Every parent wants photos of their child right from the first moments of his or her life. Newborn photos continue to be cherished for the rest of your life. Taking the time to get the best pics possible when your child is just a few days or weeks old is something you won’t regret.
What do you need to know about newborn photography and how can you make sure you get the best photos during your newborn photography session?
First and foremost, hire a professional photographer. You can take all the cell phone shots you want of your baby – every hour of his or her new life if you’d like – but it’s also important to schedule a photography session with a professional. This gives you a few hours dedicated solely to getting creative shots you’ll love forever.
Where to Find a Newborn Photographer?
Start by finding a professional photographer who specializes in newborn photography. Though any photographer can take pictures of a newborn baby, those who specialize in the practice are your best option. Not only will they know how to get the best shots, but they’ll also be pros at handling your baby and making sure the environment is safe and comfortable.
The good news is there are plenty of places to find a professional newborn photographer.
Start by asking other parents. Most parents have personal resources they can turn to for all things baby-related because their friends and family members also have kids. If you’re in a moms’ group or playgroup or if you have older children in school, ask a few of the other parents if they have anyone they would recommend for newborn photos. Once you have a name look for them on Photobooker.com to review their full portfolio and easily book an appointment.
Keep in mind, you should schedule your newborn photo session within the first two weeks or so of your child’s life so it’s a good idea to begin your search for a newborn photographer before your child is born. Newborn photographers tend to book up quickly because their window of time to work with babies is so short. The sooner you can get something scheduled, the better your odds of getting the pics you want when you want them, even if you aren’t 100% sure of your baby’s birth date yet.
Scheduling your photographer in advance also gives you a chance to think about what photos you want from the shoot and to communicate with the photographer about creative ideas. There might be props, clothing, or other things you or the photographer needs for the shoot so scheduling early will give you plenty of time to get organized.
What Should You Look for in a Newborn Photographer?
When shopping around for a newborn photographer, the most important thing to look for is someone who is experienced working with newborn babies. It’s important to find an experienced photographer with a good reputation and a portfolio of photos you like, much like when you’re searching for any type of photographer. When it’s your newborn baby being photographed, though, it’s important to find someone familiar with handling newborns and who understands how to capture the cutest pictures.
Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Newborn Photographer
There are several questions you can ask a newborn photographer to help you determine if he or she is a good fit for your family. These include:
Are you licensed? What are your qualifications?
Newborn photographers should be safety trained and able to verify this training and any experience they have working with newborn babies. There are safety issues to consider when having your newborn photographed. You should feel as if the photographer is taking these issues seriously and knows as much as or more than you do about handling and photographing a newborn baby.
How do you create the adorable, complex poses I’ve seen and can we do that with my baby?
Experienced newborn photographers can pose your baby in ways that might seem impossible when you’re taking pictures at home but that are safe and comfortable for your baby when done correctly. Not to mention, they result in some really cute photos. Experienced newborn photographers are thrilled to discuss their techniques with you and explain exactly how it’s done.
There are plenty of great ideas out there for baby pics but they should never be forced into positions that pose a risk or make them uncomfortable. Babies cannot support the weight of their own heads or bodies which means they need to be supported during certain poses. This may require retouching or photoshopping later. Babies should be absolutely safe, comfortable, and relaxed during the photo session and the photographer should be able to describe how this will happen.
Will an assistant or spotter be available for the shoot? Do you need me to assist?
Not all photographers have assistants but the best newborn photographers usually work with another person who helps with posing during the session. There’s always a need for a second pair of hands when shooting newborns so if your photographer works alone, expect to be actively involved in the shoot.
If you’re planning to snap pics of your own during the session and there is no assistant, consider bringing along another person to record the session from your end while you help with your baby. You should also bring along an extra set of hands if you have other children coming to the shoot, too.
If you are not comfortable assisting during the session, make sure you choose a photographer with his or her own assistant.
What age babies do you work with?
Obviously, you want someone familiar with newborns that are just a few hours or days old. But what if your baby was born prematurely? What if your baby has special needs early in life? It’s important to know the photographer you choose can deal with circumstances specific to your child.
Most photographers also have an age range that they prefer to work with. Some won’t work with babies until they are a couple of weeks old. Others are willing to work with babies who are just a few days old while some might even be willing to take photos in the hospital. When the photos are taken will have a huge impact on the end result. Babies who are a few weeks old are more alert while those less than two weeks old are easier to pose.
It’s important to interview a few photographers and speak with them at length about their experience, style, and preferences. This helps you get a feel for who is going to be the best for you and your baby to work with.
What Should You Do to Prepare for a Newborn Photo Shoot?
The first thing you can do to prepare for a newborn photoshoot is more about how you’re feeling than what you’re doing. As a parent, it’s important to feel calm and relaxed. It’s easy to feel stressed when someone new is handling your baby. You’re hoping for the session to go well and you have limited control over the situation.
But the calmer you are, the better your baby will feel. Even if things don’t work out exactly as planned, at least you’re setting yourself up for success. Remember, you’re not just photographing memories, you’re making them. Have a good time and enjoy the experience, even the little mishaps that are bound to happen.
Any experienced newborn photographer has probably dealt with a lot of unpredictable moments already so they’ll know what to do. There’s no reason for you to be nervous. Trust the judgment you used when hiring your photographer and allow them to do their work. Let go and let the pro make photography magic.
You may want to bring a few things with you on the day of the shoot. It’s best to keep it to just two or three outfits. Fewer might even be better. The less you disturb your newborn to change outfits, the less likely you are to have to work through a tiny tantrum. Some parents opt to do one casual or everyday outfit like a onesie, one fancier outfit like holiday clothing or an upcoming christening outfit, and a set of pics sans clothing or in only a diaper. You might also want to forgo clothes altogether and focus on wraps, swaddles, or blankets. You get great pics and your baby will likely be happier not being fidgeted with as much.
Discuss props with your photographer. Many newborn photographers have everything they need while others rely on parents to bring along the props they want to use. The important thing is to know in advance what’s expected of you. Communication is key for ensuring a newborn photography session goes well.
During the shoot, make sure all of the best moments are captured. A newborn baby’s parent or parents should be in a few pictures as well as any older siblings. But the baby should take center stage. Your photographer will let you know to join the pictures when it’s time.
Keep in mind, one of the goals of a newborn shoot is to capture the baby. There will be some family photos but the focus is on those tiny details of your baby’s little newborn body as well as his or her expressions and emotions. Many people assume their newborns just lay there not doing much and that props and clothing are needed to make the pictures interesting but this isn’t the case at all. There is a great deal of beauty and interest in a newborn, even if he or she sleeps during the majority of the photoshoot.
Where Should You Do a Newborn Photography Shoot?
Some photographers have a studio while others prefer to take newborn photos in your home. It might also be possible to rent studio space from a third-party, an option that’s become a little more popular in recent years.
Again, it’s important to speak to your photographer about the arrangements. Know what to expect if you’re holding the shoot in your home and don’t stress out too much about how organized or clean your home is. Newborn photographers know they are working with brand new parents and there isn’t always time for a top to bottom house cleaning around feedings, changings, and the usual activities that accompany taking care of a new baby.
There are several things to consider when it comes to the location of a newborn photoshoot. It should be comfortable, warm, and welcoming. There should be places to sit, to change your baby, and to watch the photoshoot unfold.
Also, think about the logistics of the location. For instance, how far is it from your home? Make sure you leave plenty of time to reach the destination and to account for last-minute hold-ups since you are traveling with a baby. Ask if there is parking on-site. You should be as close as possible to the entrance since you’ll be carrying a baby, clothing, and possibly photo props.
Think about the timing of the photo session and whether or not you need to bring along formula or take a break to breastfeed. If older children are accompanying you to the photo session, don’t forget to bring snacks. If you are holding the session in your home, consider putting out snacks to share with everyone during the session.
The more comfortable everyone is and the easier it is to stay in an upbeat mood, the better the session will be.
Are There Any Safety Concerns?
As you might have guessed, there are some special safety concerns when photographing newborns. They are delicate and you need to be sure that the photographer and anyone else working with your baby knows how to handle a newborn. Most have participated in training programs for newborn safe handling. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask if this is the case when interviewing photographers. The American Association of Newborn Photography Safety is one of the most popular training resources and the organization offers training on baby handling, posing, prop safety, keeping photography studio clean, and immunizations.
Babies are positioned and posed throughout newborn photo shoots which is generally safe but requires an expert touch. Experienced newborn photographers know how to pose your baby to not only get the best photos but to also keep your baby safe and comfortable throughout the process. The last thing you want is to expose your newborn to anything that puts him or her at risk. Your photographer should take this concern seriously and make safety a top priority during the shoot.
How Much Does Newborn Photography Cost?
Though it shouldn’t be your first priority when choosing a newborn photographer, it’s important to think about how much the session is going to cost. If you are concerned about your budget but you want high-quality newborn photos, there might be ways to reduce the cost and still get the memories you want.
The average experienced newborn photographer will charge at least a few hundred dollars for the session, more if he or she works with an assistant or if you are having the session done at a studio. Photographers who are in higher demand charge more but you reduce the risk of the pictures not turning out as you want them to by working with an experienced, well-respected newborn photographer.
Some photographers who come to your home because they don’t have a studio space are more affordable than other options but this isn’t always the case. Some might charge more for doing the pictures on-site or at the location of your choice because they have to travel. The best thing to do is to shop around and explore your options. You’ll get an idea for the average cost of newborn photographer in your area and you can base your choice on the information you gather.
If you are on a very tight budget, you can get creative and still have a newborn photography session that gets you the pictures you want; however, it’s important to realize that if you cut costs too much, you might not like the results. Furthermore, the photographer is working with your most precious possession so you don’t want to take too many risks to save money.
Final Thoughts on Newborn Photo Shoots
Newborn photography is a great way to capture the very first moments of your baby’s life. If you follow the tips in this article you will increase the chances of having a memorable photo shoot and come away with some amazing photos. It’s one of the best ways to start making family memories right from the start.