Tips to Choosing a Newborn Photographer
With high-end digital cameras being so popular today, there has been a surge in people becoming newborn photographers. How do you choose one? What should you be looking for to ensure you receive photographs of your baby that you love?
Here I have put together a checklist of tips to help you choose a newborn photographer:
Tip 1. Does your photographer specialise in newborn photography?
Newborn photography is a very specialised field. To be a good baby photographer you need to understand the fundamentals of photography (light, composition etc) as well as how to work with babies – how to settle, pose, and position them safely. So many photographers when they are first starting out will take any type of work they can get – weddings, family, landscapes, babies and all the above. It is hard to be a fantastic photographer across all genres of photography (I know for a fact that I will never be a wedding photographer!). Generally for this reason, the best baby photographers will be specialists in the field – perhaps with other specialities in related genres such as maternity and family photography. For the best results, you should choose a photographer that specialises (or at least has a lot of experience) in baby photography.
Tip 2. How long has your photographer been photographing newborns?
Becoming good at anything takes time. Newborn photography is no exception! More experienced baby photographers have had more opportunity to hone their skills. Typically they get better and more consistent results and are more confident at handling challenging sessions when newborns decide they aren’t having a good day (it happens to the best of us!). Choosing a more experienced newborn photographer will inevitably mean that you will be paying more than a beginner photographer, but you get what you pay for.
Like anything, practise makes perfect. Newborn photography is no exception. Choosing a photographer that has more experience means that you can feel comfortable that they have the experience needed to capture the best possible images of your baby.
Tip 3. Is your photographer fully insured? Are they running a registered business?
It is important to know that your photographer is operating as a professional photographer. This means that they should have a registered business, and be fully insured. If you or your baby (heaven forbid!) should suffer an injury during your photography session you would want to know that they had the proper insurances.
Tip 4. Is your photographer a member of the AIPP?
In Australia, anyone can buy a camera and call themselves a photographer without any recourse or accountability. How many times have we seen those stories on A Current Affair about victims of fraudster photographers who haven’t delivered precious photographs to their clients and have done a runner? To kerb this issue, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) formed an accreditation process to give consumers peace of mind that they are working with a professional photographer who meets a minimum technical standard, who has appropriate insurance, complies with all legal business requirements, is committed to undergo continual professional development, and is willing to adhere to the mandatory Code of Professional Practice. To become a fully accredited member of the AIPP, photographers need to have their work assessed by a panel.
Choosing an accredited member of the AIPP also gives consumers more recourse should things go wrong. Complaints to the AIPP about a member are taken very seriously.
To have confidence in your photographer, always look for the AIPP Accredited Professional Photographer symbol.
Tip 5. Does your photographer understand and prioritise newborn safety?
Safety of your baby should always been the number 1 priority in all newborn photography. No photograph is worth placing a baby at risk. When searching for a baby photographer, don’t be afraid to ask about their safety policies. As a guide, here are my safety rules in my studio:
- I never leave a baby unattended in a prop, on a posing bag, or with a young sibling.
- I always have a spotter or parent next to baby when using a prop
- I never force babies in to a pose.
- I always use my camera strap around my neck when photographing baby from above
- I never use any props made from glass
- I always support baby’s neck and head properly
- I never put baby inside or on an object or prop that could break or fall
And please say something if you feel uncomfortable for any reason when your baby is being photographed. Your baby is precious.
Tip 6. Does your photographer have a maximum number of due dates per week?
Some photographers operate a “churn and burn” type of business. In other words, they usually charge a lower flat fee and fit as many sessions into their days as possible. I’m not saying at all that this is wrong, but rather that you should understand if you choose a photographer that runs many sessions per day that you should not expect the same level of quality, service and fast turnaround times for your photographs. Each session takes many hours of work to properly hand retouch and finish behind the scenes. If you are one of many sessions that a photographer is seeing that week, it could be several weeks until you receive your gallery of images.
Tip 7. Do you love their work?
Every photographer has their own unique style that develops over time. My husband like to test me sometimes by scrolling through my Instagram feed and asking me to identify which of my amazing photographer friends work a photo is. 99% of the time I can guess it correctly just based on their “look”.
Some (like me!) naturally gravitate towards classic, simple photographs with baby as the hero of the shot, whilst others love lots of colour, flowers headbands and details. The great thing about being a creative is that you’re free to do whatever makes your heart sing! The bonus of course is that there’s a photographer for everyone. The most important thing is that you find a photographer whose work you love. Check through their portfolio and you should see what their particular style is all about. Is that the kind of style you’re looking for? Don’t choose a photographer and expect them to do something completely different to their style.
Every photographer has their own unique style. Choose one whose work you LOVE!
Tip 8. Choose the best newborn photographer you can afford
Everyone has a different budget when it comes to newborn photography. The great thing about photography is there are so many photographers to choose from to cater to every level – from the budget conscious to the high end and everything in-between. No matter what your budget, you should choose the best newborn photographer that you can afford. These precious moments will rush by in a blur of sleep deprivation, nappies and 2am feeds. After all is said and done, within a few short weeks your baby will be almost unrecognisable from the tiny bundle you nervously strap into their carseat on the drive home from the hospital. Don’t regret your choice of photographer. These photos will be precious to you for years to come – not only to you but for your child one day.
Did I miss any valuable tips? I’d love to hear what you think!
Amy Tong is a multi award-winning baby and newborn photographer in the Sydney Inner West (Balmain).