Newborn photography can be an exciting, memorable venture…or a total nightmare, filled with crying babies and poor-quality shots, despite spending hours at the supposedly professional studio and pouring lots of cash into it.
But here’s the deal: so long as you have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve and ask all the right questions, you’ll pick the best photographer for your shoot without gambling and second-guessing.
From newborn photography ideas to picking the right location, I have searched far and wide for the best information, so you don’t have to. What I want you to do instead is sit back, relax and enjoy my comprehensive guide to newborn photography!
Table of Contents
Before you book: 5 vital tips on building a shortlist of photographers
Many people simply type “newborn photography” into the search engine, book the closest guy with a big camera and hope for the best. The issue is that the best rarely comes with this kind of approach. You must do research that’s more thorough than that, and to help you build a shortlist of suitable photographers, I have compiled the 5 vital tips below.
That’s right: after this step, you should have at least 2-3 potential photographers that you’ll be contacting further, not a complete booking – however tempting the latter option might be!
But trust me, you want to make sure you’re working with someone who is a pro at everything the process involves, from suggesting newborn photography poses to putting safety first.
Without further do, here’s my 5 vital newborn photography tips:
- Timing is everything. Whether you’re the mother booking for yourself, or a soon-to-be dad planning a surprise, you must know the expected due date by heart and plan accordingly! The earlier you book (reasonably so), the better, as the best newborn photographers can be booked out months in advance.
- Research, research – and then research once more. Get as much information as you can from a variety of sources, being that Mr. Google, your friend Karen, or a local community board. You never know where your hidden gem awaits!
- Do not cut the corners. Resist the temptation to pay as little as possible and focus on the best quality you can find within your budget. And if the money is super tight? Either DIY it (not perfect, but less regrets if something goes wrong), or try to find a photographer who offers payment plans.
- Another vital point to consider is whether the photographer has an assistant, or are the parents expected to have a lot of input on the day. Either option can be OK, just pick the work style you’re personally most comfortable with.
- And finally, don’t shy away from asking for references and verified testimonials! In an ideal situation, you’d hire someone who has been directly recommended by multiple friends and loved ones, but that’s not always possible – so references are the second-best thing.
Expectations vs reality: how to align your vision with the photographer for the best results
Ok, if you went through the 5 vital tips, you should now have at least 2-3 photographers to contact – congratulations! This and the following sections will help you make the final decision. Ask questions, make your own observations, visit studios if you can – every bit of extra research helps ensure the best possible newborn photography experience!
In this section, you’ll find some food for thought and conversation starters to decide whether the photographer’s vision aligns with your hopes and expectations.
Newborn photography poses and how to achieve them
Before the shoot, you’ve likely scouted Pinterest and consulted Google extensively for theme and posing ideas. From newborn photography props to pictures of tiny little feet, there’s a lot of inspiration out there.
But here’s the question: just how achievable your dream shots are with the photographer you’ve chosen?
The easiest approach is to send some photos you love to the photographer of choice and ask whether they can confidently achieve the same result. Alternatively, you can get a pretty good idea by simply researching their social media pages and reading the available reviews and testimonials.
In addition, just because someone says they can do something, doesn’t mean they should be doing that. Don’t shy away from asking about specific techniques the photographer uses to achieve complex poses, and whether they’ve completed any training that can help them handle fragile babies safely. For instance, if you’ve ever seen those photos of babies hanging in baskets, a responsible way of achieving that effect is using Photoshop skilfully, not actually suspending a newborn!
Newborn photography outfits and props: should you bring your own?
When booking a newborn photography session, should you expect “full service”, including provision of outfits and props, or will the photographer expect you to have everything ready to go?
Unfortunately, there is no uniform answer, and what you get in the end highly depends on a package you order, the location and other arrangements. Your best bet is to double-check with your photographer directly to prepare well and avoid disappointment!
However, regardless of what you decide to go with, there are some universal considerations when it comes to props, outfits and such:
- Are they sanitized properly? Especially when provided by the studio, as this means contact with many babies, and consequently, their germs.
- Are they safe? For instance, if toys are used, do they have small detachable elements that could be choking hazards?
- And of course, do they create a uniform style, or is it just a bunch of random things lying around? The latter won’t get you anywhere near a professional, polished look.
Making sense of your photography package
When making a booking, you may or may not be explicitly presented with a list of newborn photography packages – and either way, determining what’s included, and what requires extra money can be somewhat confusing and overwhelming.
To assess whether the packages offered meet your requirements and expectations, consider the following:
- How much photography time is included? Anything under 30 minutes is considered an express shoot, and usually doesn’t get you much bang for your buck. Conversely, anything over 60 minutes is likely to overwhelm your tiny angel, so aim for an extended, but more reasonable timeframe!
- Would you like to order physical copies of any photos, or are you going to take care of it independently upon receiving a USB?
- Like total photography time, how many edited images can you expect to get out of the session, and are the unedited ones also provided? If the latter is true, are they available in high or low resolution, and what are the fees and arrangements for getting them edited also?
- Are you getting any physical prints with your package? If not, are the edited files high enough resolution for being printed independently afterwards?
- If you’d like to, is it possible to include family, friends or even pets in at least some of the shots? If so, does it incur additional fees?
- Life happens, so it’s always worth asking what are rescheduling and cancellation policies. You will likely place at least a 50% deposit prior to the shoot – be prepared for it to be gone if you cancel, as compensation for the photographer’s time for arranging everything.
- And finally, triple check if there are any additional fees for anything (e.g. extra props, backgrounds, prints or something else). Last thing you want is unexpected expenses, as you are likely spending a ton of money to support the newborn anyway, so every cent counts.
Logistics of the shoot: how to make sure the day runs smoothly and peacefully
Even after all is supposedly said and done (e.g. deposits placed, arrangement made), there are still many factors to consider ensuring the best possible newborn photography experience. Some of those are up to the photographer, while the others are completely on you – here are some suggestions for your photoshoot preparation checklist:
- Where is the studio (or your chosen shoot location), and how much time will it take you to get there? Take your booked time into consideration to plan around traffic and roadworks if it’s a fair distance away.
- Following up from the previous point, what are the parking arrangements? Is there parking on site or nearby, and is it free?
- Is the studio easily accessible, since you’ll be carrying a baby, props, snacks, etc?
- If the location is not on ground level, are elevators available? If not, can you expect the photographer to help with getting your stuff inside, or is it on you?
- If you’re bringing any entourage (e.g. family, friends, other kids), how many can be comfortably seated at the studio while waiting? If there is no capacity, is there a nice waiting spot nearby, such as a café?
- Speaking of bringing in other kids, are there any child-friendly facilities in the studio or nearby? Last thing you want to be dealing with are boredom tantrums!
- Are refreshments included – and if not, is a fridge/microwave available?
- What are the rules for baby changing and feeding?
Safety first: what to ask to make sure your baby is in good hands
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of safety procedures and policies when it comes to newborn photography, which is why we keep coming back to it! Below are some very important factors to consider deciding whether the experience you’re about to book is safe for your precious little one.
- Ask your photographer directly if they have Public Liability Insurance, and don’t forget to ask for a copy. Unexpected happens, so make sure everything is covered!
- Another qualification you really want your photographer to have is first aid, specifically baby and infant first aid as it is very different from general first aid. Better safe than sorry!
- Also, confirm that your photographer has a relevant permit for working with kids (can be different documents subject to local legislation), and don’t book until you see a copy of their certificate or a reference number.
- Confirm that the location and any props used are cleaned and sanitized regularly – newborns’ immune systems are fragile, and you don’t want them to catch anything nasty during the shoot.
- Speaking of immunity, it is crucial to make sure your photographer is up to date with all relevant vaccinations, otherwise they could pose a risk to your baby’s health.
All in all, you want to make sure your photographer is both passionate and professional when it comes to newborn photography and realizes your baby’s health and safety are their utmost priority. Don’t settle in for anything less than complete peace of mind!
Newborn photography sure requires extensive planning, but it’s all worth it in the end. Precious memories captured forever – what more to wish for?
Hope the tips above help you plan and bring to life the photoshoot of your dreams! Also, do check out our post on essential tips for cake smash photography for when you plan your baby’s first birthday party.
And if you have any further questions, comments or experiences, please do not hesitate to reach out. Looking forward to hearing from you – and send us cute baby pics when you’re done!
Also, If you are in Singapore and are looking for the perfect studio to do your newborn baby photography, we have compiled a list of top newborn photographers in Singapore that can help you. Further, we have also compiled a list of top photo studios in Singapore with all their contact details so if you are looking for a photo studio to do a family portrait, this list could be helpful.
Last but not the least, if you are interested in a cake smash photoshoot session, do check out our list of best cake smash photographers in Singapore with contact info and reviews so choose the one that would work best for you.
My friend Randy recently purchased a package for his newborn that allowed family and friends to attend the photo shoot. He had spent a lot of time searching for newborn photography tips which paid off for him because the photographer was a real pro. I was amazed at the collection of outfits and props at the studio and the amount of care that went into preparing for the session. Anyone planning to have professional pictures of their newborn should read your post. You list some great tips!
Hi Jim, Thanks so much. If you have any suggestions to make this post even better, do let us know.
Thanks for this comprehensive newborn photography guide. There are so many more things to consider when you are doing newborn photography in comparison to pretty much everything else. The baby certainly doesn’t care about how you want the pictures to turn out so putting all that extra effort in to make things right is on you and the photographer
Hi Lauren, Thanks for your comment. Yes, newborn photography is difficuly especially because of the care you need to take as you are photographing the baby. If you have any suggestions to make this post even better, do let us know.
Oh, making sure the props are sanitized is a VERY important newborn photography tip! I’m also a big fan of the fact that you advised checking that the photographer is up on their vaccinations. Anyone who works with children ought to be required by law to be up to date on all immunizations, in my opinion. Best to keep our little ones from getting sick.
Thanks. emiliedarklighter. If you have any suggestions to make this post even better, do let us know.
Thanks for the tips, helps a lot!
Hi Courtney… Glad to hear that this post could be of help. Do let us know if we have missed out on some points or if you have any suggestions to make this article even more comprehensive. Thanks.
Newborn photography shots are usually very cute and well done. There are some really talented photographers out there!
I couldn’t agree more, it’s a must to select the very best photographer for your baby photos. Simply typing a quick Google search and choosing one of the photographers is not enough. I highly suggest that everyone looks at reviews of the photographer before booking. Therefore, you won’t end up finding yourself with bad baby photos or a bad photographer.
I didn’t even think about the cleanliness of the props in their studio. I think I’ll probably just bring my own or ask them about how they sanitize everything. The last thing I want is for my baby boy to get sick just because I wanted a cute photo.
Most of the good studios make hygiene a top priority when dealing with babies because of it’s their reputation on the line as well. That said, you should take your precautions. At the very least, we suggest carrying a sanitizer just in case.
my husband and I are adopting a little girl in the fall. she’s already going to be a year old, and I’m really excited to do something like this! provided she’s not too fussy about it, haha.
I didn’t know that photographers had to have permits for working with children, so that’s a good thing to know! I also would never have thought about checking for first aid training, so thanks for the tip!
Thanks :). Do share your suggestions on how to make this article even better.
Yes, arranging with the photographer for outfits is really a great idea to avoid disappointment. During the shoot for my son when he was just 3 months old, I got on Amazon to get some really nice outfits after doing some research online. I had wanted his outfits and color shades to be a little different from the one the photographer was offering. The photoshoot turns out to be the cutest thing ever
Great to hear that! Do let us know how we could make this article even better.
Great article and thanks for the tips. Also, thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much, Subrina :). Do share your suggestions on how to make this article even better.
My 5-day-old baby’s photoshoot was a very stressful experience. She basically slept during the entire shoot but thanks to the photographer who was incredibly professional and skilled in positioning the baby just right and somehow manage to do so without seeming to disturb my baby at all. The photos were incredibly gorgeous.
Yes, you damn right about research, I did thorough research and got the best and will continue the use the photographer for all our upcoming shoots
Wow! Great to hear that you had a great photo session of your baby. Yes, the photos make all the troubles worthwhile :). Glad you did your research, which is very, very important, and more so understanding the difference between poses that are photoshopped and poses that are natural is very important. Some baby poses are not possible or very dangerous to take naturally, and a good photographer knows that so research and talking yo the photographer before the photoshoot on what is possible and what is not. Anyway, wish you the best and do let us know if you have any suggestions to make this article even better 🙂