Selecting a photographer can be a tricky thing. You want someone who you can trust, whose work you like and someone you can afford. Those are the biggest things that most people look for and if you ask a bunch of friends who to use, they're almost all going to give you different names. They will SWEAR by their photographer, but what if their photographer isn't the right fit for you? How do you find someone that will work for you and your family? Here are some things to consider:
1) What does their portfolio look like?
Is it consistent? I'm not talking about from the beginning of their business to the current images, but are they basically the same look? Do you like the work that you see? Is the editing consistent or is it all over the place? Here are two of my images edited in different ways. Editing in different styles can be really fun for photographers, but it's important that clients receive consistent portraits.
2) What's included in your payments and how much are you going to spend in total?
Knowing what is included in your payments is vital. If this is unclear, make sure to ask your photographer. There are a variety of different ways that photographers charge for their artistry. Some photographers are charge a flat fee that includes your session and your images. Others charge for their session fee and their products and/or digitals separately. At Fluttering Shutter Photography, I meet with all of my clients prior to them booking a session to review all of my products and pricing. This allows my clients to have an idea of what they would like to invest in their portraits.
3) What about vaccines and illness?
This is a sensitive topic for many, I know, BUT it is important to think about this when you are handing over your newborn to someone who may not have the same belief about vaccines that you do. Newborns have a very delicate immune system and someone with a cold can easily pass it on to your baby which can quickly turn into RSV and a NICU stay. As a NICU mama myself, I try to be very cognizant of illness and have masks and gloves to wear as extra precautions, if they are requested. Also, please keep in mind that since many of us are also parents, we have to take into consideration the safety of our own children, as well. For example, if your child is sick please reschedule or at the very least call to ask if we would like to reschedule due to illness.
4) Are they trained in newborn safety?
Safety is priority number 1 when it comes to newborn sessions! A good newborn photographer will have gone to classes and kept up with current recommendations for newborn safety. Many newborn photographers will spend money each year attending conferences and in-person workshops in order to learn more about how to maintain safety during sessions. Certain poses should never be done without proper training, which can include knowing that hands must stay on the baby at all times, or that certain positions can restrict breathing if not posed properly. Safety should always be something that you consider when booking your newborn photographer. The following is an image that I took at a recent workshop with the amazing Ana Brandt. What you don't see in this shot is how she was placed in the bucket in order to ensure maximum safety and the person who is sitting within arms reach of her with eyes on her at all times to ensure that if she startled, hands would be on her immediately. These things are vital to newborn photography, and it's important to know what kind of education your photographer has.
5) What do they provide for the session?
What comes with the session? Do you need to bring your own props? Provide space in your home? At Fluttering Shutter Photography, I provide access to a large variety of props, outfits and color schemes. It is important to know what is included in your session so that you know what to prepare for.
If you know the answers to these questions and are comfortable with the answers, you may have found the perfect photographer for you!