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How To Find a Good Newborn Photographer | Virginia Newborn Photography

Newborn Photography has become all the rage as of late, and of course being a Newborn Photographer it thrills me! It’s also insane to see the amount of drive by night photographers that are popping up every day. Before booking your Newborn Session, please do your research. I love it when my clients come to me after spending days researching, it means that they know what they want and are educated on Newborn Photography.

The newborn stage is so fleeting and magical, I can’t help but sigh when I think back to the first few days with both of my boys. Your baby will NEVER be this tiny, this sleepy, this curly, this perfect again so make sure you are hiring the right person to capture it. Here are a few tips to help you find the right professional while looking through their portfolio:

- Are their photos technically correct?

(these next few images are examples of what not to do, I’m editing them to show you what is bad on purpose, my client saw the perfect images;-))

This is a BIG one! Look through all of their images on their website and blog.

Are they blurry or out of focus? If the photographer can’t take a photo that’s in focus, it’s probably best to pass. You want to be able to see every detail of that perfect little face.

Are they too bright/overexposed? You want the images to be bright and airy but you don’t want them so bright that they look like blobs when they are printed out.

This is so bright it hurts my eyes, but here’s an example of an overexposed image.

Are they over-processed? I see this a lot as well, neon colors, “antique” actions thrown on the images, too much contrast, etc. You want the beautiful baby to speak for itself, not the crazy photoshopping that was done to it.

A few examples of over-processed images:

Baby looks like a mime-zombie, yuck.

This baby might be nuclear, step away.

-  Do the babies look safe and peaceful?

I’ve seen some scary set ups/newborn images around the interwebs, babies hanging from branches, shoved in bowls, on the cold ground, etc.  If the baby looks unhappy & uncomfortable, it probably is. Posing a baby correctly and safely takes years of training and experience and chances are the person who just picked up their camera last week probably won’t know how to do it correctly.

A lot of the popular poses are achieved through the magic of  Photoshop. This is one of them, there are hands on the baby the entire time. Babies do not do this naturally and sometimes even if they hold the pose for a split second, it’s still important to have hands on them because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

-  Are they charging professional prices?

This is kind of a touchy subject but it’s important. Real professional photographers aren’t charging an arm and a leg because we are greedy, we are running a legitimate business. Charging $10 for an 8×10 and $200 for a CD of all of the edited images is not ever going to make a business profitable, it’s just not possible. In fact, I’m going to say that once taxes (if they are even paying them) and expenses are taken out, they are not even going to make minimum wage or cover the gas getting to the session.

Running a business is expensive, we pay:

  • taxes (federal and state, that’s about 30-40% of our sales right there)
  • rent (if you have a studio space)
  • utilities
  • insurance – if the photographer doesn’t have insurance I’d run away, because it means they aren’t taking their business serious.
  • equipment – having the right cameras & lenses and keeping them in top shape is not cheap!
  • training
  • professional organizations
  • accounting fees
  • software
  • marketing
  • daycare – my business is a full time job so I need care for my kids while I’m working, it’s not cheap!

I’m sure I could add more but trust me, the list goes on. If you aren’t careful you could spend more than you make and that’s when my next point comes in handy.

These photos are going to last a lifetime while that Prada handbag you bought will be out of style in one year, good photography is WORTH the investment.

- Are they running a real business?

I have a degree in Marketing/Management from Virginia Tech, while I love photography, I love running a business even more. Having a photography business is 80% business and 20% photography and if someone doesn’t know how to run a business, they won’t last in this industry. I have talked to a lot of people who have had horror experiences with photographers that take ages to get them their order, don’t return emails or phone calls or even worse, gone out of business and disappeared before they even got their photos. Trust me, it has happened! Running a good business and good customer service is key. Newborn Photography is art and you are making an investment in your session, make sure it’s with the right person.

I am not making this post to say you should hire me (though of course you should, duh;-)) but I would love it if everyone did their research first. Your baby will only be little for so long and there are no do-overs if the photographer you hire screws up. Once you you get your photos back, your newborn won’t be a newborn any more and it will be too late. Make the right decision from the start and you will not only have a fabulous experience, but beautiful art for your walls of your own baby that you will look back on for years to come and sigh at how it was impossible little Suzy was ever that small, or how beautiful that time in your life was. Don’t look back and look at your photos with regret.

Brittany Rulis - Amen sister

Emily - ah, so perfectly said!!

Alecia Silva - I completely agree with you – there is nothing you’ve written here that I don’t think about during every session, especially when editing. Getting your shot right SOOC is huge, but there is another artistic element that takes place during post processing.

You see PP trends come and go, which is why I try not to hop on to the latest editing trend and stick to what looks natural. Timeless. With that said – there are many other photographers who don’t take that approach, and you can’t really knock them for their “artistic style” – even if we don’t see it as beautiful. Your above examples, (while I agree don’t look good, PP wise) – another photographer might just love that look. Especially when your examples have perfect lighting, posing & angles and all that jazz.

Art is subjective. And as much as I see eye to eye with you, it doesn’t mean that others photographers necessarily will. :)

littleblog - Alecia, I totally agree that art is subjective but when the image is so overly photoshopped to the point where the baby baby looks like a walking nuclear zombie, I think there are bigger issues than style. Obviously i love cleanly edited photos and also love and admire those who process differently but they do it well. There’s a difference between well done and overdone.

jenny - you rock, as usual! :)

Alecia Silva - @littleblog – I agree with with the walking nuclear zombie concept – and I’ve seen a TON processing out there (even from some of the *best*) – who some might consider “well done” and I just don’t like it. (eg: Snookie orange skin tones on newborn, overly muted black & whites, etc.) But it doesn’t mean that they don’t love it. It’s just one of those areas that isn’t black and white. There is a ton of gray area here.

Like I said, personally I wholeheartedly agree with the article! I love the natural style of editing, the focus on the importance of safety, pricing information – it’s all very informative to the average consumer and gives them a ton to think about. I re-posted it on my Facebook page! :)

Jen - Thanks for this blog post! Very well said!!

Melissa - well said!

Becky - fabulous post amber!

Amy Lemaniak - Thank you SO much for this post Amber! Would love to share this on my blog!

Sarah B - This is a FANTASTIC post!

amy - perfectly said!

Sara - Great post! Thanks for sharing! It was a lot of good information!

Jill Velicer - Amen sister!

Megan - Awesome! Going to go reshare.

kristin - It’s funny that your examples don’t look that bad. When I think of ‘the over exposer’ I think of the ones who completely blow out the shape of the nose. The ‘action junkie’ would have rand what you ran twice, and the neon would be absolutely electric.

Melissa S - Well said!!!!!

Susan - What a great post! I totally agree with everything you wrote.

Jenna - Thanks for sharing these thoughts Amber! It’s important for clients to read these things and for all of us to consider them as well.

Natasha - What a wealth of information here! Thanks for sharing it with the world. I’m going to share this link with others, too.

Alina - well said!! :)

How to choose a professional photographer- Huntsville Photographer » Simplicity by Christy - [...] Here is a fellow photographer of mine.  Please Click Here. Posted in Babies, Children, Families, Newborns, Twins, Uncategorized « UPDATE 2012 OCTOBER 13TH & 27th Christmas LE contact meshare on facebookpin itemail to a friendback to top [...]

How to choose a professional photographer » Simplicity by Christy - [...] Here is a fellow professional photographer.  She explains in detail perfectly. Please Click Here. Posted in Babies, Children, Families, Newborns, Seniors, Twins, UncategorizedTags: Bridge Street Town Centre Photographer, Huntsville Alabama Photographer, Huntsville Baby Photographer, Huntsville Children's Photographer, Huntsville Family Photographer, Huntsville Field Photographer, Mooresville Alabama Photographer, On Location Photographer « Watch Me Grow Baby Plan Special…Yes, It Is Perfection! contact meshare on facebookpin itemail to a friendback to top [...]

Newborn Photography - […] wrote this article back in July of 2011, that’s nearly 2.5 years ago, so I figured it was time for an updated version. The industry […]

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