5 Steps to Choosing a Newborn Photographer
You’ve seen the two lines on the pregnancy test, your heart rate has finally come down, you’ve picked your husband up off the ground and now you’re ready to start planning for baby.
A newborn photographer is likely something on your list of to-dos and, contrary to what you may expect, this is not something you want to wait to schedule. Let me explain why not to wait and what factors to consider when booking your newborn photographer.
I’ve been a Newburgh, IN newborn photographer for eight years now. I’m a mother of four small children. I may not classify myself as an expert (I’m still trying to figure out this parenting thing), but I do have a LOT of experience when it comes to newborns and especially, newborn photography. Let me save you some time (and possibly regret) and share with you what you need to know.
1. Don’t Wait to Schedule Your Newborn Session
Most seasoned newborn photographers are booked at least two months in advance for their sessions and a quality newborn photographer will take a limited number of newborn sessions each month to ensure they can accommodate all the babies on their calendar. Newborn sessions are booked in advance because baby comes on his/her own time and newborn sessions are typically done within the first 5-14 days of birth.
Booking in advance allows the photographer to have a general idea of when to expect your little one’s arrival and will have scheduled their calendar accordingly. You get no warning (aside from those pesky labor pains several hours before) before baby arrives and you want to have everything set up and ready. Once baby arrives your mind will likely be all over the place and scheduling a newborn session will be the last thing you want to do. So don’t wait to book!
2. Decide If You Want a Posed or Lifestyle Session.
Newborn sessions can be done one of two ways – posed or lifestyle. Posed sessions are typically done in-studio, 5-14 days after baby is born. These sessions require a super sleepy baby, a hot room and require very little parent involvement – aside from the parent/baby poses. Baby is posed on a beanbag and in props. Parents typically sit back and relax while the photographer does all the work.
A lifestyle session, on the other hand, is done in your own home and your images are more of “a day in the life of” style. Your time will be spent gazing at and cuddling your newborn in the house you brought him/her home to for the first time. These sessions are great if you have a pet you want to include or if you want your session to be a bit more personalized in nature. Props are typically minimal/non-existent and the session is very baby-led. These sessions can also take place outside that 5-14 day newborn window.
3. Decide What Style You Like
It is extremely important to look at each photographers’ work before you book them. A photographer’s portfolio will show you exactly what kind of work she can offer and what you can expect. If you are wanting timeless, simple newborn photos, a photographer whose portfolio consists of babies in tutus, rainbows of colors and giant bows is likely not the photographer for you.
Booking a photographer and then asking them to replicate another photographer’s style will not work. A quick glance at a photographer’s social media account is a great way to gauge a photographer’s offerings and talent. A few things you may want to consider:
- Is their work consistent overall or are they all over the map on their posing and editing? This is a red flag as you cannot be sure what your photos will look like. If they have two good images in their feed, but the rest don’t appeal to you, they like are not a great choise for you. Consistency is important.
- Are their images in focus? A cute pose or prop is great, but if all of baby’s face is blurry it’s not a good sign.
- Do the babies, as well as the parents/siblings, look comfortable? You don’t want photos of yourself looking incredibly awkward, unhappy or uncomfortable.
4. Choose Someone You Trust and Makes You Comfortable
You are going to be handing over your several-day old baby to this person. You want to be able to trust them. It is VITAL that your photographer is aware of newborn safety. You do not want to put your new baby in the hands of someone who is going to put them in poses that could potentially hurt them. I repeat, make sure your photographer is versed in newborn safety!
You also want to be comfortable with your photographer. You will be spending several hours with her. She will be take your photo, too! I promise you, if you’re comfortable with your photographer, you will look comfortable and at ease in your photos. You very likely will not be fully rested and feeling like you look your best for your newborn photos. Find a photographer that you trust to make you look beautiful.
5. Decide What Your Price Point Is
Quality newborn photography can be expensive. A seasoned photographer has put a great deal of time and money into their education and business and their price often reflects that. As with many things, you get what you pay for when it comes to newborn photos. If you just want photos of your baby and don’t really care about quality or consistency, a lower price point will be a great fit.
If you want quality newborn photos with a photographer who has significant experience, education and offers not only fantastic images, but a wonderful experience, you likely will have a higher price point.
I personally justified newborn photos for our first son by acknowledging the fact that he would never ever be this little ever again and I wanted to remember every detail. It wasn’t something that I could change my mind on down the road and have them done then. I could buy nice furniture, an expensive purse, great shoes or spendy clothing for the rest of my life. I could only have these images done once and I wasn’t going to miss it.
If you are wanting a higher end photographer to capture this fleeting time in your life but it’s stretching your budget, consider the following:
- Put it on your registry or baby shower invitation. Many newborn photographers offer gift cards! Several girlfriends could forgo buying you onesies and come together for a gift card.
- Get a digital package and print the images down the road when you have the funds to do so.
- Pay a little at a time each month or take the money you would have spent on clothing or Starbucks (because your caffeine intake will be limited anyway) and stash it aside. You’d be shocked how much it adds up.
- Choose a photographer that provides all the props – you won’t have to spend a dime on anything for your session.
Other Things to Consider:
- Turn-around time – when will you get your images? Will you have to wait 2 weeks or 2 months? Will you see a sneak peek?
- Experience – how much experience does the photographer have. We are talking about a tiny infant. Make sure your photographer is capable of working with any infant. Newborn photography is an entirely different ballgame than senior or wedding portraiture.
- Digitals/Prints – does your photographer offer prints or digital packages? How many will you receive?
- Studio/in-home – does your photographer have a studio or do they shoot in your home?
- Props – does your photographer provide props or are you responsible for providing all the props for your session?
- Reviews – does your photographer have good reviews from past clients?
- Experience – does your photographer provide a good “experience” or do they simply take the photos and leave.
These are all things to consider when looking for a newborn photographer! Find the photographer that works best for you! Find someone you click with. You will likely have more children or have other photography needs in the future and it’s a special thing when you build a relationship with a photographer you love. It is proven that the more comfortable you are with your photographer, the better your photos will be.
If Exhale Photography looks like the perfect fit for you, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click on that Contact tab to book your session.
If you’re thinking about a session with me, please email me at email@example.com or use the contact page up top ???? I am happy to answer any questions you may have. It is best to book your session several months in advance (as spots fill very quickly).
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