how to choose a newborn photographer

How to Choose a Newborn Photographer – 13 Questions to Ask

How to Find a Newborn Photographer

Choosing a newborn photographer is not something to take lightly. Your new little baby is your most precious being, and you want someone with capable, experienced hands.

Choosing a photographer for your baby is not where you should skimp, as experience and baby’s safety are the most important factors here.

As an expectant mom, you may begin your journey with finding a newborn photographer in the following ways:

  • Referrals & Word of Mouth
  • Location Searches – “newborn photographer near me”
  • Following your favorites on Social Media
  • Reviews

Most moms will look at who their friends have used for their own sessions- word of mouth and personal recommendations are powerful tools. A personal referral from a friend will speak volumes as far as their experience and trust of that photographer. You may have also been following certain photographers that you admire on social media whose work you dream of hanging on your walls one day. Others will turn to trusty Google and localize their search to their hometowns, or with the term “newborn photographer near me.” Looking at reviews for each of your considered options is important too as it can provide you with insight on what to expect and others’ experiences.

Any of these options are great places to start, but here are some tips to make your final decision wisely.

choosing a westfield new jersey newborn photographer featuring a baby in a newborn prop

Choosing the right newborn photographer for you

When you are looking to choose a newborn photographer, you should ask YOURSELF the following questions, before moving forward in your inquiries.

What is the style of photography that you like? Make sure to review your potential photographers’ portfolios for consistency. You want to make sure that what you receive is in line with what you booked them for.

  • Are you a fan of lifestyle photography? Do you want the session done in your home?
  • Do you like more posed portraits?
  • Do you want family and sibling photos as well? Some photographers may only specialize in NEWBORN ONLY sessions
  • Do you want to go to a Studio where everything will already be prepared for you and you don’t have to worry about the status of your laundry on the couch or whether you have adequate space?
  • Do you like simple styling, or more accessories, props and color options?

Creating a list of the style of photography you prefer and the photographers that provide this will help you narrow down your search. You definitely don’t want to book a photographer for a posed newborn session who specializes in in home lifestyle photography, or vice versa.

Questions to ask when choosing a newborn photographer

1. What is your experience with babies?

It is important to choose someone with a lot of experience photographing babies. Someone who specializes in newborn photography will have all of the appropriate tools to photograph your baby well. For instance, you may love your wedding photographer, but they might not know the first thing about posing babies. Experienced newborn photographers will have an extensive portfolio, training, and take the necessary safety precautions with your baby.

There is a lot of professional training and workshops available to newborn photographers, not limited to but including from Ana Brandt, Kelly Brown, and Hello Little.

2. What baby safety measures do you take?

Baby safety is probably the most important aspect of choosing your newborn photographer. And this is not just specific to making sure babies are safe in props. Sanitizer, face masks, air purifiers, and other health policies may factor into your decision when choosing your newborn photographer.

Along with the proper training, newborn safety is a feature of such educational sites as The Milky Way, & Accredited Newborn Photographers Association, and MyClickMagazine, where you can read corresponding articles on baby safety.

3. What age is best to photograph babies/When is the best time for newborn photos?

Knowing when to expect to take your baby’s images is important. You can check out this related article here: What is the Best Time to Take Newborn Photos?

The reality is, most first time parents have no idea that newborn photographers recommend the session take place before baby is two weeks old.

Some parents may want to hold off longer, or have cultural restrictions or other reasons for wanting to photograph their baby after a few months. However, a traditional newborn session with the cute poses and props take place before the baby is two weeks old, under normal circumstances.

4. How long does the session take?

Is the session a half hour? Or four? How long can you plan to be involved in the session? You may think that a photographer will be able to do a million and one things with your baby in a short amount of time, but patience is essential to newborn sessions. Posing a baby while sleeping is a delicate art, and breaks will need to be taken for feeding, changing baby, and putting them back to sleep if they wake up in between.

5. How many props or poses are included in the session?

Knowing what the reasonable amount of setups the photographer can achieve is important. Photographers will generally offer you a guideline of what is attainable within their set timeframe of a newborn session. For instance, they may say they can aim for 1-2 blanket sets, and 2 or 3 prop sets. Attainable poses will also be highly dependent on baby’s own disposition and comfort level with certain posing.

Most photographers will ask you for inspiration images, or things that you like from their portfolio. Your home decor and color scheme of your interior design and baby’s nursery may influence the type of posing or props utilized in your session.

6. Do you provide props, lighting, and wardrobe?

The answer to this question will largely depend on the type of newborn session you want and the type of photographer you book. For lifestyle in-home newborn sessions, props are minimal or there may be NO props. Props may be of things in your own home- baby’s own wraps and hair bows, their swaddles, or a bassinet and favorite stuffed toy. Your wardrobe may be classically styled from your own closet, Lighting may be natural window light, or the photographer may bring supplemental lighting.

Some in-home newborn photographers will bring everything to your home for a posed newborn session as well. This doesn’t always work for everyone as their homes may not have adequate space for the photographer’s gear, props, and lighting.

For studio newborn photographers, everything is generally all set up and ready to go for you once you arrive. You don’t have to worry about space, getting your house clean beforehand, or whether you have adequate lighting in your home. Studio newborn photographers will generally have a varied assortment of props, lighting, and wardrobe for baby. They may even have a client closet to dress moms and siblings.

7. Do you include family and sibling poses?

A lot of newborn photographer do not offer family and sibling poses. They specialize only in solo newborn sessions. Other photographers may have an additional charge for adding parents and siblings, or additional family members into your session. If family images and sibling photos with your newborn is important to you, make sure to ask the photographer what their policy is on these.

8. Do you provide editing and retouching for newborn photos?

Each photographer’s editing process may also influence cost. Some photographers have very minimal editing, while others specialize in fine art editing and correcting all of the problematic baby skin that often occurs in newborns. Knowing the level of editing a photographer provides can certainly influence your decision.

Editing and retouching can be different things. Some photographers edit very simply, using presets to tone the colors in their images. Some only adjust sharpness, lightness, or add black and white where necessary.

Retouching is much more involved, and can include skin corrections, hair, problem body areas, color changing of fabrics or props, etc. Babies have notoriously problematic skin, and most parents want they baby acne, flakes, and jaundice or red tones ret from their final images.

9. Do I get to choose my final images? How many images do I receive?

Every photographer is different. Some offer a set number of images that they choose, edit, and deliver to their clients. Others show you a whole gallery and let you choose your favorites. Every business model differs. The number of images you receive will also vary depending on whether you can purchase individual images, or in collections as a group, or whether you receive all of the images taken.

10. How long will it take to receive my photos?

Most photographers will have a turnaround time specified in their contracts, but it is important for you to understand when you will receive your final images. Make sure to take into account your final image selection, editing time, and final artwork delivery.

11. What sort of products can I get from my session?

Do you provide any digitals, or customized products? What is important to you here, do you want an album, matted prints, or wall art? How do you visualize yourself enjoying your images in your own home and life. Knowing that the photographer can provide you with these options will help your final decision.

Product type and quality can vary significantly. You can see an assortment of the high-end products from Italy that i offer my clients, here.

12. What is your availability for a newborn session?

Beginning your search for a newborn session early is important as you will ask about a particular photographer’s availability, and if they are your favorite, you want to make sure you get on their schedule. Many photographers have a limited schedule for newborns based solely on the unpredictable nature of their arrival. They may pencil you in to their calendars based on your due date initially. Due to the unpredictable nature of every delivery, once baby arrives a set date will be agreed upon.

13. What is the cost of the newborn session?

This is clearly an important question to ask and you will see a wide variety of responses here. The cost depends on many factors and the level of service each photographer is providing you with. Many of those factors will come from some of the questions already asked above. Time, parent and sibling shots, variety of poses, and product offerings will all influence the price of the newborn session. If the photographer has to travel to you, this may also factor in here.

Most photographers will have a booking or creative fee to book you into their schedules for a session. This is generally separate from any of the collections. Some photographers will have this booking fee go towards a collection or print credit after the session.


Some additional things to consider when choosing your newborn photographer

What level of service is the photographer offering you leading up to and after your newborn session?

Is there a consultation and planning of details for your session beforehand?

Building a relationship with you before your session and after it adds to the level of personalized service you are receiving.

Does the photographer offer wall art and album designing? Will they help you with your own wall art or wall gallery design?

Photographers that offer this service can customize wall pieces for your home according to the personal scale of your own walls and home decor. Digital mockups on your own walls also helps make your decisions easier when selecting your final images.

Do they offer person appointments for your gallery reveal (or alternatively these days, over zoom)? Are they sending a link for digital gallery viewing only?

A guided gallery reveal and selection appointment eliminates additional stress for you as a client when choosing your images. Consider the many nearly identical images on your phone that you can’t bring yourself to delete. Having someone to help you through this from a professional standpoint is invaluable.

Do they provide high end products vs things you can get at your local drugstore?

Just about anyone can take their digital files and print them anywhere. Consumer level prints from most cheap places come with a myriad of issues. These range from funky colored skin, poor print quality, bad paper, among others. Photographers that offer professional lab printed product will make sure your images are true to color, calibrated, and printed on special archival papers and surfaces to stand the test of time.

These are very personalized services, and with the general rush of life these days, can be very valuable to you. Think about the last time you printed your own photos. Then think about how nice it would be to have someone take seemingly simple tasks off of your hand, but tasks that eat up a lot of time and thought. It is just nice not to be taken care of.

Pricing for a newborn session

Based on all of the above factors, it is nearly impossible to book a photographer based on the dollar sign alone. The level of experience and service that each photographer may provide can be wildly different. A full-service in-studio newborn session is not cheap, and you can read more about that here.

It is also important not to book the least expensive photographer you can find. You want someone with appropriate experience and that will safely handle your baby and deliver the results you expect. Baby’s safety is paramount during a photo session, this is your most precious being. Consider that if the price sounds too good to be true, that they may not be a licensed, legitimate business, and may not have the adequate experience to be handling new babies.

For potential clients looking to book my services, you can find more information about my pricing here.

Finding your newborn photographer – final words

Hopefully the information above has provided you with some insight on what to consider when choosing your newborn photographer. This is a very special moment in your family’s life, and you don’t want to experience any regret in regards to capturing this moment. You want to be comfortable in the style you’ve chosen, the level of service that you want, and the end-result of your images and product. Most importantly, you want to be able to trust that the person you’ve chosen to photograph your baby is handling your newborn safely throughout the entire process.

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Sofia Ribeiro is a New Jersey maternity, newborn, and family photographer serving the North and Central New Jersey areas, including Union, Morris, Sussex, Passaic, Bergen, Middlesex, Monmouth, Essex, and Hudson counties.

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