Is a Fresh 48 Session Right for Me?


The photos you see in this post were taken of baby Fletcher at a hospital in the Minneapolis burbs only about twelve hours after birth. We spent time documenting first cuddles and reactions, sleeping in the hospital swaddle, the nurse getting his footprints, as well as the first bath and outfit change. Thank you Zimmermann family for welcoming me into your birth space and trusting me to document your story!

mom holding newborn baby in a hospital bed during a fresh 48 session in woodbury
This is baby Fletcher during his first day! This was right before footprints, his first bath, and his first outfit change.

Those first few days of motherhood are such a blur. Between the energy it takes to give brith to a baby, massive hormone wings, lack of sleep, and the magnitude of change that new life is, it can feel like it all blends together into one big fuzzy dream and the details are often lost. Fresh 48 sessions exist to capture the blurriest of motherhood moments: Learning to nurse, baby's first bath, first cuddles, footprints, the moment your older kids met their new baby brother, the tiny hospital hats, the hospital bands, the clear-tubbed bassinet, and so much more.


How is a Fresh 48 Session Different from other Newborn Sessions?

There are two main ways that a Fresh 48 session is different from your typical newborn session: Baby's age and location of the session. As the name implies, Fresh 48 sessions occur within the first 48 hours of baby's life, whereas other newborn sessions typically are scheduled for when baby is around 1-3 weeks old. And because these photos are taken when baby is so fresh, they are usually taken at a birthing center or in the hospital (or for a home birth, in the home).


A Fresh 48 session is also different from birth photography. Labor and delivery is not documented during a Fresh 48 session, so it can be a great option if you're wanting in-hospital photography of your newborn without someone seeing and documenting all the action.


How Long is a Fresh 48 Session?

How long a Fresh 48 session lasts and what's included will depend on the photographer. Some are as quick as 30 minutes. Others may take up to two hours.


My sessions last about 45 minutes to an hour and typically take place between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to get the best light. I use the best natural light and creative angles to tell an honest, yet polished story.


What if the Birth didn't go as Planned and I Need More Time?

If you're interested in a Fresh 48 session but are unsure about how you'll feel right after your baby is born, work with a photographer who is flexible! Maybe it's your first baby and you're super nervous. A great photographer will prioritize your mental and physical health. And if for some reason you change your mind about a Fresh 48 session after your baby is born, your photographer will likely suggest scheduling a standard in-home newborn lifestyle session to take the place of the Fresh 48 session you booked.


If you're a little unsure or have concerns, talk to your photographer about how you're feeling during the booking process to come up with a contingency plan.


This hospital in Woodbury typically does footprints at 24 hours of age, but the staff moved them up for us so I could capture it!

Um...What if I Can't Get Up?

It took me about two days to walk again after giving birth to my first baby. When I finally did get up, I looked at the women sitting on the lobby couches in complete awe, wondering how they were sitting properly so quickly. And on the day we were scheduled to leave the hospital I at last hobbled out of my room to fill up my well-earned water jug before "sitting" (aka remaining horizontal) in the back seat of our car. So I get it.


Good news! You do not have to be able to move around for a Fresh 48 session. I've given birth to babies and totally understand the limitations you might dealing with during those first couple of days. There will still be plenty of natural, flattering light over on your hospital bed vs. right next to the window, and all of your most precious moments will still be captured. Check out the photos below. Mom didn't leave the hospital bed, and it was fine!


Other Logistics to Consider

During Fresh 48 sessions, newborns aren't posed. And typically no props or extra lighting is used. If you're wanting that cutsie, hands-under-the-chin sort of stuff, you'll likely want to wait until you're out of the hospital.


I don't use flash for in-hospital newborn photography. Instead, sessions take place during the day to lean on that yummy, natural window light.




Questions to Ask Yourself when Considering a Fresh 48 Session:


Is a Fresh 48 session even possible?

First things first. Gotta talk logistics. Is it even possible for you to book a Fresh 48 session right now in Maple Grove? How many support people are allowed in my hospital room or birth center? If only a certain number of people are allowed in your room, are you willing to use one of those spots for a photographer? Or would you rather prioritize a doula? Are there other Covid restrictions that would prevent a photographer from being able to be present?


Who do I want to allow into my birth space?

Birth is incredibly raw and intimate. And even if you're not hiring a birth photographer to be present every step of the way as your baby arrives, you'll still want to put some thought into how you feel about having a near stranger enter into that space. Ask yourself:


Do I want someone I don't know well to be in my birth space? Am I a more private person and would rather have a little time to adjust first? Or at least, am I comfortable asking for privacy if and when I need it?


Am I willing to communicate with someone who's not family right after the birth?

Will I be up for communicating with my photographer while I'm still in the hospital? Or can I make sure my husband contacts our photographer right away?


You'll need to be up for a quick phone call or a couple of emails so you can communicate with your Fresh 48 Photographer about the timing of your Fresh 48 session.


Do I want to be able to wear (somewhat) normal clothes for my newborn lifestyle session?

The top of the uterus will descend at a rate of about 1 cm per day after delivery. While the uterus won't be it's normal size for about 6-8 weeks postpartum, after about two weeks you won't be able to push on it. In other words, it'll be a lot less noticeable.


Personally, I love the beauty of the bump post-delivery. I think it's absolutely stunning and don't think you need to wait to have photos taken. But I thought I'd mention it in case you're wanting something a little less raw when it comes to newborn photos. Maybe there's a certain outfit you really want to squeeze into or maybe pregnancy was rough for you and you really want photos that have that "next phase" vibe. Then an in-home session in a couple weeks might be a better fit for you.


What special firsts are super important to me to have captured?

Do I want my photographer to capture my older kids meeting my baby? (And are my kids even allowed at my hospital or birthing center right now with all the Covid restrictions?) Do I want footprints captured? Baby's first bath? Our homecoming? My baby in his crib? Are there any other special firsts I want to be sure to have captured, and where/when will those things take place?


You might also want to consider a Fresh 48 session and an in-home session. (KJP offers a bundle discount if you choose to book both!)


Do I want the first photos of my baby to be professional?

Do I want the first few photos of my baby to be on my phone? Maybe your iPhone has a nice camera and you're cool with that. But a professional photographer will capture all the details that you might not think about! She'll focus on the art of your photos (angles, light, details) that you won't have the brain capacity for. Plus, there's the editing of professional photos that always looks better than whatever your phone could capture.


Do I want to stress about documenting everything?

Do I want my husband or myself to be worried about capturing the moment or taking it in? Viewing something for the first time through a lens is not the same as fully taking it in with your own eyes.




Fresh 48 Session FAQ:


When should I schedule my Fresh 48 Session?


I recommend about three months before your due date to ensure availability. When I take on Fresh 48 sessions, I have to plan accordingly. I won't be heading out of town near your due date or take on too many sessions per month.


Do I need my hospital's permission?


In most cases, hospitals will treat your photographer as a visitor. Your hospital might have restrictions due to Covid, like a limitation on the number of support people you can have or visitors per day. Be sure to check with your care provider about this.


Also, it's always best to give your nursing staff a heads up and ask their permission if you'd like them to be in any of the photos (e.g. for the footprint photos). I will also double-check with your nurse(s), but it's a good idea to ask ahead of time!


What if my hospital implements a new Covid restriction right before I'm due, but I already booked my Fresh 48?


I have a Covid Contingency Plan for in-hospital photography. For Fresh 48 sessions that are unable to take place due to Covid, I offer an in-home newborn lifestyle session as a replacement (no additional cost).


What if my baby needs to be in the NICU?


Whether or not a photographer can be in the NICU to photograph your baby will depend on a few things: Current Covid restrictions, the issues baby is dealing with, as well as your personal preferences (maybe you'd rather wait if something stressful is going on). Situations like this will be handled on a case-by-case basis.


What should we wear for a Fresh 48 session?


For mom I recommend something comfortable! Nursing tank top, a pretty robe, or maternity leggings and a loose top. Simple clothes are best for dad as well, but bring an extra shirt just in case! Your baby will look great in just a diaper or a simple onesie, but feel free to put him/her in a special outfit or special swaddle blanket.


What if I don't want the birth photographed but want a photographer present right after the birth? Are you able to be on-call?


Yes! I've been on-call for a birth before and have experience waking up in the middle of the night and heading the hospital for photos at 1 a.m. Note that for on-call photography, I typically won't book anything outside of a 40-minute drive, since more travel time limits how quickly I will be able to arrive.


Something to keep in mind: Middle-of-the-night photos WILL look different than mid-day newborn photos due to drastically different lighting conditions.


How far will you travel to a Fresh 48 session?


I'm based in Maple Grove and will travel up to about an hour's drive for newborn sessions. Anything over 30 miles I do charge a small travel fee.


Contact a Fresh 48 photographer in Maple Grove

I'm a Fresh 48 photographer located in Maple Grove, and I travel all over the Twin Cities metro for in-hospital newborn photos. I utilize the light available to create honest and intimate photos.


Though I've photographed in the hospital during Covid, guidelines and restrictions are always changing, so be sure to talk with your doctor during your check-ups to stay updated on your hospitals restrictions.


And here's a bonus! I know how eager you'll be to see your photos, so I deliver a portion of the photos within 24 hours of all Fresh 48 sessions!


You can get in touch with me by heading to my Connect page or you can send an email to karajoyphoto@gmail.com.


Here's what Ellen had to say about her experience:


"Kara came to photograph our new baby right after birth while we were still in the hospital. We knew those moments would pass quickly & we wanted to document them. And Kara made it such a special experience. We loved her attention to detail & commitment to capturing honest, story-telling photos. These photos bring us right back to all the emotions of the first few moments with our little one. Additionally, Kara, as a photographer, is responsive & reliable and also a calm presence. These photos are such a gift to us!" - Ellen Z.

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HEY, I'M KARA JOY

Looking for a Newborn Photographer in Maple Grove?

Based in Maple Grove, MN and servicing the Twin Cities metro, Kara Joy Photography is a lifestyle & documentary photographer who specializes in newborn & family photography. Kara Joy Photography is known for capturing raw emotion & authentic expressions through a laid-back approach. Her unforced images have a glaze that is natural yet polished. The cherry on top? A quick turnaround time.

If you're on the hunt for a newborn or family photographer, I'd love to chat with you and answer any questions you may have! Click the link below to send me a message or you can shoot me an email at karajoyphoto@gmail.com​.