You’re having a baby!!! You are about to welcome a little being into this world that you created. A tiny miracle that grew inside of you, that you nourished and sustained as a part of you for the past nine months. You’ve been patiently waiting for so long, and the moment has come. Could there be anything more exciting? Understandably, when this little bundle makes his or her debut, you will not be able to take your eyes off them. You will take about 4 million pictures and be eager to show them off to the world. Who can blame you? You will have just given birth to the most adorable baby in the whole world.
So now, as each day brings you closer to meeting your little one, you are researching for your newborn photographer. It’s true, there are photographers of all levels out there, and the price ranges can vary drastically. So how do you know who’s right for you?
Does Quality Matter?
Perhaps the first question you should ask yourself is, does quality matter? If the answer is yes, then you should look for a photographer with extensive experience in newborn photography. It is a learned craft that requires time, practice, skill and learning. There is a lot that goes into a newborn photo session that you may not realize unless you are a newborn photographer yourself. Lighting, white balance, depth of field, angles, positioning and posing, shadows, and the list goes on. A quality photographer will know every aspect of taking a great photograph of a newborn. They will pay attention to colors and details and brightness and curliness. They will know how important the little things are, and how it is all these little things that make a great photograph. Editing skills are also huge. Typically a newborn photograph is brought into editing software for detailed and meticulous editing, so knowing the ins and outs of editing a newborn photograph is very important for a gorgeous final product.
How Can You Tell if a Photographer Focuses On Quality?
Although there are photographers out there at all different levels of experience, if you are looking for quality, go with a seasoned professional. How can you tell the difference? Look for consistency in their work through their website, blog, and social media sites. Ask to see a complete newborn photo gallery and look at every image. Look for consistency in color and style. If the baby looks like an oompa-loompa or a cooked lobster, run the other way! Look at the posing and the details, the shadows on the baby’s face and how it affects the photograph. Look at the editing style….does it look natural and consistent? Look at the overall look and feel the photographer creates, and if you love it, go for it!
Who Will You Allow to Handle Your Newborn?
Aside from the photography part of it, handling a newborn safely and appropriately for a newborn session is an art in and of itself. It takes a lot of time, practice, and training. These are delicate little beings who rely on everybody else to keep them safe. A seasoned newborn photographer will know how to handle and pose your baby safely. Safety will be their top priority and they should be willing to say no to any requests they deem unsafe (like putting a baby in a glass jar, for example). They will know when an image should be done as a composite of 2 or more photos for safety purposes. Sadly, there are so many photographer new to the scene that will try and replicate certain poses or set-ups, unaware that they are created by merging photos in PhotoShop, and they can pose great harm to the baby. A seasoned newborn photographer will not be afraid to handle a baby and will be very comfortable and knowledgeable in what they are doing. You can usually see a photographer’s skill in handling a newborn through the photography, in the posing and the attention to detail in the poses.
Do You Want to Take Your Baby Out or Stay in the Comfort of your Own Home?
Newborn photographers come in 2 varieties. Studio newborn photographer, and in-home newborn photographers. You will have to decide if you have a preference when it comes to taking your baby out. I know a lot of pediatricians recommend keeping your baby home for the first few weeks. They need some time to grow and build immunity to this germy world they have just entered. An in-home newborn photographer can provide a custom newborn photography session in the security of the space you know and are comfortable in. A good in-home newborn photographer will bring everything needed for the session, and you will not have to worry about a thing. They typically only need a small area to work in and are experienced at finding a good spot and creating beautiful photographs without any disruption. Set-up should only take 10 minutes or so, as well as breaking it down after the session. Another perk to having an in-home newborn photographer is that you can include photos of the nursery! A studio photographer, on the other hand, will be set up when you get there and ready to go. Just be sure if you use a studio photographer that the studio has a good reputation and is cleaned thoroughly between each baby.
Isn’t Quantity Better than Quality?
You have found a photographer who promises you the world at a great price, and you are ecstatic, right? Well, you know that saying “you get what you pay for?” Keep that in mind as you make your decision. You have decided to hire a professional photographer to create works of art with your newborn that are priceless. A photographer who focuses on providing the best photographs possible will narrow down the photographs taken to a selection that will be the best of the best, and will then put all of their time and energy into making these perfect. A great photographer will want to know that your photos will be gorgeous when they are printed, and they will take pride in each and every image. A photographer who promises you lots of great images for much cheaper will most likely not be taking such care with each and every image, as they are focused on getting you the most they can for your money, as opposed to the best. In my experience, a photographer who includes the digital files “cheap” does not take the same level of pride in their work.
Is the Photographer Legitimate?
In order to run a legitimate business, there are legal avenues to follow. Photography is sadly one of the professions that is flooded with “businesses” that are not legal. Ask your photographer if their business is licensed. If you are unsure, you can usually find this out through the town they operate out of. If a business is legally licensed, it means they have to pay sales tax, which means they should be charging you sales tax. It also means they should be paying income tax, so they should be priced accordingly to allow for theses withholdings and still make a decent living (after all of the other expenses too, of course). If a photographer is really inexpensive, there is a good chance they are not following these avenues and running a legitimate business.
It is also very important that your photographer is insured. Although chances are, nothing will go wrong during your session, God forbid something does and they do not have any coverage. Although injury would be the worst case scenario, it could be something as simple as your photographer accidentally breaking something in your home. It could also be that the photographer loses your images or ends up with a corrupt memory card or hard drive after your session. Do they have the necessary insurance to compensate accordingly? Basically, all businesses should be insured to protect from the unexpected, and photographers are no exception.
Is Your Photographer Healthy?
It may not be the first thing you think about when searching for your newborn photographer, but please, please, please make sure your photographer is healthy at the time of the session. Feel free to ask if they are up to date on all of their immunizations if that is important to you. Any good newborn photographer will not only be willing to reschedule the session if they feel a cold coming on, or feel under the weather, but they will be the ones to initiate a reschedule. Knowing your baby is in good hands with a photographer who puts the baby’s health first is so important.
What does it Boil Down To?
A photographer who is running a legitimate and successful business will not be cheap. If they sell digital files, they should be sold at a premium, as they are the lifeblood of their business. If they do not sell the digital files, they will most likely work with you every step of the way to choose your prints, wall art and albums. Before the days of digital, photographers did not hand over the negatives, although it would have been just as easy as handing over the digital files. Either way, a good photographer will charge accordingly to reflect their experience and value.
I think it is safe to assume that most of us who get into photography do so because we love it! Some of us went to school for it, some of us just picked up a camera and didn’t want to put it down, and some of us thought it would be a fun way to make money. Sadly, there are also those out there who believe it is an easy way to make money (which I assure you, it is not). There really is no right or wrong in who you choose and your decision should be based on what you are looking for. You may be happy to help a hobbyist build a portfolio and get some nice photos, you may be happy with decent photos at a decent price, or you may want great photos by a true experienced professional. Either way, I urge to keep safety in mind as a top priority. This is your new little life, after all, and I know you want to do everything you can to protect your baby.