Choosing the right photographer for your baby’s first portraits is an important decision. Many times I meet parents for the first time at their newborn session, and they are putting their trust in a stranger to safely handle and care for their brand new baby that has only been in this world for a few short days.
This is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly by anyone who calls themself a professional newborn photographer.
I encourage all parents to explore their options thoroughly and look at more than just price. I’ve compiled a list of questions that I’ve found to be the most important things to ask when you are looking for the right person to hire for this momentous time in your family’s life.
Safety & Qualifications
Do you have safety training?
Posed newborn photography is vastly different than most other genres of photography. Your brand new baby is delicate and should be placed in the hands of someone that knows how to pose them safely. Safety should always come before “getting the shot.”
There are a variety of courses, workshops, and mentorships available to new photographers to learn how to properly pose a newborn and what precautions should be taken with certain poses. Not every image you see online is entirely as it seems. Some poses and sets are digitally created or composited in Photoshop.
Is your business licensed and insured?
Every business should be operating with proper licenses and liability insurance, as well as contracts for their services.
Can I see a full gallery from a newborn session?
Most photographers can easily show a beautiful portfolio full of their favorite images from various sessions, and while that’s a great way to see a broad range of their work it doesn’t show you what you can expect to see in your finished gallery. Not all photographers have the same style or skill set. Asking to see a full session is a great way to not only get a better idea of what you’ll receive but it also helps set realistic expectations of what to expect from that photographer.
I also have sample baby books in studio for my clients to view, which showcase full newborn sessions.
What Covid precautions are you taking?
Keeping a clean and sanitized space has always been important for newborn photographers, but it has become even more imperative in the post-2020 world we’re living in. Photographers should be open and honest about what studio policies they have and what precautions they are taking to keep your delicate new baby as safe and healthy as possible.
Are you up to date on vaccinations?
Yes, it is absolutely 100% ok to ask this question to someone that is going to be handling your brand new baby. I have been asked about my vaccination status by expecting parents since long before COVID became part of our lives. (Most doctors will recommend that anyone coming into close contact with a newborn have an up-to-date Tdap vaccine.) Some people choose not to answer this question and that is their choice.
It is then up to you, the consumer, to decide what to do with the information that is (or isn’t) provided to you.
What To Expect
What ages do you photograph for newborn sessions?
Some photographers have varying ages that they prefer to photograph so this information is good to know upfront.
In my studio, I personally try to avoid photographing babies less than 7 days old. In my experience, waiting until after that first week gives baby time to get comfortable with feeding and gets them through that first bout of cluster feeding. My ideal window for a posed session is 7-21 days. I will also take swaddled-only sessions up to 6 weeks of age.
Can I bring my own props or outfits?
This answer will vary among photographers. Some do not allow outside props so that they can minimize exposure to germs in their studio, while others have a very specific photography style that they will not stray from.
In my studio, I do allow small props. I highly recommend against bringing in large props or crochet outfits as they typically do not photograph well. Small props and blankets are always welcome and are a great way to personalize your baby’s first photo shoot.
How long is the session?
This depends entirely on baby, but I plan for 60-90 minutes for a swaddled mini session and 2-4 hours for a full posed newborn session.
Session timing is especially important to ask if you are concerned about scheduling photos around your family’s work or school schedule.
Are family and sibling poses included?
This is most likely lined out in the photographer’s package list. Not all photographers offer family photos in their sessions, so don’t assume that they do. Be sure to specifically ask if you can include a family and/or sibling portrait if that is something that is important to you.
Can I see your full pricing and product list?
This information should be readily available to you prior to booking. Some photographers prefer to have a phone consultation prior to sending this information so that they can make sure you are a good fit to work together. Everyone has their own process, but I encourage you to get all of the information you can upfront so that you are not blindsided later on.
As a consumer, I need to have an idea of price before I’m willing to move forward and talk to a business. (I honestly hate being “sold to,” lol.) This is why I make sure to include starting prices on my website and I send full price guides to those that inquire with me.
My studio is built for babies under one year old so I don’t have many sets that accommodate families or older children. I do, however, have a limited selection of backgrounds for a close-up family or sibling portrait. Keep in mind that photographing toddler-age siblings with a newborn can be a challenge, so it’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to those photos.
I hope you have found this post to be helpful and I wish you the best of luck as you begin the search for your perfect newborn photographer! If you have any additional questions that you do not see listed here, please feel free to add them in the comments below and I would be happy to answer them for you!
If you are in the Myrtle Beach area and expecting a little one of your own, I would love the chance to show you all that my studio has to offer. You can see more of my work and lots of great information over on the newborn page. If you think we might be a good fit to work together, head to the contact form and say hello!