You are on the right track with your decision to book a newborn photography session. There are very few images that will ever mean more to you, your children and their children than the gorgeous pictures of their first days here on planet earth. However, there is more to newborn photography than just a pretty picture.
This niche, which was completely revolutionized by photographers such as Anne Geddes and Ana Brandt (I’ve actually had the honor to attend in-person workshops led by Ana, as well as assist her at sessions), requires an exceptionally experienced, competent, trained and safe photographer in order to capture the images you’re envisioning for the session. It also requires that you and your baby are comfortable in the photographer’s presence because that comfort will transcend into the images, giving them that peaceful and ethereal energy we aim for.
Special Note About Pricing: Of course, pricing is important, however, there are so many ways to make the experience affordable for your household budget. The most popular way is to let friends and family (and baby shower hosts) know that newborn photographers offer gift certificates in varying price increments. It doesn’t take many of these invaluable gifts to add up to your session cost and generous credit towards the preservation of the images.
Questions to Ask A Newborn Photographer That Have Nothing to Do With Price
When narrowing down your maternity and newborn photographer of choice, I suggest you ask the following questions (in addition to any you may have of your own). Hearing their answers, and engaging in conversation with each photographer, is the best way to figure out which photographer is the “right” photographer for you and your baby.
1. Do you have specific safety training/certifications in the newborn photography niche?
Without a doubt, the safety of your newborn and anyone else participating in the session is the Number One Priority. Newborns are resilient, yes, but they are also fragile and can be put in incredibly compromising positions to get that perfect image if the photographer isn’t attentive and knowledgeable about what s/he is doing.
Visit my post, Are You Choosing a Safe Newborn Photographer?, where in addition to more information on the safety topic, you’ll see examples of how trained newborn photographers achieve the images they designed without jeopardizing the baby or making him/her uncomfortable.
Peruse their websites and ask them about the type of safety training and experience they have. For example, their About Me page should have information pertaining to training, certifications and/or photography-related organizations they’re a part of. You can ask them further about these training sessions, what they’ve learned, etc. I also recommend working with photographers that go the extra mile and remain current on AHA or Red Cross infant CPR certifications.
A safe photography session is imperative to the success of this milestone experience for you and your baby. If you ultimately decide to forgo a professional and take photos at home (or have a friend do them for you) please read, DIY Baby Photography Tips For Pro-Quality Pictures at Home, which provides tips regarding to safe newborn photography.
2. What experience truly means?
Experience is a relative term. Perhaps the “photographer” has photographed her/his own babies, as well as babies born to siblings or friends. With this “experience,” s/he launches out and starts her own newborn photography business.
While I honor that all of us must start somewhere, I would never allow my newborn baby to be photographed unless the photographer has at least two years of professional newborn photography experience, the training and certifications referenced above, and has handled and photographed at least 25 babies. Even better, all that experience (or more) paired with newborn photographer certification(s).
3. What’s your policy if you’re sick?
Newborns are susceptible to illness because their immune systems are just gearing up. They’re particularly prone to respiratory infections and pink eye. A newborn photographer should never continue with a scheduled session if s/he is sick or exhibiting symptoms of pink eye or illness. There is no picture that will ever be worth putting your baby at risk.
In the case of illness, you should reschedule for another date if your calendars allow that. While it’s true that newbornhood is an extra-special window of time, another week or two (or more) won’t make a dramatic difference. In fact, since each baby is different, some babies actually are better posers after those first two weeks. We will capture excellent photos whether your infant is 5-days or 5-weeks old.
If that won’t work for you or a more serious illness or medical situation arises for the photographer, s/he should refer you to another photographer that is talented, safe, reputable and trustworthy.
4. Are you vaccinated against whooping cough and the flu?
Along those same lines, photographers can be contagious before they’re having symptoms. It’s in your baby’s and your family’s best interest if s/he is up-to-date on whooping cough (pertussis) and the flu. This prevents innocent but entirely unnecessary exposure.
5. Can I speak personally to recent clients?
Good website designs include testimonials, and fingers-crossed those personal testimonials from clients are genuine. However, they aren’t always - and so it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for names and numbers or emails (or to offer yours to be shared) with a few recent clients willing to speak with you in person.
This will give you better insight (besides your own interactions with the photographer) as to whether or not the words on their website and in other marketing materials are genuine.
For more information on worthwhile questions to ask prospective newborn photographers, read, Hiring a Safe Newborn Photographer.
My name is Marcela Limon and I’ve been photographing newborns since 2015. I’ve worked with more than 50 precious newborns and their families. I’d love to schedule a consultation with you so you can learn more about me and my certifications and training. You can contact me online or give me a call at (510) 747-9019. I make safety (and exceptional artistry) a priority - and I can’t wait to show your newborn at one of his/her most endearing moments in life.