Are you searching for a photographer but with so many options need some tips on how to choose a newborn photographer?
In this blog I will highlight 10 things every parent should know when searching for a Newborn Photographer.
- Is the photographer trained in newborn safety
- How experienced is the photographer specifically with newborns | Are they licensed, insured, and running a legal business
- Is it important to you if the photographer is up to date on vaccines such as flu and TDAP? If so, ask
- What is important to you? Would you like a photographer who will include digital files that you can print on your own, or would you like a photographer that offers a full service, and offers options like albums and wall art
- Have you looked at their work, does their style match yours?
- How old do they prefer that your baby to be at the session
- Do they fit within your budget
- Do they provide props, outfits, and details or will you have to bring your own
- Do they come to you or do they have a newborn studio
- Do they have reviews
- SAFETY- I am a member of several Facebook groups specifically for newborn photographers. Recently I have been seeing so many disturbing images and it really got me thinking. When a client hires a newborn photographer, they probably trust that the photographer knows what they’re doing. They put that little life in the hands of someone else and assume they must have the experience, their images look nice, right?
When you are looking for a newborn photographer, it is ok to ask if they have been trained in newborn safety. I recently posted in my Facebook VIP Group, an image of a newborn photographer putting the life of a baby at risk. I am sure the photographer just didn’t know better, but that is due to the lack of safety training. And it is not ok. The baby was placed in a wrap, dangling in the air from a branch. I’ve also seen way too many images that are supposed to be done, as what we call a composite, being performed completely in an unsafe way. A composite is the creation of a final image by taking several photos and basically merging them together in Photoshop. Have you ever seen images of newborns that appear to be holding their heads up with their arms, with their little face in their hands? These are supposed to be composites. The photographer should have assistance creating these images. A baby should never ever EVER be posed to support their head in their hands on their own. And I am seeing this WAY to often. Here’s a clip of Newborn Photographer Ana Brandt creating a “froggy pose” image.
2. EXPERIENCE- How much experience specifically with newborns does the photographer have? We all start somewhere, so I am certainly not trying to put down a new newborn photographer (as long as they are trained in safety). But it is also important to note, someone with a lot of experience with newborns, will not only produce better quality images, but will also have the skills to soothe your baby during the session, and keep your baby calm and comfortable. My clients often call me the “baby whisperer” and it’s true. I’ve worked with enough babies that I know exactly what makes them comfortable and keeps them feeling secure. Other things to consider, are they running a legal business? Are they operating an insured and licensed business?
3. VACCINES- This may or may not be important to you. Some people are pro vaccination and some are not. Either way, this is something to consider.
4. THE SERVICE- Consider what is important to you. Are you more of a do-it-yourselfer or would you like the option of having the full service provided to you? It’s important to know what you would like from your newborn session. What will you do with the images after the session? Would you like to print them out and make a scrap book? If so, be sure to look for a photographer who offers digital files with a print release, that grants you permission to print the images for personal use. Want to decorate that beautiful nursery you just spent so much time perfecting, with wall art? Ask your photographer if that is something they provide, and if so look at their products and see if their offerings suit your style and space. What about an album? Albums are my personal favorite for newborn sessions. Children love seeing images of themselves. As they get bigger it’s really wonderful to sit with them and view their baby book together. And this is also a piece that will someday be handed down to them when they’re an adult. If this is important to you, does your photographer provide this service? If so, take a look at the quality of the product, ask if it is archival (meaning with proper care it will last 100 years or more) if you are investing in a professional product, it is good to know why it costs what it does, vs. a consumer product.
5. STYLE- Does their style match what you’re looking for? Every photographer has a different style. My personal style is simple and light. Meaning I am always drawn to light colors and simplicity over overly propped sets. If you would like a newborn session using bold and dark colors, I wouldn’t be the right fit for you, and that is ok. Find a photographer who’s style you love.
6. HOW OLD SHOULD YOUR BABY BE- This is a good question to ask. Some newborn photographers won’t photograph a newborn past a certain age and you’ll want to know when you need to call to schedule the session time after your baby has arrived. The recommended age is always within the first 14 days after the baby is born. Some newborn photographers will only photograph a newborn within this time frame. Some are more flexible and will photograph a baby beyond two weeks old. It is good to know ahead of time what to expect for proper planning. You should always book your newborn session several months prior to your due date, to secure a spot once your baby arrives. I personally have photographed newborns up to six weeks old. It is ideal in the first two weeks, as this is when newborns are their sleepiest, allowing for those adorable poses. However, in some cases this isn’t always possible. What happens in an unfortunate situation when the newborn has a NICU stay? Will your photographer still be willing to accommodate your session at an older age?
7. BUDGET- The cost of a newborn session varies widely. Some things to consider are how long is the session, what props are included, level of training, and how many images are included with your package. Do they offer a payment plan, how much do you need to leave as a retainer at the time of booking, how much is the balance and when is it due? If you would like to add more images after you’ve seen your photos, what are the options and how much do upgrades cost?
8. WHAT IS PROVIDED- What does the photographer provide to the client. Do you need to buy outfits? Props? If so how much will that all cost you in addition to the cost of your session? I personally provide everything needed for a newborn session, but not every photographer does. Make sure you’re aware in case there are additional costs to consider.
9. WHERE DOES THE SESSION TAKE PLACE- Does the photographer have a studio geared towards newborns or do they travel to a clients home? If they travel, will you have the proper space for the session. Do they use natural light or will they bring lighting? Natural light photographers will need a space in your home that provides enough light. Discuss this with your photographer to make sure there is an area in your home they can work with. My newborn sessions are all done in studio. I have a professional lighting set up that would not easily travel. My studio is designed specifically for my newborn and baby clients. It has comfortable seating, a sitting area to watch TV or read while your newborn is being photographed. A fridge stocked with water. Snacks. A changing table stocked with diapers, wipes, lotions, pacifiers etc. And a separate heating system allowing me to keep my studio at my happy place of 78 degrees.
10. REVIEWS- Reviews are really helpful for prospective clients to see what others have experienced. If you google the photographer you are considering you will be able to read others experiences, assuming they have reviews. If they do not, that may be a red flag, it may be something to consider during your search.
I wish you all the best in your search for a newborn photographer! If you have any other questions that I have not covered here, feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to help in any way I can.