I was elated to learn I won first place in both the Spring and Autumn 2019 APNPI Image Competitions in the Sitters category! It was even more exciting for me because I actually don’t do that many sitter sessions! 😀
I’m a low volume photography studio – limiting myself to only 8-10 sessions a month. This schedule allows me to devote a lot of time to retouching my images (I spend 8-10 hours editing each session), and to keep up with the business and social media/marketing that needs to be done as well.
Most of my sessions are newborns and families, and at least 75% of my family sessions are returning clients. I don’t offer a baby package because my schedule fills up very quickly (usually booked for the year by March), so I usually don’t have holes in my schedule that I can fill. I also can’t afford to discount sessions when I need every bit of the income I get from such a limited number of clients.
So, all of that said, I usually only do around 8-10 sitter sessions in a year. It simply doesn’t make financial sense for me to purchase a whole bunch of adorable sitter outfits and props exclusively for clients I don’t see very often… so I don’t. 😀
Instead of purchasing a bunch of sitter props, I usually repurpose my newborn props for sitter sessions. This is a newborn bed that I love using with sitters. Not only does it have a low-profile, making it safer so that baby can keep her feet on the floor, the headboard and footboard are easy for baby to grab onto to support themselves.
This is another prop, a wooden box, that I use all the time for sitters. It’s low profile is so ideal for their short legs, and it’s easy to dress up by adding a simple scarf. I add a lot of scarves and wraps to my sitter sessions to fill the frame a little more and add some softness, but those are also items I purchased for newborns.
It is super helpful to have toys handy to grab the baby’s attention. I’ve invested in simple neutral-colored stuffed animals and wooden toys that don’t take away from or draw too much attention if they end up staying in the photos.
I also use a lot of silk flowers to dress up my photos. There are always great sales on flowers and coupons at Michael’s. These are versatile accessories that can be used for any studio portraits from newborns to senior portraits and maternity.
While I don’t purchase any sitter outfits, I do have a couple dozen hats for babies 3-9 months old. Sitters have so many wonderful baby rolls so it’s great to get some photos without clothing to show those off!
Sitters still love playing on their backs and tummy time as well! Use your studio’s sheepskins/flokatis to capture those cute moments.
Likewise, a lot of sitters can also stand with support! I have a few of these benches that are just the right height to allow them to stay in a standing position, but double as stools for children to stand or sit on. Make sure you select stools that have a wider base that the top so that they’re less-likely to topple over. I always keep a parent within reach of their baby and then edit them out of the photo.
Balloons are a fun and inexpensive addition to baby’s first birthday session. Walmart sells helium tanks and balloons in many colors. I always send the balloons home with the parents after their session for a fun parting gift.
Incorporate the props that the parents bring! This little guy’s nursery has a Sesame Street theme, so mom brought along some of his favorite toys. These photos will be more meaningful since they incorporate props that he plays with everyday instead of ones I select from my studio.
Finally, remember that simple is beautiful, too! Sometimes my favorite images are the ones with only the baby in them.