We love newborn babies. They couldn’t be cuter and they smell wonderful (almost all the time). Photographing newborns isn’t our thing. Since we have a brand new one, here’s the criteria we used to evaluate photographers.
1. Are you insured?
Almost anyone can buy a DSLR for a few hundred dollars, post a website and call themselves a photographer. The very lowest bar a professional newborn photographer should overcome is having liability insurance and a proper business license. These qualifications should be outlined in the photographers terms and conditions and/or contract. If it isn’t clearly stated, don’t hesitate to ask. Not only does insurance prove that the photographer is a professional, it shows they care about their business and your precious baby.
2. Do you use composites?
A composite combines multiple images into a single finished image. Composites can remove hands or props used to stabilize a wobbly baby head. They can create some adorable final images that would be far too risky (and irresponsible) to get in a single shot. Feel free to ask your potential photographer for before and after shots. This will give you a decent sense of the photographer’s retouching ability too.
3. Do you shoot portraits or Candids?
Candid or “lifestyle” newborn photos are becoming more popular. You can often tell by a photographer’s website which speciality they are invested in but it doesn’t hurt to ask which they prefer to shoot. Often lifestyle photographers prefer natural light or minimal off camera flash. Studio or portrait photographers are often more comfortable shooting in a more controlled environment with an arsenal of poses and props.
4. What kind of Retouching Do You do?
This question can be difficult to answer but if you know some terms, you can learn a lot about your photographer’s experience. Bad photoshopping is a plague on the photography industry. Alien white eyes and teeth, skin so smooth that it has no texture, these are signs of an amateur photoshopper. Photos should be natural, colors should not look neon. If your potential photographer advertises any pictures like this… run.
5. Do You Use Natural Light or Off Camera Flash?
If your portrait/studio style newborn photographer is not using one or more off camera flashes, you should consider being concerned. A small step up from that: If your photographer uses continuous CFL lights you might also keep looking. Studio shoots require lots of light, reflectors and/or CFL softboxes can create subpar and inconsistent images. Lifestyle photographers can often get away with a decent speedlight and a few reflectors.
Less Important Questions:
What kind of Camera do you use?
Unless the photographer is shooting with a point & shoot or a fixed lens camera, most DSLR cameras with a decent lens will get you the images you need. If your photographer is shooting a $40,000 medium format, it will probably be the second thing he tells you after his name anyway. Digital camera technology has come so far that great picture quality isn’t hard to come by, composition and lighting are the biggest hurdles between a mom with a DSLR and a real photographer.
So Who Do We Recommend?
Here is one Gulf Coast Newborn Photographer we dig. we’ll update the list as we research more.
8335 Gayfer Road Extension, Fairhope, AL 36532