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What You Need To Know Before Hiring a Newborn Photographer: Tips, Tricks, and Buyer Beware

Are you planning to book a photography session for your newborn?  Hiring a newborn photographer is something that you definitely need to do before your baby’s arrival because it is a once-in-a-lifetime event that takes some planning.  Knowing how to find the right photographer and what to beware of is important to achieve the results you want at this very special time.

I interviewed a few very experienced newborn photographers to learn tips, tricks, and what to look out for.  Find out what they want you to know after the jump.

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  • When to book? 1 of 11
    When to book?
    Booking a newborn shoot can vary with photographers and how busy they are. The biggest mistake most moms make is to wait until the last minute. For the best results baby should be no more than 2 weeks of age because they stop sleeping so deeply, they aren't as flexible (to get into those curled up poses), and many times baby acne and peeling skin peaks after that 2 week mark.
  • Know what’s important to you. 2 of 11
    Know what's important to you.
    All photographers are not the same. You have to look at what is important to you. Some photographers come to you, some you go to their studio. With newborns it can be hard to lug everything into a studio.
  • What style do you prefer? 3 of 11
    What style do you prefer?
    Photographers all have different styles. Some prefer very posed newborn photography, others have a more journalistic approach and do only candid newborn photography. Some come laden down with props such as hats, baskets, blankets, toys, etc. Others prefer a more simple approach. Whatever it may be, please make sure that your hope for your session matches what the photographer shows on their website. Their site and blog should demonstrate to you the type of work they do and project a clear style. Hire someone whose style matches your own so that you are no disappointed in the outcome.
  • How experienced is the photographer? 4 of 11
    How experienced is the photographer?
    This is probably one of the biggest factors. You are hiring someone to come in and work with your sweet newborn baby. Look for a photographer who has worked extensively with newborns and understands how to do so safely. An image isn't worth anything if your baby is not properly cared for or injured during the session. Newborn posing can be tricky and there are many precautions a good photographer will take to ensure the utmost safety. Having the ability to soothe a fussy baby, knowing when they need to eat or be rocked, and knowing how to transition them from one position to another without waking them all come with years of working with newborns.
  • Keep your budget in mind. 5 of 11
    Keep your budget in mind.
    No matter how much you may love a photographer, if you can't afford them, don't waste their time and make your life miserable. It is especially important that you clearly understand the photographer's pricing as well. Ask questions and please, don't book a session without fully reading and understanding the pricing. It never works out for anyone. There are photographers with all different styles, abilities, and prices. It may take some time to find the right one, but it is possible.
  • Buyer beware! 6 of 11
    Buyer beware!
    Do not trust just an online gallery. Some photographers use images they have taken at workshops (where the mentor did all of the setting up and posing) and some even steal images from other photographers to use on their websites. You can ask any reputable photographer to view a recent full session. From this you can see what a typical session will look like. It will show the amount of variety you can expect.
  • Will it be a family affair? 7 of 11
    Will it be a family affair?
    You may or may not wish to be in your baby's images. However, frequently we use parent hands and shoulders as props or backdrops in your portraits. Please make sure fingernails are clean and neat. Many families love participating in their first family portrait together at this stage. We prefer simple, minimal, solid clothing in neutral shades (black/white/cream) for the most beautiful results.
  • Will sibling(s) be participating? 8 of 11
    Will sibling(s) be participating?
    If you have a sibling that you are wanting to include in the session, it is best if they are there for the time they are in the photos and then another adult takes them elsewhere to occupy them. It is difficult for them to understand the need to stay quiet.
  • Got props? 9 of 11
    Got props?
    Think about what kinds of props/hats you love. You can ask the photographer if they have these items or you can plan ahead and buy them yourself (small items that compliment the images without overpowering the baby's true essence).
  • Ask around. 10 of 11
    Ask around.
    You can also ask around and get referrals from your friends. It is the best way to get the truth about someone. Your friends would never say they had a great experience if they did not!
  • Session tips. 11 of 11
    Session tips.
    Try not to cinch the diaper on before the session to prevent any red marks or indentations on sensitive new skin. Prepare to relax the feeding schedule a bit. Bring extra bottles or plan to nurse a bit more to "top off" a restless baby and keep him satisfied and relaxed. Also, keep in mind that the studio (or your home) will need to be extra warm to accommodate your naked newborn.

Special thanks to Captures By Erin, Earth Mama Photography, and Jennifer Mazy Photography for the photos and advice.

Do you plan to book a newborn session for you little bundle of joy?

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