Your Guide to Choosing a Newborn Photographer
Posed newborn photography
This is the style most often seen when you look for newborn images. This shoot most often takes place in a photographer’s studio. The aim of this session is to get the baby relaxed enough or asleep to be able to position in a range of poses. These poses can be on a beanbag, in a basket, bucket, fancy box or on a fur rug. The photographer will use a range of props like hats, bows, ribbon, flowers, wraps, headbands.
The sessions often take between 2 and 4 hours. The best posed newborn photographers are super skilled at getting babies to sleep and knowing when and how to arrange them in various poses. These sessions are great if you want highly stylised images for your home. The best time to book a posed shoot is normally between 8 – 14 days to ensure they can still get those sleepy, curly poses.
Lifestyle newborn photography
This shoot takes place in your own home where the photographer will use your home as a backdrop. They will look for the best places in your home light to situate you and give you some direction on where and how to sit or stand but the sessions should feel very easy going and natural. The poses should not be rigid and unnatural. They should rather be a guide for you to relax into interactions with your baby and each other. They will do a range of poses, whole family together, baby on own and everything in between.
Some lifestyle photographers will prefer the baby asleep, others won’t mind. As these shoots take place in your home they will feel more meaningful and will be unique to your family. The shoot time for newborn lifestyle shoots will usually be 2 hours. The best time to book a lifestyle shoot is often around 2 weeks. This gives you a chance to have some semblance of a routine and if you had a difficult birth it gives you a bit of time to start feeling like yourself again! The beauty of these shoots is that you don’t need to leave the house with 10 bags of ‘just in case’ items and clothing!
Documentary newborn photography
This style takes place in your home. A genuine documentary shoot is very different from a lifestyle shoot. There is no direction whatsoever. The photographer will simply hang out with you and your family and take pictures as your morning or day unfolds. They will take creative pictures of your family life with your new baby – capturing you interacting with your baby, and feeding and changing them.
These shoots are great for people who want a set of photographs that show their life exactly as it was in the first few days or weeks of their newborn baby’s lives. They’re also great for people who really don’t like the idea of posing for photographs! The best time for this shoot very much depends upon what you want. Some people have a 48 hour shoot of their baby’s first couple of days at home.
So these are your three styles of newborn photography in a nutshell. Hopefully this has gone some way towards choosing a newborn photographer. It can be tricky to choose what style we want as most pictures of newborns make us all go awwwwwww. If you’re still not sure which style you want…
- Google each style and start to get a feel for which photographs you like the most.
- Which ones connect with you the most. Which ones you see your family in. If you prefer natural and organic things in life you may want to go with a more natural shoot. If you like highly stylised things in life it may be the posed style suits you more
- Think about what kind of photographs you want to be looking back on in 10 years time…
So you know what style you want and are a step closer to choosing a newborn photographer ….
Once you have chosen the style you want you can start looking for photographers in your area. Here are some things to check out:
- do they have a decent size portfolio or plenty of images for you to view? If they have only one or two images then that may indicate that they do not have a great deal of experience. Do they have a consistent set of images showing their style? If not you may not be sure what your images will look like.
- If you decide on posed newborn photography you should check out the photographer’s experience, skills and professional training. Anybody can set up a newborn photography business as this industry is not regulated. Without the right kind of training a photographer can be putting your baby at risk. Some poses should never be set up in one shot. Newborn babies should never be in a position where it is supporting its own head. Or placed in a prop that could fall. Or even be dangling from anything that is a distance away from a surface. Most of these kinds of shots are composite images. This means they are a combination of images merged into one. A baby should be 100% safe and comfortable during a photography shoot. A posed newborn photographer’s health and safety measures should be clearly displayed on their website. Ensure they have a lot of recommendations and good reviews. Their facebook page is a good place to look as these reviews are likely to be genuine. See here for more information about health and safety in posed newborn photography.
- Check out what your photographer will do if your baby is unsettled for a large part of the shoot. Will they rearrange a shoot or will they try to make the best of the shoot. It is important to know so you know what to expect if this happens so you don’t feel under pressure.
- Check out how they charge. Most photographers charge a shoot fee then have packages on top of this. Some have an all-in-one fee.
- Beware of cheap and cut-price newborn photographers. Most good quality posed newborn photographers have taken years training to photograph newborns. They will not be offering cheap discounted photography shoots.
- When you’ve chosen a newborn photographer you should ask to have a phone call or a Skype call with them and to be able to ask them as many questions as you like. Your photo shoot should feel very easy going and relaxed and fun so your conversation with the photographer at this stage should feel like this too.
Once you have decided on a photographer it’s best to contact them as soon as possible to get a date booked in. Most photographers will book a date provisionally and if your baby arrives early or late they will rearrange the date if necessary.
I do a mixture of lifestyle and documentary and I’m happy to do one or the other exclusively. My family shoots are 2 hours and if you want a pure documentary shoot theses start from 2 hours. If you’d like to chat with me about your shoot please contact me. For more information see HERE And see my newborn galleries HERE
Thanks for reading. I really hope this guide has been useful in choosing a newborn photographer!