Are you Pregnant, and looking for a Newborn Photographer?
Here are some things to consider. (Because pretty pictures just won’t cut it).
1. Has your Photographer got the Whooping Cough vaccine/booster?
Yes, this is Question Number One. Because it’s the most important. Ask the question. Even if you never hire me as your Photographer – PLEASE, for your baby’s sake – Make sure your Photographer has had their whooping cough booster.
Don’t Google whooping cough in newborns. It will give you nightmares. Just take my advice, and don’t expose them to anyone without a booster.
Your Newborn will be around 6-10 days old at their session. Chances are you might not have even left the house yet. And now you’re about to hand them over for 3 hours to a complete stranger, in a new environment! So please, ask your Photographer!! Have they had their whooping cough vaccine/booster? Flu shot? MMR? Are they covered? You don’t expose your baby to random friends without a whooping cough vaccine. Your Photographer is no different. Please ask them.
And on that note, has your Photographer been cleared to work with babies? You know how many clients have asked me this? None. Not one. I love that they trust me, however even so, all my ground work is done. As a business owner, I am actually exempt from needing a “Working with Childrens Check” – as I am not a teacher/home stay/tutor etc, however, I have one anyway. It’s just another thing to ask, so you know who you are working with.
2. Are they a Professional Photographer?
If you’re building a house, you get a registered builder….. If you’re hungry, you find a restaurant…..There are many industries with governing bodies, however, Photography is not one of them.
Anyone can buy a camera, make a website, and be a Photographer. So it’s up to me as a Photographer, to join organisations such as the Australian Institute of Professional Photography – who assess my work, register me as an Accredited Professional Photographer, and make me strive for excellence. (Click the AIPP link, you’ll find me there!). The AIPP provides ongoing training, which I choose to take place in, at my cost.
A Professional earns money, pays tax, has a registered business, and insurance. Oh yes – insurance. Please don’t use your friend “just starting out” to photograph your newborn, who has no insurance and is not covered, just incase you trip over their light stand, or they drop their camera on your baby. (Yes, it has happened before. Not to me thank goodness!).
3. Are they trained to hold, pose, and photograph Newborns?
Anyone can hold a newborn. They’re cute, cuddly, brand new little squishy bundles of joy. Cuddling a newborn is easy. But posing and photographing Newborns is an Art in itself.
Will your Photographer closely monitor the temperature in their studio while photographing your baby? Will they watch baby’s skin colour closely during the session and check for inconsistencies and changes? Motley skin? Clammy skin? Cool to touch? Do they use a heater? Warm air blowing on the baby, not too hot, not too cold… about 28 degrees? Do they slightly tilt baby’s head so their airway isn’t restricted when lying in props? Do they check their fingers and toes while they’re all curled up? Purple toes… poor circulation! You’d better move them out of that pose real quick.
Does your Photographer work alone? That’s totally fine, many do. However if they don’t have an Assistant like I do, they’re probably going to need a spotter – and that will probably be you! Someone to stay close by, make sure baby doesn’t stretch in their little poses and brush their hand on the edge of the timber prop. Carefully hold them as the photographer takes multiple images to piece together while editing. Hover your hands above them so they don’t “jump” out of their pose if they startle. It’s so important. And it’s much nicer, and so much easier (especially after you’ve just given birth!) to have a hired Assistant to do that for them, so you can have a rest on the couch and watch your baby’s session.
Most Professional Photographers, just like any other field, undertake annual training, in order to improve their skill set. Training is very expensive, but very, very important. Don’t get me wrong, hands-on learning is vital, and some photographers may have been blessed to pick up a camera and pose babies with no prior training. But for the rest of us, we undertake 1:1 and group training each year. We talk with NICU Nurses. We ask about hip problems, questions about your delivery, was baby breech, has baby been circumcised? We train, and ask questions, so we are prepared.
Some poses, like this one below, require hands-on baby at ALL times, and is a composite image in Photoshop:
4. How Much, and What do I Get?
Every Photographer’s images are different. That’s the beauty of Art. So check their portfolio – website, facebook, instagram – all those places where they post updated portraits. Make sure they’re great!! Do you like what you see? You want beautiful portraits that will last your lifetime, so choose someone who can provide that for you. Look closely at the images. Does baby look comfortable? Are they on a downhill slant? Are the pictures blurry? Out of focus? Does it just look…. wrong? It’s your call.
What do they provide? Some only provide digital images. Some encourage you to purchase long-lasting prints and artwork for your walls (me!). Because we know that digital images will NOT last your lifetime. (I don’t want you to look for your newborn baby’s disk of images when they turn 15, and the files are corrupt and they don’t work). That’s your memories, gone.
The cost can vary so much. You can pay between $50 – $10,000+ for a Portrait Photographer, but what you get is verrrrrry different.
Take a look in your garage – what car do you drive? All cars do the same thing – they get us from A to B. However, a Scooter is very different to a Bugatti. Your inclusions, options, products and experience will be very different.
YOUR NEWBORN WILL NEVER BE THIS LITTLE, AGAIN. You have ONE chance to capture their beautiful newborn squishy-ness.
Cars come and go. Houses come and go. Handbags come and go. But your newborn – your baby – will start growing and changing before your eyes.
Hire a properly trained, equipped and Accredited Newborn Photographer to handle your baby, and provide you with beautiful, long-lasting memories.