Parents’ Guide to choosing your baby’s first photographer

Questions to ask your photographer blog postNewborn Photography

Choosing a photographer for your baby’s first photo shoot is, and should be, a really important decision.

I recommend making a booking as soon after your 20-week scan as possible in order to secure your date, but no newborn photographer is the same and with so many styles, photo packages, ones that are mobile or that work from a studio it’s a decision that can be a little overwhelming.

Most simply, your choice of photographer should be based on three things – their style, professionalism, and finally cost. To help, I’ve compiled some questions I think you should ask every newborn photographer so that you can start the exciting process of planning and preparing your session with confidence.

1. What style of photography do you offer?

There are two main types of newborn photography – lifestyle and posed.

Lifestyle photos are typically more natural and less posed and focus on the relationship between family members and the new addition to the family. Lifestyle sessions are located at your home in a comfortable room with great natural light, whether that be your family room, nursery or master bedroom.   Besides the convenience and comfort, there’s nothing more personal than your home for creating memories.

Posed portraits focus on that sweet little baby of yours.  This type of session can take up to 3 hours with a lot of that time taken up with settling and soothing them into a deep sleep.  Some photographers use lots of props and newborn outfits including flowers, hats, headbands whilst others keep it more simple and focused on the features of your baby.

Lifestyle and newborn photography

Due to the complex nature of posed photography, it is also worth asking your photographer about the poses they will cover in the session. Most require an assistant and many, including ones with baby resting their head on the hands, are achieved with composite photos using two or three photos sewn together in editing to remove supporting hands.

Posed sessions more commonly take place in a studio using professional lighting. Alternatively, Offspring Photography can bring all the equipment and props to your home {including a newborn baby posing bean bag, blanket backdrops and baskets} and will simply choose a room with good space and beautiful natural light to set up.

If you like the sound of both style options, you might prefer a tailored session by Offspring which offers the best of both worlds with time for lifestyle and posed photos.

2. Do you take photos with parents and siblings?

Not all photographers offer parent, family and sibling photos.  Lifestyle sessions at home are ideal if you would like to capture moments with family members.  Toddlers feel especially at ease in their own environment – a picture of your new arrival with their brothers and sisters in their own room can be a really wonderful memory to cherish.

 

Little boy reading to his baby sister

3. Where do you work?

Many photographers work from a professional studio, but there are also a handful of photographers, like me, who will take away the stress of venturing out and will bring all their expertise to your home.

A posed newborn session should ideally take place within 2 weeks of birth and can take up to 4 hours {A lifestyle session is a little more flexible due to the more natural approach}. Those two weeks are often a blur, with a stream of visitors and midwife appointments all whilst you’re trying to establish feeding and of course spend precious time bonding with your baby. A home photo session means you have everything to hand and you are far more relaxed as a result and this can be seen in your photos too!

 

4. After the session, do I own the printing rights to the photographs?

If you choose not to purchase digital images you may be tied into buying products only supplied by your photographer, even years down the line.  If you have purchased digital copies of your photos this may still be the case if you have not also received a print release from your photographer.

A print release is different to a copyright release.  A print release allows you to print, copy or upload the images to social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram any time you wish. The photographer will retain their copyright which means that you should not edit or alter the images or use the photos in advertising or submit to competitions without their prior consent.

5. How many photos will you receive from your session?

This is where a lot of photographers greatly differ.  It is important to find out exactly what you are going to get for your money as not every photographer is upfront and transparent about their fee structure. Some studios advertise a low-price session fee only for clients to find themselves paying hundreds of pounds they hadn’t planned for.

Think about what is important to you.  Would you like just one or two stand out pieces of art for your home or do you want a full record of the session for a photo book or would you prefer to share lots of photos on email or social media?  Some photographers may sell prints or artwork only, or charge hundreds of pounds for a digital image, whilst others offer a digital package with print options added. Ask a photographer what you will get as part of your fee and always ask to see a menu and price list of the print and product options too.

6. What training have you undertaken?

During your session, your photographer will not just take photos of the most precious person in your world, but you will be entrusting them in their care. It may surprise you to know that the newborn photography industry is completely unregulated; anyone can pick up a camera and say they are a newborn photographer and novices without the knowledge of handling babies are sadly commonplace.

You need someone who will pose your baby safely and ensure their comfort at all times.  Just as you’ve researched and purchased the safest car seats, pushchairs and cots, you should apply the same considerations to choosing your newborn’s photographer.

One way is by asking about the training your photographer has undertaken.  Any newborn photographer worth their salt will have actively sought out some newborn safety training and will be able to confidently talk through their approach to safe posing.

7. Are you insured?

It is unlikely that you will need to make a claim but a photographer who holds public liability insurance is a good indication that they are legitimate and professional. Don’t be afraid to ask for a copy of the insurance to check that it is current.

8. Are you a member of a newborn photography association?

BANPAS, the Baby and Newborn Photographer’s Association, is a worldwide organisation that provides access to safety training and resources to newborn photographers.  Whilst it’s not a regulatory board, its members have signed up to a code of practice to follow safe working methods with your newborn.  Members of BANPAS will proudly display their logos on their websites, but for further verification of their membership you can check their directory of photographers.  You will be able to find OFFSPRING PHOTOGRAPHY ON BANPAS’ DIRECTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHERS.

It’s a lot to consider I know, but the more research you do at an early stage, the more likely you are to be happy with your images.  My last tip is to make sure you’ve spoken to your photographer over the phone or even arranged to meet  them to discuss your session – I’m a strong believer in mother’s {or father’s} instinct too!

 

 

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