Newborn photography is one of the fastest-growing genres in the photography industry, you only have to ask for a recommendation on Facebook to see just how many newborn photographers are out there. As with most industries, there is a broad spectrum when it comes to both quality and pricing. So how do you go about finding the right newborn photographer for you? I'm glad you asked. Here's my handy guide to finding the perfect photographer for your new baby.
•Safety - This is the most important one of all! - Does the photographer work safely? There is a saying that the camera never lies but I know that Photoshop is a prolific fibber. Many of the images you see will be composites, ie photos made up from more than one image that are cleverly combined in post-production to make it look like one image. This is typically used for the lovely head in hands shot and babies in hammocks (babies shouldn't ever actually be suspended). If a baby is placed in a prop, such as a bucket or a basket, there should be a spotter next to the baby at all times. Your baby should be safe and secure at all times.
•Style - Take a look at the photographer's portfolio to see the kind of images they produce. All photographers have a different style so try to pick someone who produces work that you like.
•Quality - Does the photographer produce consistently good images? Are they well lit and in focus?
•Insurance - This is a huge point! Please don't ever hand your baby over to a photographer who isn't insured.
•Posing - How are the babies posed? Do they look comfortable? If a baby's arms or head are resting on the edge of the prop, there should be plenty of padding, they should never, ever be directly on the edge of a bucket, basket, crate etc. Are their arms and legs inside the prop? Having arms or legs overhanging can be uncomfortable and leave the baby unbalanced and certain positions can affect their circulation.
•Training - Has the photographer undertaken training in the art of newborn photography? Adequate training is vitally important for all newborn photographers. Don't be afraid to ask the photographer who they have trained with.
•Qualifications - Does your photographer hold a qualification in newborn photography? A qualification from a professional body demonstrates that the photographer is consistently working at a professional standard.
•Pricing - Now we all like a bargain but when it comes to photography, the old adage of 'you get what you pay for' rings true for the most part (a bargain is only a bargain if you get a useable product). The price a photographer charges will be a reflection of their skill level; if you want a fully trained, experienced photographer, you can expect to pay a decent amount. A good photographer will have spent a lot of time and money perfecting their craft. If someone is charging very low prices, it should set alarm bells ringing. Is it worth compromising the safety of your baby to save money?
The long and the short of it is this, choose a photographer who will safely capture beautiful images of your baby that you're going to love forever.
Safety first! There should always be someone next to a baby when they are on a prop.
Whilst it looks like the baby is being held in the air, he's actually safely snuggled on my beanbag.
Here is an example of how we merge multiple photos to create one final image. In the first photo, we have Mila (the dog) with the empty saddle.
In the second image, Amelia's mummy supports her head with her right hand and has her left hand supporting Amelia behind the saddle.
In the third image, mum has her arm around the back of Amelia with her hand on her bottom to keep her safe and secure.
The second and third image are then merged together before being added to the first image to create the final photo.
The 'bum up' pose is one of the most popular poses done by newborn photographers. Here's an example of how it should be done: Hand flat under the cheek, chin touching the shoulder, elbow and knee touching, back foot crossed over the front foot. The position of the feet stops the baby from being able to push themselves forward if they startle (this is very important from a safety perspective). It's also more comfortable for them.
You'll also notice that his skin is beautifully creamy; whilst some of this is down to the lighting, it also shows that he was lovely and warm - if you notice that a baby has mottled skin in a photo, it means that the photographer didn't keep the baby warm enough.
Lastly, the shadow under his nose shows that the lighting is coming from his head and sweeping down his body. If you see shadows going up the face (known as horror lighting) it means the baby has been lit from their feet. Babies should always be lit from the head down. Noticing these details in a photo is normally a good indication of whether the photographer has received adequate training.
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