Top 3 Questions to Ask A Newborn Photographer | Newborn Photographer in Richmond VA
There are many things to consider while shopping for a newborn photographer. The number one and often the only question I am ever asked is "what are your prices?". I understand that everyone's budget is unique and newborn photography is no doubt an investment and for many, it comes down to pricing. No matter your budget or who you choose as your newborn photographer there is one thing that should be at the very top of your concern list; newborn safety.
There are no regulations or training required in the newborn photography industry, so how do you know that your photographer is qualified for the job?
Three questions to ask a newborn photographer BEFORE you hire them:
1. Do you work with an assistant?
This is so very important!! Newborns are photographed within the first 2 weeks of birth and are very fragile. Someone should be spotting your baby at ALL times. A photographer cannot take photos and spot the baby at the same time. You may think newborns cannot roll and will stay put once asleep, but this is NOT true. A newborn who appears to be sleeping soundly can wake up from the slightest noise and one slight movement could send them rolling off of the posing bag. All newborns experience the Moro Reflex also known as the "startle reflex". A sleeping newborn can suddenly become startled and will throw their arms and legs out abruptly causing them to potentially roll off of the posing bag. If your photographer is not working with an assistant you have to trust that their reflexes are fast enough to put down the camera and stretch a foot or two to grab your baby before he/she hits the ground.
2. Are you familiar with Positional Asphyxiation?
Ask a potential newborn photographer if they are familiar with Positional Asphyxiation if they are not this is a red flag! Positional Asphyxiation is when a baby's airways become blocked. This can happen when a baby’s chin is resting on their chest or when their head is hyperextended upwards or even positioned all the way to one side. Many of the poses during newborn photography, if not done correctly, can put a baby at risk. Your newborn should be monitored closely during posing to ensure that this does not occur. My assistant and I both know what signs to look for and safety precautions to take to ensure your newborn is safe. This issue is not unique to newborn photography; positional asphyxiation can happen in a car seat, swing, bouncy seat or a baby carrier. Ask potential photographers how they monitor this during a photo session.
3. What Are Your Qualifications?
I am always shocked that no one ever asks before hiring me about my experience. Don't be afraid to ask a photographer how long he/she has been photographing and posing newborns. What education have they received to qualify them to work with your baby? You may think, judging from the images on their website, that they are experienced. This is not always the case. I'm going to share with you some techniques that new photographers use (I having been one of them) to display a nice portfolio with little experience. From the many newborn workshops I have attended over the years I've never been to a workshop that allowed me hands on posing experience of a baby. It's all been through observation. The teaching photographer poses the baby and then shows you what angle to take the photo from. You are then allowed to take the picture and use it on your website. This is not an accurate representation of one's work because he/she did not pose the baby, did not set up lighting etc. I've left workshops with at least 20 images that I could have easily used to fill my portfolio. I would also suggest asking a photographer to view an entire gallery from a session. When I first started out I often times I would get only one or two good shots from a session and those were the images I chose to include on my website. (learn more about Sarah Kane's experience HERE)