What to Look for in a Newborn Photographer

What to Look for in a Newborn Photographer:

Hire a Professional

One of the most exciting things parents can look forward to are their maternity and newborn photography sessions. This is one of those seasons full of anticipation and excitement that you will undoubtedly want to look back on to relive all those precious memories, emotions and details. Finding the right photographer to help document this season can be as important as finding the best pediatrician and safest car seat. So why do so many parents wait until the last minute to plan for it? Usually, because they didn’t know. So I wanted to share our thoughts on what to look for in a newborn photographer.

It’s common to see “really popular” photographers advertising and referred on social media and believe they must be the best option. While this can feel like the easiest way to find a quick photographer, more often than not, it can lead to disappointment. “My friend just bought a brand new camera and offered to take our newborn pictures.” You might be surprised how often this happens. Of course you want to support them! However, safety and training couldn’t be more important than with your brand new, days old baby. Be sure to ask questions!

What to Look for in a Newborn Photographer:

What to ask  

When you first start looking for a newborn photographer, it can be hard to know which questions to ask. Clearly, you’ll want to find a photographer whose work you’ll appreciate. Visit their websites and browse their portfolio. Does their work look consistent? Is their style light and airy? dark and moody? true to life? Do they specialize in posed, lifestyle or a mixture of both? Once you get an idea of what you like, and find a few photographers whose art you love, it’s time to make a few calls and ask some important questions.

Training and Experience

How many years have you been a newborn photographer? Do you have any training, specifically in newborn safety? Newborn photography is unique in that it does require special training to ensure these precious newborns are being handled correctly.

What Precautions are You Taking?

What precautions are you implementing during these challenging times? Every parent will have to determine their own comfort level, but be sure to ask your photographer’s studio policies. Do they have a sick policy? How many photo sessions do you hold per day / week? Do you have any assistants? How often is your studio sanitized? Do you require masks, sanitizer, temp checks?

Newborn Baby Boy with Teddy
Newborn Baby Boy with Teddy Bear

Are they a Legitimate Business?

Sadly, there are less than honest individuals who will charge a fee, never to be heard from again, leaving parents out money and scrambling to find a newborn photographer at the last minute. A few quick searches can usually help confirm the photographer you want to hire is legitimate: Do they have a website, do they have positive reviews, do they have (and answer!) a phone number. You might also ask if they pay business taxes and have liability insurance.

Do They Invest in Their Craft? 

Professional Photographers are always growing and learning. They’re also responsible business owners that pay sales taxes, regularly invest in their own professional education and development, and always working to improve their craft.

Generally, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. After all, most photographers usually love and are very passionate about what they do- but at the end of the day, it’s still a business. Photography equipment, taxes, workshops, training, certifications, maintenance, insurance, props, client closets, hair and make up, etc. all adds up!

At best, that photographer who isn’t charging enough to cover their cost of business is going to burn themselves out in a year or two because they won’t be able to make a profit or sustainable business. At worst, you may have poorly executed and unsafe images of what is sometimes a once in a lifetime session.

Are They Experienced in Printing Your Art? 

Your photographer should also have experience in preparing images for print. Images can look completely different on a phone or computer screen than on paper. Ask your photographer if they offer professionally produced products.

You might think, “Oh, I just want the digitals”, but you may want to print them later. Professional photographers that offer printed art will ensure that their computers are calibrated, and the images are sized and prepared to match the lab they are printing through. They choose reputable labs with high quality, archival products that they stand behind.

If they don’t, ask them if they provide high resolution images with a print release, and who they recommend to print through. There’s nothing worse than deciding to finally print your images years later only to realize they aren’t high enough quality to do so.  

Tiny Baby Toes
Tiny Baby Toes in Mom and Dad’s Hands

Take Your Time, and Plan Early

While I do accept last minute newborn sessions when possible, I always encourage moms to book sooner rather than later- preferably during their second trimester. First, to ensure I have availability. Second, so you have time to research your options. Third, so that we have time to fully customize and prepare for your session.

Once you find a really great fit, just like anything else worth having, you keep them around; and that’s really a fun thing to experience as your kiddos grow and recognize their “family photographer” that they’ve known since before they can remember. How cool is that??

I know a lot of this can feel overwhelming, so please do feel free to contact me or schedule a call. I love to help and always want to ensure a great fit. I’m happy to answer any and all questions. If I don’t have the answer, I’m usually quick to find it out; and if we’re not the perfect fit, I usually know a great one. 

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