When you're choosing a newborn photographer, it can be tempting to comparison shop and make your final decision based on price. After all, we're talking about 2-3 hours of taking pictures - can that really be worth several hundred dollars?
As camera prices have dropped and photography's popularity has shot up, families looking to hire a professional photographer have more options than ever. Clients are often surprised to find huge variety in prices for what seems like the same service. After scanning through a few galleries of gorgeous photos, many simply choose the cheapest option.
Unfortunately, this approach often leads to disappointment: the images you receive from your photographer look nothing like the samples you saw online. This is particularly true for newborn sessions, since photographing tiny, weeks-old models requires a unique skill set that grows only from years of posing newborns. And unfortunately, unlike other types of photography, a newborn session isn't something you can simply re-do if you're unhappy with the results. Newborn photographers work on a tight deadline: by the time you see your photos, your baby's most likely outgrown those sleepy, adorable first weeks, and another session is out of the question.
So, how can you make sure you're hiring a photographer with the experience to create beautiful images of your newest family member?
1) Ask for full session portfolios: New photographers will often capture just a couple of great shots throughout a newborn session. These are the photographs you'll see on their websites, but they're not truly representative of the photographer's work. Ask to see 10-20 images to make sure that the quality is consistent throughout. If you'll want sibling/family shots, get some examples of those as well to make sure that the photographer can deliver the images you're hoping for.
2) Ask about specific experience with newborns: If you were choosing a babysitter for your newborn, you'd never simply go with the lowest bidder. You know that specific experience with babies is essential. You may not think that your photographer falls into the same category as a caregiver. But think about this: for the duration of your newborn session, the photographer is in charge of your baby's well-being. He or she will carry your baby, dress and undress her, place her on and in a variety of props, work to keep her calm and happy, and possibly even feed her if necessary. Both your baby's safety and the quality of the resulting images depend on the photographer's ability to confidently carry out these tasks.
3) Consider the price in context: A professional photographer's work begins long before your session and ends well after you and your baby leave the studio. Before the big day, your photographer should be available to answer questions and provide guidance on outfits, preparing your baby for the shoot (naps, feedings, etc.), and so on. After the shoot, pros will spend many hours selecting and editing images - be sure to check how many edited images your package includes. If you're paying an unbelievably cheap price, your photographer might not be planning to spend much time communicating before the session or editing photos afterward.
Newborn photography is a very specialized genre. It is so important to speak with, and ask questions to, any potential photographer you may consider hiring. Quality newborn photography isn’t cheap, but, this really isn’t the photo session that you want to cut corners for. Interested in learning more? Contact me today!
If you’re interested in booking a newborn session with Stelmah Photo, just click the Contact button below! I’d love to hear from you!