13 Questions To Ask When Looking for A Newborn Photographer

Bowling Green KY/Nashville TN Newborn Photography

As a newborn photographer, I often wonder why moms aren’t asking the right questions when trying to find a photographer for their newborn babies. As a mom, I know they would really appreciate to know all the answers. So where is the disconnection? Moms don’t really know what to ask or what to look for. Yes, prices and fees are always a good topic to inquire about and it tends to be the first question people normally ask… but money is just that, money. In this post, I will help you to find a photographer that you can connect with and trust. After reading this, you will be in a better position to determine if that potential photographer is a good fit for your needs and style. 

Here are some questions that, as a Kentucky and Tennessee newborn photographer, I encourage you to ask:

  1. What if my baby won’t settle or sleep?

This tends to be a common occurrence. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t worry about what the baby is going to do the day of the session: 

  • Stressed moms provoke stressed babies and we don’t want that! So stay calm and make sure you follow all the preparation instructions that your photographer has recommended.
  • Experienced newborn photographers will know how to soothe the baby, it’ll be just a matter of time until your little one will fall asleep.
  • One more reason why you shouldn’t be concerned, is the fact that some newborn photographers are also moms (like I am), so we understand babies and are judgement free!
  • • You can always feed and cuddle your baby to help him/her feel secure and comfortable at any time and continue with the session afterwards. If ultimately you or the baby aren’t feeling well, we can always reschedule the session with no problem whatsoever.
  • Wrapping your baby always works! That’s how I start my sessions, so if your photographer doesn’t do so, you can always make this suggestion.

Please note, communication is always key, as well as chatting with your photographer before the babies arrive to facilitate this interaction.

2. What does your fee include and what is the timeline?

As you may already have noticed, hiring a newborn photographer isn’t cheap. You should expect to pay a couple hundred dollars at a minimum with most high quality photographers, but remember the photos are charged in addition to this. Which package you choose determines what type of product you’ll receive. Before making your decision, establish if there is a minimum amount to spend required and if you are comfortable with potentially spending more than this. You may very well fall in love with your photos once you see them all polished and pretty! As for the timeline, it usually takes 30+ hours of work before your images are ready for you to enjoy them (discussions, the session itself, editing, etc.).

3. Do you do posed or natural portraits? 

Each photographer has his/her own style so it’s vital that you research and look at the portfolio in advance to make sure this particular style is in line with your expectations. Natural portraits tend to have a realistic side to them, a “lifestyle”  look, if you will. These sessions are done in a little bit more relaxed and natural feel with the posing that captures some moments of the baby and new family in their own way. “Posed” newborn photos are typically done in a studio, use a beanbag and props for posing the baby and feature a variety of blankets, hats, headbands, wraps, etc. Typically, most of the photos will be of the baby posed alone.

I love both styles but chose to focus on posed portraits for my business. Consider which you would like best and ask your potential photographer if they share your vision.

4. What precautions do you take to keep the baby safe and comfortable?

Your baby’s safety is going to be a top priority for you and it should also be the top priority of your newborn photographer. You want someone who is taking every precaution to keep your baby safe and comfortable. This includes things like weighting the bottom of baskets to prevent tipping, never leaving baby unattended or not within arm’s reach, posing baby in positions that don’t strain joints or muscles, heating the space to keep baby cozy, and more! Make sure to include safety questions when initially chatting with the potential photographer.

5. What should i bring?

Babies tend to be messy, it’s naturally going to happen. So if you plan to be photographed with your newborn, you may also want to bring a change of clothes in the event of any small accidents while your baby is naked. If you’re traveling from a distance of more than 15 miles, you may want to bring an additional feeding for your baby to ensure it stays sleepy and full throughout the session. Also, don’t be shy to ask if you can personally go and check the style, quality, colors and materials of the props that will be used in the pictures.

Many times these accessories will determine the “look” of the pictures, so you want to be clear on that before you decide to book.

6. How to prepare for the photoshoot?

You should have good communication with your photographer every step of the way. By asking these questions, you will know what you should be doing before the session that will contribute to a smooth experience for you and your baby. Every photographer may be different, but here are some of my recommendations:

  • When it comes to the baby, newborns lose their body temperature fairly quickly once you unclothe them, so it’s essential to keep them warm at all times. Dress the baby in a zip-up or snap-up onesie; nothing that goes over the head because it tends to wake the baby if we need to pull clothes off over the head.
  • Parents usually think their baby needs to be awake for their session when it’s actually more difficult to pose the baby in certain poses while they are awake. My goal is to keep the baby warm, comfortable, asleep, and happy for the best photo opportunities.
  • Another useful tip for parents is to feed, burp and change baby ‘s diaper before arriving at the studio. These two things will help the baby sleep longer and better throughout the shoot, making everything go by smoothly. 

7. What age of baby do you prefer to work with? Are premature babies okay?

As silly as this questions may sound, newborn photographers have their own preferences when it comes to specific age groups to work with. Some prefer babies to be aged under two weeks old in order to get the curled up poses that are so popular, others will happily have babies much older than this, sometimes even up to 5 weeks old, although some shots may not be possible. As for premature babies, not all photographers are comfortable working with them since they are so fragile.

This would be a good question to ask despite not knowing if this is going to be important in your case until after the birth, just in case. You want to make sure you know the answer to this question beforehand so you are prepared.

8. How long will it take to see my final images?

The turnaround time for your final photos depends mostly on what exactly you are ordering and which photographer you are ordering from. I have heard stories of families having to wait 2-3 months after having a photo session before being shown their baby photos. That, in my opinion, is way too long.

Each photographer has their own time frame, and that’s okay, but it’s important for you to be clear on this before you choose the photographer so your expectations are aligned with the reality of the situation. For example, I personally like to show my clients the photos after editing in a second consultation between 2 to 3 weeks after their sessions.

If you need to rush the order for birth announcements, let them know in advance so they can do their best to get everything ready for you to give to your family members.

Communication is key!

 Some items however like handmade photo albums take much longer because of the custom nature of the product, and will likely incur an added cost for a rush—another reason to be sure to ask beforehand. So don’t forget to ask your potential photographer about this crucial detail!

9. Do you offer wardrobe options?

Browsing through Pinterest or Facebook, you can easily see how popular props and outfits have become. Not all photographers carry these however, so make sure to ask your photographer if she has a variety of hats, headbands, blankets, baskets, etc. If you are looking for that type of thing during your session. These items can be very expensive, especially those that are well made and safe for newborns. Since newborns come in all sizes, it is important to have a variety of props and clothes in different sizes as well so if a baby is too large or too small for a specific prop, you have other options to choose from.

Same thing applies to mom, some photographers will have options for the mother to wear too so you want to confirm if the photographer does and if you like them before you arrive for your photo session.

10. Can I pay you with a credit card?

Each photographer has different policies and procedures, so this really varies for each case. But most cases do offer a payment plan of some kind with credit card or account. Check the contract details for any late fees, extra charges or what payment options are available with your potential photographer if unable to ask initially. You may also want to know if they will send you a bill or a receipt after your payment is made. Don’t assume, just ask!

11. Can parents and siblings be part of the session?

Some photographers specialize in newborns, and prefer not to include parents and siblings in the session. Others may agree but charge extra for each additional person. It’s always a good idea to clarify with your newborn photographer who will be photographed during the session and what you can agree on. However, if you are looking for this addition to the baby photos, you might want to lean towards a newborn photographer that also does family portraits. Not only will it be more likely that photographer will agree to this, but they will also have the experience in doing so. I include and encourage moms, dads and siblings to be in the pictures in this important moment of life for the entire family!

12. Do you offer prints and wall art? 

Don’t assume that all the photographers know or want to deal with this part of the process. Being responsible for the outcome of your print is not a task that a lot of photographers are willing to do, so make sure you choose a photographer that knows how to do it and more importantly wants to do it!

13. Can I go and visit the place where the photo sessions are taking place before hand?

To establish an intimate and trustworthy relationship with the client, it’s important that the photographer is able to show you the studio, or where the photoshoot will take place. This will happen most likely during the pre-consultation. This is the best time to go over all the products available, like canvases, albums and portraits as well as other details like the contracts, preparing for the session, pricing, and policies. It’s also the best time for you and the photographer to chat about what your desires are, what colors to avoid and ensure that the color palettes you both choose for their portraits will complement the colors at your home. In my case, I like to go over this during the pre-consultation and will write notes to make sure the final images complement the home décor or the baby nursery so that way we can order any wall art that you may like to showcase your favorite photos.

So, if you’re expecting and are looking to celebrate this incredible journey in a unique and unforgettable way, consider a dream Maternity or Milestone Package with us at Emerson Grace Photography.

Emerson Grace Photography studio is based in Franklin, KY and service Bowling Green, KY and Nashville, TN area clients. I specialize in photographing Maternity, Newborn, babies, toddlers, 1 year cake smashes, and families. If you are expecting in 2023, please contact me today about your scheduling your Maternity, Newborn or Milestone package. Now booking January to April dates.

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