I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I have noticed the newest trend among my ‘mom friends’ is having newborn photography done. Ya know, when little girls get over the top headbands put on and little boys get stuffed into handmade sacs that look like footballs? We’ve all seen it. We get giddy over our friends photos and then we when get pregnant we think ‘oh! I’m so going to do that’. Then as the time arrives we start checking out places to have it done and we stop and have the realization that having pictures taken of the newborn baby will cost nearly as much as a car payment! Then we often think to ourselves that “it’ll be fine.. my pictures I take with my camera will be enough and I can’t justify the money!” Then when our little guy or gal hits about 3 months old and our best friend has her newborn and in turn has newborn pictures taken, we’re kicking ourselves in the rear all over again! So here’s a few bits of my advice when it comes to newborn (or any age) photography!
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First and foremost start planning ahead for photography if you know budget is going to be an issue. Think of it in these terms, most people wouldn’t skip out on wedding portraits because of the price being too steep right? They would work it into their wedding budget, so work in child photography into your child planning funds. Sessions can often run $150-$300+ and not to include prints. So keep that in mind. Often times photographers will offer deals if you book more than one session with them, or they will offer a milestone package, which includes several photo shoots through out the child’s first year. Always remember that just because someone charges less does NOT MEAN that they are worse. Make sure to not choose a photographer based off the price bracket they fall into, but rather the work that they offer! Trust me!!!
Second, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! If you’re planning on dropping that sort of money on a photographer do you’re homework. Ask questions, look at portfolios. Plan ahead, decide what your style is versus what the photographers style is. You’ll not necessarily like every photographer you see. DO NOT.. DO NOT.. DO NOT.. (am I making myself clear…) DO NOT.. just go off what you see on Facebook. Often times photographers are turning to social networking sites to promote their business. People will find a particular photographer on facebook, see how many “fans” or “likes” they have see that they charge $300 for a session and assume that they are a world class photographer! THIS IS NOT THE CASE. I can tell you for 100% fact that facebook changes the way images look once uploaded. (even using the high resolution options!). Most photographer will automatically direct you to their personal website RATHER THAN their facebook. They might also mention “hey check me out on facebook TOO”.. but chances are that won’t be their FIRST site to reference their portfolio at. If the photographer is just starting out they might not have a .com website yet so ask if they have any other way for you to view their portfolio online or in person, other than facebook. I’ve personally made this mistake TWO TIMES. I found a photographer to do our daughter’s newborn photos. Looked her over on facebook and I actually won a free photoshoot from her. Once I got her photos from her after the photoshoot and went to go print them, the after processing she had done to the pictures was of very poor quality and it made the images print very poorly. Again, nothing that I noticed upon uploading the pictures to facebook. So then, in a panic, I contacted a second photographer, again going only off facebook. She did much better work with our daughters newborn photos. So then, when it was time to have family photos done, I went back to the second photographer. Well, apparently the second photographer is NOT very seasoned in anything BUT newborns! Which brings me to my next point:
Third, these days, most ‘up and coming’ photographers only have on strength. It’s unfortunate and limiting to their business, but it’s also something you’ll want to keep in mind. I learned that lesson the hard way. Our family photos that were taken by our newborn photographer were just not good. Newborns and families are VERY different in photography world (not to mention the differences in equipment needing to be used!) and I should have seen the red flags sooner. Make sure your photographer has a rounded portfolio if you plan to be using them again (even going from newborn to a 3 month old.. it’s a big difference in how to handle the session!).
There is a lot behind photography and I by no means am a professional photographer so I’m in no place to “explain” it all. However, these little tips are just things I’ve learned by listening to my professional photographer friends and learned by trial and error. Pictures are something that’s a once in that moment experience so if you’re going to decide to forgo them MAKE SURE you understand that your family only grows older, not younger.