Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in Cheryl Polk Photography! Every session I am lucky enough to capture is unique and full of moments special to your family. I will spend time getting to know your vision, preferences and any special touch you want incorporated into your session. I look forward to getting to know you and your family soon!

  • I typically schedule all outdoor photo sessions during the ‘”golden hour” (about 60 minutes before sunset) for the best lighting and the golden dreamy photos you see in my work. Depending on the time of year, this will determine what time we schedule your session.
  • $100 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking to secure your date on my calendar, as well as a signed copy of my Session Agreement. The remainder is due on the day of your shoot.
  • Although your retainer is non-refundable, I do understand that life happens and kids/people get sick. If this happens and we can reschedule your session, a new deposit will not be required. Thank you for keeping my family healthy too!
  • Minimum $50 travel fee for anything over 25 miles outside of 92128 zip code

Newborn Sessions

  • When is the best time to schedule my newborn session?

    • The earlier the better…but the ideal time is to book during your second trimester so we have time to get to know each other and have time to plan out the details of your session. I will put a tentative date down on my calendar and then we will set the actual session date once baby arrives!  Since it is best to photograph newborns within the first 5-12 days of age, scheduling ahead of time helps ensure I have availability on my calendar. I only take a certain number of newborns each month so booking early is very important!
  • Is there an ideal age for photographing newborns?

    • I prefer to photograph newborns within the first 5-12 days after birth. At this age they are the sleepiest as they are still adjusting to their new life, mama’s milk has had time to come in and they are still “bendable” which allows for easier positioning. After about 14 days the babies start becoming more alert and many will experience skin peeling and baby acne. While there is an ideal time to photograph babies, I am always willing to work with families even outside of this window. It may be harder or impossible to get some of the sleepy curly shots, but we can still capture some beautiful photos of your little one that you will forever cherish.
  •  Where will the session take place?

    • I understand how hard it is to get out of the house after having a baby so the session will take place in the comfort of your own home. I bring everything needed for the session- floor, backdrops, blankets, headbands, bonnets, etc. It sort of looks like I’m moving in for a few days but it is all things necessary for your session. All I need is a space near a good amount of natural light (near windows, doors, etc).
  • Can I use my own props/items for the session?

    • If there is something you would like me to incorporate into your session, please let me know ahead of time so that we can discuss options. Each session is unique and it’s always fun getting to pull in an item that means something to you and your family… your baby blanket, a blanket knitted by your grandmother, etc. We have all seen the cute photos of baby in a crocheted outfit but unfortunately they are usually too big and not necessarily something that will photograph well. With that being said, most of my photos will be done with your baby naked or using some of the high-quality props that I have purchased that are made specifically for newborn photography.
  • What do I need to do to prepare for my session?

    • Prior to your session I will send you my “Newborn Prep Instructions” that will help answer any questions about how the actual session will go and a few things you will need to do to prep for your session.The most important things you will need to know: keep baby awake 1 hour prior to my arrival, I will have you feed baby while I am setting up to ensure a full belly, have the thermostat set to 80-85°, and you will need to have a pacifier for the session. Even if you do not plan on using one it can help with soothing and transitions.These things are VERY important into how your session will go. I have photographed a lot of newborns and following my preparation instructions are imperative to having your baby ready to go for their session.Since baby is usually naked, he/she will poop and/or pee during the session! Maybe on me, on you 🙂 or on one of my blankets….it is OK! They all do and everything is washed after every session.
  • Can I send you my Pinterest board so you can see what I like?

    • While I enjoy seeing what types of images you are drawn to, I cannot copy another photographers work. Every photographer has a different style and every baby has a different personality. What one baby is willing to do, another baby may totally dislike. I can take inspiration from it and create something special and unique for you, but my hope is that you are hiring me for MY art and style.I recommend you checking out my website and social media pages to ensure we are a good match!
  • Do you include family shots in the newborn session?

    • Absolutely! You have the option of what type of session you would like to do- with family and siblings included or without. Your baby will never be this small again and I feel like these images are the ones you will cherish the most! I also understand the importance of getting siblings into the picture however these can sometimes be the most challenging. Depending on the age of the sibling, I will either do these right at the beginning or give them a few minutes to warm up to me and ensure they are comfortable with me first. I try to make it as relaxed and fun as possible but you will want to tell them what to expect and how you would like them to behave.
  • What should I wear for my pictures with my baby?

    • I recommend that you stick with more neutral or soft colors and try to avoid anything with a large print or pattern. You want the focus to be on your cute little baby! I recommend the same for siblings as well.
  • Can you edit that?

    • I spend a LOT of time and care editing my sessions…this is where the perfectionist in me really comes out! I always make sure your baby’s beautiful face is free of dry skin, scratches, baby acne, etc. however there are some things that I feel are beautiful and truly reflect the newness of your little one. I generally leave things like some of the flakey skin on hands and feet, birth marks, baby fuzz, mongolian spots, and stork bites. These are symbols of their newness and often fade quickly. If there is something you do not want shown, please be sure to let me know BEFORE your session so I can plan accordingly. My goal is to capture your baby just as they are, allowing you to remember all of the little details long after they are gone.
  •  Can I have the unedited images from my session?

    • I do not provide unedited photos- no exceptions. All images I provide are fully edited and are a representation of my work.  I spend a lot of time going through your gallery and only selecting the absolute best images.

Maternity Sessions

  • I typically recommend doing maternity sessions between 32 and 37 weeks. If you are expecting twins, I highly recommend doing your session around 32 weeks as twins always tend to arrive on the earlier side!


  • What should I wear? I recommend choosing two colors that you are drawn to, and planning everything else around that. I definitely do not recommend everyone matching (no jeans/khaki’s and white shirt for everyone) but wearing colors that compliment each other. I usually recommend for mom to pick out her outfit first and then plan from there. And most importantly- wear something you are comfortable in. It will show in your pictures if you are not comfortable! Pinterest has a lot of great outfit inspiration and I am always happy to offer advice.
  • What time will the session be? I shoot during the “golden hour” which is about 60 minutes prior to sunset. This is when the lighting is the best and gives you that beautiful warm light without the harsh shadows.

Cheryl Polk Photography

Serving All of San Diego

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