Choosing a photographer to capture the magic of a precious new arrival can be a daunting task, especially as you’ll want to get it right first time… you can’t get that time back! It’s also worth noting that many popular studios can often get booked up many months in advance so you won’t want to leave it too late to book, we recommend soon after your second scan!
So if your pregnancy hormones are wreaking havoc and you feel wobbly at the sight of a cute sleepy newborn, here’s our guide to help you choose the perfect newborn photographer…
1. Does their flavour suit your taste?
Most photographers are a little bit like Marmite, have a strong flavour that some will love whilst others will hate! Start by short-listing a handful of photographers whose work really appeals to your artistic taste. They need to be local enough for you to want to travel but otherwise try to ignore ALL other logical factors for now, especially:
Deals, offers and discounts. A bargain is only a bargain if it’s something you want.
Current trends. Fashions come and go but your photographs will still be hanging on your wall long after todays latest trend looks dated.
The opinions and recommendations of others. This is about what fits you, not others.
2. Do they really know their stuff?
Now try to look past those cute baby photos and look a little closer at the details. Things to look out for…
The over use of props. Whilst there’s some very accomplished prop based work out there, sometimes props are employed to mask somewhat less accomplished photography too. We think your baby should be the focus here and not be upstaged or hidden by a busy outfit or huge prop.
Heavy retouching/air-brushing/photoshopping. Blurring out skin tones to a mush really is not professional editing, neither is leaving in bogies, flaky skin, slobber etc. Soft downy hair, tiny eye-lashes and the odd milk spot are beautiful newborn details that look amazing in your images. Retouching is both very skilled and time consuming, a professional photographer should not be using an automated app that crudely smooths out subtle skin tones to pure white.
Jack of all trades, master of none. Can a photographer claiming to be a specialist at everything deliver everytime (or are they telling porkies)?!
Consistency in their portfolio. Your time is precious so ensure your time is invested wisely and that your photographer is consistently reliable with their end results. Look at recent blog posts of real life shoots.
Things to take with a pinch of salt…
Awards and industry acclaim often mean precious little. Gut instinct and testimonials are your friend here, let others tell you about their findings.
Experience is not always an indication of skill. Bad habits can often develop with time, just think of your dads driving skills!
I’ve got a bigger and better camera than you. We all know it’s not how big it is but how you use it… right ladies!? A talented photographer will be able to get stunning results with any camera so don’t be seduced by flashy equipment.
3. Do they work safely and with respect?
It’s vital that your photographer knows about safety issues, such as when to create composite shots (several images merged together to create the final result) so that your baby’s head and neck is fully supported while they work. Your baby should NEVER be…
Suspended from height or precariously balanced on a prop. The availability of images online risks inspiring a ‘have a go’ attitude that is well meaning, but not always fully informed.
Never be forced into an unnatural or uncomfortable pose. If the baby looks awkward and uncomfortable then that’s not a great sign.
Left unattended or incorporated with props such as glass.
On a side note, a newborn photoshoot is a process that takes time, and sleepy shots should never be guaranteed – babies are individuals. An alert newborn can also be photographed artistically and, with parental involvement, early family bonds make stunning, timeless shots. Don’t be afraid to ask your shortlisted photographers lots of questions, especially when it comes to safety.
4. Can I afford them?
All too often the very first consideration but we think it should be one of the last. Beautiful photography should be a considered investment not an impulse buy.
Like any industry, photography varies in price and this can be reflected in the quality of the final images, especially in how they are presented such as the quality of the framed artwork etc. We know from our own professional network that prices vary wildly, and stories from clients indicate that all- in cheap deals on bargain websites often don’t deliver. That said, some photographers may charge little and still achieve good results, while with others you get what you pay for.
Spending say £500 on professional photography and wall art may at first seem expensive but if you enjoy that beautiful framed piece hanging above your fireplace for just 10 years… now that only works out at:
£4.17p per month or less than 14p a day!
A bargain when you think how much pleasure you’ll get from those photographs, each and every day of the year!
5. Do you like them?
Sounds obvious but you’ll be spending several hours in the company of your chosen photographer, let alone entrusting them with the most precious thing on earth, your new baby, so make sure you get a good vibe from them. Again, ask lots of questions and expect full and honest answers in reply. Consider a quick phone call too as, although you’re not looking to meet a lifelong friend here, you can often tell more from a 5 minute chat on the phone than countless back and forths through email.