10 Questions to ask before hiring your newborn photographer | Akron Newborn Photography
Expecting a child is one of the most exciting times in your life! No doubt you have a million questions spinning around in your head – the last thing you want to try and figure out is who to hire to take those first portraits of your baby. The newborn stage is so fleeting and magical – Your baby will never be this tiny, this sleepy, this curly or this perfect again so making sure you hire the right person to capture it is essential.
Below are a few questions that you might want to ask your potential newborn photographer, in hopes of narrowing down someone that is right for you!
1. Have you taken any workshops or had any training in posing newborns?
With the availability of low-cost digital cameras and the overabundance of websites devoted to photography, it’s hard to know the difference between a professional photographer and a hobbyist. Many photographers are self-taught, but those skilled in newborn portraiture have taken the time to learn newborn posing and how to safely handle these tiny subjects. Newborn portraiture is a specialized field. If someone is just starting out or hasn’t taken any specific training with regard to newborns, be very careful.
Look at the portfolio of the photographer you are considering. Do they have a diverse portfolio of babies and poses? Do the babies look comfortable? Can you see their faces? Are the photographs in focus and well lit? Are the hands or feet purple?
2. At what age do you prefer to schedule newborn sessions?
Most professional newborn photographers know that babies are most ‘womb-like’ in the first 2 weeks of life. That means that the ideal time for a newborn session is generally when a baby is 5-14 days old. See my other blog post on “Why photograph newborns in the first 2 weeks?“ for more details.
3. How long have you been working with newborns?
Many people who have children feel like they would be well suited to work with newborns since they have had babies of their own. But newborn photographers will tell you that every newborn is different. Some like being bounced, some like being rocked, some will take a pacifier, some enjoy being on their tummy, some like to be swaddled – and some will fuss no matter what you try! Having the experience of working with many, many newborns gives professional newborn photographers the knowledge and experience to soothe colicky babies, to know what positions are best for babies with reflux, to understand how to pose multiples, and everything in-between. Good newborn photographers are patient, kind, and gentle with your baby.
4. Do you have props (blankets, baskets, hats, headbands, etc.)?
Browsing through Pinterest or Facebook, you can easily see how popular props have become. Make sure to ask your photographer if she has a variety of hats, headbands, blankets, baskets, etc. if you are looking for that type of thing during your session. These items can be very expensive, especially those that are well made and safe for newborns. Since newborns come in all sizes, it is important to have a variety of props in different sizes as well so if a baby is too large or too small for a specific prop, you have other options to choose from.
5. Do you do composites for difficult poses?
No doubt you’ve seen photos of babies hanging from tree branches, curled up in sports helmets, sleeping on top of tall chairs, etc. and think, “I want a picture of my baby like that!” What you don’t see is the process behind creating those images. Any image where a baby is on top of a prop or hanging from something should be done as a composite. That means the photographer takes multiple photos of the setup and then merges them together in Photoshop. The most important detail in creating these images is that there is an assistant or a parent holding the baby the entire time! A newborn should never be left propped up on something where they could startle, roll off, or fall out. They should never be put in anything glass and if they are inside any type of bucket or basket, there should be an assistant with a hand on or near the baby. If your photographer does not know what a composite is or how to achieve it, consider that a red flag.
6. Do you have a studio or will you travel to our home?
Professional newborn photographers may have a retail studio, a home studio, or they may travel to your home. Beautiful images can be created in any of those settings and one is not necessarily better than the others. Some clients are more comfortable going to a studio for a photo shoot, while others prefer if the photographer comes to them.
7. Do you have insurance?
This is a big one – any photographer who works with newborn babies should have business and liability insurance, as well as a current business license. These items mean that you are dealing with a true professional and not a fly-by-night hobbyist. A professional photographer should also provide a contract agreement for you to sign that documents all of the key terms and conditions for the session. You should feel comfortable handing your precious baby over to your photographer and trust that they have done everything possible to protect your child.
8. Do you have an assistant or will there be other people with you at the session?
Sometimes photographers will have an assistant who helps them during the session, and other times they will rely on a parent to help them with more difficult poses. It’s always good to know if there will be additional people handling your baby and who they are.
9. Do you feel comfortable with preemies?
Your newborn photographer should know what to expect and how to handle preemies safely. Sometimes, a preemie has to stay in the hospital for days, weeks, or even months. What if you bring home a 4lb baby? Will your newborn photographer be comfortable posing her? Cleanliness and a healthy environment are important for preemies as well. Is the space your baby will be in cleaned regularly? If the photographer has a home studio, will there be other children or a family member who may have recently been sick? Has everyone who will be handling the baby been vaccinated? These are all valid questions to ask your newborn photographer!
10. Are parents and siblings included in the newborn session?
Some photographers specialize in newborns, and prefer not to include parents and siblings in the session. Other photographers may charge extra for each additional person. It’s always a good idea to clarify with your newborn photographer who will be photographed during the session.
Use these questions to be sure you’re hiring a professional photographer whose work is outstanding and you can trust with your newborn.
If you are currently expecting, please contact me today to schedule your newborn session prior to birth to guarantee availability.