Multiples Newborn Session - The Daugherty Triplets, Warren OH
How in the heck did I book triplets?
I ran a model call. Jenna, the babies mama, and I had a mutual friend, Lindsay who tagged her in my post for the call and shared with me that Jenna would be having 3 little babes. I immediately directly messaged Jenna on Instagram and let her know about my model call, how that worked and that I would be so honored to be her newborn photographer. I was ready to beg, but luckily Jenna was immediately onboard to give me the opportunity to photograph her family after the babies arrived!
How did we schedule the session?
Typically, a newborn session is prescheduled with a tentative date that falls within 7 days of the due date. Pregnancies of multiples rarely run full term, so I knew they would be early. Jenna let me know her late April due date, but shared that her doctor was expecting them in February with some solid time in the NICU after, so to still expect them home around their original due date. I marked my calendar for April 21st, knowing full well that would change.
Jenna and I stayed in touch, casually, through Instagram DMs and the anxiety was definately building on my end as February came and passed. This amazing mama made it 33 weeks carrying her triplets before delivering! In mid April she let me know that one of the babies was home, one was coming home very soon, and the last would follow pretty quickly. A few days later she notified me that they both babies still in the NICU would be coming home that week, so we scheduled our session for that Friday. We all know babies are really just tiny bosses and getting that last baby home, proved more challenging than it was seeming. The Tuesday before our session, I was notified baby #3 wouldn't be home in time and we cancelled our session.
The day that we had scheduled for (Friday the 27th) I received a "guess what?!" in my inbox, without even guessing I gave Jenna my next available session dates, one of which being the next morning. Luckily, that was perfect for her family and we were officially scheduled!
Leaving flexibility in my schedule is super important as a newborn photographer. My own family understands if a last minute session is cancelled or scheduled, as do my child care sources. The all around flexibility was the biggest hand in getting this session scheduled.
How did I prepare for the session?
I had several months to plan, process, shop for [and sweat over] photographing 3 newborns at once. At first I tried reaching out to a few of my favorite prop shops on Etsy, to see if any wanted to collaborate on styling a multiples session or if I could get some sort of discount for buying 3 of everything. With no responses, I ended up making my own tiebacks, buying fabric for wraps and cloth drops of my own, and even suckered my mom into helping make a baby hat on her birthday. Scouring my moms craft supplies and finding scrap lace and buttons, I felt good about what I had to put on the babies.
What I didn't feel good about, was what I was going to put the babies on, to be photographed. My home studio is tiny, it's a stretch putting myself, ONE baby and their parents in it, so I knew I needed to come up with another solution.
What I haven't mentioned yet, is that this is a family of 7! Mom, dad, 12 year old brother, 2 year old brother and the 3 babies [a boy and two girls]. I also had my friend and associate photographer Kirsten of Kirsten Pesa Photography coming to take this session on, along side me. I ended up turning my open concept living/dining room into a make shift studio and play area for the other two kids to hang out after their own photos were finished. It was still a tight space for the nine of us!
How did I execute the session?
I had two cloth drop set ups already to go before the family arrived with all of my colors set up, layered and prepared for the flow of the session. I used a crib mattress and a posing bag as the base of the two set ups and over planned for colors and themes, but started with our priority colors.
The babies arrived awake but relaxed for the most part, so Kirsten and I began wrapping and soothing them for a family shot to kick off the session. I set the family up on my own couch and coerced a smile out of their toddler, it went pretty well!
From there, we moved to the posing bag, where they babies were already wrapped in white and ready to go straight into their first poses. They were all super sleepy at this point and I got a taste for an easy session.
From there I started doing individual shots of them with the second set up, so this required unwrapping and a little bit of moving around. These three babies were on identical sechdules! They all slept together, but then they all woke up together, and needed to eat together. We paused the session, I threw in a frozen pizza and all of the adults picked a child to feed. Getting them back to sleep and finishing their individual sessions proved more difficult then how the session started off.
I wasn't sure how to gauge the "end" of the session, it felt like the babies were winding down into the finish line, but I didn't feel like I had gotten enough content to deliver a solid gallery. In a sort of winging it fashion, I went in for one more pose, with a prop set up. We wrapped all the babies back up nice and tight, since they were awake at this point and put them in a wooden box together.
These three had spent 9 months together in their mama's belly, but then spent nearly 8 weeks apart in the NICU. As I adjusted my lighting and the final touches to photograph the three of them in their box, they all snuggled up and fell back asleep! It was the perfect ending to their session. I knew going into that I had no idea how the actual session would go, and to keep an open mind, but I think my eyes were still a little bigger than my stomach. Even though this session was nothing short of a challenge, I don't think it could have gone much better! Hayes, Penelope and Libby were perfect little models for my first multiples session!