After our horrid experience with the last photographer we used (https://funmammasa.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/photography-vs-mom-her-big-ass-camera/ ) I decided to research how to chose a photographer to photograph children.
What questions should we be asking before we use a photographer’s services and what as moms do we need to be looking out for?
Photography sessions are costly and I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I really don’t want to waste either my time or money on bad photos .
So these are my top points to keep in mind when looking for a photographer to photograph your baby or toddler.
Research your options
As mamas we all want amazing photos of our babies and their milestones to look back on , share and hang in our homes and it can be forgiven for those of us doting over our gorgeous newborns to think all photographers are great with babies.
Let me assure you …they are not.
Sadly , anyone with some equipment and a few props can set up shop and call themselves a photographer.
Today we have so many apps and tools online that anyone can take amazing photos …even with a smart phone.
So then why use a professional photographer?
Professional photographers are masters of their craft.
Artists who with one quick click can preserve your emotions, moods and personality through the lens of their camera.
They are trained to take a photo that flatters both the light and subject but mostly they see the beauty before them and bring it to life.
Dangers of amateurs.
Aside from shoddy photos and heightened levels of frustration, the very real truth behind working with a photographer who has no experience with babies , is that they may hurt a baby or child to achieve a shot.
In our case , the photographer was used to taking pictures of her own daughters but had no idea how to engage with bear.
Your photographer needs to be comfortable engaging with your child as well as handling babies.
They should also never force your child into a position or into a time slot.
Working with children demands patience …. something an inexperienced photographer may not yet know.
Word of mouth
Always consult the moms in your circle for recommendations with regards to their experiences with a photographer you want to use.
You wouldn’t use just any gynea without researching your options…the same rings true for photographers.
If no one you know has used them , go online.
Read the reviews on their social media and website. Look for a reputable photographer who can demonstrate a track record of satisfied clients ,high quality photos and professional service.
Review their website and social media presence. Look specifically for comments and feedback from recent customers and see how the photographer interact online.
- Was the photographer positive?
- Was the photographer passionate about what they do?
- Was the photographer good with people?
Contact them directly and ask questions.
Never just accept a booking.
If you can look through their online gallery to get a feel for the type of photos they take. If they don’t have an online gallery ask them to email you example photos of what poses or props you can expect in their shoot.
Also see if they hold any qualifications in their trade.
All this will give you some idea of the kind of person they are and give you a clear impression of how they conduct their business.
You get what you pay for
This saying is very true. Our budgets don’t often allow for expensive photoshoots no matter how much we would love to have one done a month , so it can be quite tempting to use the services of a cheaper photographer.
Sadly, cheaper photographers often lower their rates to attract clients. And whilst you may be lucky enough to get a great photographer , nine times out of ten you will get second grade images.
Someone who is good at their craft, will be in demand and therefore their pricing may be a little higher.
But you also know that you are dealing with a professional and this should give you peace of mind on the level of service provided and quality of photos delivered.
Show the papers
Dont be afraid to ask the photographer what their experience or accreditation’s are .
You want to know that you are working with someone who is qualified and experienced when it comes to dealing with children.
An experienced baby or child photographer will be able to easily answer any questions with regards to babies safety in shoots.
Do they display a code of conduct that shows your child’s interest’s and safety first?
A good photographer may not have this as a mission statement on their Web or landing page but they should be able to discuss this with ease and with the ability to put moms mind at rest that baby won’t be harmed.
For newborns especially, how will the specific poses be carried out? Will the photographer be using props or will the images be digitally enhanced?
- No photographer should ever force your baby into positions which make them uncomfortable or put them in any danger.
- No baby should ever be expected to support the weight of its own head or body.
- No baby should be suspended from a height or put in a basket or box which could potentially topple over.
- Your baby should be relaxed and comfortable and safe at all times.
Does the photographer work with an assistant or alone?
If they do use an assistant to help with posing, does the assistant have any experience with handling babies?
If there is no assistant , are you the parent, assisting with posing?
Just like all people working with children , your chosen photographer may have a favourite age to work with .
Children’s development and personalities at each age vary greatly and so a fantastic preschool photographer with years of experience may make a terrible newborn photographer because although they have the experience they have accustomed themselves to working with older children and therefore aren’t as comfortable handling babies.
Even with newborn babies some photographers may have a preference since after the initial couple of weeks after birth, babies start to sleep less and begin to stretch out more.
Some photographers prefer babies to be under two weeks old to achieve the curled up baby poses.
Other photographers will photograph babies much older than this, sometimes up to 8 weeks old, alerting the parent that some shots may not be possible.
Also if baby is premature remember to ask your photographer if they are comfortable working with premature babies, who may be significantly smaller than the average baby.
All the world‘s a stage
Where will you be taking the photos ?
- At home
- On location
- At a studio
It’s a good idea to pre-visit any location or studio before the actual shoot. This allows you to familiarise yourself with your surroundings and be comfortable during the shoot.
Ensure your Photographer understands that the setting for a newborn shoot is very important.
It should be relaxed, warm as baby will be naked a lot of time and very welcoming. You will be here for several hours so it’s vital baby is comfortable.
As moms we need to plan down to the last minute and then have back up plans for our back up plans so it’s important to take into account the logistical considerations:
- Where is the studio based?
- What distance will you need to travel?
- Do you know the way?
- How long it will take to get there? Always factor in extra time to allow for traffic – it’s far better to arrive early rather than late.
- What time do you need to leave ?
- How long is the shoot?
- Is there parking on site or nearby?
- How easy is the studio to access (you’ll be carrying baby in a car seat or will have a pram)?
- If it’s not the ground floor, is there a lift you can use?
- Is it clean and organised inside the studio?
- Is there comfy seating for parents and family members who are coming along?
- Are siblings welcome?
- Are there any child-friendly facilities available or activities to keep an older sibling busy?
- Are refreshments included?
- What baby changing and feeding facilities are there?
What we as parents have envisioned may be nothing like our photographers artistic ideas.
You may have seen examples of newborn photos that you would love a photographer to create with your baby. Make sure to discuss these ahead of the shoot.
If you can create a check list of images you require and by emailing a list of example images you can ask if your photographer will be able to create that specific poses, or not?
Always ask whether you need to buy or bring any of your own props, or whether this is included in the shoot.
Most photographers do have an extensive range of props and backgrounds but it is worth checking in advance.
Also if you wanting to include a family heirloom or sentimental item remember to ask if you can bring it with.
Most photographers will likely aim to create a number of different setups throughout the shoot so there will be plenty of images for you to choose from afterwards.
Availability and fees
A popular newborn photographer can get booked up months in advance.
For a newborn shoot it is advised to book early to avoid disappointment – as soon as you’ve had your 20 week scan ideally, if not before.
Also consider the photographer’s studio fees and the cost of their photo products.
Prices can vary a lot so be sure that the photographer you chose falls within your budget.
Many photographers charge a session fee, and it’s advisable to note that the photos are charged in addition to this.
If you do use a photography package offered , always ask the cost of extra prints …if you like me ,you will want them all.
Never book a photoshoot for baby until you can you be sure that your photographer will deliver the quality of experience that you desire and your baby deserves.
May you find perfect photos that you will treasure for a lifetime.