It can be incredibly overwhelming choosing a Newborn Photographer Sydney. This is not only the person with whom you are going to entrust with the very first images of your little bub, but also the person who you (more than ever) hope knows their profession so well that at ALL times, your little one is safe and happy. Although I have been experienced as a Newborn Photographer in Sydney for 10 years, I had never known the complete story of what I was providing to parents - until I had my own children. Being at the receiving end of having some newborn photos taken by a wonderful photographer, I realised just how precious this moment in life was, and how quickly it flew by. There were so many things that stood out as being absolutely vital to choosing my photographer and I wanted to share these with you.
1. Does Your Photographer Prioritise Safety?
This is number one on my list as it should be for yours too! You may have found a photographer who takes the most incredible images, but if they have unsafe practice, then you can strike that photog off the list straight away! To give you an idea of the safety requirements you should be looking out for, here is a list of just some of the precautions I take in my sessions:
- I have trained in both CPR and First Aid.
- I have public liability insurance.
- the shooting space is warmed to 26-28 degrees celsius and altered according to baby being wrapped, doubled wrapped, held or naked.
- I wash my hands and use sanitiser regularly.
- If I am unwell, your session is postponed to a later date. This rarely happens as I don't get sick often, but I would never risk your baby's health due to my booking schedule.
- I always use a camera strap, particularly when shooting over your bub.
- My studio, used props, blankets and wraps are cleaned/washed after every session.
- Your baby is only photographed on low, supported, comfortable and safe surfaces.
- I use an assistant or ask you or your partner to 'spot' as I shoot to ensure bub always has a pair of eyes on him/her and a pair of hands very close by.
- I regularly seek advice from a registered nurse on the do's and don'ts of working with babies.
- I am accredited in Newborn safety and have learned about the many different specifics that go with holding and photographing newborns depending on how they have entered the world, how they are feeding, if they have any physical injuries or differences and what works individually for each baby judging on their mood, and physical needs.
- I only put your little one in poses that are safe and that they comfortably move into. Some poses like 'The froggy pose' are not for all babies. Natural and more womb-like poses are what I feel comfortable with, and I personally feel are more beautiful.
- I do composite imagery when needed. Never is baby suspended or in a position where they could drop- it's all an illusion!
If your photographer doesn't put your little one's safety first, then don't have them as your number one.
2. Are They Experienced at Photographing Newborns?
These days everyone has a camera on them 24/7 and as a result, many budding new photographers have come into the industry very recently, hungry to photograph and earn some cash for their hobby. Everyone has to start somewhere and every photographer has different degrees of experience with photographing people, let along babies. Ensure that your photographer is not only experienced but is a professional with a registered business, not a novice. This is not only for the sake of your little one, but for your photography experience and product you are paying for as well. Take time to look at their galleries, presence and read up on their experience and training.
3. Is Your Photographer a Member of the AIPP?
What is the AIPP? The only place you should go to to select your photographer! The Australian Institute of Professional Photography was developed as a resource for consumers to find photographers who are not only registered as professionals, who are insured, who abide by a code of practice and who have to undergo continual professional development but who also keep up with industry standards. Not only this, but the accreditation process means that a photographer submits their images and business information for a panel to decide if they are worthy of being an 'Accredited Professional Photographer'. To hire a photographer who caries this badge, not only gives you peace of mind about your photographer but also gives you a body to contact should you not have a satisfactory experience.
4. What Style are You Looking for- Posed, Lifestyle or Documentary?
There are such different looks to a Newborn session. If you are wanting to see your little one in a bowl or curled up on a backdrop then a 'posed' studio session is for you. Lifestyle photography is generally in your home (can be in studio) and is, as l like to describe 'A day in the life'. It is relaxed and alluding to the idea that the photographer is a fly on the wall, giving direction only when needed, capturing you in your space as you get to know this new little family member. Documentary photography is completely dismissing the notion that there is a photographer in the room. No images are posed, and lighting and the scenery are exactly as they naturally appear. This kind of photography is indicative of birthing photography and location work in the hospital. Which style do you like?...and does your photographer provide this kind of session?
5. Is Your Photographer Patient or Will They Watch the Clock?
Patience is one of the MOST important words to use when describing a newborn session. Although we all dream that our bub is going to be perfectly satisfied and settled the whole session through, we all know that there are so many factors that can come into play and your photographer's patience is paramount. Although I tell my mums to feed at the beginning of the session, sometimes, feeds don't align this way and bub can decide to become hungry just as we have him/her perfectly in position. Even then, a feed may not settle bub as they may be gassy or need a change of nappy...they are complicated little ones! I'm always extremely understanding of what parents and bubs need and can wait as long as it takes until bub (and you) are happy and comfortable. I only have one session booked a day so we can take as long as we need. Make sure your photographer is understanding, compassionate and happy to help your little one feel comfortable before proceeding. At the same time, trust your photographer and allow them to try to settle your little one......we do have a few magical tricks up our sleeves!
6. Will Your Photographer be Flexible?
Your photographer probably has a clear plan about what they will shoot first and where, but your partner may need to be ducking back to work half way through the session, or you might have a toddler, who will self destruct after the first 5 minutes, so be sure to communicate your needs with the photographer prior to the session and hopefully they will be flexible and alter their session around you and your family's needs rather than sticking to their schedule.
8. Does Your Photographer Offer Sibling and Family Portraits in Their Sessions?
Some photographers have different packages for family and sibling portrait additions so be sure to check this before you book your session. You don't want to bring your first little one along only to be told that the sibling photo will cost a surcharge. Jazzy Photography's newborn photography sydney sessions include a parent and sibling photo in every session.
7. Consider What You Will do With the Photos so you Know the Look You Want.
Hopefully the place your photos are going to after this photo session is NOT going to be on the hardrive of your computer! There is a blank wall in your home, I'm sure would look incredible with some beautiful imagery of your family. Consider this when choosing your photographer by looking at the style they shoot and the products they supply. Perhaps you would love to have an album to give to the family, if this is the case, a documentary style session of the birth, may not be appropriate, so instead you may pick your photographer based on their lifestyle or posed photos that would work beautifully in an album. Jazzy Photography provides beautiful, bespoke albums, well art and printing, made by Australian companies and are archival with over a 30 year guarantee. Click here for more details.
9. Will Your Chosen Photographer Pose your Baby as You see in Pinterest or Instagram photos?
As you have prepared for your session, you may have started to look at some ideas online that you like. You may have travelled through the pages of Pinterest and seen that there are a variety of poses that bubs can be in why sleeping. Newborn photographers have named many of the poses (such as the Taco pose and the potato sack pose) and most professional photographers will happily and safely move your bub into a known and practiced pose if they feel it is safe. There are some poses, however that some photographers do not feel comfortable doing OR your baby will not safely move into, due to their natural body position. Although this may be disappointing, trust your photographer as it is better to be conservative than risky. Please note, as I mentioned in the 'Safety' tip, no baby should ever be left unattended, suspended or in a position, with any likelyhood of them falling.
10. Your Comfort
Think about your own comfort when booking your photographer. If you'd prefer to have your photo session in your own home, make sure that the person going there is someone you feel comfortable with and you trust. You don't want to feel that you have to clean the whole house, but to prepare only a space if needed. The last thing you need after having a baby is to feel pressured to host! If you are travelling to a studio, check what facilities are available at the studio. Is there a bathroom and a couch? Do you need to bring toys for your toddler? Jazzy's Studio has a bathroom, change area, large (comfortable) couch, coffee and tea facilities and toys for the toddler. We also have a cafe 2 minutes walk away and a park 5 minutes walk away if dad and siblings need to go for a walk. What’s more, ensure your photographer is trained to know how to pose you if you are in pain or uncomfortable after the birth, ensure your photographer knows exactly how long to keep you in position and check in with you to ensure you are comfortable and not getting too tired.
11. What kind of investment do You Need to Make?
If your newborn session is the first photography booking you have made, the investment may leave you feeling quite surprised. Consider however, that everything that goes into your session, from the expertise and skill of your photographer, to their credentials, props, wraps and studio insurance and overheads. Not to mention their highly professional hardware like cameras, lenses, lights and computers through to their software subscriptions, screen calibrations and backup devices. On top of this, the photographer's time to photograph the session is one component and then the time afterwards in post-processing is the next. So much more cost and time occurs behind the scenes of a professional newborn session to ensure that you have a high quality service, experience and product. In saying ALL this though, your photographer may be able to redesign and customise your package according to your needs. Although pricing is hard to alter, the contents of your package may be more flexible. Are you able to change the size of your print or purchase a second parent album at a discount? Can you pay with use a payment plan? Make sure you read all the details of your packages. My clients are sometimes surprised to hear that they have a free Sitter Session waiting for them after they have had their newborn session, as they had forgotten that a complimentary sitter gift is offered.
Make sure all the information is given to you prior to your session too, this way your photographer is being open and transparent and making sure your needs are first so that you can budget accordingly.
Ask the questions! You never know the possibilities if you don't ask!
12. What Will You Receive Along With Your Session?
Apart from your session- what do you receive? Some images? All low resolution images? No images and some prints?....Knowing this information will help you in deciding the kind of package you'd like to have. Be aware of the photographers who 'shoot and burn'! If you come across someone who says that you will receive all images as part of your session, consider how professional their workflow is. Are the images optimised, colour corrected, sharpened? Are they prepped for print or prepped for screens? Generally a 'shoot and burn' photographer will spend no time on your photos and does not spend time on the 'art' of making your photos individual, special, high quality and ready for high quality printing. They will be straight off the camera (converted RAW files), which will be flat and lacking in spark.
A newborn photographer Sydney who insists on printing is someone who genuinely cares about the integrity of the product that you are receiving. I'll be writing a blog post on the importance of professional printing soon and why it's important! Click here to view Jazzy Photography's newborn pricing.
13. Read the Contract
This one is pretty self explanatory but it's surprising how many people don't read over the contracts before signing. A common consideration at the moment is how the photographer may use your images. It is imperative for photographers to have images for social media, their advertising and websites. These images are genuine images from real sessions. If you have good reasons for not wanting your photos public, make sure you address this clause in the contract before signing. Also check the cancellation procedures. Some photographers require 48+ hours cancellation notice or you will be hit with a fee!
14. Will Your Photographer Make your Photos Individual and Unique for Your Family and 'Look'.
This one comes down to the experience and aptitude of your photographer. With so many images online these days, it's very easy for budding photographers to go online to grab some ideas from other photographers who have laid the path before. But will your photographer speak with you as parents, and ask you, what YOU would like? What are the colours that work in your home? Do you like light, bright imagery or darker, lighting that looks like it's been painted on? What kinds of props do you like? Do you actually want your baby in a bowl or would you prefer them just natural and nudie? A consultation with my clients is always important (even if over the phone) so that I can get to know my little client family and what they are looking for and what tastes they like. Even on the day of the session, options are presented and last minute change is always fine! Make sure your photographer doesn't give you a template shoot and instead get to know YOU, making imagery that resonates.
15. Post-Production- is it Outsourced?
There is nothing wrong with photographer outsourcing their post-production, especially when they are that busy. It can really save time and help them run their business and sessions with more focus on their clients, but this is hoping the photographer has given strict guidelines to their postproduction team about the quality and look of the imagery to keep integrity of the product that has first caught your eye and are paying for. Ask if your photographer outsources their post production and if so, do they check their work regularly/per job to ensure the quality is high? Personally, I love to do my own post-production. It's part of the job and I really enjoy opening each image and making it special, knowing the family I have in mind and what they would like. I also like to know that what goes out my door, as it has my name on it from capture to completion.
16. Will There be any Retouching Fees?
So you may not like that mole on your left cheek, or the posset stains on your favourite top, that were so kindly delivered before your family photos. Can you ask your newborn photographer Sydney to photoshop these nuances? Of course you can! But be aware that there may be a retouching fee involved. For small retouches like red marks on your baby's skin, your photographer should clean these up on your selected images as part of their service, but larger retouches can take time, especially when working on multiple images. You may not need to know this before booking your session, but it's worth asking so that all fees are on the table ensuring there are no surprises.
17. How Long Will You Wait to See/Have Your Images?
Even the busiest photographers have a duty to ensure that you have your photos within due time. To have newborn photos, you hope to be able to use them on your birth announcements and to proudly share them on social media and with family across the world. This is not possible when you photos arrive months later. 'The moment has gone'- so to speak. Make sure you ask your photographer what the waiting time is for your images and to have this included on your contract. At Jazzy, all clients receive a 'sneak peek' on my Facebook and Instagram pages as well as a slideshow to share with family. The gallery is then ready within two weeks of the session in preparation for the viewing session. I have heard some horrible stories of clients waiting months and months for their images- don't fall into this trap and make sure waiting time is on the contract and within reason.
18. Make an Investment Not Only in Your Session but in Your Photographer
Can you imagine returning to this photographer for your sitter session, Christening, 5th birthday, 16th birthday, Wedding day?? Why not consider your photographer as the person who is going to document your life? If you are going to invest your time and trust in a person, why do it over and over again each milestone? If you love your photographer, make sure they are capable of photographing other family events, as well as other future sessions. The benefits of knowing your photographer over time are great!
- they get to know you and your family and their personalities- this makes taking photos just a little easier each time as barriers are pulled down easier and quicker.
- they will do their best to be there at your important events as the sense of loyalty is mutual and appreciated.
- you will be sure to receive discounts as you continue to return to your photographer over and over again.
Check out if there are any specials or gifts being offered with your chosen photographer. Stalk their instagram, Facebook and subscribe to their newsletter in preparation to pounce on the perfect deal for you!
These days- everything is online and accessible at your fingertips. Check out your photographer's social media and website, read reviews and their responses to their client's comments on images. Are they passionate about what they do? Do they leave their clients with not just a sense of satisfaction, but shear joy? Why not ask your potential photographer if they can supply the contact of one of their past clients so that you can ask the questions about the session and how they experienced it. If you know the person who is recommending this photographer, be sure to ask them the prickly questions and don't forget to check out their work to make sure this is the right person for you.
21. Personality- Do you Like Your Photographer?
Finally, an important aspect about being a photographer is making your clients not only feel comfortable around you but also comfortable in front of the camera- this goes for all ages. Your photographer should not only be professional in manner, dress and expression but to also be warm, nurturing, understanding and someone who naturally helps to bring down your barriers so that you can have the most natural, comfortable and descriptive session of your family. A great way to do this is to make your consultation face-to-face so that you can get to know each other.
With these 21 things to consider when choosing a newborn photographer sydney, hopefully you feel armed and ready to narrow down your choices. You also may have a little more insight into the expertise and skill that goes into a professional newborn session and that anything less is not worth making the investment. Above all, choose a photographer who you believe will safely, truthfully and joyfully capture your little bundle and your family beautifully. All the best!