San Antonio Newborn Photography Studio: Covid-19 Update

Happy San Antonio Summer everyone! It’s been pretty quiet here on the blog (though it’s NOT been quiet in our house!) 😆 The past couple months have found me putting the studio on the back burner to focus on helping my kids finish “Covid-19 School” (as they called it). And my husband being out of state for the first 4 months of the year didn’t make it any easier…But, being that I just opened the studio here in San Antonio about 6 months prior, I was still relatively “invisible” here by Google standards. So, I decided to just put everything related to my business on hold and focus on my family. At first, we relaxed with another week of spring break, then focused on schoolwork, read a lot, snuggled and watch a lot of movies, did a lot of crafts…It was nice to slow down and remember what’s REALLY important. (It wasn’t nice all the time, mind you- this was still two young children at home for 3 months!) But by and large, we made the best of it.
And since newborn photography is “non-essential,” (which, of course, I will always argue to the opposite!) 😉 I wasn’t allowed to open anyway. So, I took it as a clear sign of what I was supposed to focus on. It was a no-brainer for us.

Thankfully, school is now over for the summer, and per Governor Abbott’s orders, I can officially REOPEN! I don’t take this lightly, either. Luckily, I’m ahead of the game when it comes to maintaining health standards in my home studio, because my tiny clients’ health and safety is and has ALWAYS been my first priority.

Newborn Photography Health & Safety during Covid-19

For those families looking to book a newborn or baby session here in the SLP studio, rest assured I will be taking every precaution to keep your family (and my own) safe and healthy during this time. Here is a run-down of everything that I have ALWAYS done in the studio, and the additional steps I’m taking to be extra safe during this time:

  1. As always, sessions in the studio are by appointment only. It is not open to the public.
  2. As always, I practice proper handwashing before handling any tiny clients, and use additional hand sanitizer whenever required throughout the session. (For example, I always wash my hands before starting a session. If I change a wet diaper while baby is being posed, I will then use hand sanitizer, since I never leave baby unattended. If I have to itch my nose? hand sanitizer afterward! 😛 My background as an early-education consultant comes in handy here!)
  3. As always, all fabrics, outfits, props, etc. are washed and sanitized after every session.
  4. As always, the cover for the changing table (in the client lounge for mom and dad’s convenience) is washed and sanitized after every session.
  5. As always, I ask families to remove their shoes at the door, since babies love to crawl on our floor!

Additionally, I’m implementing the following until further notice:

  1. I will be wearing a mask throughout all studio sessions
  2. Studio newborn sessions are limited to immediate family only, and studio sitter/baby milestone sessions are limited to baby and parent(s).
  3. Families are asked to wear masks whenever possible (i.e. It’s not always possible with a toddler!). 😀 I have a supply of disposable masks (that are far more comfortable to wear) if needed.
  4. Additional sanitizing will be done between every session (e.g. door handles, shelving, mini-fridge handles, table surfaces, etc.) to ensure a clean and sanitary space.

Now family sessions are even simpler, as I shoot outdoors! Most SLP family sessions are shot at a beautiful off-the-beaten-path area away from other people. And though my families won’t be wearing masks for their session, I will. And for part of my sessions, I use a long focal-length lens which requires me to be about 10-20 feet away from my subjects. This makes it pretty easy to let kiddos run around and capture them from afar. When I want to shoot closer, my face mask serves as an extra precaution. In fact, shooting family photos at this time is not only simple, I think it’s a welcome reprieve from staying inside for so long. I’m really looking forward to some summer family sessions!

Furthermore, I’m happy to be able to tell clients that our family has mostly stayed at home since March. Our “travel” being limited to the grocery store for groceries (where I wear my mask, and a hip belt with hand sanitizer- like a Covid-19 outlaw!) and our nearby Mexican restaurant for take-out (because I’ve cooked enough in the past 3 months to last the next year!)

I feel good knowing that my business can still serve families while keeping them safe. And for my own family’s safety, I ask all clients to delay any sessions should they have potentially been exposed to the public while not observing standard precautions (such as a face covering or necessary hand washing).

I am excited to start shooting again. It’s been too long! Working with my sweet families and snuggling their precious babies is my happy place. I love what I do and can’t wait to get back to work.
Should you have any questions at all about safety precautions I’m taking during this time or any other questions about SLP sessions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line or give me a ring at 210-489-1790. I’ll be here!
Hope to see your sweet families soon!

San Antonio Newborn Photography Studio, Sarah Lake Photography

This past February, I was lucky enough to have some very special people fly to San Antonio to visit my family (and the studio!) My cousin and his sweet wife flew to TX from Michigan on a last-minute flight they booked during a crazy internet airfare sale. And I can’t believe their luck… 1: Because their airfare was an unbelievable steal- it’s the reason they actually decided to FLY to visit me in the studio! and 2: Because they safely made it back home literally just a couple of weeks before Covid-19 hit San Antonio. Lucky timing.

The real reason this was such a special trip, though, was they were bringing along their two sweet girls- Their 2 year old Elliot and her new baby sister Oaklynn- for Oaklynn’s newborn session in my studio! Anyone who’s travelled with a baby the first time knows how nerve-wracking it can be. But traveling with your second baby? Piece of cake. 😉 (Doesn’t everything seem easier the second time around??) They are such avid travelers, it was second nature to them to hop on a plane for a little adventure. And they’ve always wanted to visit Austin, which we’re only about an hour from. So it was the perfect reason to visit!

It really meant the world to me that they wanted me to be able to make Oaklynn’s newborn portraits- and that they flew across the country to do so. I grew up just a few couple houses away from my cousins, and I absolutely love getting together with them- even though with us being in two different states it’s rare.

When planning THIS newborn session, I knew immediately which special props and heirlooms I was going to incorporate in the images. One of my favorites, this wooden bowl, happens to have belonged to my Great-Grandma. It was, in fact, a butter bowl- and both my mom and my Aunt remember helping their Grandma make butter in it! Oaklynn won’t ever know her Great-Great Grandma, but both Ross and I remember her fondly. Having this connection for her is pretty cool.

The other people that is very special to me was made by my dad- just a few weeks before he passed away. He was an incredibly talented woodworker, and loved making special pieces to give as gifts for loved ones. For friends and loved ones getting married, it was often a handmade wood cross given as a wedding gift. For both me and my sister-in-law it was an absolutely beautiful handmade crib- given to us during our first baby showers! This was the last thing that he made for me… a little baby bed that I could use in my studio for newborns. There are a ton of newborn prop vendors out there, but this is far and away more special that anything I could ever buy.

I am overjoyed at the photos we made. Probably my favorites are of sweet Elliot and her baby sister- they absolutely take my breath away. I know these photos will become even more precious to their mom and dad each year that passes.

newborn smiling baby girl sleeping on white blanket
baby girl sleeping in a wooden bowl
newborn baby girl crossing her eyes and making funny faces
newborn baby girl wrapped in purple
neautiful baby lookin into the camera
close-up of funy baby toes
smiling todder girl with her newborn baby sibling
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San Antonio Photography Studio- Fun Online Learning for Kids!

Like many of you (at least I HOPE I’m not the only one) our summer has been a bit…. trying. Not only are San Antonio summers hotter than Hades (and I’ve lived in Arizona!) the current pandemic makes for fewer safe, easygoing options for summertime fun. Most playgrounds are closed, community pools are either closed, or operating at a reduced capacity, amusement parks are closed (for good reason, of course), and it seems like the commplace summertime boredom is even more pronounced in 2020.

That’s why I’m SO glad I read through a newsletter I recently got in my inbox for Hulafrog– a website/blog all about fun things to do in San Antonio (or whatever town you live in!) I somehow came across Hulafrog last year when we moved here to San Antonio last year, and it’s seriously chock full of stuff to do with your kids- many of which are free or inexpensive, fun, educational, outdoorsy, artistic… and everything in between. They’ll tell you everything that’s going on during any given day, have a calendar of local events, and great little blog articles. They also have directories of local professionals serving families! Take a look at their photographers directory- SLP is now listed! 🙂

Anyway, though I don’t love having an email inbox overrun with messages and newsletters, the one from Hulafrog is one I actually read! (No, I don’t get anything from them for recommending them- I just think they always have SUCH great info for families! Plus it’s something fun to share here on my blog.) 🙂 Which is why I wanted to tell you about coolest thing I just learned from their most recent newsletter….. an online learning platform called Outschool.

Where. has. this. been. all. my. life ? ! ?

From what I gathered by (ironically) spending an hour neglecting my children to browse through their classes in search of things to enrich my children 😆, Outschool is an online learning website that offers online “classes” or workshops for kids- created and taught by background-checked adults- many of whom are teachers, and many others who are simply parents, professionals, or experts in their field. I’ve seen workshops teaching kids how to make healthy snacks taught by moms, a class all about sharks taught by a young man working in the zoo/aquarium industry, a into to veterinary medicine taught by a certified Vet Tech, a cooking class taught by a young women who loves Asian cuisine- the choices are limitless. (Seriously- I started browsing and never got to the end of the page!)

Most workshops seems to be about an hour long- some longer, some shorter. Some are a one-time class, others are 6 weeks long- “meeting” once a week. The workshops are held on Zoom (I believe) and you can even find a class as soon as this afternoon. And the best part (I think) is the cost. SO MANY of the classes I looked into for my kiddos were around $10! A lot in the $12-$15 range, some even $7. Of course, there were classes offering far more in-depth subject matter or ran for several sessions that had a much higher cost, but so many options are affordable enough you could sign up and your kiddos could learn a new fun skill TODAY.

And No, I don’t get anything from Outschool by writing this post, either! (Though if they’re reading this- I I’d have no problem with that!) 😉 I just know that missing almost four months of school leading into a stay-at-home summer has made our kids really eager for a change of pace. And it’s made me worn out from trying to find things for them to pass the time and keep their brains relatively sharp for the upcoming school year. So, I’m so excited that I found a 2-session class for only $16 called “Sharks- Misunderstood Apex Predators” for my shark-loving 6th grade daughter, and a $10 class called “Minecraft Mania! Intro to Fractions with Minecraft Characters!” for our 3rd grader (who is straight-up obsessed with Minecraft.) Another one I plan to sign them both up for?
“Engineering Design Challenge- Solar Oven S’mores!” Kids learn how to create a solar oven and test it out to cook a s’more! Perfect for San Antonio sunny days!

Though normally I’d be reluctant to spend $15 for one 30-60 minute online activity for our kids, during a pandemic and after missing 4 months of school? I’ll do it in a heartbeat. I think it’s a great way for them to interact with an adult other than myself, a fun thing to anticipate and get excited about, and a sneaky way to keep their minds sharp over the summer. Plus, I’ll feel like I’m doing something good for them… getting rid of that mom guilt is essential to our well-being!

I just can’t get over how cool all these little classes are! Take a look at some others:

  • Bake and Beatbox: Make Delicious Banana Bread and Learn to Beatbox!
  • Lego Architecture: Bridges
  • Pablo Picasso and How to draw a cubist picture
  • American History: The Civil rights Movement for Tweens
  • ASL and Music Club 
  • Minecraft: Finding Area and Perimeter
  • Conversational Cantonese Club
  • Around the World in 21 Days: Cook-Along Camp: Latin Session
  • Financial Literacy for Kids
  • Crochet Camp

Aren’t these the greatest?? I especially love the Make-Banana-Bread-and-Learn-to-Beatbox one! 😆 Most of these are for kids 8-11 (the age of my kiddos). Yet there are even more for tweens and high-schoolers! Take a look!

I hope this will be a huge lifesaver for parents at their wits’ end this summer. Share in the comments if you find any classes that your kids love!

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San Antonio Newborn Photography Studio- Sarah Lake Photography

My SATX studio is now open!

Da da da daaaaa… I’m so excited to share with you the first beautiful tiny Texan to visit my newborn photography studio in San Antonio!! It’s been a long few months of setting up my home studio here near Stone Oak (since our move from the east coast) and I was getting impatient to get back to work cuddling all those newborns! (What can I say? It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it.) ;P

After several months of painting walls, building shelving, hanging curtains, installing hardware, stocking supplies, sorting props…. my studio is once again open for business! It took me a few months longer than I had planned- which should be no surprise because starting a business over in a new location is tough work! (And I’ve done it 3 times now!) But I’m so thrilled with my new space, my awesome client lounge, but mostly, these little sweeties that get to visit me!

Say hello to baby Liam.

I couldn’t have asked for a better morning spent with this sweet boy and his Momma! Mom and I chatted while Liam slept and I was able to make one of my favorite gallery of photographs ever. EVER.

Gahhhh… I love my job! Enjoy this peek at into Liam’s newborn photo shoot.

To learn more about newborn sessions at the new SLP Studio serving greater San Antonio, click here!

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When should You book a Newborn Session? insight from San Antonio Newborn Photographer Sarah Lake Photography, LLC

newborn baby in a bowl with tiny teddy bear

I often hear the questions, “When is the best time to book newborn photos?” and also, “When is the best time to TAKE newborn photos?”  And there are two very different answers to these questions…

When should you BOOK a newborn session?

When should you BOOK a newborn session? As soon as you know you’re expecting!  🙂  Well, it may not be completely necessary to book that early, however it’s a great time to begin looking for newborn photographers near you and decide on what type of artwork you’re looking for!  And booking (meaning paying any deposit required to secure your date on your photographer’s schedule) is best done– at the latest– during your second trimester.  The closer you get to baby’s due date, the more likely the photographer will be completely booked during that time.  It’s first reserved, first served- so be sure to snag your slot early on!

But WHEN do we HOLD the photo session?

That’s typically done within baby’s first two weeks of life!  During their first 7-14 days or so, babies are still VERY sleepy and very flexible- just like they were in the womb.  This new-ness is what allows them to be molded into those adorable, curly, womb-like features that highlights all their tiny, precious features.  It also means they will likely sleep for the majority of their session (expect for nursing breaks, diaper changes, and mommy or daddy snuggle breaks, of course!) A sleeping baby is simply easier to photograph and allows the photographer to capture a wider variety of images for their families.

Types of newborn photo sessions

Signature Newborn Session

The types of images created by newborn photographers has come to be as diverse as the babies themselves.  But typically, you’ll see a couple of styles:  There’s a traditional portrait session- like of baby Harry here- that uses custom styled set-ups to capture beautifully-lit images of baby, and their family.

Fresh 48 Session

There are also sessions that are considered more “Lifestyle,” meaning they are captured just as they’re happening, their surrounding environment included- either in your home or in the hospital.  With a Fresh 48 Hospital session– pictured below- your photographer captures the brand-newness of your baby and your family-  right in your hospital room.

newborn baby still in hospital wrap

Whatever style you prefer, it’s never too early to get in touch with the photographer whose work you love and tell them you’d like to get on their calendar for the month that you’re due.  In fact, the earlier, the better for YOU.  Those first couple days home from the hospital, you will most likely feel like you’ve lost all brain function.  Seriously- I can speak from experience!  Having your baby’s session all planned is going to be SUCH a relief for you at an exhausting time of your new lives.  Waiting until after baby arrives to try and choose a photographer is always harder and more stressful.  So, I encourage parents to book their session when baby is still in mom’s belly, because not only does it make a better experience for YOU, it is simply easier and less stressful on you during an already life-changing period of time.

Booking your newborn session with SLP

When you choose to book your newborn’s very first portraits with Sarah Lake Photography, I will essentially block of a period of several days around your due date (since we know we can’t really county on baby to come on the day we have planned!) And after baby is born, we then finalize your date and time to bring baby to the studio- which is usually around baby’s second week. 🙂

rainbow baby girl with headband

Furthermore, I only schedule a limited number of newborns each month.  This allows me to enough time to plan and customize for each of my clients, schedule around early babies, late babies, c-sections and the like.  

I only book a limited number of newborns each month, as I am committed to giving each of my clients an amazing experience and the very best customer service.  After the care and safety of my tiny subjects, my clients are my number one priority.  I am so grateful for their trust in allowing me to capture their families and for supporting my business of doing what I love!

I you have any questions about a newborn session with SLP, please drop me a line here!  I’m more than happy to help!

To see our newborn session details and options, just click here!

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