As a professional child and newborn photographer, I get asked a lot of questions, but sometimes I ask my myself why are moms with newborns not asking the right questions when trying to find a photographer for their newborn babies?
Yes, Price and fees are always an important topic to inquire about and it tends to be the first question people normally ask about. but money is well just money. newborn photography is quite complex. As a mom and as a photographer my job is to help clients make great decisions and be 100% happy.
Even if a potential client doesn’t book with me they will have the knowledge to choose a photographer they can connect with and trust with their precious baby. After reading this article I hope you will have a better understanding and be in a perfect position to determine if that photographer is a good fit for you, what your needs are and fit the style you are looking for.
Here are some of the questions I encourage you to ask .
1, What are the safety practices you have in place in your studio specifically geared towards the newborn client?
Your baby safety is going to be a top priority for you in choosing a newborn photographer, you want someone who has at least taken newborn safety courses or who has been trained and mentored by a professional newborn photographer with experience in safety and posing or look for a photographer who is certified and accredited to safely work with babies such as an APNPI qualified and certified photographer, yes it’s not mandatory or a legal requirement to have any of these to work with newborns, but those that take the extra steps in educating themselves to properly photograph newborns will ensure you as a parent in knowing that the photographer has taken extra measures in learning the proper skills and techniques needed to prepare themselves to photograph newborns properly and safely instead of a photographer who is just self-taught .
I think about your precious baby first, these are important questions to ask, this is why I have done all of the three steps above. I take every precaution to keep your baby safe and comfortable. Some of the important things to remember include asking about, is what is there photography practice on poses, Do you work with an assistant or provide spotters at your newborn sessions? If not, will you allow me to spot my baby during a session?
A newborn photographer with experience and knowledge knows how to properly pose a baby in certain positions so that the baby will not sustain an injury, certain poses will strain joints or muscles. ask about the use of an assistant for particular poses or if you can help if they don’t supply one, two major poses such as the potato sack or froggy pose, should always and only be done as composites and with experience due to the babies head and weight distribution and the way the baby is posed.
Also, some babies won’t tolerate the froggy pose as they are not flexible, ask about what their policies are if the baby does not want to naturally enter this pose what would they do. My policy is I don’t ever force a baby into any compromising pose or without assistance if the baby won’t naturally and comfortably pose, that pose will be stopped immediately. safety is first, I will get a beautiful photo in an alternate or modified pose that ensures the safety of the baby first.
I will never continue with a pose that the baby is not happy in just to get the photo that is a No-No . Some other safety questions to ask are!!
Are you currently up to date on the necessary vaccines needed when working with pregnant women or with newborn population? with all the illnesses happening in the world today this is so important due to infants’ immunity. also asking questions about the safety of props used, glass or products with sharp edges or that are unstable should never be used. Ask if all the baskets, buckets etc should always be weighted on the bottom to prevent tipping. Is the area heated and how in keeping the baby cozy?
2, What age of baby do you prefer to work with ? do you work premature babies , or older babies?
Newborn photographers each have there own preference when it comes to specific age groups to work with .Some will prefer to work with baby’s under the two week mark to get those curly and sleepy poses that are dreamy and popular, other photographers will more then happily work with parents and babies who are mush older then this such as 5-6 weeks, but parents need to be prepared to know that some of the very early newborn poses may not be possible, but will work to get you precious images that are just as dreamy. also if you have a premature baby , its always important to ask as some photographers may not be as comfortable working with fragile premature baby’s, always ask before assuming they will.
3, What if my baby wont sleep or settle during the session?
This is always a concern in the back of parents’ minds, and it’s always important to ask, if you have chosen an experienced newborn photographer then you shouldn’t worry. Experienced newborn photographers will know how to soothe the baby, it’ll be a matter of time until your little one will fall asleep, this is why we allow so much time so baby’s can sooth and be comfortable. experienced photographers know the cues pretty quickly when the baby needs that extra time to feed and cuddle to help him or her feel secure and comfortable at any time and can continue the session after those moments.
Wrapping and swaddling baby always works, If a baby is fussier or awake I always start with wrapping and soothing, its a perfect way to start a session so I can get some beautiful poses and continue with my workflow.
4, What does your fee include and what is the timeframe?
Newborn photography is not cheap, but experienced newborn photographers fulfill each of their clients needs and will give you images you will truly fall in love with.
An experienced newborn photographer has countless hours of education and experience and most photographers that are dedicated belong to affiliated organizations or association that directly service newborn photographers and their educational to provide the highest quality services , and follow the ethics, values and safety to protect their clients.
You should expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars at the minimum with the most high-quality photographers, but remember the photos are charged in addition to this. Before making your decision, establish if there is a minimum amount to spend required and if you are comfortable with spending more then this. Which package you choose determines what type of product you’ll receive, If there is a print package ask about there print company and what quality of prints do to they supply and ask to see samples of their print work, you will see right away the quality by touching, smelling and feeling the products this will give you a perfect sense of the quality you will receive in the finished product.
Timeline varies per photograher and should always be asked , It usually takes 35 + hours of work before your images are ready , A newborn sessions includes your consultation, planning, coordinating colours and all aspects , setups for that day , the session its self , washing and disinfecting items post use and editing and polishing your images to perfection to chose from and finish off with the gallery reveal and ordering time.
how long does it take to get my products once ive paid ? ask about wall art, handcrafted albums and prints , these can take a little longer to arrive , im my case all my heirloom products come from Italy and can take 3-4 weeks to arrive after your ordering date.
5, What should I bring to my session ?
If you plan to be photograghed with your newborn , you may want to bring a change of clothes in the event of a small accident , as well babies tend to be messy, It natural and most changes it will happen if your baby is naked.
Also ask if the photographer supplies any baby products, such as diapers, and wipes. if the baby uses a pacifier, it might be wise to bring it as it will help sootth the baby to relax into a deep sleep. if your baby is bottle feed please bring extra bottles and formula as babies will usually have feeding breaks in between.
If your traveling from a distance of more then 40Km, you may want to bring additional feedings if bottle feed or give your self time to breastfeed on your trip to ensure baby stays satisfied. Does your photograher give you a private area to feed your baby prior to your session. Most will have a cozy and inviting spot to privately feed baby so he or she is topped up and feed and sleepy post feed before starting the session.
6, How long will it take to see my final Images ?
The turnaround time for your final images depends mostly on what exactly your ordering and which photographer you are ordering from. make sure you ask as I have seen some parents wait 3-4 months for there images. which I think is way to long, ask and have some clear expectations on when to expect your images before you choose the photograher so your expectations and reality line up . I personally like to have all 20 of my edited images ready to show a client in 2-3 weeks post session, as that time is dedicated to hand editing each individual photo chosen by me to give you a timeless and classic gallery .
If you need a rush order for birth announcements, always let the photographer you looking at choosing in advance so they can do there best to get everything ready sooner and ask if its possible . Always communicate effectively your needs, ask about timings beforehand when ordering products as some can never be a rushed order. Handmade custom photo albums may take much longer to arrive, as they are custom in nature and specifically handcrafted for you. Always ask your potential photographer about deadlines and these fine little details.
7, Do you offer wardrobe and prop options?
Always ask your photographer if this is the type of session you are looking for these questions are so important, as not all photographers carry these items, ask if they are specific for newborn use, These items can be very expensive especially those that are well made and safe for newborns, why is this important newborns come in a variety of sizes, its important to know if your photographer supply’s a variety of props and clothes to accommodate different sizes in baby and what options do they have to choose from that are safe for your babies size, the size difference in hats, headbands, blankets, props such a bowl, bucket, or basket, can impact not only the photos aesthetically but first and foremost the safety of the baby. these are important to ask in advance if you are looking for that type of style for your session.
8, Can Parents and siblings be part of the session ?
Its always a good idea to clarify with your newborn photographer who will be photographed during the session and what poses you agree on for siblings and parents. Ask about age of siblings and what kind of poses you do with younger siblings, and the consideration’s and what poses and how they plan to achieve them when if comes to siblings of the age 4 and under. If a sibling is involved in the sessions I always will do the sibling portion first as they are most engaged and cooperative at arrival for little siblings in Studio, depending on the age of the sibling if under the age of 4 I will either use my bean bag to pose little siblings with the baby or will do a composite setup to ensure the baby and sibling safety is followed though, as most siblings under the age of 4 have very quick impulses and reactions.
My goal is make the sibling feel as important as the baby, so getting those precious moments are keep in keeping the sibling feeling as safe and secure as the baby. Ask your photograher what usually happens after the sibling portion is complete.? 3-4 hours is a long time for a 3 -4 year old to wait in a studio, there are lights and equipment and baby’s need a warm and quiet environment to get those sleepy curly images . I always recommend bringing an extra set of hands to take the little one on an outing once there portion is done and , I have a large list of places and inquire before hand as some times I have some vouchers for places that will entertain your little ones for hours while the parents can enjoy and rest for the duration of their baby’s session.
9, Can I bring my own sentimental belonging?
Ask your photographer what you can bring, some will let you bring a lot of items as some prefer to let the baby be the focus. communicating in advance and seeing what is allowed is key to a successful session. I personally will let my clients bring one special item, I prefer the focus be on the baby then the use of cluttered props. If you have one special item ask if it can be incorporated, ie a baseball, blanket, a sentimental heirloom piece, anything bigger should always be consulted first with a photographer as it may not be a safe item to use or maybe too big and overpower the image and take away from the focus on the baby. always ask If you can bring your own clothing such as store-bought clothes, as cute and adorable as they are most photographers will assess on-site to see if they will work, store-bought items can be bulky on a newborn and not fit right, compared to the outfits may be specifically for newborn photography mainly due to the extra fabric which will make the baby looks unproportioned to the outfit.
10, Communication !!!
Having great communication with the photographer you choose is vital every step of the process , by asking questions , you will know what you should be doing before the session that will help contribute to a smooth and amazing experience for you ad your baby.
11, Final note
I have enclosed more information in the link below that can help you make the decision on choosing your perfect photographer. As part of the APNPI, and as an APNPI safety certified photographer. I encourage you to do your research and considering there is so much more to newborn photography then cost. this is your bundle of joy, considering all the extra things that will give you a much more relaxing and amazing experience with amazing service .
if you are interested in booking a newborn session, inquire today and We can have a consult to start your experience to an incredible newborn photographic experience. Sonia Gourlie is a member of APNPI and safety newborn certified, who is also an international award-winning photographer in babies and children portraiture. Servicing Kingston, Brockville, Ottawa Ontario and surrounding areas .