You've just found out that you're pregnant and you can't wait to book your newborn photographer. It's such an exciting time! So what should you look for when you're choosing the photographer to capture such precious, once in a lifetime newborn memories?
Experience and Specialism
Newborn photography is a unique and specialist area of photography which many general photographers don't offer. This is often because the skills required to safely and artistically pose such tiny babies are beyond the remit of most photography studios. When choosing for your newborn photographer, always look for a newborn specialist, someone who has chosen to this wonderful and challenging genre over all others. Because I specialise in newborn photography, my Salisbury studio is designed with babies and new parents in mind with everything you need for a comfortable session - it's like a home from home, not a commercial space. Having over 8 years experience working with newborn babies, I understand their physiology and how to ensure that their needs are met - this results in calm, happy babies and therefore calm, happy parents! When you are looking for your newborn photographer, ask them about their posing techniques, how they soothe your baby, whether there is a time limit on your session (newborns do not work to anyone else's schedule!), how many babies they have worked with and what training they have done. Look at their portfolio or website and you will get a good idea of how experienced they are and the quality of work that they produce.
Every professional photographer has their own unique style or styles. Choosing a newborn photographer for the style of their work is very much a matter of personal preference. It's important to look around to get a feel for the different styles photographers in your area and which appeals to you the most on an emotional and artistic level. The two broad styles of newborn photography are fine art posed photography and lifestyle photography, however within these two categories there are a huge range of individual styles! No two newborn photographers are the same, so it is important to choose someone whose work you love, rather than choosing a photographer and asking them to copy another style - that rarely produces the results you hope for. For example, not all newborn photographers offer advanced poses such as the bucket pose, so if there is a particular pose that you really love, it's best to look for that in their portfolio.
Personally, I offer two styles of newborn session - Fine Art, in which I create the beautiful 'sleepy' posed images of your baby using props, accessories and rich colours and textures but also White Onesie sessions which are more of a lifestyle session, producing minimalist images with lots of connection and emotion. It is possible to love two different styles - I do and choosing between them is not easy! My advice would be to go with your gut reaction and trust your first instinct.
The first thing to say about value, it that it is not simply the price of something. The value of a product or service is different to everyone depending on how important it is to you. Value is about the service or product being worth the cost. For most parents the value of their newborn photographs will increase with time. As your baby grows and changes, the chance to look back at beautiful images which captured the tiny newness of your child and the emotions you felt at the time becomes more and more precious. Family photographs in particular will be valued by your child when they are gown up, and you are perhaps no longer around. It's also a good idea to think about what is important to you in the service that you receive from your photographer. The studio environment, their level of experience and training, the quality of equipment and props, customer service, the products available - these factors all contribute value to your experience and the finished product.
A side note on digital files and USBs. We live in a digital age and we are used to having digital photographs on our phones. I love that I can look back through my phone photographs and see what we were doing on this day in 2018! However, it's important to remember that technology moves on. Will your children be able to retrieve their first family photographs from the USB in thirty, forty years time, or will it be as useful as the VHS cassettes I inherited from my own parents. That is assuming that our precious photographs stored digitally a haven't been hacked, deleted or accidentally wiped before then. It's a sobering thought and a very good reason to print your images. Aside from the beauty and tactile nature of a professionally produced print, creating a physical copy of your image is the best way to help ensure that your photographs survive for generations to come. That is why my image collections include beautiful matted (not loose, easily damaged) prints, in a personalised box, with matching digital files on a USB. In my eyes, it's giving my clients the best of both worlds and the best possible chance of their images being enjoyed by future generations.
So, as one of Wiltshire's leading newborn photographers I am certainly not the cheapest, however I am confident that my newborn sessions are good value for the experience and art that I create for my clients. As the old adage goes, you really do get what you pay for!
Safety should be the most important factor when choosing your newborn photographer. Experienced newborn photographers should be confident handling newborn babies gently and safely and should have a good understanding of how their needs are met. Newborn babies do not run to a schedule! During my sessions I allow as much time as is needed for feeding, changing, soothing and awake time so that parents and babies never feel hurried. Although I will pose your baby during the session, I am always baby led and I understand that babies are all different and some may not like certain positions. I will never continue with a pose if your baby is uncomfortable. When you are choosing your newborn photographer, ask them questions about their experience and training in different poses, do they have paediatric first aid training? Are they fully insured? Do they use a spotter when posing babies in a prop or when they are out of arms reach? Do they have the editing skills to use composite techniques to achieve images is required? (a composite is where two images are merged into one during editing for safety. For example when posing a newborn with a dog or when using parents hands for support or safety). All of these are important questions and an experienced, professional newborn photographer will be glad to answer them for your peace of mind.
Your baby is the most precious thing in the world and you need to trust the photographer who will (apart from medical staff) be one of the first people to handle them. All the above considerations will help you to find a newborn photographer who you can trust to create a safe experience and enjoyable for you and your baby and to create beautiful once in a lifetime photographic art for your family. My final piece of advice would be to pick up the phone and speak to your photographer in person before you book; this is your chance to ask questions and see if you connect with them. I always phone parents when they enquire about a session for their baby. I love to chat and educate about all things newborn photography and a conversation is so much more personal that an email! For parents, it gives them a chance to ask questions, find out more about the experience I offer and ensure that they feel comfortable bringing their precious baby to the studio.
If you are looking for a newborn photographer in Wiltshire and would like to find out more about a newborn session with me I would love to chat!