Protecting what's most precious during crazy times
Having a newborn has always been a little scary - their little immune systems are so susceptible, so not ready for this big world that they've suddenly been thrown into. Now, with COVID-19, RSV, and other sicknesses spreading at unprecedented rates, it's extra important to protect our families. And these extra precautions aren't just good for infants - many of us have family members with compromised immune systems or health conditions that make them extra susceptible to sickness.
Regardless of your family's particular situation, I want to offer a little peace of mind as you allow me to enter your home. Permitting a photographer - a virtual stranger - into your safe, private space can be scary and stressful. I don't take that lightly. Here are some things I'm doing to protect your family.
Cleaning, Washing, and Disinfecting
My current process is to disinfect everything outside your front door. This means wiping down equipment with disinfecting wipes and using hand sanitizer up to my elbows at the door. I typically go right in and wash my hands again in your restroom as an additional precaution. If you have a porch, I try to leave extra or unneeded items outside and only get them if needed to minimize the items that come into your home.
If I am bringing a prop like a Moses basket or a blanket, I wash all washable parts the night before each use, AND wipe or disinfect non-porous parts outside your door upon arrival. I'm also happy to spray anything with Lysol, although I recognize that some families have sensitivities to the smell and will respect your wishes.
Shoes Off, Mask On
No shoes in the house! I take my shoes off at your door and wear clean socks inside your home. This helps make sure your house stays clean and I don't track in any "yuckies" from the outside. It also makes me feel at home in your house. You may have to kick me out before I move in! Kidding, kidding.
Masking is such a hot topic right now, and families differ so much on their wishes. Since being fully vaccinated, I usually go mask-free at outdoor sessions except in certain circumstances. However, for indoor sessions, especially in small areas like people's homes where air circulation isn't as great as larger spaces, I think masking is still a responsible thing to offer to protect my clients.
Here are a few options as you consider what you want for your session:
- Fully masked: I wear a mask over my mouth and nose for the duration of the session. This is my default.
- Mask free: Some families (those with kids older than infant age) prefer that I go mask-free while photographing so that children can see my expressions. I do feel that being able to see my entire face and smile really helps get kiddos to interact, but only you will know if this is best for your family. Newborns don't care one way or the other (they probably can't even see me!), so it's really knowing what will work best for your other family members.
- Mixed: I wear a mask when setting up, walking around, or adjusting things like clothing or hair, then un-mask with more distance between us or when I need to get some real smiles or laughs from kids.
Whatever your choice, I will respect it. Just let me know.
The best way I can protect your family is by keeping myself healthy so that I don't unknowingly bring the virus into your household. I am fully vaccinated and plan to also take any boosters recommended as the pandemic continues. According to current research, vaccination lessens the viral load in individuals carrying the virus, so even in breakthrough cases, vaccinated individuals who become infected aren't as likely to spread the virus to others. While we know vaccination helps, we also know it isn't 100% effective - not even close since there is no herd immunity. I can vouch for this, having personally contracted the virus AFTER being fully vaccinated. Vaccination is one precaution (but not the only one) I can use to protect your family.
Take a Test
Many parents want the reassurance of knowing that I am negative at the time of their session. I am happy to take a COVID-19 test the day before your session. I will need to know in advance so that I can schedule a test or buy an at-home test (sometimes these can take a few days to schedule or find at-home tests). If this would give your family peace of mind, just let me know when you book so I can make sure I plan ahead for it.
Some parents plan an indoor session, just to find that their anxiety rises as situation change or the sessions date gets closer. If this happens to you and you change your mind, we can move the session outside (weather permitting). We know that good air circulation helps prevent spread of anything airborne. If we can't take the session outdoors, simply opening up a window or door and turning on a fan to increase air circulation inside can make a difference.
I think the most important thing I can do for your family is be upfront with you. Having lost my first daughter when she was an infant, I am hyper-vigilant (borderline paranoid) about protecting our second child. After experiencing the death of a child myself, I would never knowingly put your family at risk to experience that kind of pain. Exposure, symptoms, etc. will all be disclosed to you, No session fee you could pay would be worth your family's wellbeing. If I don't feel I can come to your session safely, I will make every effort to find and pay a replacement to go in my place so those beautiful memories get captured on schedule.