If you are thinking of professional newborn photography for the little bundle you are excitedly awaiting, then this blog post is written especially for you! There are many things to consider when you are looking for your newborn photographer, and these are the questions you should be researching or asking directly of your photographer before you even book, so you can be sure you choose the right photographer for you and your new baby…
This is the most important consideration. Newborn photography isn’t as easy as it can look! It takes patience and skill to pose these delicate brand new babies for their beautiful photographs. Your new baby is the most precious thing in your life, ever! And apart from health professionals, maybe some close family members – grandparents or siblings, your newborn photographer is probably the first stranger that is going to be handling your baby. She is going to be the first person other than yourselves, to cuddle and rock your baby to sleep, to put them down onto soft blankets and arrange tiny fingers and toes into beautiful poses.
The newborn photography industry in the UK is unregulated, so it is really important that you, as parents, do your research and check that your newborn photographer is experienced with tiny babies, and has invested in appropriate training to keep your baby safe. If you don’t have a personal recommendation from someone you trust, spend some time exploring newborn photographers in your local area:
- Look for someone with a good track record and plenty of happy customers.
- Check out their website and social media accounts.
- Contact them directly & ask questions – do they come across as professional & friendly? Are they passionate about what they do?
- Find out if they are members of any professional organisations, such as BANPAS.
You should also be aware that not all photos you see online are real. Many are composites, of several images put together in post production, skilful photoshop editing to remove supporting hands, or beanbags! No newborn baby should ever be expected to support the weight of it’s own head, be suspended from a height or put in a basket that could topple over. They should be relaxed and comfortable at all times, and 100% safe!
The image above is straight out of camera, with no editing, showing how baby is kept safe and comfortable during a newborn photoshoot. The image below has been adjusted in photoshop to provide a beautiful work of art.
Do you love a particular photographer’s style? This is simply personal preference; do you like…
- Clean white minimal images?
- Warm creams and browns with rustic textures?
- Soft pastel colours, pinks and blues?
- Bright photos with a happy feel?
It is also always worth asking your photographer if they will provide images in a particular colour palette, or if they are willing to include some of your own personal items in the shoot, for example, your baby’s first teddy bear or a sentimental blanket you grandmother knitted.
Whatever your preference, choose someone who’s style appeals to you – can you see their style of photo being displayed in your home? Do they fit with your own style? Newborn photos are an investment, which will last you a lifetime and you will love looking back on them as your little one grows…when they are starting school, getting married and even becoming a parent themselves. Newborn photos are something you can only do once – they are tiny and new for such a fleeting time, you can’t go back and re-do the photos later if you are not quite happy.
How long does a session last?
You should check how long your photographer allocates for your baby’s newborn photos. A newborn photography session takes time and patience…So many of our parents comment on our patience with their baby – but to us this is part of the way we work to achieve the best results for our clients. A significant proportion of your session will be spent soothing, settling and posing your baby – expect your photographer to set aside at least 4 hours for your session. If your baby is particularly sleepy it may not take that long, but the time should be available in case it is needed.
Where will the session take place?
If your photographer works from a studio, there are a few considerations:
- Location, access and parking. (You need to bring a lot of ‘stuff’ for your little one, so make sure the studio is easily accessible.)
- Temperature – will the studio be extra warm to keep your baby warm and cosy for their photos?
- Comfort – somewhere you can sit comfortably to watch
- Assistant? Does your photographer work with an assistant, or are you as parents expected to help during the session, to ‘spot’ and keep your baby safe?
It is also worth considering asking if your photographer offers mobile sessions, this may be more appealing during those first few days with your new baby; if you are a new parent, yet to venture out, or your newborn has older siblings, you may prefer to relax and be comfortable in your own home.
What happens if we can’t make it for a session?
It doesn’t happen very often, but if baby is ill, or mum has had to return to hospital, you may need to postpone your session. Check to see that your photographer is flexible enough to offer you an alternative date if necessary. There is a lot of uncertainty anyway, around when a baby will actually be born – it is very rarely on their due date! Your photographer should be controlling the number of newborn sessions they book in every month so that they can offer all their clients a session during the first two weeks. This will then mean that they also have flexibility to reschedule due to illness.
What if my baby won’t sleep – will you still be able to get the photos that I want
This is probably one of the most common concerns our new mums have – and it’s why the length of the photography session is so important! Your baby is so tiny and so new; at this newborn stage, their routine is still evolving, night and day are all back to front. Sometimes they can be going through a growth spurt or on the day of the session may just be a bit out of sorts. Babies work to their own schedule, and your photographer will work with this, Our sessions are completely baby led, so if baby needs feeding, changing or simply just a cuddle and a moment with Mum, we work around your baby’s needs. Babies all sleep when they are ready, and we make the most of these sleepy moments to take the photographs. Provided your photographer has allocated enough time for the session, they should be patient and have the time to spend soothing the baby until they do sleep. There are also some lovely photos that can be achieved with baby awake, but generally a baby will sleep eventually…and your photographer should have a few tried and tested tricks up their sleeve to encourage baby to drift off.
Is your photographer insured?
It is very unlikely that you will ever need to make a claim, but it is a good idea to check whether your newborn photographer is fully insured. A professional photographer will have risk assessments in place, and do everything they can to avoid accidents and make sure everything goes smoothly. Being insured is also a sign that a photographer is legitimate and has a professional mindset.
When to Book
Newborn photography is best scheduled when your baby is between 5 – 14 days old, so the best time to book is during your pregnancy (we recommend around the time of your 20 week scan). This means that during the hectic few days following the arrival of baby, it’s one less thing for you to worry about! Simply let your photographer know that baby has arrived, and they will arrange a convenient time for your session. Popular newborn photographers can quite often be booked up months in advance, booking early means you are less likely to miss out on a session with the photographer you really want. We are passionate about providing the best possible experience for our clients, so we will turn away enquiries for those months when we have already booked our maximum number of babies. This ensures we always have space in our diary to schedule a convenient session date for our clients who have pre booked, and can edit their images for them to view shortly after their session.
Prices can vary a lot, from photographer to photographer, you need to consider both the photographer’s session fees and the cost of their photo products: Many photographers charge a session fee, but be aware that session fees don’t generally include any images. You should expect to pay a couple of hundred pounds as a minimum with most high-quality newborn photographers if you want to have several images to take home and print for your walls.
Do also establish if there is a minimum spend required, and are you comfortable with potentially spending more than this? You may well fall in love with your photos once you see them all! Make sure that the photographer you pick has prices that you can afford.
Be wary of cut price photographers
Please don’t be tempted to entrust your baby with someone who doesn’t offer newborn photography professionally, as their main job, or a photographer who offers incredibly cheap prices. The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ particularly applies to baby photography. If someone proclaims to offer a newborn session including photos for as little as £50, alarm bells should start ringing… you wouldn’t go out and buy the cheapest car seat, you’d go and buy the safest one you could, to keep your baby safe! And it’s the same with photographers, there are always going to be photographers offering very cheap sessions, but please consider that on those prices they can’t afford to invest in the training, insurance, equipment etc and take the time to give you and your baby the best possible service.