Shopping for a newborn photographer can get a little confusing and overwhelming. There are so many options out there, so many styles and at so many different price points. What is the difference? To make the decision even harder, we are talking about selecting the person who will be handling your precious new little bundle, just a few days old. Not only will she (or he) be rocking, shushing and swaddling your newborn, she will be capturing the photos that will document those first few days of your baby’s life forever.
A newborn session should ideally take place during the first 2 weeks of baby’s life so you do have a finite amount of time to capture your baby’s newness. Much like your wedding day, this is an experience that you only get one (maybe two) shots at. Most people don’t think of it that way when it’s their first baby but the fact is that hey, marriages end…. your baby, will ALWAYS be your baby. So newborn photos are arguably more important than wedding photos.
Wondering what you should be looking for in a newborn photographer? Here is a guide covering the most important things to consider when booking a newborn photographer.
1 – STYLE
DO YOU LIKE THEIR AESTHETIC? What do you like about it? Is it her use of color, is it a specific prop or use of certain props? For example, do you like when a photographer uses animal hats in newborn photography? Do you like when there are a lot of objects and/or an elaborately designed sets? Or is your style more timeless and subtle? Do you love clean, simple images where story in the image is more about baby? Do you prefer lifestyle newborn photography where there is less posing and more interaction or candid captures?
WHAT ABOUT THE EDITING STYLE? Do you notice a particular look to the images that feel like a filter or perhaps more like skillful Photoshop artwork? For example, some photographers produce a high contrast look, some prefer a hazy, soft and airy look to their images, some include sophisticated compositing, while others let the editing take a backseat to the lighting, posing or set styling. Some may offer a mix of all of those!
Editing is a necessary component of photography. Styles and skill level very greatly. It’s also an element that shouldn’t be overlooked.
An important thing to think about as you view a photographer’s portfolios is – can I see this image hanging on my wall? That begs the question and brings us to #2:
2 - WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR BABY’S NEWBORN PHOTOS?
Have you stopped to think about how you would like to enjoy, view, & share your baby’s photos? Not just 2 weeks after your session, but way further into the future. Do you envision a newborn photo hanging in your baby’s nursery? Or on a family portrait wall that grows with your family? Or, do you see your kindergartner one day thumbing through a beautiful keepsake album? Digital files are pretty much a given these days, but your baby’s newborn session is a very important milestone that you may consider to be conceivably even more important than your wedding photos. So, it makes sense that you think about albums and prints just as you did with your wedding photos.
Once you’ve given some thought to how you’d actually like to use and enjoy your baby’s photos, you can start to consider whether photographers include prints and/or digitals (and how many) in their packages. Does your photographer deliver the products you are interested in? What is the level of quality of the print products they offer? Do you like framed prints or canvas? Are you the type of person that loves to design albums yourself or would you rather hand over the reigns on certain projects? Will you have time after baby to actually spend putting together your portrait wall? Would it be nice to have the expertise of a talented eye to guide you in starting it?
3 - EXPERIENCE
Once you begin your search for a newborn photographer, you will realize that you have A TON of choices out there! And that’s a good thing, but it can also be a confusing thing. You are about to hand over your newborn baby, just a few days old to this person for several hours. You definitely want to find someone who is comfortable working with newborns and who has photographed plenty of them. Look at their website, Instagram and Facebook pages. What do they post the most of? Is it weddings, is it families, is it boudoir? If another photography genre dominates her portfolio, s/he may not have quite as much experience soothing, burping, rocking and posing newborns as a photographer who specializes in newborns. Another consideration is how long the photographer has been in business. This can also give you a hint as to how much experience a photographer has handling babies.
4 – PRICE
Now, many new parents shopping for their first newborn photographer might put this as the first thing on their list. But - I’m here to tell you that if you do your research focusing on # 1, 2, & 3 first, the price question will seem to answer itself and you will have a pretty good idea of what to expect once you start inquiring with photographers about prices. You see, the more experience a photographer has, the more refined and robust her newborn portfolio is going to be, and therefore the more you can expect that her services will cost. Makes sense, right?
Some other factors come into play as well – such as whether you prefer an in-home session or a studio session. Some photographers have a studio that you can bring your baby to so an in-home session may carry a hefty luxury fee. Other photographers who prefer to offer in-home services may charge only a small travel fee.
Last but not least, the overall services that your photographer is providing will play a role in the price. Does she offer prints? Does she offer album design services and custom birth announcements? Or, is there a digital download option that is easy and convenient? Take a close look at what her packages & services provide, include and/or what is available for additional purchase so that way when you are shopping, you can compare apples to apples.
A newborn photography session is typically a significant investment, regardless of your budget. The photos you will have after your session will be irreplaceable and will document a major milestone in your life and in your baby’s life. You’ll be sharing them with friends and family for years to come. And, one day, your little one will be looking back on those photos of his/her family in its infancy. So, take some time and start researching your newborn photographer early. That’s a bonus tip – many photographers book several months in advance for newborn sessions. Starting your research at the beginning of your 2nd trimester will give you plenty of time to also consider a booking maternity session. Keep in mind these 4 tips when booking a newborn photographer and you are sure to find a newborn photographer that will deliver more than just a great experience, but also beautiful newborn photos that you will treasure for a lifetime.