime portrait for your new or growing family.
Do you feel comfortable with preemies?
While I would gladly accept parents to bring in a premature child to be photographed as soon as they are born, I prefer to wait until they are ready, which usually ends up being closer to their scheduled due date to make sure that they are physically able to complete the session, and are at a healthy weight to make sure our setups would not endanger them in any way. I am comfortable photographing smaller babies, but I would not attempt any advanced posing in the session and would avoid prop setups; we would concentrate on parent & baby connection shots and safe poser shots (the standard baby laying on material backdrop) to create your gorgeous gallery. This is typically the situation for twins, as they are often born early. Ideally we would photograph them near the 2 week marker so that we catch them before their stretching phase, however photographong them later is still a possibility. I’ve photographed 19 day old twins who were a month early wonderfully, and 42 day old twins who were almost 3 months early with a little more resistance. They just tend to sleep less and we need to adjust poses to accommodate them not being as “squishy”.
Do you have props (blankets, baskets, hats, headbands, etc.)?
 I honestly think that my studio has more props & accessories than anything else..and that says something because I am very picky and particular about the type and style or props I purchase. There are many things to consider when buying props; is it SAFE for babies? it is big enough for one or two babies? does it match my photography style and aesthetic? can it be easily washed? it is hypo-allergenic? will it photograph well? is it gender neutral? etc.  Other than that last requirement, it has to meet ALL of them!  I have acquired quite a collection of baskets, crates, and blankets. I have a growing collection of head pieces for girls, some gorgeous handmade hats and pant-sets, in addition to gorgeous quilts, furs and backdrops. They all follow my style of classic, pure, & timeless with muted or the occasional pops of colour. The goal is that baby is the super star and focus in the image, and that he or she not be over-powered by the prop or accessory.
Are parents and siblings included in the newborn session?
The Custom Studio Newborn sessions include sibling, parent and family portraits. For extended family such as god-parents or grandparents, we ask that a separate family session be booked where you may bring in the extra family members to be present in newborn-family portraits. Lifestyle Newborn sessions are all about the family connection, and baby’s connection with their surroundings in your home. The Short & Sweet Newborn sessions do not include any other family members and the session is a quick one-setup session.
Do you have an assistant and/or will there be other people with you at the session?
Often, I take advantage of excited new parents to be my assistant(s). They get to participate in the session and get even more involved in the experience. On the other hand, some parents who need a little break (or recovering from C-Section) are welcome to sit back and relax (or nap) while I have a hired assistant to help me as a spotter. This is something we discuss upon booking.
Do you do composites for difficult or advanced poses?
I wouldn’t have it any other way. Composites are a way to keep your baby safe, so why would I not do them? I have taken courses on how to properly use editing software to allow me to “erase” parents or spotters’ fingers or arms from the images to create art. Putting your baby’s safety at risk for art is never worth it, NEVER. Even seemingly simple poses often require composites. Newborns cannot hold up their heads until about 3 months because their neck muscles have not developed yet; their heads need to be supported in the “head up on arms” pose just as much as the “froggy” pose. I do not attempt these poses without a knowledgeable assistant. Whether my assistant is a quickly trained mom, dad, or grandparent or my hired assistant does not matter, they have to know the entire process before I begin. Otherwise we move on the the next one. For more information on this topic, please read our guest-post on newborn safety.
What is a 'composite'?
 Composites are a way to keep your baby safe because my assistant (friend, parent, etc.) always has a hand or finger supporting and/or on baby. Composites are the use 2 or more images to safely create one gorgeous photograph. The images are strategically and seamlessly merged together in advanced professional editing software.
On your website I see the term 'creation fee'. What does that mean, and is it the same as a sitting fee?
The short answer: yes. The long answer: The thing is, you aren’t just paying to sit there and have your portrait taken. You are investing in your photographer to create art. In order to create that art, there are many behind-the-scene tasks to be done such as communication, preparation, shopping for a custom prop, editing & retouching, setting up for the session, take-down & cleaning, etc. in addition to the actual photography time for your session. The creation fee covers everything from booking, to capturing portraits, until your ordering session. The creation fee reflects the amount of work required to photograph a particular subject, and sometimes the creation fee can include a complimentary gift or print credit because that is part of the art being created. Other times, there are packages that include the creation fee, some print products, and select digital files (typically for mini sessions and extended family sessions).
Why do I have to pay a deposit? What is it for?
The deposit due upon booking & signing contract is to reserve your spot. I am removing that availability from my calendar so no other client can take that spot; it’s YOURS. For newborn sessions, it means I guarantee you availability no matter when baby decides to arrive, and the second payment (remaining balance) reserves the specific date & time. If you should cancel last minute or simply not show up without notice, I keep the deposit(s) as payment for my time that could not have otherwise been given to another client. Of course rescheduling with advance notice or last minute changes for emergency reasons are handled differently on a case-by-case basis. The non-refundable deposit is always entirely put towards your creation fee provided you adhere to the current company policies. That being said, if your photographer postpones last minute for reasons other than weather, illness or emergency, you have the option of rescheduling or having your deposit refunded.
I noticed all of your family, engagement, and wedding galleries have disappeared from your website. Can we still book you for those portraits?
I have chosen to specialize in newborn photography, which is why I have removed all other images from my galleries and why they look so bare. I am also in the process of specializing in maternity and children portraiture. I DO still offer engagement and family portrait sessions throughout the year, in addition to small-medium weddings, but it is not something I am currently advertising for as I would prefer to fill my schedule with the services I specialize in. If they are still listed on the website, I am still offering the service. In the future, this may change and I am happy to make a recommendation for another local photographer with similar style.

Detailed information by session types:

Newborn Photography
Maternity Photography
Birth Photography
Baby Photography
Family Photography

Read all the FAQ’s and information pages and still have a question? Give me a call at 613-371-4594 to have it answered, or you may send me an email info@stephaniesphotographs.com or leave a comment below. Signup for our newsletter for updates :)

Want to book? You can visit our online store and decide which package is right for you. Don’t forget about our Baby Plan Membership and its exclusive bonuses and offers!

1 Comment

  1. Pingback : How To Choose a Maternity or Newborn Photographer

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.