10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Newborn Photographer
Whether you’re a brand new mama looking to capture your baby’s first few days of life or a veteran mom who regrets not hiring a professional the first time around- if you’re reading this, you’re probably considering hiring a photographer for newborn photos! There are so many misconceptions and frankly dangerous habits in the newborn photography world (I’m looking at you, viral Facebook videos of babies in froggy pose unsupported!) and I hope by sharing this, I can inform expecting mothers who can better prepare themselves when hiring someone to work with their brand new baby.
Here are ten questions you should be asking your photographer during the pre consultation phase of your professional relationship with them! My biggest piece of advice for this specific genre of photography is to please not book a photographer solely because they are the cheapest in the area. It is incredibly important to ask questions and be able to form trust when hiring someone who will be handling your fragile newborn.
1) How many newborn sessions do you do a month?
A photographer who does a high volume of clients may have less flexibility when it comes to scheduling your session to fit with your calendar. I run a “low volume, high service” business model which includes high interaction and service from beginning to end- this ensures I can provide all of my clients with undivided attention. You can read some reviews from thrilled clients here!
2) Do you have safety training with handling newborns?
There are many opportunities for photographers to invest in newborn safety training, both in person and online. I have taken over a dozen online workshops from leaders in the industry such as Rachel Vanoven, Erin Tole, Amy McDaniel and more. I’ve also taken a hands on workshop with Nikki Criniti Photography in Connecticut, and I am always investing each year to improve and expand upon my training and education. I’m also infant CPR certified with the American Heart Association.
3) Do you have an assistant?
I personally believe in having an assistant who is able to keep an eye (and hand) on baby when I have to look away to switch lenses or grab a prop, etc. I have an amazing trained assistant with me for all sessions.
4) Is the studio area sanitized between sessions?
With their brand new, fragile immune systems, it is of the utmost importance that sanitization measures are taken and all professionals working with baby are in good health and the studio is clean. I remove my rings and always wash my hands before sessions, in addition to keeping hand sanitizer nearby before touching baby. Though it can sometimes be a bit of an inconvenience for clients, I will reschedule a session if I’m not in perfect health. Babies safety is most important to me!
5) Is your business insured? Are you a legal business?
Heaven forbid anything were to happen accidentally during a session- you need to be working with someone who is covered. My in home studio is insured for peace of mind. I also believe it’s worth noting that I am an LLC and legal, tax paying business- so some of the fees I charge go right back into the local community. I personally do not hire any service providers in any category that aren’t legal and insured.
6) Do you have a newborn session prep guide?
New parents can be very overwhelmed! They may feel like they have to provide a full wardrobe and props, or they’re not sure whether they should let baby sleep all morning before their session or when to feed them, etc. I have a full prep guide that answers all of these questions or concerns that is sent to parents a few days before their session.
7) Is family posing included?
Some parents definitely want to be in the photos, while others don’t want to at all. I have two session fees for the parents in each category, so you’re only paying for the time spent creating images you truly love.
8) What do I need to bring to my session?
When searching for a newborn photographer, a huge factor in pricing comes with knowing whether or not you’ll be the one providing props, wardrobe etc. I provide a full client closet with beautiful mama gowns as well as options for babies through eighteen months. I have hundreds and hundreds of wooden bowls, buckets, backdrops, bonnets, headbands, wraps, and more. Being able to show up to your newborn session with JUST your baby is going to make the morning of your session go much smoother without having to worry about packing a ton of props and outfits.
9) What happens during a posed newborn session and how long is it?
The session takes around 3 hours. I have a set workflow in place with a beanbag and all of my props set up ahead of time, once you arrive baby should be fed and I’ll get them out of their carseat and begin right away if they’re ready! Parents can sit and watch, read a book, browse my studio samples or take a nap! Since I have an assistant, I do not need help from parents unless baby needs a quick milk break.
10) What is included in the price?
Now I want to first emphasize that I know everyone has a budget! However, I don’t believe a newborn photographer should be chosen based on being the lowest price in town. Make sure you are in love with the photographer’s work and would be happy displaying similar images in your home. There’s something to be said for a higher quality, luxury service that leaves new parents feeling totally confident in the experience and final product they’re investing in. Next to your wedding, this is the most important event in your life and you’ll never have this time back again- so I believe it is SO important to document these images properly the first time around.
With that said- there are many different business models. Some photographers charge one set base fee with the option to upgrade. Others have a session fee that covers their time only, and you have the flexibility to then purchase only the images you love after the session. Some have package options. Some only sell digital files, others only sell prints. You have to ask yourself what matters most to you- do you just want to put images on Facebook? Or do you want a beautiful finished product to show off in your home? Will you require a payment plan and is that an option with your photographer? These are all things to consider. I work with my clients to offer options from budgets from a few hundred to a few thousand. I also offer flexible payment plan options so you can still get exactly what you love without the total up front investment all at once.
So what do you think? Is there anything you’d add to this list? What is most important to YOU when hiring a photographer or any other service provider?!
If you’re in the South Jersey area and currently expecting, send me a message today- lets see if we’re a great fit!