Newborn Photographers: Top Ten Things to Look for
Choosing newborn photographers these days is almost as involved as choosing pediatricians. You ask around to your friends to find out who they use. You talk to your parents and go online for hours looking at pictures, but what should you really look for in a good newborn photographer? What attributes and policies should they have and how do you tell if they have them? This list should help out in finding the right person who will document the memories of this special moment in your life.
This is a top ten list. There may be more things that are important to you. Here’s a tip first and foremost, make your own list. Use some or all of these suggestions and then add to it with things that are important to you and your family. It is also important to note that just like finding true love and that perfect pediatrician, you may not find everything on your list. So be sure you know what is most important to you and what you would be willing to get “close enough” to or to sacrifice all together. Again this all comes down to how you feel, so be sure you feel comfortable!
The top ten things to look for in a newborn photographer are:
- A Plan
- A Home Option
- Digital Skill
- Adequate Time
Now for a more detailed explanation. I’ll start at the top.
- Attention- You want to look for someone who will give you their full attention. What I mean by this is that there should absolutely never be anyone else scheduled for that kauai photographers time on the same day as your shoot. Your shoot may only be two or so hours, but it is not going to help anyone if your photographer is preoccupied thinking of other clients. You should be their top priority.
- How to tell: It is totally okay to just ask if you have a question so that is what you will do in this case. Simply ask your potential photographer if they schedule multiple shoots on the same day. You could ask this in email, over the phone, or at their studio if they have one. That goes for the rest of these “just ask” answers. Don’t be afraid, I can guarantee they are used to answering questions like these.
- A Plan- An important thing to understand in a newborn shoot is efficiency. Babies of any age don’t much like to be dressed, undressed, and changed, over and over again. It is important that your photographer have at least a rough plan or pattern to go by on what shots to get in which order. On that note however, it is also important that your photographer know how to deviate from the plan effectively when an opportunity for a good shot presents it’s self.
- How to tell: This is another “simply” ask answer as many of these will be. You can just ask your photographer, “Do you have a plan or try to get certain shots in any particular order?”
- Meeting- Look for a photographer who would be willing to, or better yet suggest a meeting with you. This serves as a great opportunity to get to know your photographer and for them to get to know you. I can tell you right now when your photographer has met you face to face rather than just through an email or phone call, it will come through in the photographs. During this meeting you get a chance to let them know your style, your personality, and even some concerns you may have. This is also a great time for the photographer to present their pricing, show you products they can offer, have the contract signed, and to get any deposit paid.
- How to tell: Contact the photographer and tell them you are interested. Then ask if they generally like to meet clients before the shoot. Some photographers may even say on their site that they will meet with you.
- A Home Option– The best time to take newborn portraits is before two weeks of age. When your baby is that little, taking them to an unfamiliar environment like a studio is not ideal. Look for a photographer who will come to you. Your photographer should feel comfortable in your home and should be able to get beautiful intimate photographs both with background equipment and in the settings for your own home.
- How to tell: Ask where the photographer normally takes newborn photos. Then when you meet with the photographer, if possible, meet in your home. This may not always be possible, but it is good to ask because seeing your home gives the photographer great insight into who you are, your personal style, and the overall feel of what makes you comfortable.
- Patients- Anything can happen on a newborn shoot. Your photographer should understand this and have the utmost respect for yours, and most importantly your baby’s comfort. If your baby needs to eat, feed them. Your photographer needs to understand and encourage things like feeding breaks, changing breaks, and even small breaks just because if the baby needs time. This patients comes from experience which is a sort of subpoint to look for. Your photographer is the absolute last person who should get annoyed, frustrated, or unhappy with your baby. I would say that even if you get annoyed the photographer’s job is still to be calm, collected, and even try to be sure you know that everything is going to be just fine.
- How to tell: When you met with your photographer if they seem at ease and calm then will be that way on your shoot as well. Especially if you are meeting in your home, look to be sure that your photographer is comfortable and confident. You don’t want someone who is acting overly nervous or even just awkward being in your home or meeting you for the first time.
- Digital Skill- It is extremely important especially with newborn photography that your photographer edit every single photograph after the shoot. Those rich black and white photographs high in contrast and beautifully classic can only come from a starting good photograph as a base combined with digital editing skill and experience. This is not only true with black and white images. I can guarantee you that 99.9% of all images need at least color correction and your photographer should be well versed in digital editing.
- How to tell: Look at the photographer’s online galleries. Your photos will look very similar. Then again simply ask, “Do you edit every photo?” As a photographer I can tell you that I have received this question and it is absolutely not an inappropriate one to ask.
- Love- It sounds like a silly thing to look for but love is a very important ingredient for good newborn photographs. Your photographer must love what they do and while they are taking your child’s portraits they should love your baby like their own. They must also understand your love for your baby. I don’t think it is 100% required, but it may help if the photographer is also a parent especially if you are a little overly concerned as most parents are right at the beginning particularly with the first child. I know I was!
- How to tell: Look at their galleries online. If the photographer loves what they do you’ll know because you’ll love their photographs as well. You can also read their “about me” page if they have one to learn a little more about them. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have children if that is important to you and see how they are when they meet with you. This one really shouldn’t be too hard to figure out and if it is I’d keep looking.
- Comfort- Your photographer should know that the most important factor in getting good newborn photographs is the comfort and happiness of the baby. In reality the photographer is not in charge. Even you are not in charge. The baby is the one in charge and will do what he/she will. Neither you or the photographer can force the infant into anything. Your photographer should know this and encourage bottle breaks, frequent diaper changes if necessary, and even just some mommy baby time.
- How to tell: Ask your photographer if they encourage breaks and the like.
- Adequate Time- The amount of time the photographer gives you is something to think about. About two hours for a newborn is just right for most. More than that the baby wont be able to handle. A single hour on the other hand will likely not be enough as the child will almost definitely need some breaks along the way. A second part to this point is adequate scheduling time. Make sure the photographer will allow you to book a session before you have the baby. Because the best time to take newborn portraits is before two weeks of age, the best thing to do is to schedule before you even have the baby.
- How to tell: Ge on the photographer’s website or contact them to find out the amount for time they offer as a general sitting time. Don’t go with someone who will make you pay extra for that second hour. As far as scheduling goes, just ask what their policy is on scheduling newborn sessions for an unborn baby. They should let you have a guaranteed spot regardless of if the baby is born early, late, or on time.
- Personality- It is very important that you like your photographer. Find someone who you get along with and could even be your friend. You don’t want to be stuck in a contract with someone you don’t like or who doesn’t understand you and your style.
- How to tell: Be in contact with the photographer that you’re thinking of using. Call them, set up an appointment to meet in person, email them some ideas you have or some pictures that you like. They should be receptive, supportive, and appreciative or your vision and enthusiasm.
There you are; the top ten things to look for in newborn photographers. Like I mentioned before make your own list of things that are important to you in finding the photographer to document such an amazing time in life of your family. Remember these are memories that you will want to keep for a lifetime and beyond and you have one shot at capturing those memories perfectly, so choose the photographer that is right for you.