Choosing a newborn photographer is hard!
With so many different styles and options to choose from- it can become overwhelming when seeking a local photographer to document this momentous occasion in your lives. But lucky for you… you’ve landed on this blog today! I’m going to give you 7 qualities and attributes and qualifications you should look for when seeking a professional newborn photographer. And if you’re wondering to yourself “What does this gal ACTUALLY know?”- I’ve been a professional newborn photographer for going on 14 years now, a certified Doula for 15 years (I co-own The Birth Society), a retired massage therapist that specialized in infant massage and craniosacral therapy, a Master Clinical Aromatherapist, Thompson-Method Breastfeeding Coach AND newly certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant! So… babies are my jam, if you couldn’t tell (insert a silly wink here).
Here’s the points I’m going to cover today:
Experience, Safety, Education, Style, Connection, Budget and Reputation
We all know you have to start somewhere, right? Every photographer starts at one point (I am slightly mortified when I see my early work and editing style, but that’s a different story for another day), and over time experience is built. An important aspect to understand is that unlike the medical industry or cosmetic industry, which both are highly regulated, the photography industry is not regulated. Anyone at any time can pick up a camera and claim themselves as a professional photographer. And let me tell you my friends… when it comes to your baby (or birth or wedding or anything involving you and your family), you want to have the utmost discernment when it comes to finding someone with experience.
SO HOW DO YOU DISTINGUISH EXPERIENCE WHEN IT COMES TO A PHOTOGRAPHER?
Simply put- look into them! Look at their website. Google them! See the history of activity. Look at their Google ratings and Yelp and Facebook ratings. See what people are saying about them (this falls under reputation as well but can help date actual experience). Word of mouth is an incredible way to find an amazing photographer local to you (or hey… if you want to travel, we all welcome it!). It’s ok to give your friend who is just starting out a shot- just make sure you communicate expectations/desires to them and go from there!
As I mentioned before, the newborn photography industry is NOT a regulated industry, even though we are handling your most precious possessions. Which is why safety is a non-negotiable when it comes to photographing your newborn. Never ever hesitate to ask questions about poses you see for studio sessions- like froggy pose (the pic below)- how is it done?
This photo is a composite- meaning it was more than one photo, edited in photoshop to look like this nugget was holding herself up… but she wasn’t! Many hands were on her at all times (I personally love having parents get involved in the session, but sometimes have an assistant with me). Her head was stable and secure at all times. Those sweet precious heads and necks are super important to make sure they are safe and secured!
Safety when posing is just so important. And any tenured newborn photographer knows its the most important aspect of our business- you are trusting us with your precious little miracle- so when we handle your babies, the utmost care and concern for their safety is top of our minds. Also, having CPR certification and keeping a healthy and clean studio is important as well.
Oh this is one of my favorite topics to discuss. Like I said earlier, we all start somewhere. Some are much more skilled right off the bat- and thats awesome! Or if you’re like me, it took me 2 years to figure out my darn DSLR and by the time I learned it, it was time to upgrade to a newer model and then I had to re-learn ALL over again. What can I say… I didn’t read the manual.
But on a serious note, education is important to look for in a photographer. We always want to be growing in our craft, taking workshops, pushing ourselves to be better business owners and photographers, so education is a key element here. I’m pretty sure most newborn photographers have taken a few workshops here and there… I’ve taken in person and online workshops with some of the top names in the newborn industry and each one was incredible! I walked away with knowledge on how to better MYSELF and my business and my photography. Heck… I even taught some photography classes in the past (teaching photography is fun, but it wasn’t where my heart was leading me to- I wanted to be more client-centric), but don’t ever hesitate to ask about a photographer’s education!
Posed. Lifestyle. Props. Clean and Classic. Bright colors. Jewel toned. Macro shots. No props. Black and White… and the list goes on.
I can tell you this- there are a gagillion different newborn photographers (probably in your area alone) and each one is going to be different. And THAT my friends, can be overwhelming beyond belief. So here’s a tip I like to give out when it comes to style.
SEEK A PHOTOGRAPHER THAT YOU HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THEIR STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND WANT TO SEE THOSE PHOTOGRAPHS GRACE THE WALLS OF YOUR HOME FOR MANY YEARS.
Do NOT, I plead with you, do NOT expect a photographer to change their style based off your Pinterest boards. Does that sound a little harsh? Sure. But here’s the deal- you can be mediocre at a bunch of things or AMAZING at a few. Personally, I would choose the one whose amazing…
Newborn Photographers, the professional ones, have worked HARD on our craft. We have developed a style over the years and mastered it. Do we evolve? YES! But if I have a client who wants a huge set of props with backdrops that are busy and filled with objects, I am going to refer them elsewhere.
Simply put- it’s not my style.
My style is clean and classic with neutral tones, made to withstand time and trends.
Find a photographer that already fits YOUR style and what you dream your newborn session will look like.
Let’s call a spade a spade- why on earth would anyone want to work with someone they don’t jive with? This is one of the reasons why talking before booking is SO IMPERATIVE! Emailing and texting is fine- after you’ve spoken to each other. Connection is such a beautiful aspect of being a business owner, it literally intertwines with every interaction and moment with our clients. My advice- listen to your gut.
Ahh… money. The topic people get nervous about. Look- we all have a budget, right? Don’t be ashamed if you have a smaller budget than someone else might have! I am a big believer in the philosophy of:
THERE IS A PHOTOGRAPHER FOR EVERYONE
And with that being said- seek a photographer who is willing to talk to you about pricing. None if this “hiding all pricing till you’ve booked the shoot” nonsense. That’s a shady business practice. And yes, I know this might offend some folks, but come on… let clients know how much to budget for!
We all experience sticker shock sometimes in life- example… my husband and I just bought a new SUV and the sticker cost almost made me fall out of my chair! BUT… it was something that was within our budget, luxurious and what a freaking amazing ride she is…. its the same when booking a newborn photographer. I don’t want to lecture on money cause we all know it can be a sensitive subject, but my advice is just look at your budget- be realistic- know the price ranges of the photographers you are seeking- and make sure your partner is on board with you. Also, don’t be afraid to ask about financing if its something you are serious about! There are so many options with photographers- you ABSOLUTELY CAN have your dream session, but just be smart about it!
Last but not least, look at the reputation of the photographer you are looking into. I mentioned this earlier, but reputation can be easily sought out. Check them out online- Google, Yelp, Facebook. Word of mouth is HUGE! I’ll be honest- 75% of my business comes from personal referrals and word of mouth! Look at what people are saying about the photographer. If they have a lot of negative or mediocre reviews…RUN. Save yourself the heartache of a crappy overall experience.
I hope this helps- I should probably do a video that would be way quicker to watch than take the 6 minutes to read this, but for now… this is whatcha get!
and you know this shameless plug is going to be thrown in now (um.. you ARE at my website lol)- if you’re looking for a newborn photographer local to the Seattle, Tacoma or Puyallup area- let’s chat! Simply click the button below to book your consultation with me.