When Should I Book My Photo Shoot?

Surrey-Maternity-Photography | Clare Murthy PhotographyWelcome back to the latest post in this series where I’m answering your frequently asked questions. In this post I’ll be focussing on the best time to book your photo shoot. This really will vary depending on the kind of shoot you are after, so here’s an overview for each of my different services:

Surrey-Newborn-Baby-Photographer | Clare Murthy Photographer

Newborn Sessions

Newborn sessions take place during the first two weeks of your baby’s life – they’re usually still in that lovely curled up position and nice and sleepy which makes for great photographs. But, because we usually don’t know exactly when the baby will be born it’s not possible to set a firm date for the session until they arrive.

To work around this I schedule a tentative date for newborn sessions with my clients, and then we confirm or move it when their baby arrives. To make sure I’ve got enough flexibility in my diary to do this I take on a very limited number of sessions each month and recommend that expecting parents book their session at 20 weeks – once they’ve had their scan. At this stage they can secure their slot in my diary, and we can set a firm date once their baby arrives.

You can see an example of a newborn session here

Top Surrey Family Photographer | Clare Murthy Photography

Maternity Sessions

The best time for a photo shoot during pregnancy is between 30-36 weeks. Usually at this time bumps are nice and round, and the pregnancy hasn’t become too tiring. Similarly to a newborn session I recommend getting in touch to book your shoot once you’ve had your 20 week scan. This gives us plenty of time to plan the location and style of the shoot together to make sure it’s tailored to you.

You can see an example of a maternity session here

Surrey Family Photographer | Clare Murthy Photography

Family Sessions

Family sessions are much more flexible on timing than maternity or newborn sessions, and most of the time when we schedule it for comes down to the time of year you would prefer to have it. We spend at least part of the shoot outdoors for most of my family sessions and every season is beautiful for different reasons – if you need a little bit of help deciding which season you’d prefer to have as the backdrop to your photographs let me know and we can discuss the different options.

Generally speaking, if you’d like to have your session on a weekend you will need to book a bit further in advance than if you want it on a weekday. For weekend sessions I recommend booking at least 4 weeks ahead. On weekdays my diary tends to be more flexible. It’s quite common for families to have a specific date in mind for a shoot – for example if they want to have it on a special birthday or have relatives visiting on that date and would like to have photographs together. In this case I recommend booking even earlier.

One thing to consider when booking your session is that it’s also a good idea to give yourself time to plan for the shoot – some families like to schedule haircuts in a couple of weeks beforehand, and you’ll also need some time to decide what everyone will wear. Booking a little further ahead can give you the time to do this.

Finally, if you have a baby in the family there are some ages and stages that work better for photographs than others. You can find out more about the best age to have baby photos taken here.

See an example of a family session here.


Over to You

I hope you find this guide helpful as you are planning your shoot. What other questions do you have about booking a photo shoot? I’d love to hear – get in touch with me here.


Find the answers to more frequently asked questions here.

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Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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