Why Invest in a Newborn Photographer?
When my last baby was born in 2005, I had a digital camera and thought it would be cool if I tried to take some pictures like Anne G. The ones that she magically captures in a huge flower where the baby looks so tiny. However, I didn't have a huge flower that my baby could safely curl up in and I had no idea how to take a picture of her barely clothed without her screaming. Instead, I just decided I would put a blanket up behind her and take her picture. I thought it was the cutest thing because she was my baby. But looking back, I giggle at my efforts. The picture is blurry, it is faded because I printed it at W-Mart, and half her cheek is smushed down in the blanket. Why? Because I had no idea how to creatively capture a newborn. I didn't have the correct equipment, knew nothing about posing or lighting. I just had a cute baby.
Four years later, in 2009, I borrowed my first legit DSLR-a Nikon D50. Again, I knew nothing about it but I was and am a learner. I set out to learn how to actually capture newborns and kids. And let me tell you, it takes a long time. Ten years have passed and this business of newborn photography has blessed me the opportunity to capture over 1000 little babes. Each one has taught me patience. I'd happily share my first newborn images with you (seriously, just ask and get ready to giggle as you compare what I have learned today). If you are a stay at home mommy, a girl boss, or work for a company, I am sure you have learned so much over time. We always think we know what we are doing until we dig, learn, grow, and look back. Here are few tips we want to offer as you look for an experienced newborn photographer. Yes, we are going to share why we think they are important too! We've spent time, money, sweat, and tears to refine our work and provide an experience that will leave you grateful for your investment.
Safety Safety Safety
ONE: Safety Safety Safety. I realize there are so many options to choose your photographer. In ten years, the market has saturated with so many newborn photographers or photographers that want to capture newborns along with everything else which means they aren't an expert at one area. That is like going to a general practitioner to have a knee replacement (ok maybe that is a stretch but I like metaphors!). But it does mean the experience level is all over the place because learning takes time. Here is the truth: You have longed for this beautiful baby for 9 months (and probably longer!) and you want to make sure they are completely 100% safe. When it comes to newborn photography, you always want to make sure there is a 2nd assistant focused on just safety. That means one photographer capturing images and one safety assistant is right beside your baby at all times. Always ask this question or inquire about it when choosing your photographer.
There are certain poses that always require hands on the baby at all times. Just because it looks like a photographer offers these poses, doesn't always mean they do them safely. At MP, Tammy is my main assistant. She has been beside me for years. Literally, we've known each other for 21 years and she can read my mind. She knows if I am going left or right and what I want for lunch. We talk the entire session and she knows safety. We are both nurses so we have experience which is why I believe this is #1 for me. If Tammy is not available, I have two other assistants that have experience in safety and have been with me for years. Bottom line is ask the questions and make it first on your list.
Cheap will get you Cheap
TWO: I know I mentioned above that I started out and didn't know much. I started learning with friend's newborns and that meant I was cheap or cost less than I do now. Why? Because you are worth more as you learn and grow. If you want to choose a cheap photographer than you need to expect that you probably will 'get what you pay for.' If I choose a new stylist for my hair, they are going to give me a different experience than my stylist that has been learning and cutting/styling hair for decades. If you go with cheap, your images may be blurry, posing may be unnatural, and your experience may be you sitting in a 96 degree studio for hours sweating your bum off (and those hormones are not going to be happy!).
I've invested in workshops, online learning, proper posing props, an assistant, a million props (don't tell my husband), and time. At MP, we provide an experience for the entire family. That means our parents relax in a family lounge, sipping on coffee, watching their favorite Netflix show, and sleep. They deserve it! We set up the studio prior to our sessions so that each station is ready for us to capture the best images. We do the sweating as we pose each newborn carefully and slowly so we can provide many different options for the parents to pick from. We invest in the finest fabrics created just for the newborn phase. We custom design each session based on the parents color choices. And the final product reflects our work.
But what if they offer tons of digital images? If someone is providing you a ton of digital images, they are not editing them. They are batch editing perhaps which means that all the little flakes, red spots, jaundice etc will still be on your images. Babies need editing because their skin is 'just born' and it takes weeks to refresh. We shoot in RAW format with the very best equipment. We provide a rough proofing gallery to choose your images and THEN we finely edit each chosen image so they are canvas print ready as a digital. That takes hours of post processing. All of our sessions come with digital images and options to purchase professional prints and albums. P.S. You won't put dozens of images on your walls but you will cry at the ones you do.
So, when you shop for your photographer--and you should, pay attention to all the details. Are you wanting digitals? Are you wanting to rest and relax (and watch through the big window) instead of assisting and sweating? Are they getting their galleries finished in a day (that means they are not finely editing anything)? Make a list of what it important to you as you decide on your photographer. Then invest in that.
Book Early to Prep
THREE: Those first two weeks, your baby changes rapidly. You are going to want to freeze this time and remember when you first saw and counted those little toes and fingers. When you ran your hands through their tiny little newborn head. When you tried to decide who they looked like more. Newborns look very different in those first two weeks so this is the time to capture the art of a this phase. These are the images that you will look back on and cry. Make sure when you are choosing your photographer, you look at their work on their website and social media. Dream a little and create a list of what props, colors, designs you imagine your baby wrapped up in. Make sure you choose someone who wants your final images to portray this fresh newborn time and your style.
We aim to ask questions and create a custom session based on what you want to display throughout your home and provide for family. Because they will want all of the images! Book your photographer early to make sure your due date month is available. Most photographers have limited openings to make sure they can spend plenty of time with their client. If you book with MP, your due date goes on our calendar and then once your baby makes their appearance, together we pick the best day/time for your session. We capture newborns between 7-14 days so we don't miss that peach fuzz on their ears, tiny toes, and fresh skin phase. Every image we capture, we imagine in as the biggest piece of artwork in our client's home.
Okay that was a lot of tips!
I tend to ramble when I write. I packed more tips in there than three but my hope is that it will help you determine what type of photographer you want to invest in. It doesn't have to be Mariposapix. Sure, we'd absolutely be thrilled to have you in our studio. That's why we told you all that we offer. But we also told you those things so you would be educated to look past cheap and go with experience. Ask your friends, search for reviews, look at options, ask questions and then decide. Many many blessings on your upcoming birth. We hope to see you in the studio!
--Jen and the Mariposapix Crew