How much experience do you have photographing newborns?
The answer to this question doesn’t have to be a specific length of time, but how many newborns they’ve photographed. You can also tell if a photographer has a great deal of experience by their posing. You want to see that newborn expressions are not strained, and that their hands and feet look comfortable and cozy.
Have you taken courses in baby posing or newborn photography?
Reputable newborn workshops contain information about newborn safety. They show professionals how proper posing is done, and how Adobe Photoshop is used to enhance an image. Here’s one example of an image done as a composite. The baby is warm and swaddled in many soft layers of fabric, safely held in position by an assistant, or Mom or Dad, during both portraits. The two images are then brought into Photoshop and combined to create the final image.
The approximate weight of a newborn’s head is 25% of their body weight. This means that newborn babies are quite top heavy. When photographing, professional newborn photographers use weights in the bottom of their buckets or bowls, counteracting the weight of your new baby’s head to reduce any possibility of injury.
In this classic pose, the newborn baby’s head is carefully supported by an assistant’s hands, twice. The first image is taken with hands supporting the top of baby’s head, and the second is taken with hands supporting baby’s head under their chin. This way the pressure of baby’s head is not resting on their little hands. Newborns cannot naturally hold this position on their own. Again, this image is done as a composite where the two portraits are then brought into Photoshop and combined to create the final image.
If you see images on a photographer’s website that you’re questioning the safety of, politely ask them how they were done. Most are composites, and a professional newborn photographer will be happy to put parent’s minds at ease.
How long do your newborn sessions typically last?
It’s very important not to be rushed during your newborn session. If the room is quiet and calm, your baby will be more likely to sleep and be calm as well. You must have time to listen to the cues your baby gives during your session, for example, rooting. Rooting is when your baby will turn his or her head and open their mouth searching for food. If your baby is doing this, you will need time to feed him or her. Also, not every baby will do every pose you’d like. Every newborn is different and comfortable in different positions. A professional understands the cues babies will give, and will encourage and help you to care for your newborn during your session. Professionals typically need two hours to achieve 20-30 unique images. They may ask you not to schedule appointments immediately following their session, so if they need more time they have it.
Do you have references?
Many professional newborn photographers have testimonials on their website, but feel free to ask for references from parents of other babies they’ve photographed. When it comes to professional newborn photography, there are no official guidelines or skills required to start up a business. To ensure you’re working with someone who is committed to proper business practices, I suggest asking the photographer you’re considering if they’re an active member of the Professional Photographers of Canada.