So I have written before on the blog about how to choose your baby photographer and it is always a subject which provokes discussion. Above all I often see Facebook posts on local Mummy pages asking for recommendations for photographers, and there will always be a long list of those suggested.
One of the biggest factors for a lot of people is money, and in the current economic climate I can completely understand this. However no matter what your budget, it is always worth spending some time looking for the right photographer for you. You can read more about how I recommend you choose your photographer here.
Of course with the huge number of photographers, and Mummy’s who’ve just had a baby and have an expensive camera, moving into newborn photography it can be confusing to know who to choose. Newborn photography is a very specialised area of photography which requires not only the skills in how to use your camera and lighting, and how to edit photos but also, and most importantly, how to handle and pose newborn babies. Personally I have been specialising in newborn and baby photography for over 4yrs now, and have invested a LOT of time and money in improving my technical skills and training in the art of working with babies. If I tell you that my very first newborn was photographed on a blue bath mat, because it was an interesting texture, you might not believe me! Luckily that baby’s Mummy is still friends with me today and I have a lot to thank her for, as it was during that very first attempt at a newborn photoshoot that I was bitten by the bug to work with babies.
Of course everyone has to start somewhere and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all those Mums who kindly let me spend time with their babies, practicing how to pose and photograph them. So what I want to talk about in this article is the difference between hiring a professional photographer who specialises in newborn photography and someone who is just starting out. Obviously the above demonstrates clearly how my lighting and posing (and taste!) have developed enormously over the last 4yrs.
Something which not many people think about is whether their photographer is able to edit to a professional standard. Very few newborns have perfect skin! They are often red/blotchy, jaundiced, dry/flaky or have baby acne/milk spots. Then of course they can have bruises or cuts from the delivery, or they may have scratched their face with those razor sharp nails all newborns seem to have. Is your photographer able to edit all of these things out? After-all you don’t want to look at your photos and be reminded of a possibly traumatic delivery, you want to just see your perfect newborn baby. There are also times when baby needs a little support in a pose – can your photographer edit this out too?
Learning to understand newborn babies and what their cues mean is also an art, and something I have developed to the point that many of my clients call me the baby whisperer (but please don’t ask – I don’t do night calls). A professional newborn photographer will understand how to set-up their shooting space to keep baby comfortable, and will be able to read the baby’s expressions and movements to ensure they remain comfortable throughout. Being able to tell when baby has wind is vital in newborn posing, as often there is no point trying to pose a windy baby as they’ll quickly become unsettled. Then there is also the times when being able to tell that baby is about have a bowel movement, and getting out of the way or slipping a nappy on quickly, can save a lot of time and mess! I always think I’ve had a good photoshoot if there is no pee, poo or puke on me at the end.
Finally the most important thing to consider, and one of the main reasons to choose a professional newborn photographer, is safety! There are many times when a stunning image may look easy to achieve, but for baby’s safety a composite is used. Composite images are those where more than one image is taken and then they are combined in Photoshop to create the final image. This is usually done for the baby’s safety. For example everyone loves my wooden vintage well bucket. However for a newborn baby this could pose a safety risk if they were to fling their arms and head back, as they would hit the handle. So I use composite images, and normally Dad to help spot the baby, to ensure that baby is safe at all times. An inexperienced photographer, or amateur photographer, may not realise from the final image how it was created and could possibly put baby at risk unintentionally.
No matter who you choose as your newborn photographer make sure that they firstly work safely, and secondly that you like what you see in their website galleries. Newborn babies are only tiny for such a short space of time that you wouldn’t want to regret choosing the wrong photographer and missing capturing those first beautiful images. Good professional newborn photographers get booked up months in advance, and ideally to capture newborn photos you want them done in the first 2wks, so I recommend looking for and booking your photographer soon after your 20wk scan.
If you would like to find out more about my newborn photoshoots please click here.