How to choose a maternity and newborn photographer that is right for you!
Getting ready for a baby can already be a little overwhelming...you might not feel like yourself physically as baby takes over, nesting might be at all time high, and you have to get ready to take care of this tiny human once you bring them home! One thing that shouldn't stress you out though is choosing a maternity and newborn photographer that is right for you. There are a lot of choices out there though, so I'd love to help you figure out what you are looking for (because sometimes you don't know) and how to find it.
So, what are you looking for?
As you start to think about documenting this season of your life, one important thing to figure out is how you want it documented. I would say that there are three different approaches to maternity/ newborn photography. Most would say there are two, but I've created a third category for myself after years of documenting newborns:
- Posed - often just baby portraits alone, these are baby posed in different positions with various props/ baskets/ fabrics
- Lifestyle - documenting things exactly as they are such as feeding baby, snuggling with baby in different rooms of a home, this is mostly about capturing things as they are without posing or styling
- Styled Lifestyle - this is a category that I've created myself, it's not quite posed and not quite lifestyle, but it is a styled approach to documenting your baby story in an authentic way but with timeless imagery
Now that you know a little bit more about each type, how do you know which is right for you?
I would suggest looking at the images you've framed in your home or printed in albums. The images that you are drawn to printing, sharing, and keeping as heirlooms tell a lot about the type of photography that would be best to document your newborn. For me, I love to print images that are full of laughter. I love them to be beautifully lit and timeless, but true to our natural state of goofiness. If you don't have photographs or art on your walls, think about the images that you would want to display in your home or share with your little one years from now! This digital age where there is so much inspiration out there can confuse us on what we really want out of our photographs, so try to look for inspiration outside of the world wide web. Find inspiration by looking in books, old family photo albums, or just think about some of the things I mentioned above.
Okay, but how do you find a photographer?
In my opinion, one of the best ways to find a photographer you can trust is by asking others and searching online! Posting for referrals in Facebook groups, searching Instagram hashtags, asking friends and family, these are all great ways to find photographers that might be a good fit for you! I recommend narrowing down your list of options to no more than 3, 2 is even better and I am serious about this! If you start to inquire to several photographers, your inbox and phone might quickly get overwhelmed with too many options and things to respond to. Consider the portfolios you see online and the reviews/recommendations you can find and narrow that list down!
Now, how do you CHOOSE a photographer?
There are too many factors to go into too much detail here, but the main things I think to consider are: quality, experience, reviews, consistency, and communication. I should probably write a full post on this, so here are the highlights:
- Quality: Consistently high quality images are so important, especially if you plan to print your images. Look on their portfolio, blog, and ask for samples if there isn't enough content in those places to see if the quality is what you are looking for!
- Experience: Choosing a photographer with experience in the type of maternity/ newborn photography you are looking for is important to achieving the images you might have in mind. Know that everyone has a beginning and that is completely fine! I started with no experience, so I don't want you to think that I am asking you to only choose a photographer with lots of experience. But did you notice that I didn't mention budget as a key point in choosing your photographer? That is because cost is most often associated with experience. If you have a smaller budget, just know that you might find someone with less experience and may not get the images you are looking for.
- Reviews: You can gain a lot of insight from reading reviews! Choosing a photographer is not like picking a restaurant on YELP though. Be cautious and know that one or two negative reviews across many may not mean anything. There are trolls on the internet who may not have ever worked with someone before or it could be an issue that has been resolved. Click here to read some of the reviews clients have written about me!
- Communication: Communication is key! Look for someone who gets back to you within 48-72 hours rather than weeks so you can ensure your questions will be answered in a timely manner.
Okay, so let me tell you more about this category of maternity/ newborn photography that I made up.
I fall somewhere in between posed and lifestyle maternity/ newborn photography because I love to style things beautifully but I also love authentic interactions between people. What that means is that I spend about 25% of my time during a newborn session with just baby, posed naturally in soft blankets and wraps. However, 75% of my session time is spent with family documenting the love new parents have for their tiny bundle. I have been known to move a little furniture, open doors and windows to get the best light, and bring in different things to wear to achieve beautiful light and style. But once we have that, I often focus on images where you are not looking at me, but instead giving sweet kisses and snuggles to your baby! As a new parent, getting images of yourself in front of the camera (other than selfies) is going to be hard as you document your little one growing up usually with your cell phone. So I focus a lot of my attention on making sure parents are in the photos during my sessions!
I hope this helps you a little bit, but if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!!