You just had a new baby, or are about to, and you realize that you must have this little peanut photographed. But finding the right newborn photographer is no easy task. You haven’t even decided what brand of diapers you are going to use and Google wants you to wade through a sea of photographers hoping that you stumble upon the right one.
Maybe you are just starting this search or maybe you have done your homework and have your choices narrowed down to just a few. While there are many things to consider, these are some of the more important (and often overlooked) things to keep in mind:
Are you compatible?
I know this is a very vague question, but it’s also one of the most important. You have looked through all of your Facebook friend’s albums, browsed Pinterest, and you know exactly what you want your newborn’s photos to look like, right? Take all of your images and put them in one folder or Pinterest board. Do they match in style or does it look like your board has multiple newborn photography personality disorder?
It’s easy to get distracted when pinning images that you love. It’s important to ask yourself what you love about each image and why. Is it the pose? Is it the colors? Is it the styling? Narrowing this down and understanding what you are really drawn to will help you to decide which newborn photographer is the best fit for you.
Start looking at your favorite images and compare them to their portfolios. Which one best matches what you love? No matter how hard you may try, you cannot change their style to fit you want. Instead, you must find the right match from the get-go. Even if your best friend referred you to their amazing photographer, really look at their portfolio and ask yourself, “Is this me? Will I love images like this in my home?” If you aren’t sure then maybe that is not the newborn photographer for you.
Another huge part of compatibility is personality! Does your favorite newborn photographer have time for you? How quickly do they respond to your emails with questions or concerns? Do you have the option to meet them before the session? Is that important to you? These are all important questions to ask. Oats and Honey Photography is a full service boutique studio – meaning I am there for my clients through every step of the process. You get my absolute undivided attention from initial inquiry through product delivery. This also means I limit my sessions every month. Not every new mommy or daddy-to-be wants that from their photographer. It’s important to know what level of service your photographer of choice is prepared to offer and whether that fits your needs and desires.
What do they have to offer?
Every newborn photographer offers pictures, obviously, but what you have to ask yourself is, “What do I want from this experience?”
That questions alone is very important to figure out. For instance; do you want to travel to a studio or have someone come to your home? Not every newborn photographer travels and not every photographer has a studio. Do they supply props or is that your responsibility? How much of a prop selection do they have available? What is their turnaround time on images? Some photographers shoot, edit, and deliver in a week, while others take up to six weeks or longer. Is it important to you to have newborn announcements quickly? Yes? Then this becomes a hugely important question to ask. There is no wrong or right answer here in terms of the photographers themselves. This is truly all about what is important to you.
While we’re on the subject of what is important to you… What images are you most hoping to get? Do you want images of your whole family? Is the sibling picture the one you simply have to have? Or, would you prefer the session be focused on this baby? Do you see these types of images in their portfolio? Each photographer has their own policies on what is included in their typical session. It’s important to be able to discuss these desires/needs and to make sure they are offering what you.
The next question is, what do you plan to do with your images once you see them? If you have your heart set on an album or something to hang on your walls, you’ll need to make sure your photographer offers those products. Not every photographer offers a selection of products to their clients or has established relationships with professional labs and that’s okay. It’s important to know what your goals are going in, so that you can find a newborn photographer that offers the products you want most. If you are only interested in digital files it may be more cost effective to find a photographer that doesn’t offer a selection of different products since those that do, often bundle their digital files into packages.
Are they licensed?
I can almost guarantee you that this question does not cross the mind of most parents searching for their newborn photographer, but it should probably be one of the first ones and here’s why:
A photographer that has taken the time to start their business correctly (licensing, insurance, permits, etc) truly cares not only about themselves, but also their clients. They have invested their own money to make sure everything is being done legally and properly. As a business owner it is my responsibility to make sure my assets and my clients are protected. I value each and every family I work with enough to want to present myself as professionally as possible. This is so important! God-forbid something happens in your session and your child is injured. What happens if your toddler accidentally knocks over a studio light and it breaks? Are you on the hook for that? Don’t you want to be working with someone that has insurance to cover those situations?
Do they have the proper training?
Newborn photography is an art in itself. As with any other art type it requires extensive training. Unlike most types of artists, newborn photographers are not only creating beautiful images, they’re also handling your most precious and fragile family member. I know what you’re thinking, “How hard could this possibly be?” or “My baby is a great sleeper!”, but that’s where you’re wrong. True professionals are professionals because they make it look easy. I promise you, it’s not as easy as we make it seem. While styles differ we all have one thing in common; we’re handling your baby. That’s right, for 2 – 4 hours you will be entrusting this person to handle the very thing most precious to you. You better be darn sure they know what they’re doing!
I, myself have invested countless hours and dollars into making sure I handle your little ones as safely as possible, while having the experience to capture those beautiful images you’re after. There is so much more that goes into posed newborn photography than non-newborn photographers realize. Camera techniques, lighting techniques, and posing techniques combine in your photographer and make them the artist you want to hire. I have photographed countless babies and in the process I have learned how to read each child. I will never force a newborn into a pose because, while it’s always my goal to get beautiful images for my clients, I am never willing to do it at a babies expense. While I may try and revisit the pose later in the session, it’s your baby that is in charge. And if they simply don’t want to be in a certain position, for whatever reason, then I will move on to a different pose. You shouldn’t have to put a baby in a dangerous or uncomfortable position to get gorgeous images. I find that simplicity is always best.
I have taken the time to really hone my craft and to make sure I am doing every single thing with your precious newborn’s safety as my first priority. Would you like to know what classes I have taken and who I have mentored with? Just ask! I’m more than happy to tell any client that wants to know. I take my education and training very seriously and I’m proud to say I have done and continue to do everything I can to stay as safe as possible.
During your search for the right newborn photographer you may find many that are booked months in advance. You may find some that only offer their newborn sessions on weekdays and you need a weekend time so your partner can also attend. Or maybe you would prefer a weekday session and they only offer sessions on the weekends. It’s important to make sure that when the baby arrives and the times comes to schedule your session they will have the availability that works best for you.
Is the price right?
This is always a personal question to really delve into. Everyone has a budget and it’s important to understand yours and your priorities in getting your newborn’s photos taken. In a world where there are photographers on every corner and in just about every price point, how do you choose? The age old saying comes to mind here, “You get what you pay for.” It’s as true here as it is anywhere. Think about what you want from your session. Think about the images you hope to have hanging on your walls or in a beautiful album. I know there is a photographer in your neighborhood that charges pennies for 40+ images on a disc, but ask yourself, “What am I going to do with 40+ images on a disc?” In the instance of newborn photography, I promise you that quantity is not more important than quality.
Look at their portfolio. Can you imagine their images on your walls? Maybe your answer here is yes, but if it’s not, then you need to keep looking. When you hire a newborn photographer you are hiring their experience, training, talent, style, and costumer service. If you have found a newborn photographer you love, it’s important to understand the journey that photographer has gone on to get them to the place they are now; creating the images you are drawn to. Talk to them about what they have to offer. Investing in a properly trained newborn photographer will absolutely make a difference in the images you receive and the experience you have in the process.
As a photographer I invest anywhere from 20 – 40 hours in each of my clients from start to finish. I design each session to be unique to each client. I take my time working with your little one to ensure their safety and comfort. I make sure my studio is stocked with snacks and drinks for my clients. I clean and sanitize everything I plan to use before (and after) each session. I hand edit each image in your gallery and then present it to you in an in-person viewing. I make myself available to my clients through the whole process. These are the things I value in my business. This is what I love to do! While we’re on the topic of love…
What do they love to do?
Anyone that has watched a newborn photographer work knows this is a labor of love. I don’t just like working with newborns; I cannot imagine my life without newborn photography in it. I love this. I love working with new Mommy’s and Daddy’s. I love creating these special memories for you.
My studio is solely focused on newborn’s through their first year. This means that all of my training, props, and experience revolve around newborns and babies. There are a few wonderful jack-of-all-trades photographers out there, and maybe you’ve been lucky enough to find one of them, but it’s very rare. Photography is like any other art-form. Every artist has their strength and it typically falls wherever their passion is, because that’s where they invest their time. Does the photographer you’re looking at have a tiny newborn gallery tucked away in a dark corner of their website? Is the majority of their website content and resources aimed at brides? Seniors? Families? It’s important to understand what your chosen photographer loves to shoot because they will give 150% of themselves for their passion. That’s the photographer you want to hire. The one giving 150% of themselves to you, your precious new baby, and your experience with them.
Hopefully this little (ok it’s pretty big, I’m sorry) guide will help you find the perfect fit for you. You get this opportunity one time with your children. They will never be newborns again. Make sure you are choosing the right person to capture these moments for you.
I’m currently booking for the remainder of 2017 with very limited availability. If you or someone you know is expecting, it’s best to book early! Booking early gives us time to plan a session together that you will truly love. Let’s work together to document this special time in your life!