Beginning to look for a newborn photographer can feel daunting. I remember searching for a wedding photographer and didn’t even think twice about the process. I just typed “wedding photographer” in google’s handy search bar or looked up references on the Knot and then went through my favorites. However, when I became pregnant with Rory, although I knew I wanted pictures, but I didn’t even know what to look for. Family photographers? Would wedding photographers also photograph my newborn? I felt lost even knowing where to begin. Particularly I wanted to make sure I had someone who knew what they were doing photographing my tiny, fragile baby.
Now as someone on the other side of the industry as well as a customer I wanted to share my top five things to look for when hiring a newborn photographer.
- Safety: This is obvious that all parents want their babies interacting with people who know how to handle them appropriately and safety. What is less clear is how to know which person will be safe and trained. Newborn safety is not a matter of experience, but rather training and education. Experience certainly helps, but if someone never learned appropriate warning signs of a baby in distress, or proper equipment and safe positioning, it doesn’t matter how many babies they have photographed. Ask your potential photographer if they have taken any safety courses, or what safety accreditations they have. There are a couple nationwide organizations that provide excellent training and are very accessible, like the APNPI Safety Certification Course I completed. (See APNPI’s recommended questions to ask your photographer for more information.)
- Style: If you are going to invest in newborn photography, I hope you chose a photographer that creates images that sing to your soul. There are many different styles and approaches to newborn photography, all of them beautiful in their own way. You cannot retake these images, you cannot go back in time and make them little again, so spend some time thinking about the types of images dream about having on your walls. Do you like airy and romantic? Documentary and real life? Lifestyle and unposed? Moody and perfectly posed? Look for those types of images in their portfolios, ask how their newborn sessions flow. I am a lifestyle newborn photographer, preferring gently posed or unposed images with soft film inspired colors. I create images with a timeless and enduring bridge between realistic connection and dreamy beauty. If someone desperately wants froggie pose, I’m not their newborn photographer and am happy to refer them to someone else super talented in that style.
- Experience: To me this is an incredibly overlooked value point. You’ve just birthed a baby and your life has been turned upside down. It might be magical and wonderful, or it might be really freaking hard. Would you rather have a photographer that guides you through every part of the process, fixes or solves additional work on your end, or would you rather leave all that up to your exhausted brain? What should you all wear? What if baby is super fussy? Now what do you do with all your photos? A newborn photographer who proactively tells you what to expect through every step, who is a resource so you don’t have to shoulder all the information gathering on your own, who is invested in setting you up for success in your shoot, who wants to ensure you are enjoying your photos in your home is INVALUABLE.
- Quality: I know you don’t really want your images to just live on Facebook. We are all guilty of letting our images rest and collect dust in the cloud, but realistically if you are investing in newborn photographs you likely have a dream of framing them, creating birth announcements, putting them in an album, or all of the above. Ensure what products you are receiving. If you are only receiving a low resolution file, your options may be limited for printing. Another side to this which is almost never talked about is print quality and lab printing. Images look different on everyone’s unique computer screens and how the display is calibrated. You want images that print with proper coloring and exposure, and if they were edited on an uncalibrated screen this could vary widely when printing. If you can see a physical copy of the artists work, you can rest much more assured as to how it will print. I will also just briefly touch on lab quality as this is a huge topic. Prints from a big box printer versus a lab printer make a huge difference in ensuring accurate printing and lasting quality of your prints.
- Personality: This is a special, but also stressful time in your life. It is helpful to work with someone who you feel comfortable with. As a new mom you are very much still figuring things out, and having a photographer who makes you feel at ease and comfortable to be vulnerable can make a huge difference in your session experience. In addition that connection and trust shines through in your images and allows for much more natural interactions.
I hope you find this helpful! Hiring a newborn photographer is an exciting experience and my goal with this post is to take a little bit of the confusion out of the hiring process and give you confidence in your search. Photographing newborns is complete joy for me, and if you’re expecting I would love to chat with you if you’re in the search for a photographer. Connecting with me to setup a call is as easy as emailing me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or filling out my contact form.
Brynn Burke Photography is an award winning newborn photographer in Columbus Ohio also specializing in maternity photography, baby photography, and family photography. She serves the central Ohio area including Dublin, Powell, New Albany, Granville, Delaware, and Dayton. Recently awarded as a top 21 newborn photographer and top 10 family photographer by Expertise in Columbus.