How to Choose a Newborn Photographer
How to Choose a Newborn Photographer
Firstly, congratulations on your pregnancy! You must be very excited and eager to meet your little one.
Newborn photography is becoming increasingly popular which isn’t surprising - who wouldn’t want photos of their gorgeous new baby? And for many parents, a newborn shoot it is an absolute essential.
There are literally thousands of photographers in the UK that offer newborn photography so it can be quite overwhelming for parents when they have to narrow it down to just one person. Hopefully this little guide will help you see what you need to look out for before you commit to a booking.
Above everything and anything, you must consider safety first. This is a tricky one. Our industry isn’t regulated. Your next door neighbour could start offering newborn shoots tomorrow without any training whatsoever and still be able to call themselves a Newborn Photographer and charge people for their work.
Sure, newborns are robust, but I would never hand my child over to someone that doesn’t know what they are doing. Certain poses, if not done correctly, can cause harm to babies. Some poses (such as the froggy) must ALWAYS be done as a composite (this is where the photographer takes two or more images and then fuses them together in photoshop to make one image which gives the illusion that baby was able to support themselves). And at no point should a baby be put in a position where they could sustain an injury.
Before you book a newborn photographer, ask what training they have received. And don’t be afraid to question what safety measures they have in place. If you’re not confident in them - don’t book them.
Do you like their style?
Have a really good look through their portfolio - do you like the colours they use/their editing/their styling of shots and their general feel?
Some photographers only use white, some only use bright colours, others like dark, contrasty photos, and some go for all neutrals. If a photographer is using a certain style consistently it means they can recreate it over and over again without issue.
If you book a photographer who’s entire portfolio consists of dark, woody tones, and then you ask her to produce light and airy images, she’s going to struggle to deliver those for you. If you don’t have a specific style, or you would prefer a variety of images, choose a photographer who is an all-rounder like myself.
Look out for these details:
Focusing - are their images correctly focused and sharp?
Exposure - are their photos too dark or overexposed?
Posing - do you like the poses you see in their portfolio? Some photographers don’t do certain poses (such as froggy, potato sack and taco) and some photographer don’t pose at all
Hands - are baby’s fists clenched? Or has the photographer taken the time to straighten out the fingers which makes baby look more relaxed.
Lighting - is the light flattering? You should always light babies from the nose down (like natural sunlight) rather than nose up (ghoul lighting)
Angles - again, are they flattering? Same as lighting, you should never shoot up babies noses
Here’s an example of one of my first newborn shoots and one of my more recent ones:
You will see that the baby on the left is poorly posed, the angle of my camera is unflattering, baby’s hands are in the wrong position and his fist is clenched, I have shot up his nose, it’s overexposed and his face isn’t even in focus! Through lots of training and practice, my images have totally transformed.
When I first started charging for my work I was very cheap and that’s because I was still learning. My early clients received lots of photos of softly focused, poorly exposed, badly lit, babies shot from unflattering angles with their clenched fists in front of their gorgeous faces. And don’t even get me started on the editing! I cringe when I look back at my early work but we all have to start somewhere.
I have invested tens of thousands of pounds in training with experts, the very best equipment and purpose made props. But it’s not all about the money. I have also invested countless hours gaining hands-on experience with babies and developing a workflow that gives me consistent results but still allows me to create bespoke galleries with lots of variety.
There are cheaper photographers out there. Some are just starting out so will be lacking in experience and will no doubt make some of the mistakes I listed above. Some have been in business for many years and are experienced but they are high-volume photographers who make money by getting clients in and out as fast as possible and won’t pay much attention to the little details.
Some photographers book clients in without fully disclosing their prices. I won’t name and shame but if you are offered a free shoot or a low cost booking fee, make sure you get full details of their package prices before booking otherwise you may be in for a shock.
Make sure you choose a photographer who puts safety first and who’s work you love. Newborn photography is an investment - you are going to be looking at these photos for decades to come so choose someone who’s work you will still adore after your newborn mummy goggles have worn off.
For more information on my Newborn Photography Sessions, visiting my Newborn page.
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