Why use a professional newborn photographer?

I was doing some research this week and happened to come across a thread on a ‘new mums’ forum asking about using a professional newborn photographer – recommendations, suggestions and whether it’s a good idea, that sort of thing.
I did some more digging and came up with a multitude of posts all essentially asking the same thing or answering this question (not about pricing – that’s a separate article and one I will be addressing very soon!).

If you’re reading this, you probably fall into one of two viewpoints, both at opposite ends of the issue – either you know you want to use a professional newborn photographer and it’s an interest /research thing or you wonder why anyone would want to use a professional when ‘everyone has a camera these days’. There doesn’t appear to be much middle ground on this one, judging from the posts I’ve read.

The main points raised seem to be:

  • Everyone has a camera these days
  • You should find a college student or new photographer so you can get it cheap
  • I have a friend who has a great camera who said they’d do it
  • My phone has nearly the same megapixels as a DSLR pro camera
  • I’ve got a beanbag / blanket / hat so I can just use those and take some photos myself
  • Anyone can press a shutter release on a camera
  • It’s not hard to pose a baby who’s in a deep sleep
  • Go to a high street chain photographer, they’re quicker and cheaper

I’d like to give my opinion on the above points, not just as a professional newborn photographer but as a parent and a person with relevant experience:

Everyone has a camera these days

Yes they do. Not so many have cameras capable of producing the depth of field and clarity of pro cameras. But the main thing with this is that very few have the technique, training and experience of producing awesome images with whatever camera they have. Very few have invested their time, money and passion in being the best at doing what it is you want. The camera is only a tiny part of what goes into putting that final image in front of you.

You should find a college student or new photographer so you can get it cheap

This is not the good idea it may appear. When it comes to newborn photography cheap should not be your first consideration. Everyone has a budget of course, but don’t make it your mission to find the cheapest because

  1. you will be disappointed.
  2. you may put your precious newborn in a potentially dangerous situation if the person handling them is not experienced, trained and operating safely.
  3. There is also the question of insurance for your peace of mind.

I have a friend who has a great camera who said they’d do it

That’s nice that they have a great camera but just take a second to read through the two points above. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Done? Now have a think about whether that friend with the camera is trained in the very specific realm of photographing and handling newborn babies. How about soothing techniques? Safety? Compositing images? Do they have insurance? Have a quick look at our recent Newborn Photography Safety article to refresh yourself as to why these points are probably the most important you need to consider (the article is here).

My phone has nearly the same megapixels as a DSLR pro camera

It may well do but does it have the Depth of Field capabilities, the image sharpness and versatility of a DSLR camera. As stated above, the camera is only a tiny part of the process. Just going on actual physical considerations, does your smart phone have the lighting required to produce beautiful soft light which wraps around your perfectly posed newborn? I’ve yet to see a phone with a fold-out 120cm Octagonal Softbox integrated. Does your phone also have a multitude of props, hats, headbands, tutus, beanbags and blankets in a hidden compartment. No, didn’t think so.

Maybe that’s a niche market I should consider developing…

I’ve got a beanbag / blanket / hat so I can just use those and take some photos myself

Please don’t. For the sake of your baby and it’s safety don’t even entertain the idea unless you’ve been trained and have the necessary experience because

  1. you will be disappointed.
  2. you may put your precious newborn in a potentially dangerous situation if the person handling them is not experienced, trained and operating safely.

Both of these points, although they appear above, are very relevant. Professional newborn photographers spend a long time and a fair amount of money ensuring they can provide good images. You may have a blanket, and beanbag and a baby. You may also have a DSLR camera. It’s pretty much guaranteed though that without the relevant experience and training your newborn baby will look like it just tripped up and face-planted into a creased bag of laundry. Sorry if that sounds harsh but it is, from experience, a fact.

Professionals study, experiment with and understand about light – how it affects images, what’s pleasing to the eye, how to use it to enhance an image. The same with posing – they know what works and how to achieve it. Don’t thinnk that a couple of YouTube videos makes you into an expert. I’m sorry to say it doesn’t.

I make light of the first point above but the second IS of paramount importance – newborn babies are, of course, precious. Don’t ever make the conscious decision to put yours in a situation where there is a good chance something could go wrong. Without the relevant experience that’s what you’re doing if you decide to DIY.

I know very little about car mechanics. I wouldn’t dream of replacing the brakes on my car myself, for that very good reason.

Anyone can press a shutter release on a camera

Yes you’re right, they can. However not anyone can:

  • Know how to set up the scene properly
  • Know how to light the scene for pleasing effect
  • Know how to pose a newborn safely and in a way that produces those ‘Awwwwwww’ images
  • Know how to safely handle a newborn child
  • Know the signs to look for that mean that a pose needs to change
  • Know the myriad of settings and scenarios to use them in for a camera for best effect
  • Have the experience of handling all sorts of newborn babies
  • Have the training to ensure they’re handling newborn babies correctly and safely
  • Have the attention to detail which is a necessity for this kind of photography
  • Be able to offer a complete, safe and high quality route from welcoming a newborn into the studio to handing over a stunning piece of wall art

There are a whole host of other things that could be added to the above list but I don’t want to labour the point – you get the gist…

It’s not hard to pose a baby who’s in a deep sleep

I beg to differ. As someone who has done this much much more than your average parent I do feel qualified to say “Yes it is. Very hard”.

There is an enormous amount of patience and perseverance required with newborn photography. Obviously the safety when posing is of the utmost importance but those cute, curled-up, head-on-hands photos you see? Really not easy to pose. Baby may be in a deep sleep but they stir when moved. Or when not moved. All the time in fact.

When putting baby in a more difficult pose it can take up to 15 minutes to get it there, gradually moving, gently manoeuvring and soothing, little by little achieving the position you need. You then pick up the camera to take the shot……

…….and baby moves again.

Go to a high street chain photographer, they’re quicker and cheaper

They may be quicker (they tend to base their business model on volume rather than higher quality).

They may be cheaper (see above).

They are highly unlikely to be better.

This applies to the finished article – minimal post production will be done as speed is of the essence to this business model. Whereas someone who is a professional newborn photographer will spend a lot of time after the session, clearing up red splotches, baby acne, dry skin, digitally smoothing blankets, compositing images to remove supporting hands and achieving that creamy soft newborn skin look.

It applies to the experience whilst you’re with them – again they are not designed to provide the best experience, they’re designed to produce some quick images of your baby. I, and most other pro photographers who dedicate themselves to this genre, believe that it shouldn’t just be a quick ‘click click click’ and off you go – you are buying a photographic experience the memories of which are as important to us as the finished images.

This brings me on to the last point, which is that the customer service is unlikely to be better – again, pro newborn photographers work on the premise that we are there for you – as a parent and a client you and your newborn are what matter to us the most from the first contact with us right the way through to the finished products and beyond – we have clients who have come back to us for complete Bump to Baby packages for their second child because we believe that providing the best customer experience is good for you and us!

Finally…

This has turned into quite a long article, but one that I feel is necessary to get the message out there – Yes, we are in business and that business has a cost attached to it, but we are also the best (and should be the only) choice when it comes to who should be doing this very important task.

I intend to put up a few articles not related to newborn photography soon, including things like resources for local pregnant ladies and ideas of how to cope with and make the most of your pregnancy. Check back soon!

By | 2017-02-16T11:18:30+00:00 September 28th, 2015|Info, Newborn, Photography|0 Comments

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