10 questions to ask when choosing a newborn photographer

If you’re in the market for choosing a newborn photographer, this blog post is for you. 

I’m going to be giving you a heads up on what you should be considering when you're shopping around for the perfect newborn photographer. 

There are several questions you should be asking every photographer you are considering. And it’s important to ask these questions ahead of booking your newborn baby photoshoot so that you can be sure to choose the right newborn photographer for you and your family. 

Choosing a newborn photographer

Selecting a newborn photographer should be something you focus on fairly early in your pregnancy. 

I recommend making a booking around the time of your 20 week scan if not before. If you book late, you run the risk of your photographer of choice not having availability, so book a provisional date early to secure your slot!

It should be an enjoyable decision process. Yet, there are many things to consider and many decisions to be made, so it could easily become overwhelming. 

Because every photographer is different, it is important to ask plenty of questions as you are reviewing your options and trying to decide on which photographer to choose. 

My aim in this blog is to share with you some important insights based on my years of experience as a specialist in newborn photography. 

Ten TIPS ON HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR newborn photographer

The questions I suggest that you ask are important. They will help to ensure you are as informed as possible about the photographers you are considering. You will then be able to choose between them more easily.

My advice to you is make sure you ask these questions of everyone you are considering, before you commit to a booking. 

And by the way, newborn photographers are not necessarily female. I know several male photographers who are phenomenal at what they do.

1. Research the market

It is potentially quite easy for parents to be fooled into thinking that all newborn photographers are created equal. Let me assure you, they are not! 

The newborn photography industry here in the UK is currently unregulated. That means that there is no specific qualification that a newborn photographer must obtain before they can start offering the service. 

So, in theory, even a novice photographer, with zero experience of handling babies, could potentially setup shop and market themselves as a newborn photographer! This is very worrying but, unfortunately, happens a lot. I’ve heard horror stories of things that have gone wrong in newborn sessions, when babies are put in the hands of inexperienced and untrained photographers.  

Without the right professional training, a photographer could put your baby at risk. So I urge you to be vigilant and only use a reputable, experienced and professionally trained photographer. 

If you don’t have a personal recommendation from someone you trust, do your own extensive research before you commit to a booking. 

Spend the time exploring the market to find a photographer who can demonstrate a track record of satisfied customers and high standards of professionalism. 

  • Review their website and social media presence
  • Look for comments and feedback from recent customers and see how they interact online.
  • Do they seem positive, passionate about what they do, and good with people?
  • Contact them directly and ask questions.
  • All this will give you some idea of the kind of person they are and give you an impression of how they conduct themselves and their business. 

2. Beware of cut price photographers

PLEASE don’t be tempted to cut corners by taking on anyone who doesn’t do photography professionally, as their main job, or who offers incredibly cheap prices. 

I believe that you get what you pay for in this life. If someone proclaims to offer a newborn session including photos for as little as £50, alarm bells should start ringing in your head!

Choose a professional photographer and someone who is a specialist in newborn photography. If someone is good at their job, and in demand, their prices will reflect that. Cut-price photographers are likely to offer a second-grade service. Would you want to settle for that?

3. Ask, are they professionally trained and experienced? 

Don’t be afraid to ask a photographer about the professional newborn training that they have had. 

While there are no qualifications in newborn photography as such, any newborn photographer worth their salt will have been safety trained before they set up their business. So they should be able to talk convincingly about the specific training they have completed and the safe practices that they adhere to in order to ensure a baby’s safety during photoshoots.

Equally important is experience. An experienced newborn photographer will be very comfortable handling babies (and twins or triplets!). They will have worked with tens, if not hundreds of babies, and so will know how to safely and comfortably pose your baby, and techniques to soothe even the most unsettled newborn. You may even be surprised at how easily they can lull your baby to sleep! 

4. How do they create complex baby poses? 

Experienced and professional newborn photographers will be able to provide examples of how they create complex baby poses that seem to defy gravity, like the one below. 

They should be pleased to discuss with you how they safely handle babies and how they can create any specific poses that you are after.

DSC_0286ed.jpg

Hint – images like the one above should be created digitally. This is an example of a ‘composite’ image, produced by combining one or more photos.  

Please be aware:

  • No photographer should ever force your baby into positions which make them uncomfortable or put them in danger. 
  • No baby should ever be expected to support the weight of its own head or body, be suspended from a height or put in a basket or box which could potentially topple over. 
  • The baby should be relaxed and comfortable at all times, and 100% safe. 

5. Do they have an assistant or ‘spotter’?

Ask each photographer if they have an assistant to help out during the photoshoots, to provide crucial support to the baby during posing and photographing. While not all photographers have an assistant, there is always the need for a second pair of hands at some point during a photoshoot. 

If they don’t have an assistant, who will help out? You, the parent? 

If this is the case, make sure you are comfortable with assisting in the shoot. If you would rather not, the solution is simple: choose a photographer who has their own assistant. 

You may find the experience more enjoyable if you are able to relax and watch, rather than have to play an active part yourself. 

6. What age of baby do they prefer working with?

It’s critical to establish if the photographer you are considering has a preference in regards to the age of the baby. 

This may sound silly as we are talking about newborn babies aren’t we?! Yet, some photographers may well have a preference since after the initial couple of weeks after birth, babies start to sleep less and begin to stretch out more. 

So, some photographers prefer babies to be aged under two weeks old in order to get the curled up baby poses that are so popular. Others will happily have babies in much older than this, sometimes up to 8 weeks old, although probably under the proviso that these shots may not be possible. 

Is your photographer also comfortable working with premature babies, who may be significantly smaller than the average newborn? You won’t necessarily know if this is going to be important in your case until after the birth, but it’s a good question to ask just in case.  

7. The photoshoot setting

Will the photographer come to your home or will you need to visit their photography studio? If the latter, check in advance what the photo studio is like. Review photos on the photographer’s website or, if it’s local to you, perhaps even ask to arrange an appointment to visit in advance. 

Photographers understand that the setting for a newborn shoot is very important. It should be relaxed, warm (the baby will be naked a lot of time) and welcoming. Will you and the baby be comfortable there? You’ll likely be there for several hours or more. 

There are also logistical considerations: 

  • Where is the studio based and what distance will you need to travel?
  • Do you know the way and how long it will take to get there? Always factor in extra time to allow for traffic – it’s far better to arrive early rather than late. 
  • Is there parking on site or nearby? 
  • How easy is the studio to access (you’ll be carrying baby in a car seat or will have a pushchair, no doubt)? 
  • If it’s not the ground floor, is there a lift you can use? 
  • And inside, is it clean and organised? 
  • Is there comfy seating for parents and any other family members who are coming along?
  • Are siblings welcome and, if so, are there any child-friendly facilities available?
  • Are refreshments included? 
  • What baby changing and feeding facilities are there? 
studo.jpg

8. Manage expectations

You may have seen examples of newborn photos that you would love a photographer to create with your baby. Make sure you discuss this ahead of the shoot to align expectations. Will your photographer be able to create that specific pose, or not?

Also ask about whether you need to buy and bring any of your own props, or whether this is included in the shoot. Most photographers do have an extensive range of wraps, teddies, headbands etc. but this is worth checking in advance. 

Are you also welcome to bring in your own props? You may have a family heirloom or sentimental item that you want included in your photos. Is your photographer happy to incorporate this into the photos? Similarly, if you would rather the photos did not make use of props, do say in advance. 

Most photographers will likely aim to create a number of different setups throughout the shoot so there will be plenty of images for you to choose from afterwards, but if you have a preference in regards to styling and colours, do make this known ahead of the session to make sure they will deliver what you hope. 

 An example of just some of the images from Rhys's shoot...

An example of just some of the images from Rhys's shoot...

9. Newborn photography fees

Do also consider the photographer’s studio fees and the cost of their photo products. Prices can vary a lot so be sure that the photographer you pick has prices that you can afford. 

Many photographers charge a session fee, but please note that the photos are charged in addition to this. You should expect to pay a couple of hundred pounds as a minimum with most high-quality newborn photographers if you want to have several images to take home and print for your walls. 

Do also establish if there is a minimum spend required, and are you comfortable with potentially spending more than this? You may well fall in love with your photos once you see them all! 

10. Availability and the importance of booking early

Popular newborn photographers get booked up months in advance.

Don’t fall into the trap of identifying the perfect photographer only to discover that they have no availability in the weeks after the birth of your baby.

As I said previously, book early to avoid disappointment – as soon as you’ve had your 20 week scan ideally, if not before. 

Although if you are late booking, do still call to enquire about their availability - they may be able to squeeze you in if you're lucky!

Final thoughts on what to consider when choosing a newborn photographer

These are ten important factors that I urge you to give good consideration to before choosing your newborn photographer.

Only then can you be sure that your photographer will deliver the quality of experience that you desire and that your new baby deserves, and photos that you will treasure for a lifetime. 

Should you wish to choose Bundles of Joy Photography I look forward to hearing from you. Contact me at any time on 07973 939 522, email me at photos@bundlesofjoybygeorgina.co.uk or complete the form on my contact page: http://www.bundlesofjoybygeorgina.com/contact/

Georgina x