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Choosing a Newborn Photographer – Some Things to Think About Before You Make a Booking

September 20, 2017

Choosing a Newborn Photographer – Some Things to Think About Before You Make a Booking

© LotusBlu Photography – www.lotusblu.com

So, you're considering a professional newborn photoshoot? Firstly, congratulations. This is such a special way of capturing the beauty and to marvel in those first days of your baby's life. The delicate new features, expressions and precious first moments as a new family is something I never get bored of seeing in the images that are sent to me to create beautiful birth announcement cards. In real time these newborn days pass in a flash but your images will immortalise the memories for years to come.  

Of course the cost factor is high on the list when considering a newborn photo shoot but there are many other things to take into account when choosing the right person to take your images. To understand the important things to think about when choosing, I have put together this little guide to get you started.

 Preparation and Availability

Popular newborn photographers get booked up well in advance. The best time to book your session is before your baby arrives, so it's wise to get prepared and do your research while you still have time. Bear in mind that the optimum time for a newborn photoshoot is between  5-10 days old and after turning two weeks old a newborn is not as pliable - meaning many of the 'poses' are not always possible or safe to attempt. Of course babies aren't always predictable either, so a newborn photographer will likely try and stay flexible around your due date. It's important to establish good communication early on so that you will both know how it will work if your baby arrives earlier or later than planned.

So how do you decide who to actually make a booking with? 

Style

My top tip when choosing a photographer to capture the real essence of your family is to look closely at their past work – usually an extensive portfolio is included on their website. Every photographer brings their own style to their images and will have a distinctive look and feel to their work as a whole. Generally, most newborn images fit into two categories – posed and lifestyle. Posed newborn photos are typically done in a studio or studio set-up in your home and use beanbags, props, hats, wraps and blankets etc. Usually most of the images will be of the baby posed alone.

© LotusBlu Photography – www.lotusblu.com

A lifestyle session is a bit more relaxed and natural and aims to capture family moments in your own environment. Photographers don’t necessarily do just one or the other, but their portfolio will likely show a leaning towards their preferred style. Don’t pick a photographer based on someone else’s style and expect to achieve similar results. Also it's important to look for a style that will be timeless - you don’t want images that will appear dated on your walls in a few years time.

© Pim Photography – www.pimphotography.net

 Cost – what’s included and what’s not

Beware of cut-price photographers. It’s tempting to look straight at the price list when choosing a photographer but you truly get what you pay for with photography. The true professionals have honed their skills and offer their work as art. If someone proclaims to offer a newborn session for an incredibly cheap price, alarm bells should start ringing!

You should not just be looking for a great photographer - but someone who is a specialist in newborn photography and has developed their skills in this particular area. After all, you wouldn’t go to an ear doctor with a broken foot! If someone is good at their job, and in demand, their prices will naturally reflect that.

Mind you, do check price details carefully. No one likes a surprise bill at the end so it's important to know how the price will be structured. Some photographers offer their services in the form of packages which will include a shoot and a certain number of digitally edited images which you can then print yourself at your leisure. Other photographers might price their services based on the shoot and providing a set of physical products – prints and framed prints or canvases with limited (if any) digital files. Others might price on the shoot only and anything else is extra. Each structure has it’s own merits and drawbacks but it’s important to know exactly what you’ll be getting for your buck. Think carefully about your expectations when booking, to avoid any later disappointment.

 

Digital files vs physical prints:

Let’s be honest, everyone wants the maximum number of digital files they can get their hands on! However, would it actually be more worthwhile (even more cost effective) to have beautiful framed products or a stunning coffee table book delivered ready-made to you? Digital files will likely get corrupted with age or left hidden on a hard-drive. Do you plan on passing on a USB stick as an heirloom to your children? Will USB sticks even be around then? These are all things to think about.

© Pim Photography – www.pimphotography.net

What I know for sure is that busy new parents don’t have a lot of time to think about what to do with their lovely new images. Photographers (and designers like me) love nothing more than to see these images displayed and used in a tangible way, such as sending out beautiful Biscuitmoon birth announcement cards for friends and family to share in the joy of your baby's images. Every photographer I've ever worked with is in agreement - we hate to think of them sitting on your hard drive for years to come.

© Pim Photography – www.pimphotography.net

Length of session and variety of images

Do you need 50+ images of your newborn in similar poses or will 10-20 really unique ones prove to be a more cohesive collection? Often we’re tempted by quantity but quite often less is more. Check what your potential photographer offers and make a decision based on how you think you will ultimately use your images and how much variety in images you're after. Quite often the fewer images that are offered, the greater the variety in those images. 

 Individual needs and clear expectations

Think carefully about what you’d like to achieve from your session overall. Are the types of images you are imagining achievable given the photographers experience and style? Complex baby poses are a refined skill and require not only training in posing a newborn safely but also extensive photo-editing skills to create composite images (when two or more images are “sewn” together to create seemingly gravity defying poses.)

Think also about your tangible use for the final images:

  • Do you want a timeless shot to frame for your home?
  • Do you want a shot that will work with a particular birth announcement design to send to friends and family?
  • Do you want to include other family members – parents, siblings, even pets?
  • Do you want to capture your baby with some personal props or do you want your photographer to suggest (and supply) the props?
  • Do you want to include your personal surroundings or keep the images as clean as possible?
  • Do you want to include more styling? Or take any outdoors for instance?
  • Do you have any particular poses you would like?

These are just some of the things that you should consider and discuss with your potential photographer before a booking. If you have a preference in regards to styling and colours, it's a great idea to make this known ahead of the shoot to make sure you are all on the same page. A great session can be achieved when a photographer has had a thorough briefing and expectations on both sides have been discussed.

Other things to think about

Safety: How much experience does the potential photographer have in newborn photography? A newborn photographer will normally have training in posing a newborn and a very strong portfolio to show off their newborn artwork. Anyone experienced will never put a baby in an uncomfortable or unsupported position and will know how to properly shift the baby from one position to another. As you’ll be entrusting your brand new baby to this person, it’s critical to find someone who knows exactly what they’re doing, and someone who does will be pleased to discuss with you how they can safely handle babies and create any specific poses that you are after.

Cancellations: What happens if you can’t make it to your session or if your baby won’t settle and refuses to cooperate at the shoot? Check with your photographer what their policy would be in any of these situations.

Turnaround times: When can you expect to see your photos? Will these be already edited? This is often overlooked when choosing a photographer – but anyone dedicated to his or her job will likely send you sneak peaks (at the very least) within a short timeframe of your session. After all, you’ll be dying to see the results of all that hard work!

Environment: Do you get a choice of settings – studio / home / outdoors? Or does your potential photographer prefer to shoot in one location? 

Extra Fees: Are there any additional fees for travel / siblings / extra editing? What extra costs can you anticipate if you go outside the package you plan to purchase?

Consider all these things before choosing your newborn photographer and you're well on your way to making the right choice for your family shots. There are some amazing and highly qualified newborn photographers in Hong Kong – all of who should be happy to answer your questions before you commit to a booking. 

© LotusBlu Photography – www.lotusblu.com





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