Photography Session Rates
Baby-led photos taken in your home, capturing this ephemeral time. Price includes session and an online story gallery comprised of 75+ downloadable files. This session is designed to be relaxed while taking no more than 2 hours to complete.
Baby's First Year Bundle
Three sessions bundled to capture baby's first year while enjoying a $200 savings. Popular milestones include maternity, newborn, first smiles, sitting up, crawling, walking and cake smash. Want more than 3? Contact me to bundle more.
Capturing life and play at or around home. We'll design this session around what you want to remember most about this unique time. Price includes session and online story gallery comprised of 75+ downloadable files.
Outdoor mini session
A quick, 30 minute outdoor family session made fun and fast, perfect for holiday cards and updates. Price includes session and 25+ downloadable images.
Is there a special family outing or event you would like to have captured? Contact me for pricing based on location, availability, hours of coverage, etc. Special weekend rates and travel fees may apply.
If your family requires accommodations for reasons of mobility, neurodiversity or anything else, please contact me so that I can make sure everyone is included and feels safe. If there is something I can do to make sure your session is the most positive experience possible, just let me know.
What exactly do we get?
Your session fee includes the shoot and a password protected, shareable gallery link of photos arranged as a visual story. Both web size and high resolution downloads will be available. Turn around time is between one and two weeks after our shoot unless otherwise stated. Any remaining balance must be paid in full before the gallery is released.
When do I book a newborn session and when do we shoot?
I am currently booking newborn sessions for 2022, most families get in touch in their second or third trimester to reserve. Newborn sessions will take place in your home between 1-3 weeks of birth so long as everyone is healthy and willing.
I also offer "Fresh 48" sessions, the idea is to take photos in the first 48 hours of birth while you are still at the hospital, birthing center or home. It's an opportunity to capture raw emotion as well as siblings meeting for the first time. This is charged as a mini session and should not exceed 30 minutes so that recovery and bonding time with baby can be your priority.
For babies born premature I recommend waiting until at least 4 weeks of age or until baby's weight has stabilized.
What do you mean by "baby led"?
I've photographed newborns for 15 years and counting so I have all the tricks to get babies to sleep so they can be easily posed for photos. But I noticed is that these tricks can put stress on parents, especially when it comes to overfeeding and additional demands put on her body.
When I became a mom myself I realized that my favorite newborn pics were always taken in our hands, arms or on our chest. He always looked so relaxed and at home where familiar sounds and smells made him feel safe.
I know that many parents like having portraits of their baby alone for birth announcements so I do these when I arrive, swaddled and without swaddle. But I no longer require the baby to be sleeping. If a pose is making the baby cry or put their hands in front of their face (signs of stress) I will bring them back to a warm and familiar body environment where they can be comforted and photographed at ease. I've learned that there's no real need to remove a baby from a parent for photos, that this is a very authentic and beautiful background for a newborn portrait. The day soon comes when they won't fit in your arms so let's take this opportunity while making the whole experience more relaxing and enjoyable as well.
I know I want a first year bundle but I'm a new parent and don't know how to choose. What do you recommend?
I recommend everyone choose a newborn session. You won't believe how quickly your baby grows - its seriously bananas - so get pics while they are as small as they'll ever be. You will always, always marvel at how small they once were. It still blows my mind when I see pictures of my son as a newborn.
So boom, one down.
Some moms want a visual document of pregnancy. As someone who struggled to get pregnant myself, it was super important to me. If it's not that important to you, or if you have really mixed feelings about your pregnant body, it's OK to reserve the other two shoots for babyhood. You do not have to love pregnancy to love your baby.
I'll admit I have a bias for that sitting up/6 month timeframe. As parents, you have settled into this parenting thing so I love watching you! But also, your baby is still very visibly a baby... but with laughter, personality and rolls to go with that butter.
I also love cake smashes because - cake!!! - and also because its messy, colorful and joyful. And messy, colorful and joyful is kinda my jam.
I'm often hired for crawling or walking shoots since babies on the move are much, much harder to photograph than still ones. Plus, it's a very engaging age for a parent and full of "mommy/daddy and me" photo ops. You will take thousands of individual pics of your baby within the first three months but you'll be too busy chasing them once they get mobile. How do they always know the most dangerous thing in the room to toddle towards?
Really, there's no bad choice here. We'll make a tentative game plan and adjust if you change your mind. Remember that a big part of the point is to get you, as parents, into the frame. They will not have a memory of their own to rely on so seeing you delight in them as babies will mean the world to all of you later, no matter what time frames you choose. You honestly can't possibly go wrong.
Do you put our pictures online?
Your finished client gallery will be password protected and accessible from this website. If you do not wish to have your family's photos featured on Instagram or elsewhere on this site, please tell me before I release your photos and I will respect your privacy and sense of safety.
Do you do retouch?
Files are optimized for exposure, color, etc in the editing process but I do not modify bodies without permission. If there's something you would like to see (or not see) to help you love your pictures more, just ask! I don't mind doing retouch at all but I don't want to drive the decision. If you would like to know more about why I work this way, check out more here: https://melzwphotog.com/2021/05/28/an-announcement/
How does a home session work?
What do you want to remember most about this time? What daily childhood ritual will you miss once it's gone? The answer to these questions form a guide.
If all else fails, I know that all I have to do is ask your kids, "what do you want to show me?" Fun things happen when kids lead the way.
It's not about where you live but how you live together. Don't worry, you don't need a "show home"....you don't even have to clean up! We'll move things around if we need to, no biggie.
Home sessions work well for parents who don't like taking pictures because they don't have to smile or pretend to... they just have to do what they do with their children whether its reading a book to them, snuggling on the couch in PJs, making cookies, playing hide and go seek or participating as a distinguished guest at a tea party.
And we don't have to stay at home. Maybe we walk the dog to the park. Every family is different so every story and context will be too. That's the beauty of it, the story is yours.
Where are you based and do you travel?
I live with my family in the Washington, DC area. I'm available for travel outside the DMV on a limited basis and with applicable fees.
What are Family Picture Days and How do I find out about them?
During the fall I choose a few dates and locations where families can sign up for outdoor minis at a discount. Over the years I have found that families often appreciate having the location chosen for them and I appreciate not having to drive all over the Beltway! To find out more and sign up first, contact me and request to be added to my newsletter. Spaces are limited and I make these FPD announcements through my newsletter first. You can also follow me on social media (Instagram) where I often announce last minute dates and openings.
My kids are older, how do I get their buy in?
Tweens and teens just want some ownership in the process. Start by saying, "we haven't taken family pictures in awhile and its important to me that we do. How can we do it so that it feels like us?". You might get an eye roll at first but just ask them to think about it and then keep looping back.
Older kids come up with great ideas for photos. Sometimes they like to recreate an old family photo (which can be hilarious), sometimes they want to do something off the wall and sometimes they want to keep things straightforward and brief. I have found that if you welcome their ideas and feelings about pictures into the mix and present it as more of a collaboration, they'll likely work with your ideas too.
How long do sessions take?
Newborn, baby's first year and home session are designed to take no more than 2 hours. Outdoor mini sessions are no more than 30 minutes. If you anticipate your family needing extra time for reasons of accommodation, just let me know - we can make it happen.
Are you a documentary or lifestyle photographer?
Oooff... Both! Neither? I prompt as much as you need but no more than you need, maybe that's the most helpful answer. My outdoor sessions vibe more with lifestyle and my home sessions feel more documentary, but my work doesn't fall strictly into either genre.
What forms of payment do you accept?
I will send you an invoice by email for any outstanding balance within a few days of our shoot and it can be paid by credit card. I do love old school checks (made out to Worthington Photography), and welcome those. PayPal is also available and is used to collect deposits on Family Picture Day holds.
What if I don't love what my love looks like?
So I don't get this question "frequently" but I did get it once and I loved it so much for its honesty! I know that what you are really asking is, "what if I don't love seeing me?" My advice is 1) talk to me about this so I can tell you more about what to expect and how to prepare 2) give yourself grace and the permission to not be the thinnest/youngest/most fashionable/most perfect version of yourself, just the most LOVING version and 3) get ready to be surprised because you might love these more than you thought you could. You might think you look strong and fun and free, you might feel validated and fulfilled, you might want to do them often. You might never show them to anyone outside your own nuclear family and that's OK! They're your document and a precious gift to give to your children. And that's exactly what these photos are intended to be.