If you’re in the market for a newborn photographer, this post is for you. Besides all of the common questions about sessions and pricing, I want to cover some of the most important questions you should be asking … 7 important safety questions that you might not think of at first.
Your baby’s safety at a portrait session should be priority one. Finding the right person to photograph your baby is essential, because not all newborn photographers are created equal. I urge you to do your research and choose a reputable, experienced, professionally trained photographer.
Before contacting anyone, here are a few quick things to look for that will give you an idea of how a photographer conducts themselves and their business professionally:
- Do they have a professional website and active social media presence?
- Do they have positive reviews and satisfied customers (look for comments and feedback)? Do you know any of their past clients and can get a recommendation?
- Do they appear positive and passionate about their job?
- Is their work consistent and a style that you love?
- Once you contact them – Are they easy to get a hold of? Do they answer emails or calls in a timely fashion?
Now on to the nitty gritty! Below are 7 important safety questions to ask your potential photographer to make sure you find the perfect person for you and your family.
1. How long have you been working with newborns?
You will find a wide range of answers to this question. Some photographers are starting out and may just have experience with their own babies. Others have worked with hundreds of babies over countless years. But something those experienced photographers have learned is key to their success: every baby is different. Some babies love being on their tummy, and some prefer their back. Some like being swaddled, some like their hands close to their face, some like being bounced, some are gassy, some love a pacifier – and some will fuss no matter what you do! An experienced photographer has been presented with almost every situation and knows how to handle it. They know different ways to soothe a baby, what positions will and won’t work for a particular baby, and above all, will always be patient and gentle with your most precious possession.
CWP has been in business for almost 8 years and Corie has photographed more than 250 newborns, including many sets of twins and one set of triplets!
2. What training/education do you have in posing newborns?
Nowadays, there are so many educational opportunities out there for newborn photographers. From online workshops to in-person, hands-on training, a professional photographer should have countless hours of education under their belt. Posing newborns is a skill that takes time and practice to learn. Your baby’s safety is of the utmost importance, so choosing someone who has invested their time into learning these skills should put your mind at ease. Please proceed with caution if you are considering someone who is just starting out or is lacking in newborn training. Take a close look at their work – do they have a diverse portfolio of poses, do the babies look comfortable and are the photographs in focus and well lit?
In the last 7 years, Corie has participated in two in-person workshops and countless online training courses, taught by the best in the industry: Rachel Vanoven, Erin Tole, Kelly Brown, Julia Kelleher and the Milky Way (to name a few).
3. Will you do every pose I request or are their certain poses you will not attempt?
A seasoned newborn photographer should never promise to do a certain pose. This comes from experience, knowing that not every baby is comfortable in every pose. As mentioned above, some babies don’t like being on their tummy, so certain poses will make them unhappy and uncomfortable. Specific poses can never be guaranteed.
Of course, I do my best to meet my client’s wishes, but specific poses are never something I can promise. Baby’s safety and comfort outweigh everything else.
4. Do you have an assistant or spotter?
Some photographers have an assistant who helps them during the session, and others rely on a parent to spot baby with more difficult poses (and some photographers don’t use one at all). Make sure you know and are ok with how that photographer operates. It’s also smart to make sure the photographer AND the assistant are healthy and vaccinated.
I love working with my assistant at newborn sessions! It puts me at ease knowing that baby is always safe and I can get the shot I need. We are both vaccinated (seasonal flu and Tdap) and will not hesitate to reschedule a session if either of us are not feeling well.
5. Do you do composite images?
I am sure you’ve seen those beautiful newborn portraits with baby posed on a hanging swing, curled up in a twig wreath or balancing precariously on their own hands. They’re gorgeous when done right! But what many people don’t know is that, when done safely, these are composite images. And that these final images you are seeing do not show all of the work and safety precautions that were involved with these portraits. Any pose where a baby could startle, fall or roll should be done as a composite.
What is a composite? A composite is when multiple images are merged together in Photoshop to hide whatever is supporting baby. This could be an assistant’s hand or a special prop. A baby should never be left alone in these poses, and should always have a hand on them. This is typically done with an assistant, but can also be done with the help of a parent.
Corie has years of experience with composites, and will not hesitate to do one if baby’s safety is at all in question.
6. Is your business insured? Are you a legal business?
This is so important — heaven forbid an accident were to happen at your session. Any photographer who works with newborn babies should have business and liability insurance, as well as a current business license. These items mean that you are dealing with a true professional and not a fly-by-night hobbyist. A professional photographer should also provide a contract for you to sign that documents all of the key terms and conditions for the session. You should feel comfortable with your chosen photographer and trust that they have done everything possible to protect your child.
Corie Walker Photography is a fully insured LLC and a legal, tax-paying business.
7. Is your studio sanitized between sessions?
Quite the timely question (for those of you reading this in the future, we are currently going through the Covid 19 pandemic). Newborns, especially, have fragile immune systems, so it is crucial that everything baby touches be washed or sanitized thoroughly. Props should be wiped down, fabrics should be washed, and accessories should be sprayed or wiped. Hand washing is essential, as well as hand santizer.
You will find hand sanitizer throughout the CWP Studio, as well as a bathroom for handwashing. I have sanitizing wipes and sprays that I use before and after every session. Every washable item that baby touches is washed after the session. And while I know it can be an inconvenience, I will reschedule a session if I am not feeling well. Baby’s safety is priority one!
Use these 7 important safety questions to be sure you’re hiring a professional photographer whose work is outstanding and you can trust with your newborn. Newborn sessions are best scheduled in your second trimester to ensure a spot on my calendar. If you are currently expecting, please contact me today to ask any questions and schedule your newborn session.