If you are looking to book a newborn session with a local newborn photographer then this post is for you. I am sure you have a million questions. Yes, of course, there are the most commonly asked questions regarding pricing and availability but I encourage you to ask a few more. At the end, this is about your little baby and the safety of your newborn is priority! Finding a reputable, trained, skilled, and experienced professional newborn photographer is essential. Do your own research and try to narrow it down to your favorite baby photographer in your area.
You want to look for someone who represents themself as a professional and shows some or all of the following:
- Professional website or social media page that displays current work
- positive reviews on google, facebook, other through good word of mouth
- You want make sure that they are passionate about their job?
- Does this particular newborn photographer really show the style of photography you enjoy? does their work match your style?
Now, that you’ve narrowed down your search, here are a few questions that you may want to ask to make sure that the chosen newborn photographer is for you.
1. How long have you been photographing newborns?
You will get a very wide range of answers for this question. From photographers that recently picked up a camera to others that have been doing it for many years and worked with hundreds of babies. A newborn session is not like any other session. A lot of experience and training goes into posing these precious little babies. My advice is to make sure to hire someone that knows how to safely handle your precious baby and has a lot of experience in this field. A newborn photographer that knows how to soothe a baby in many different ways, can make or break a session.
Sometimes, my clients call me “the baby whisperer”, I think that’s just because I’ve learned to read the cues of newborns over a decade already; some like to be swaddled, some don’t, some are gassy, some prefer the belly poses, some the back poses, some like the pacifier, some don’t. For me, I’ve learned that with patience, every baby eventually will fall asleep during their session.
2. Are you trained in newborn safety?
There are a lot of resources (in person and online training classes) for photographers. A newborn photographer should be trained and skilled in posing your newborn baby. It takes many hours to achieve the knowledge and feel of how to handle and maneuvre a precious little baby. Your baby’s safety is crucial in all the various poses and props. Many seasoned photographers photograph certain poses (such as the froggy) as two pictures that will be put together in post processing. Some pictures are even done digitally altogether, such as the babies on swings etc. Hence, do not trust anyone who wants to put your baby on an actual swing hanging from the ceiling, in a piece of glassware, or such (unless it’s digitally done).
A newer photographer may not know how to achieve certain poses and may put your baby at risk. How can you find out if the photographer is inexperienced? You can go through the photographer’s portfolio and see if there is a variety of different poses. Ask yourself if the babies look relaxed or distressed? Do the newborns look safely placed into a prop or no? And if you’re not sure if you are looking at a digital image, you can always reach out to the photographer too.
I attended many online and in person workshops such as Keri Meyer Photography workshop, Pebbles and Polka Dot Photography, Newborn and Beyond Retreat in Hilton Head, NC, Shoot out with Sandra Bianco, many years of Milky Way retreat (Newborn, maternity, and family), just to name a few and I continue to work on my education too.
3. Will you tell me how to prepare for the session?
Being prepared can make or break a session. It’s your photographer’s responsibility to tell you how to prepare for the session. Most baby poses are done when baby is in a deep sleep due to safety reasons. Flailing or kicking limbs are just not safe. Also, newborns are still strengthening their eye muscles so crossed or wandering eyes are not very uncommon. Hence, we want the babies very sleepy during most of the session. Being prepared and bringing in a sleepy baby can help with moving the session along a little faster. I love open eye shots too but it’s much easier to do those at the end of a session when your baby is waking up.
Don’t hesitate to ask your photographer if they will send you a how to prepare email or have a conversation with you over the phone.
I personally share an email with my clients before they arrive to their session. “The prep guide” as I call it, tells my clients some tips and tricks on what to do before the session, how to dress what to bring etc. I also tell them what to expect upon arrival to the photo studio, as well as after the session.
4. Are props/ wraps/ backdrops included?
A newborn photographer with a studio will most likely have everything for you: wraps, headbands, buckets, chairs, backdrops, sleepy hats, bonnets, little stuffies, bucket stuffers, etc. Another advantage of picking a seasoned newborn photographer is that you will probably have a bigger variety of props available to you. Many quality newborn items are very expensive and just one setup can easily run $100-$300 dollars or more. You can probably figure out very quickly that it can add up to top dollars fast.
I always tell my clients if they have anything near and dear to their heart (such as a family heirloom), they are free to bring it. My ultimate goal is, that my client is happy with how the pictures turn out. Hence, if something is valuable to you, I will work it into the session. I had clients bring in a 250 year old bible, 5 Stanley cup rings, knitted blankets from great grandma, a personalized golf club, and many other interesting items. However, it really is not necessary to go out and buy something for the session. If you prefer to do that for personal reasons, you can find many cute items on Etsy.com and I can certainly guide you to other vendors too and even tell you what photographs better.
5. Do you work with me on styling the session?
Many photographers have a specific style and you will be able to tell by looking at their social media pictures. Some photographers will give you a questionnaire before the session and some will just “do their own thing”.
I tell my clients that I pick neutral and timeless items and add a splash of color of their choice. I encourage them to send me screen shots of some pictures they like on my instagram or website. That is the easiest way for me to tell what they like best and it helps me being ready for the studio session.
6. Do you offer digitals, prints, products?
This is a good questions to ask. Sometimes, it is a little tricky to figure out as every photographer does it different. Make sure you understand before you book that there are different type of photographers. Some newborn photographers will give you digital files, some will only give you digitals if you buy products as well, and some will offer a mix.
I personally offer a mix. You will receive an online gallery where you pick your favorite edited images to download. However, I also offer albums, prints, canvasses, and more. I understand that everyone’s budget is different. At the end, I do love to see these gorgeous images printed on a wall and put together in a nice album. Digital images get lost too fast and I am afraid that some will never make its way to a printer!
7. Can you edit digital backdrops for newborns?
As a studio newborn photographer we really are a jack of all trades. Not only do we need to know how to safely pose babies, work with studio lighting, master our camera equipment, and market on social media, but also know how to use computer programs to edit pictures and digital composites. Mastering Lightroom and Photoshop really opens so many new doors with creating digital backdrops and absolute stunning and personalized picture can be created for your home. A lot of newborn photographers will have basic skills to edit your gallery, however if you have a very specific vision for your nursery you may want to find a newborn photographer that is very experience in Photoshop as well.
I love creating unique digitals images for my client’s nurseries. It’s so much fun.
Now that you have all the important information needed, I am sure you will find the perfect newborn photographer match for you! If you can think of another important fact I may have missed, please feel free to add it to the comment section! I hope I was able to help and give a little insight into the World of newborn photography!
My name is Joelle and I am a premier fine art maternity, family, and newborn photographer located in Jupiter Florida. I specialize in newborn, maternity, family, first-year milestone, and cake smash photography. I strive to capture unique moments in time that will become part of your family heirloom. If you like to learn more or book your session, please contact me through my page HERE or visit my Facebook page or Instagram page! I’d love to hear from you! Let’s create memories together!