Hiring a Newborn Photographer is no easy task. There are so many questions to ask and even more questions you wouldn’t even consider asking but should fully consider.
The first few weeks of your new babies life are a blur of sleepless nights and new found love. If you haven’t made prior arrangements with a photographer before your little bundle arrived doing so at the last minute may be a difficult task and one that could easily be overlooked during those first weeks. Hiring your photographer at the start of your second trimester will be your best bet for not only making sure the session takes place but also to have time to review any getting ready instructions and prepare accordingly.
Why not hire our wedding photographer?
Newborn Photography is a specialized genre in its own right. When choosing your newborn photographer first and foremost make sure you are hiring someone who has hands on experience with newborns and specializes in this area. This should be evident in their online portfolio and website. Newborns are fragile and require special care and knowledge and just because someone takes great photos of pets or weddings, does not necessarily mean they have the specialized knowledge, skill and equipment to handle your baby and get optimal results. Newborn photography is extremely challenging and it takes years to master the necessary skills. Look for a photographer with an extensive portfolio of newborn work with the type of style of photos you love.
We will just do the photos with the hospital photographer?
This is one hot topic among many photographers. Many feel that photographers are taking advantage of mothers during a very venerable time. The mother has just given birth, may be physically in a great amount of pain and is in a vunerable stage. Having someone walk into your hospital room at this stage and sell you anything at all is not my cup of tea. The photographers hired to do this work on commission only, and the sales tactics are at times less than honorable. Not to mention that there is very little oversight in terms of their skill level and the final result. To a new mother any photo of her baby will be beautiful, but waiting a week or two to have mom feel better, be able to choose her outfits and make clear minded decisions of what she wants to purchase seems like a better choice to me.
Preparation is Key to success?
The Best newborn photographers understand that having a well prepared space and properly preparing the parents and the baby is the key to a successful session. Many have learned this through trial and error as well as workshops and mentoring. Upon booking you should be given specific instructions and have the opportunity to ask question and make decisions regarding colors and poses you would like to have from the session.
Wether you are hiring a photographer for lifestyle session or a posed newborn session there are some basic things that apply universally. First of all everyone should look comfortable in the photos, especially the baby. The baby should look peaceful and relaxed, without any unnatural neck movement, misplaced limbs, tight fists or extremities that are turning purple. Examine the types of images you are drawn to most and try and figure out what about that image leaves the biggest impression for you. I can almost guarantee that a sense of softness and serenity will bring forth the greatest joy. This is done with experienced hands and knowledge of babies, their anatomy and an understanding of their specific needs and patterns. And patience… lots of lots of patience. This is actually the one universal thing I hear most from new client, that they didn’t truly grasp how much patience you really need to do this job.
Postproduction and the Finished product
While having your baby posed and handled safely and properly during your session is pivotal, the post production process is just as important. Editing newborn skin can be a tricky business. Newborns have a tendency for many skin issues from jaundice which will present a yellow hue on the baby especially around the face, to baby acne, rashes, discoloration and magenta skin coloring and flaking. Newborn skin editing should not draw attention to itself and maintain the natural texture and shadows of the face. Be on the lookout for discolored skin, uneven editing or images that appear too blurry, soft or porcelain like. (Unless that’s the look you want of course). While editing of newborn skin is a devious and laboriousous process the final result should look effortless. A photographer who specialized in newborns understands full well the delicate process of post processing newborn skin. On a side note no amount of post production will fix bad posing and lighting. Images that are properly edited should print well without any parts of it being blown out or losing detail in darker areas. This can only be assumed with professional lab printing as they calibrate their printers to guarantee this process.
What questions to ask?
As parents it is our task to forever ensure the safely of our babies. This starts well before they arrive into this world. We work hard to choose the best medical providers, most natural vitamins and make preparations for the infant to arrive. When they finally do arrive the true meaning of the responsibly we have just been tasked with truly sinks in. Anyone who will be handling your baby needs to be evaluated with the same critical eye you have given to every other decision so far. When evaluating who to hire make sure you look for first hand reviews from past clients, look over the photographers portfolio and be familiar with their work well before you even contact them. You need to make sure that the photographer is operating their business legally, carries liability insurance and pays taxes. And lastly don’t be surprised that newborn photography is priced higher than you imagined. The overhead costs for newborn work is extensive and the work involved beyond the session time is extremely time intensive. Aside from the time involved in booking a client and communication prior to the session, on average it can take about one hour to setup and break down for the session. The space needs to be properly heated and sanitized. All the little outfits, props and wraps are custom ordered which carries a hefty price tag, they are also delicate which requires hand washing after each session. And then of course there are the countless hours of post production and delivery of products. Newborn babies are typically photographed within the first two weeks of life, so there is little opportunity to hire someone else to do the job if you are unhappy with the result.
It goes without saying that you should feel comfortable working with your photographer and that you should trust them in every way from safely handling your baby to delivering the final product you seek. Ask to speak to them on the phone or schedule a planning appointment to meet in person. The more homework you do in the beginning the happier you will be with the results.
To learn more about booking your session with Hanging On A Moment Photography email us at Justyna@hangingonamoment.com