Congratulations on the baby! Whether your baby is already here or will be here in a few days, taking the time out to diligently choose a photographer to capture your newborn’s very first moments is vital. This is not a decision that you want to rush or take lightly. A lot of people think they can do this themselves or ask the photographer’s friend, cos, of course, any photographer will do, right? Wrong. Newborn photography is a specialized field and not every photographer is equipped or trained to do this properly, never mind par excellence.
You won’t get a lot of time to capture these precious moments as your newborn grows and changes very quickly with time. You won’t get the bending and flexibility after the first few weeks that are unique to babies under the age of 15 days, so you better not wait around for many days to make this decision either.
There are many things to take into account when choosing your newborn photographer but the main ones are listed here. This should help you shortlist the perfect fit most appropriate to take the pictures of your precious child. (1)
The Baby’s Safety
The number one reason, without a doubt, is the baby’s safety. Newborn photography, unlike any other kind of specialty, comes with the added responsibility of taking care of your subject, which in most cases is no more than 2-3 weeks old. Now, this goes without saying that not everybody is used to handling children that young and it is important that you ensure the safety of your child, first and foremost. You must look for a photographer who is experienced in handling babies and if necessary, check for additional training or certifications to be completely sure.
Bodies like the American Association of Newborn Photography Safety (AANPS) provide training and certifications to photographers looking to establish themselves in the niche and it covers subjects from baby safety, handling and posing to keeping your studio safe, clean and immunized to best take care of the baby.
Style of Photography
After ensuring babies’ safety, the most important decision the parents have to make is to decide the style of photography, as this will greatly impact your choice of photographer. Photographers like Laura Jane are in multiple styles and with years of experience can provide exactly the kind of look and feel you’re looking for. Check out www.laurajanestudios.com for a beautiful portfolio and inspiration for a style that best suits you.
The most prevalent styles of newborn photography can be categorized into two main sections.
You have to decide whether you want to go for a ‘Lifestyle Shoot’ or a ‘Posed Shoot’.
The most common style of the baby photo shoot is the lifestyle pictures taken during key moments in the baby and family’s life. This is where you snap a ‘slice of life’ scenario, in the baby’s natural habitat, usually with family members and siblings or playing around with a prop.
These pictures can also be taken in a studio environment where you have a lifestyle ‘set’ in place otherwise, your home can also be the perfect setting for this kind of photography.
The process usually focuses on capturing key expressions and moments of the baby and the family and the photography is done when the baby is up and playful. The natural way the baby moves, curves their fingers or the posture they naturally keep are keyframes a photographer looks for.
As evident from the name, this style of photography involves a posed to set up and props with a different kind of beautiful, artificial, and surreal kind of settings created by the photographer.
The baby is usually sleeping in these snaps. These are the pictures that you usually end up in memorable picture frames around the house. Depending on the creativity of the photographer and discussion with you, you can come up with some really spectacular themes and scenes to portray your newborn.
Check Your Budget
It is useless to give the job to someone you know without doing your proper planning and budget is one big part of it. Just because someone will do it for cheaper, doesn’t mean that you’ll get the results of a timeless picture with the same quality. When it comes to newborn photography, its best left to the professionals. Just because you have a cool digital camera with auto-focus doesn’t mean you should cut corners, also at the same time, don’t fall for over the top photographers who’ll put a dent in your bank account.
The idea is to go for a professional and spend a reasonable amount of money, after all, you want to get it right and it’s not like your baby is staying any younger either.
If the baby is not born yet and you are pre-planning, then kudos to you. But if the baby has already entered the world then you’re better off not waiting around for too long. The size and age of your baby are a critical factor in some styles of photography as you don’t get the ‘mostly-sleepy baby which is easy to manipulate into many shapes and wraps. The older the baby, the more difficult it is going to be to control them and get the shot right.
Getting newborn photography right the first time around is ideal as it costs planning, time and resources. If you’re reading this, that means you take this seriously and are willing to invest the time and effort to get the best photographer and in a great budget. Discuss your preferred style of photography with your partner and shortlist your local photographers based on that. Check out their portfolios to have an idea, as their work will mostly have signature styles reflecting their own unique and creative angle to portraits. Go for AANPS trained photographers for your own peace of mind as they are the best equipped to work with new babies.