You found the blue lines and it's official....you're expecting!!! It's common to be flooded with a mix of emotions of joy, surprise, excitement and maybe even fear. You are happy to be growing your family but also scared to be responsible for another human life. I think we have all felt this way. I know when I first found out I was pregnant I was in utter shock! You have many things to plan for during your pregnancy from what to name the baby, to what colors for your nursery, to reading "What to expect when your expecting" religiously like a Bible as you experience the wonder of having a life growing inside of you.
Expecting a baby can be a once in a lifetime event. It is quite similar to getting married as not every individual will become pregnant more than once. Your pregnancy and the birth of your baby is a very special event and time in your life! When you think of this miracle that is happening inside your body you become more aware with each passing day just how amazing pregnancy can be.
At this remarkable moment in your life you may be considering documenting these moments in portraits. Portraits that tell your story of this life changing event. You may be unsure of where to start and how to decide on the best photographer for you. Selecting a photographer is not as cut and dry as you might think. There are many factors to consider when making the decision on a maternity and/or newborn portrait photographer.
Here are some things that you should be thinking about and taking into consideration when selecting the perfect photographer for maternity and/or newborn portraits?
With maternity photography do you prefer a session outdoors on location or in a studio setting? Do you want to be photographed alone or with your spouse/partner and/or children if you already have a child. Most believe that they can do without maternity portraits but overwhelmingly moms who opt to skip maternity portraits end up with regret later in life for not capturing this awesome moment in their life
With newborn photography you may want to ask about whether the photographer will be shooting in your home or if the photographer shoots in their own studio. Which would you prefer and feel most comfortable with? If a photographer shoots at your home will it be a stylized set up or a lifestyle capture? A stylized set up will include backdrops, floors, wraps and furs where your baby is posed. Lifestyle portraits are more natural and can be as simple as the photographer capturing you and your newborn in your baby's nursery un posed and more just in your own element. If you prefer a more stylized session with props for those dreamy type poses that you most likely have seen or pinned on Pinterest then you need to be sure that the photographer that you select provides newborn props. You should never assume that a photographer will provide or has a prop collection. It is a good idea to ask if they provide props and also how extensive of a prop collection they provide or if you are required to provide props for your baby. Which ever set up you prefer be sure the studio you select can capture images in that way. Never assume anything and always ask to be sure.
What about style? Once you have narrowed down between outdoor or an in studio portraits for your maternity session and between posed and lifestyle type of portraits for your newborn session you need to determine what style of photographer you prefer the most. The best way to determine this is by looking at their work on their webpage. What does their work look like? Is this a style that you envision for your portraits? Style meaning the way a photographer photographs, poses and edits their work. Most photographers have their own signature style of editing and photographing that sets their work apart from other photographers. Once you decide on a photographers style that you like you should request to meet with them to view their work in person. Portrait photography is an investment and you need to be sure that the finished product of a photographers work is worth your investment. Images online can be deceiving and viewing printed work in person will allow you to know what your session will look like in finished portraits so that you can book with confidence.
You will also need to consider your budget. All photographers
are not created equal and neither is the cost associated with each photographer/
studio. As each photographer may operate their studio differently so you need to be sure of the investment before you decide to book your session. You may prefer a photographer that shoots your session and then sends you a digital download. This is considered a self serve/do it yourself experience called all inclusive. A photographer who runs their business in this manner offers with no additional provided service. You can expect a session capture with image editing and images ready to do what you wish with them. It can be somewhat cheaper in cost but ultimately is not the easiest for you as a client as you are left to find the best place to print your portraits yourself along with figuring which products might work best for the images in your session gallery. And as a consumer you are limited only to the use of consumer labs to heirloom your portraits which means you will not receive the best quality in products with a consumer lab vs a professional lab. A professional lab will create products that are meant to last you a lifetime and that can be cherished for future generations. This is important with something as important as newborn portraits because you want these images to last for generations. Also, as new parents, keep in mind that once your baby is born you will be busy caring for your newborn. Sleep will be the most important thing aside from your bundle of joy. Will you even find the time to print portraits from your maternity and newborn session or will they just be images that are left on a drive left to print maybe someday?
Once you have decided on the type of photographer you prefer, the style and the quality of work you will need to determine what type of experience you prefer and how you wish to heirloom your newborn session. For some who prefer a more custom experience a selection of full service boutique studio might just be the best fit for you. You might see boutique studio on their website. Photographers who run their business in this manner will hold your hand from start to finish. They care about your overall experience and want to ensure you will receive quality finished portraits. Full service photographers will meet with you to precisely plan all of your session details as well as meet with you after your session has taken place to assist you in selecting beautiful
professionally created art pieces that will stand the test of time ensuring that this special time in your life is created with the best heirloom products. A full service boutique studio will most likely cost you more but the quality and service you will receive plus the ability to immediately enjoy your portrait art in your home will ultimately be worth the cost. So determine what is important to you in regards to quality and service to base what you are willing to spend.
You should also consider safety and trust into your decision. This is vital moment in your life and you should feel comfortable with the studio you select to keep you
and your baby safe. Your safety and wellbeing should be the at the forefront of any studio you select. This includes performing any poses that might be risky to
either you or your baby. You should feel a sense of trust with the photographer you select because these moments are so important to you and your family so don't feel afraid to ask where they stand in regards to your safety.
Availability, word of mouth recommendations and reviews are also important things to consider. Most popular studios will book maternity and newborn sessions months in advance and some studios may have a deadline and will only meet with prospective clients with enough time in advance to plan your session and do not allow for last minute bookings. So be sure to inquire early to avoid the possibility of the studio you select being booked on your due date. Booking your maternity and your newborn session with the same studio will allow you build a relationship with that photographer well in advance of delivering your baby.
Word of mouth is always great way to find a great photography studio especially if a friend has already booked with a studio you are considering. Someone who has booked with the photographer you are considering can be a great source of knowledge for you as a prospective maternity/newborn client.
Maternity sessions should be booked in the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy with your session being photographed in the seventh to early eighth month of pregnancy at the latest. Newborn sessions should be booked prior to your delivery and will be photographed within the first two weeks of life within 14 days.
As you make your decision I hope this blog has been helpful. Your decision should not be made carelessly. This is a major life event in your life and is significantly important to you and your family. There is nothing better than the ability to reflect on these moments in portraits as your baby grows and matures in life. Making the right choice for you and your family is so critical as you won't have time to gamble if you arrive to your session and feel that you have made the wrong choice as your baby's window of opportunity to capture it's tininess will close quickly and you most likely will not be able to book a new experienced and established photographer at the very last minute.
If you are considering capturing your pregnancy and your newborn but think it is something you can't afford remember this...years from now you will never regret having made the decision to make the investment to hire a professional photographer but you will regret not making the decision to having captured this time in your own family history. You never want to look back and regret not having captured these special moments. Moments as important as these deserve to captured in exceptional portraits to be enjoyed for generations!
*Hair & makeup featured in this blog provided by our team stylist Holly of Divinity Design Studio. All of our maternity clients & new moms are pampered to professional hair and makeup services.