How do they achieve their more difficult portraits? Often if you look at a portrait and say “how did they get a baby to do that?”, the photographer composited a series of images together to achieve the portrait. That means they took multiple images in which the baby was always safely supported and then spent a good deal of time in Photoshop editing the images together to seem as if the baby was really in that remarkable position. If they didn’t, they are risking the safety of the baby. The time and skill it takes to produce such images safely is another reason why you may pay more for that photographer. Ask photographers how they created those remarkable images. Babies should never be placed high above the ground without someone spotting them, placed in an object that could tip over without support, hung without support, or placed in glass containers. All of the images below were created using compositing.
Do babies look comfortable in the photographer’s images? Newborn babies are very flexible and love being curled up into the positions that they were in in the womb. Babies should easily curl into these poses and their faces should be relaxed and peaceful in the final image. If a baby looks uncomfortable in a pose, they probably were. If they look like they were trying to squirm out of it, they probably were. I can’t even begin to convey to you how a portrait of a baby with their face buried in a beanbag or squirming on a hard surface makes me cringe! Who wants a picture of that? Peaceful baby photos are not magic. The baby really was peaceful. Some poses take a little comforting, or some time with a binky if the baby is about to wake up from being moved, but your newborn photographer in Columbus, OH should be able to comfort your baby and keep them happy.
Are parents allowed to watch the session? Every photographer is different in this respect. Personally, I love having the parents watch me work. I want them to see how comfortable their baby is with me. Actually, I even have the parents come over and help with some of the poses. They are the ones helping to hold the baby in some of the composites or sitting right beside a set up to ensure their baby’s safety. I know I wouldn’t trust someone to take my newborn into another room and not allow me in for 3 hours, but that’s just me. It is sometimes easier for the photographer if nervous parents are not in the room with the baby, as the baby responds to a parent’s energy, but usually after a few minutes of watching me work, mom and dad lose any nervousness they may have had. I’d rather take a little extra time so that mom and dad can enjoy watching the experience and feel complete confidence in me.
An experienced newborn photographer is able to comfort your baby, to work with them whether they are awake or asleep, and to create a selection of beautiful pictures–no matter what. In almost every session I shoot, parents would remark: “Thank you for being so patient. You’re like the baby whisperer. It was so fun to watch. Can you come home with us?” Those are the best compliments I can receive.
To be a good newborn photographer in Columbus, OH takes a very high skill level. Anyone starting out will say how hard it can be. Over time, you learn babies and fine-tune your practices. This leads to overall quality and consistency. No matter what the baby’s mood, a good newborn photographer should be able to achieve beautiful newborn pictures out of every single session. If you hear a photographer excuse poor photos with “Well, the baby just wouldn’t sleep” or “They wouldn’t settle down” or “All they wanted to do was eat”, be weary. Babies run the show. Some do want to feed all the time, some will want to stay up the whole session, and some will be fussy or gassy.
A good newborn photographer observes your baby and allows what they see to inform the poses they choose during a session. If your baby is alert, I’m never going to try a hanging shot because it’s not safe. A baby photographer needs to be good with babies first and foremost, or you will never get the results you envision.
Focus on the quality of the photos taken, not the quantity of photos. A photo is worth a thousand words and a single well-composed photo is worth a thousand mediocre photos. Do the images evoke the same emotions as when the photos were taken? Can you relate to the photos?
Can I trust the photographer?
Do they have a photo studio? This means a lot, as professionals invest in having a studio that is stocked with professional equipment. You don’t want to risk going with an amateur who just got started in the business. How long they have they been in the business? Do they have a good variety of portfolio photos? Check their reviews.
How do they handle and work with babies?
Make a note of how comfortable they are in describing their work with babies. The more experience in the studio with babies, the better. You want to go with the seasoned newborn photographer who is good with babies and really know how to soothe a baby.
Make sure you like the style. It can range from documentary black and white to highly styled sets, from traditional newborn portraits posed on black and white to the use of colorful and whimsical props. A good idea is to start browsing photographer’s websites. If you don’t like the website, move on. Blogs are even better because they show the photographer’s recent work. Their recent work should show consistency.