Five Tips to Choosing Your Perfect Fit Newborn Photographer
While us artsy types are very creative, not every photographer has the business skills to run a successful business. Make sure they are upfront about policies and pricing, and that their brand is well represented. If they have been doing this for some time they will likely have a better defined process to how they do business, which will make it less stressful for you in the long run.
Ask questions like:
How long have they been in business?
What is unique about their brand?
What is your process?
Everyone has to start out somewhere, and that goes for photographers too. However, there is a very steep learning curve when it comes to photographing newborns. This is why there are hundreds upon hundreds of workshops that focus on safety first for newborn photographers. Those precious little heads need to be held and secured properly even in the most adorable shots. Experience will provide the ability to maneuver and pose newborns without compromising those fragile joints and muscles, plus it also helps to weed out those photographers who do not have the necessary patience. Most importantly, safety should never be sacrificed. Experienced and credentialed photographers will know this better than anyone. You may be able to trust an amateur photographer for milestone or family pictures, especially when on a budget, but think twice about who you want for a newborn photographer.
Ask questions like:
What is your credentials?
Have you trained at any workshops and/or have a background in photography?
What safety measures do you put into place during a session?
You want to make sure their artistic style matches what you are looking for and more importantly, something you would want on display in your home. After all, images are not meant to sit on a disk/usb, these are investments for artwork that will proudly be on display. Look at their online portfolios as most photographers will have a functional website with these available for clients. Does the style match what you are looking for? Do they have a number of different poses and styles? You’ll want to analyze their technical skills just a bit. Even if you know nothing about photography just the way the images appear can say quite a bit. Look at the images and see if baby is in focus, the files are crisp or do they appear grainy, does the setting complement the subject or take away, are there any marks that stand out substantially (hairs, stitches, blurs, etc).
You also want to consider if you are looking to use props or focus or colors. Props can be great especially during holidays and to create a unique scene that captures the time of year a child is born. But you don’t want it to be overdone and take focus off of the true star of the show, baby! Be prepared to give a few color options for the photographer to choose some ideas. Good communication with the photographer beforehand will help to make sure there are no surprises during the session.
Ask questions like
Do you have a website or place where I can see your portfolio?
Where can I read reviews others have posted?
What does your work say about your specific style?
Do you use props and to what extent?
How many outfit changes do you usually offer and do I have to bring my own or are there options provided?
What kinds of outfits do you have available in ___ (your choice) color scheme.
Of course price is a huge consideration when pursuing a newborn photographer and there is a reason why I put this one towards the end, even though price is likely to be your first thought. It seems cliché to say, but newborn photography is an investment. The first two weeks goes by in an instant when they already begin changing through their first growth spurts. In the whirlwind that seems to come from a new life being brought into this world, moms and dads will soon struggle to remember what their precious baby looked like shortly after birth. Dim light hospital photographs and a tuckered out mom and dad may not be wall display quality. That’s where newborn photography steps in, gives tired mom and dad a break and provides you with heirloom quality memories. Considering the business, experience, and quality of photographer you want, what do you consider to be your possible investment?
There are also two main price structures you may encounter, one being sitting fee based and the other product based. A sitting fee based structure will feature a higher sitting fee or per hour charge($400-700) but include a large number of digital files provided via disc/downlad/usb. This is more of a DIY type of plan in many instances because you will have the digital files and print them wherever you choose. While a product based structure focuses less on sitting fees ($150-300 range) with a select number of digital images provided and packages for prints/products with options for additional images. Most often these will end up costing near the same, except with product based, you leave with actual prints that you can cherish, scrapbook, or even send to relatives. We know not all grandmas and grandpas can figure out how to see a photo on Facebook or email after all as opposed to being able to touch and feel a photograph that’s been sent to them by mail. The quality from photography labs will far surpass that of self-printed images that you get from photolabs like Walmart or Walgreens. Because photographers get special access to labs that are not available to the general public, they are going to give you the best heirloom quality and closest matches to the color of the original photograph. Each photographer also carries their own line of industry specific products which may or may not match your personal tastes. Make sure to know up front if they feature products you are interested in, or that match the style of your home already. If they offer an in home ordering session, they will likely bring the images and help you decide wall layouts with packages that fit your budget. While sitting fee based may seem like an easier way to go, the images may also not be edited for print quality. When a photographer is dedicated to their products they edit in such a way that even in the largest print size, they will be customized to look the best!
Ask questions like
What is your pay structure?
What is your deposit?
What is the sitting fee?
What packages do you offer for products?
Do you offer a custom order sessions?
What kind of products do you offer?
Do you have product samples that I will be able to view?
Do you have software you use for ordering?
Will images be customized for the products we choose?
Do you offer specials for returning clients such as maternity or milestone sessions?
Many photographers begin booking two-four months out for newborns. Do not wait until they are born to add another piece to your already long to do list. While you are still expecting, at about 30-32 weeks, go through this list and ask the necessary questions to find an available photographer that is your perfect fit. You do not want to miss out on getting on the books with the person you truly want because they are overbooked. Plus, many photographers offer specials for their newborn clients like no or a lower sitting fee for maternity/milestone sessions.
Ask questions likes
How far out do you usually book?
Do you have availability between ___(3 week frame including week before your due date, week of due date, and week after).
How many sessions do you usually book a month and do you have a limit?
How long between session and when I can see the final images?
If you are in the Colorado Springs area and would like to learn more about a portrait session for your little one, please don’t hesitate to contact me! We can get you all set up with a complimentary consult, and talk about your vision and goals for your session. Whether you are pregnant and wanting to capture your Birth Story, freeze those very first days with a Newborn Session, or even capture those first year milestones, I would be more than happy to assist you. Let’s work together to create memories and heirloom quality portraits, that will be in your family for generations to come. Leave a legacy, leave a printed record, hang artwork. It matters. You and your children will be glad you did.