Congratulations! You're pregnant and probably a little overwhelmed. No matter if you are a first time parent or a veteran, having a baby requires a lot of planning. Add in the changes that your body encounters and you may not have a lot of energy for much of anything. Okay, it's still exciting though! Picking out all the baby stuff, dreaming about what your kid will be like. All cool stuff! But in the midst of trying to figure out whether you plan to cloth diaper or just stick with the disposable Huggies from the store, you may not give a lot of thought to newborn portraits.
In fact, I can tell you that I have a minimum of 6 people per month contact me after their baby is born to book a newborn session. Is this a bad thing? No, not at all. But, you do run the risk of the more popular photographers being booked. This is why I always encourage my clients to book a minimum of 2 months in advance. You don't need to know when your baby will arrive to book your session. It's estimated off of your due date at first and then will adjust once you deliver your baby. Super easy and you have peace of mind knowing that you are guaranteed your newborn session.
I may have digressed a little there, but I do want to stress the importance of booking before your baby is born. Not just because you may not be able to get in with your favorite photographer, but because you may not have the time once your little one arrives. Things get busy after a baby is born. Trust me when I say you will look up one day and your newborn will be crawling. Everything in the first year happens crazy fast!
So, what makes a good newborn photographer? That's subjective on many fronts, but here are some things you may want to consider.
When hiring a newborn photographer, you want to find someone you trust. Not just with your portraits, but with your baby.
Experience: Newborns are not the easiest subject to photograph. They are fragile, unable to pose themselves, and tend to need a lot of snuggles. Not all babies eat and go straight to sleep. Some babies don't like being moved around during the session. Some babies hate being naked at all. You will want an experienced photographer who can identify what makes your baby happy and can keep your baby happy in order to deliver beautiful portraits to you. Now, this isn't to say some babies aren't fussy. But experienced photographers don't panic. They have a plan in place for the not-so-thrilled-to-model babies.
Safety: This one is the most important consideration. I'll say again, babies are very fragile. They make spontaneous movements and are unable to communicate always when something is wrong. For this reason, it is important to watch newborns closely during a newborn session and always have a hand ready just in case. Some poses are tricky (ahem, the froggy pose as seen below), so you want to make sure your photographer is getting the pose the safest way possible.
Consistency: When you are looking through a photographer's portfolio, you want to make sure there is consistency. Lighting, skin tones, editing style are all things you want to look for. This is so you are sure of what you will be receiving when you get your very own photos. I always tell my clients I am more than happy to share a soft proofed gallery with them, so they can see what I offer with each gallery. Versatility with posing and props/accessories is something I strive for, so it is consistent with each of my clients.
Convenience: We have established that moms-to-be are usually quite busy. There's no reason hiring your newborn photographer should add stress t0 your already full plate. Each photographer runs their business differently, so it's important to find one that fits your needs. This is established by how well your photographer communicates with you. You shouldn't feel concerned or overwhelmed by your newborn portrait session. Everything should be shared with you ahead of time, to make things as convenient for you as possible.
Bottom line? Newborn photography is a genre of photography that takes skill, dedication, and patience. It is an investment and for good reason. This is your baby. You will never get these moments back. Hiring a professional with experience, consistency, and your baby's safety at the forefront of their mind is worth everything. You want beautiful portraits, but you also want a positive experience.