Leah O'Connell


3 Ways I’ve Adjusted to Home Newborn Sessions with Social Distancing

I'm Leah!

I’m obsessed with stories of family, creativity, and simple joys.  A nostalgia nerd, educator, wife, and mom of 3, I believe life’s most fun when you’re dreaming big and having kitchen dance parties. 

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Newborn sessions in the middle of a pandemic…HOW?!

I’ve done several over the past month since Virginia has entered phase 1 of reopening, and while yes it’s weird to wear a mask and not hold those sweet little squishy babes, I also kindof love the challenge!

Henion.newborn-0002.jpgHere’s a few ways I’ve adjusted to photographing lifestyle newborn sessions while still respecting CDC guidelines for safe social distancing:

1. Lens choice:

I used to shoot almost exclusively with my 35mm lens for home sessions, but since it’s a wider angle, I’d end up getting pretty close to my subjects. –> Now I’ve gone back to shooting more with my 50mm 1.2 to keep a safer distance and use my 35 or 24mm only when I want to get a more environmental shot.

2. Face time

When I arrive at the home, I ring the bell and then stand far back with my mask off till I’m invited inside. This allows me to greet my clients with a smile and connect with my full face! (yes, it makes a difference!) Before stepping forward, I put my mask on and leave it on for the entirety of our shoot.

3. Be an observer

Since I’m not moving the babies myself, I’m not distracted or busy with managing transitions and can capture the parents engaging more naturally through them, which is way more special! For example, things like swaddling, walking down the stairs, or changing a diaper – capturing these moments adds a photojournalistic angle that I LOVE and really tells a more authentic story.




Other little things I do to stay safe AND personable:

  • Wash hands immediately upon entering the home. (I’ve always done this – babies have tiny susceptible immune systems!)

  • Don’t touch anything in the home – I ask parents to lead the way through doorways, turn on or off lightswitches, and move anything that is in the way. I would typically do all these things, but I tell parents at the beginning that I’m not trying to be bossy, just safe!

  • All our planning, booking, and delivery steps are done online – we provide written and video tips through different stages to make sure our families have clear and simple steps forward for a stress-free experience.




So if you’re wondering if it’s safe to do a home newborn session… I truly believe that we take all the necessary precautions to stay as safe as possible, protect our families, and still capture their unique season with all the beauty and emotion it deserves.

Are you expecting? Let’s connect!

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Hi, I'm Leah.
Family photographer, writer, educator.

I’m  one of the first to meet your newborn baby, the one who won't judge your clothes baskets and unmade beds, and the one who can capture the way your husband looks at you with a twinkle in his eye after 12 years of marriage. I believe in honoring people and telling stories.

I believe art has the power to light up the world in dark places, starting at home.