How to Pick a Newborn Photographer
— Ask Anything —
The reality of this blog post is that I could be writing it about any type of photography, newborns, family, seniors, weddings etc. etc. etc. But recently I’ve had my mind on newborn photography and I got thinking about what I would one day want (not pregnant PS.) in a newborn photographer. Would I want to have a lifestyle session? Would I want fresh 48 images? Birth photography!? These are all options that I honestly don’t know the answers to, and since I’m not pregnant I don’t really have to think about it too long. But if you are pregnant, you may be thinking of these questions, or maybe not. I’m here to help you know what you probably should consider.
Before I was engaged I knew exactly what I wanted from our wedding photographer. I had followed (and still do) tons of wedding photographers who took the most amazing images and I knew the style I liked. I even felt like I knew each photographer’s personality from their Insta-stories. To be honest I’m so picky that I even broke it down to their white balance. Yes, seriously. I knew I wanted someone fun who would know what she was doing, would be able to direct us and take gorgeous pictures where the whites looked white. I knew I wanted bright and airy versus more dramatic and dark. I knew exactly what I wanted. So when I found Lauren Myers Photography I was IN LOVE!!! Her work was gorgeous and I HAD to have her. We actually changed our wedding date from November to August so we could ensure we’d have her!
The point is, I knew what I wanted and because I knew what I was looking for I was able to narrow down my selection and work with someone who would provide an experience and images that I would love. The images we received from her were exactly what I wanted and I was over the moon happy! Most people I know are blessed in that they end up really happy with their wedding images and I’m convinced it’s that they know more about what they are shopping for, what to ask, what they care about, and how to narrow down the search.
What I’ve realized though is that with newborn photography this isn’t always the case. If I was pregnant right now (which I’m not, sorry to disappoint Mom), I honestly wouldn’t know right off the bat who I’d want for my newborn pictures. I’d have to really sit down and think about the things I want and then start researching. The thing is – there are a lot of different styles when it comes to newborn photography and all are great in their own way! But if you don’t know what you want then you might end up being disappointed. There is a lot to consider so I thought I would help but making a list of things to be mindful of when looking for a newborn photographer. Just like with wedding photography, you need to know what to ask and what to consider because it could totally change your experience.
Five Things to Consider When Picking a Newborn Photographer
- At Home or In Studio
This is a big one and probably the most obvious thing to ask yourself first. Do you want your session in your home or in a professional studio? Both are great options and it really boils down to what you want. For instance, if you really want to get images of the nursery and the tiny details that make bringing home your baby a milestone in your life than picking a photographer who will come to your house should be a priority. If you don’t want to have to worry about cleaning up and making your space look photo ready than a studio is a great option. Studios are also good for that dreamy sleepy baby picture where your baby is wrapped up and posed using props or wraps. This is because photographers with studios can control the climate and typically have a lot of those props and wraps in-house for you to pick from. Not to say that an in-home photographer can’t or won’t do that, but you should ask to know for sure. Typically in-home newborn sessions lend themselves to more of a lifestyle look but they don’t have to, which leads me to number 2…
- Lifestyle or Traditional Posed
This is another big question to ask yourself and it all comes down to the type of images you want. A lifestyle session means what it implies, the photographer is looking to get images that show what parenthood looks like for your life. Typically it means they go to your house and take images of your everyday activities. Snuggling, reading stories, hanging out on the couch, putting the baby in the crib, etc. etc. These images are so beautiful in that they show how much love there is in even the simplest of things. The other style that is equally beautiful is the classic route where the baby is wrapped or even naked and is posed in numerous sleepy poses. These images are classic and show the tiny features of your new baby. Again both are great choices and it comes down to preference. Now keep in mind you can work with a photographer who might do both during your session if that’s what you want. There are great photographers with a studio space that will have space for posed and lifestyle images. There are also photographers who come to your house and set up their bean bags and wraps for you as well as do lifestyle. This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker for one photographer or another but you should note if you have a preference. If you have a preference then make sure to look for someone who can offer you what you’re looking for and ideally do it well. If you aren’t sure what you prefer than maybe go with someone who will offer you a bit of both. Keep in mind not everyone will so you’ll need to make sure and ask.
Just like picking a wedding photographer (if you have) you’ll want to work with a newborn photographer that has a style that YOU like. Do you like dramatic shadows with bright colors? Or maybe you love the antique look that film can provide. Or even light and airy. Loving a style can even come down to color preferences. I love images where the whites look white, I love bright colors and skin tones that feel true to life. Which is why I was really particular about picking a photographer because I knew what I liked. Some people love cooler blue pallets whereas some prefer warm images where the yellows, browns, and oranges are really accentuated. Some people love only black and white images because they swoon over how timeless they feel. Honestly, they are all great choices if it’s what you like. It doesn’t matter what I like or what your BFF likes or how many followers so and so has, it matters if you find their images beautiful. If you do then you’ll LOVE your images because they suit you! So when you’re scrolling on Pinterest or Instagram pay mind to the type of images you like and what they have in common. When you pick a photographer look through their website or blog and see what kind of style they are consistently providing. If you consistently love it than they could be just right for you!
This one is important in my book, you need to know that you can trust your photographer, especially when it comes to newborn photography. Let’s be honest, this person will be handling your baby and if you don’t trust them it can make the session more stressful than it should be. So don’t be afraid to ask them about their experience and ways they work to keep your baby safe. When it comes to newborns you can never be too safe. So you might consider asking if they have any safety training or how they ensure that your baby will be safe? Not only this but you’ll want to trust that your newborn photographer knows what to do so that you’ll be as stress-free as possible. Ask them in advance how they handle fussy situations, what have they done in the past for babies who won’t stop crying? What happens if _____, ask all the questions you have in advance so that you can trust you’ll have a great session.
The reality is, as I’m sure you’ve picked up on, there is no “right” choice for everyone, it all comes down to what you want. If you give yourself time to really hone into what you want and look for photographers who fulfill what you’re looking for then you’re more likely to be happy with the product. Take the time to shop around, ask A LOT of questions and look through their work. You’ll want to have an experience that you’ll treasure and walk away with images that you’ll love to look at forever. So take the time to really make a decision you know you’ll be happy with. I would suggest that when you know you’re pregnant to start searching around for newborn photographers in your area. Follow their work and see if you consistently like it. Then email in advance to start talking details. I know that I prefer to start planning with an expecting mom at least two to three months in advance. This gives me time to plan out what they want and ensure it’s a good experience. It also gives me time to do things like meeting them in person ahead of time. I’ve even gone to the client’s home in advance to meet the expecting parents, see the space and map out the session with them. If you book your photographer well enough in advance you’ll have the luxury of asking more questions and getting to know them. Give yourself that luxury so you’ll walk away with a great experience.
Well, I hope this helped a least a little. 🙂 If you’re pregnant and looking for a newborn photographer just know there are a lot of amazing options out there. Just give yourself time to explore your options so you work with someone you trust. No matter what don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and pick someone who matches up with what you want. This will ensure that your session is as stress-free as possible.