Whether you're expecting or just brought your newborn baby into this world, here are the main things to look for and know about when searching for a newborn photographer...
1) Studio vs in-home session
It all depends on the style you are going for in your newborn photos - do you want the curly, posed images that a studio photographer gets using a bean bag and other props or are you looking to document your baby as-is, in more of a lifestyle session? Some studio style photographers are willing to take their posing props on-location so you may be able to get the best of both worlds. Just ask!
Although I do offer in-home newborn sessions, I personally prefer to shoot at the studio because there is more to work with and it's where I am most comfortable. Plus I don't have to lug around my entire studio to get the shots I want. I also keep my studio very warm and have different set-ups ready to go so that the newborn session runs smoothly.
2) Studio light vs natural light
Well if the day you decide to do your newborn session is gloomy, natural light may not be the best idea. The images could turn out grainy. Which if that's the style you love, it may work great for you. Natural light may also easier on babies, you don't need to worry about the constant flashing and/or beeping.
I choose to use studio lights because I love the quality it produces. The images do not have grain, unless I put it there in post-processing. I can move my studio light to get the type of lighting I need. With natural light, you basically get what you get and you have to work where the light is. No flexibility to shoot in different areas of a room. I find that babies are not all that bothered by the flashes of light. Some studio photographers use continuous lighting so there isn't any flashing.
3) How to keep baby happy and sleepy
I always recommend that my clients try to keep baby awake before the session and hold off on feeding him/her until they get to the studio. I suggest giving baby a bath to tire them out before the session. Keep the diaper looser than normal to prevent those awful diaper marks on the bum, too! I know a lot of new moms prefer not to use a bottle or pacifer on a breastfed baby, but if you're okay with it, those two things can get baby calm and sleepy while they are already posed for the shot. I also keep a small heater near the newborn (the kind that blows warm air out). This keeps them warm and sound is soothing.
4) If baby won't cooperate
Most of the time I can eventually get the newborn relaxed and asleep, but every so often I come across a stubborn lil one and we spend two hours and never take a single shot. In that case I always ask if the parents would like to re-schedule. Afterall, as new parents find out, they have no control over that new bundle of stubborness.. err I mean joy. You should check with your photographer if they offer re-shoots at no charge or if there is an additional fee.
5) Parent & sibling poses
Check if the photographer allows parent and/or sibling poses before booking you neworn photo session. Some newborn photographers require an additional fee. I include those poses free of charge in my packages because I feel those images are just as important as documenting your new baby alone. I suggest bringing someone along to take young siblings home or elsewhere after those images are captured. The less distractions for baby, the better. I always do sibling and family poses first so that I can focus on baby alone after.
Every newborn photographer is different and my answers may not be every photographer's answer, but I hope this blog post at least a little with your newborn photography questions. If not, send me a comment and I will try to provide the answer!
I have been photographing newborns at NinaMarie Studios since 2007 and it is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs around! I love every minute of it. Just in the past year, I have really been trying to perfect and work on my newborn photography techniques. There's still plenty of room for improvement, but here are some of my recent work.