Updated: Apr 12
So, you're looking for a newborn photographer. There are several questions you should be asking before you book any newborn photographer so you can be sure you are making the right choice for your family.
Choosing a Newborn Photographer
Deciding on a newborn photographer is something you should ideally be doing fairly early on in your pregnancy.
I suggest you plan on booking your photographer somewhen around the time of your 20 week scan. If you try to book later than this you run the risk of your chosen photographer being booked already - so get that provisional date locked in early if you can.
But how on earth do you know which Newborn Photographer to choose out of the hundreds out there? Every photographer is different and they all have different packages and styles, skill levels and ways of doing things. It is important to ask plenty of questions as you are reviewing your options and making your decision.
My aim in this blog is to share with you some important insights based on my years of experience in newborn photography.
Make a shortlist based on style
When browsing online for a Newborn Photographer, the first thing that is likely to attract you (or not!) to a particular photographer is their style.
Are their images light and airy or darker and more moody? Are they bright and colourful or do they use more muted, natural tones? Are the babies sleeping in tightly curled and technical poses or are they awake and looking at the camera? Do they include the baby's family and capture connections and emotions between new family members or are they more focused on just capturing baby alone?
Spend some time looking at a range of Newborn Photographers in your local area (or within the distance you are willing to travel) and find a few whose images stand out to you as being the sort you would like to have on your wall at home. Afterall - there is no point in spending money to get images you don't like!
7 Tips on How To Choose Your Newborn Photographer
Once you have found a shortlist of photographers in your area who produce images in a style that you like, there are then several other important things to consider before making your final decision. You need to make sure to get answers to these 7 questions from any Newborn Photographer you are considering booking with. Their answers should help you to make your decision more easily.
You might find this information freely available on their website, or you might need to make contact with the photographer via phone or email to find out their answer. Either way, any Professional Newborn Photographer should be able to answer these questions for you.
1. What safety training and experience do you have?
This question is of particular importance if you are hoping for any type of posed images to form part of your newborn photography session.
Newborn Photography is currently an unregulated profession in the UK. This means that any person with a camera can offer newborn photography sessions without any prior experience or training. But newborn babies are delicate (and sometimes awkward!) things, and manipulating their little bodies into sometimes complicated and risky poses should not be done by someone who has not been trained how to do it safely.
Any Newborn Photographer worth entrusting with your precious new baby should be able to talk about the newborn safety training they have completed and the practices they use to keep your baby safe during a newborn photoshoot.
Just as important as training, the level of experience the photographer has should also be considered. An experienced Newborn Photographer will be really comfortable handling babies and be able to pose and sooth them confidently, meaning you can relax and enjoy the session. You might even pick up a few tips along the way!
2. Are you insured?
No one wants to think about the worst happening during a newborn photoshoot, but accidents can and do happen. Any Professional Newborn Photographer should hold public liability insurance as a minimum - even if they operate a mobile photography service where they travel to your home. Some lower priced, inexperienced or 'hobbyist' photographers may not hold any insurance, and if a photographer you contact can't answer this question to your satisfaction it is advisable to walk away and book a different photographer.
3. How do you create advanced poses?
Some photographers will create advanced poses such as 'The Froggy Pose' where baby appears to balance their head on their upturned hands, or 'The Potato Sack Pose' where a baby wrapped in several layers of swaddling appears to stand upright. Other photographers will display images of babies inside or on top of various items or suspended on swings or shelves.
None of these positions are safe for unsupported newborn babies and all should be created 'digitally' as composite images - this means several images are taken with the baby supported by adult hands, and then the images are stitched together in photoshop afterwards to remove the supporting hands and make the image appear 'real'.
Beware: some inexperienced, lower priced or 'hobbyist' photographers may not be aware of this and may attempt to recreate poses they have seen on the internet without appropriate training or experience. If a photographer you are considering offers these types of poses and you are interested in having these poses in your photo session, please ensure the photographer is aware of how to create the pose safely. Please be aware:
No photographer should ever force your baby into positions which make them uncomfortable or put them in danger.
No baby should ever be expected to support the weight of its own head or body, be suspended from a height or put in a basket or box which could potentially topple over.
The baby should be relaxed and comfortable at all times, and 100% safe.
4. What age do you photograph newborn babies at?
All photographers will have a different preference for the age at which they photograph a newborn baby. This can vary from a few days old to 12 weeks old. The type of images you see in their portfolio might depend on the age of baby they prefer - for example as a rule it is easier to pose younger babies under 14 days old in tightly curled and sleepy poses. More interactive and awake baby shots with eye contact and facial expressions will likely result from shoots where the baby was 4 or more weeks old. Do bear in mind though that every baby is different and there are always exceptions to this 'rule'.
5. Do you edit images and offer retouching?
Taking the picture is only the first step in creating beautiful newborn photographs – colour correction, editing and retouching are what completes them.
Editing photographs involves correcting the photograph for exposure, colour, cropping, and adding any other touches that give the photographer’s signature look.
Retouching photographs usually takes more time, and includes things like: correcting uneven skin tone, fixing flaky skin or baby acne, softening bags under the eyes or lines, whitening teeth, and creating composite images (such as for the advanced poses.)
In newborn photography retouching can make a significant difference to the final photograph – most newborn babies have uneven skin tone, flaky skin and / or acne. Some parents don't want to see any of this in their final images and some want to keep a little in so their images are more 'real' - but not so much that their baby looks too red and blotchy. Some parents like to see the little 'milk spots' on their baby's nose - others want them removed. Some parents want to see a birthmark that is likely to fade in a few days, others don't.
Not every photographer will offer the same level of editing, or retouching – some won’t offer retouching at all. So it is helpful to find out what you can expect before booking your shoot, and whether you have the opportunity to discuss which features you’d like to be retouched and which you would like to keep.
6. How long will it take before I can see the images?
Once you’ve had your shoot you’ll obviously be excited to see the photos! How long will you need to wait for this?
If you are planning to give the photographs as a gift for a particular occasion, such as a birthday or Christmas, or if you’d like to use the photographs for birth announcements this timeline will be very important.
You’ll probably find that the timescale from shoot to seeing your photographs can be anything from one week to six weeks depending on the photographer. Some may offer 'sneak peeks' of one or more images more immediately after the session and some may offer 'rush editing' of a handful of images ready for announcements or gifts before the full gallery is completed.
7. How much does it cost, and what do I get for my investment?
By now you should have an idea of how experienced your photographer is, and the kind of service you can expect from them. But how much does it all cost?
What you’ll find is that photographers have different ways for charging for their services, and offer different products after your shoot. You’ll probably also find that the photographer’s experience and the kind of service they offer is reflected in the price. Prices can vary a lot so be sure that the photographer you pick has prices that you can afford.
Many photographers charge a session fee, and then charge separately for the photos in addition to this via 'collections' or as individual items. Others will have a higher up front price for the session but include a certain number of digital images or print products within that price.
With most high-quality newborn photographers you should expect to pay a couple of hundred pounds in total as a minimum if you want to have a handful of images to take home and print for your walls. You should also establish if there is a minimum spend required, and are you comfortable with potentially spending more than this? You may well fall in love with your photos once you see them all!
The cost of additional products after the shoot such as albums and wall arts will also vary depending on the quality offered. Many higher quality photographers will offer products that are only available to professional photographers. You get what you pay for with photography, and high quality, bespoke albums and wall art will cost more than off-the-shelf items you could buy yourself on the high street or online. It's worth asking for a full print and product pricelist and/or asking to see some examples of the albums or wall art offered before you book so you can see the quality offered and how much these items might set you back before you make a decision.
If the photographer you love and/or the products they offer are a little more than you can afford in one go, ask if they offer payment plans. Many photographers will be more than happy for you to pay by instalments so you can spread the payment out.
The Fastest Way to Find a Professional Newborn Photographer
In summary, the fastest way to narrow down your choice of newborn photographers is by looking at each photographer’s portfolio, and making a shortlist of the photographers who’s style you like.
Once you have your shortlist, asking these 7 questions will help you to make an informed decision about who the right newborn photographer for your family is:
What training and experience do you have?
Are you insured?
How do you create advanced poses?
What age do you photograph newborn babies at?
Do you offer editing and retouching?
How long will it take before I can see the images?
How much does it cost, and what do I get for my investment?
Hopefully this post has helped you to find a Newborn Photographer who will deliver the quality of experience that you desire and that your new baby deserves, as well as photos that you will treasure for a lifetime. If you have any questions please leave a comment below.
Should you wish to choose Holly Rose Photography for your newborn session I look forward to hearing from you. Contact me at any time via email@example.com or complete the contact form on my website: www.hollyrosephotography.co.uk