Why a generic post in local mom groups is a terrible idea
Finding a newborn photographer in RI, CT, and MA;
BY MASSART PHOTOGRAPHY, A FAMILY, NEWBORN AND WEDDING PORTRAIT STUDIO SERVICING Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts
FINDING A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER: WHY A GENERIC POST
IN A LOCAL MOM GROUP IS A TERRIBLE IDEA
Okay, let me elaborate on that title… I think it’s great to ask others for recommendations but a mere “Looking for photographers!” isn’t going to cut it. You will be bombarded with a plethora of photographers who may or may not be what you’re looking for. Before you post, figure out WHAT it is that you are in search of.
Here’s the thing, whether you book me or not, I want to educate you on HOW to look for a newborn photographer.
There is a photographer for everyone and I may or may not be for you, that’s not the point; the point is to help you figure that out!
You have SO many questions going through your mind “Will my baby be at a disadvantage if I can’t nurse? Will my baby be confused if I give him/her a paci?” The list goes on, the hormones are a bitch and you probably shouldn’t wear those leggings for yet another day. I hear you mama, that’s why I want to help you with this quick guide to finding a newborn photographer or at the very least, knowing how to ask for recommendations! And if there are any dads here, good for you! It’s 2020 after all! We love when dads get involved!!!
There is a WIDE variety of photographers out there with a WIDE variety of services and you guessed it, a WIDE variety of budgets. When someone posts in a mom group and says “Looking for newborn photographers” it leaves a LOT of unanswered questions such as:
WHAT is your style?
Are you the kind to do some DIY to save a few dollars or do you enjoy a complete service?
What is your budget?
What are you hoping to walk away from your session with?
Those are all very important questions that will help others in recommending a photographer. Unless they ignore your specifications and insist on recommending their cousin Betty just because! 😉
What is your style?
While I have my own particular style, there are others out there and I respect and appreciate them. Style is the only question I can’t answer for you but one thing I can say is research portfolios! Don’t just ask for numbers without having a good grasp of their work. You will know when you find someone whose work draws you in and let me be clear, it SHOULD draw you in! If it doesn’t, keep looking!
Are you the kind to do some DIY to save a few dollars or do you like to be pampered when you order a service?
We will talk about products vs. files in a minute but it’s important to think about the type of handholding you are looking for. My studio puts a large amount of focus on service; through in-person consultations, I get to know my clients’ preferences and plan out their sessions so that it’s custom to their needs. On the day of the session, I don’t schedule any other appointments so that I can take my time to allow for necessary feedings without families feeling rushed. At the gallery reveal, I help my clients design wall galleries, folio boxes or albums to suit their needs and am available to answer questions throughout the process. I also have a fully stocked studio closet for babies, children, and even moms so my clients know that no matter what, they will look their best.
Is this type of service important to you? I believe in what I offer but different people are in search of different services and that’s perfectly okay!
What is your budget?
Let’s be realistic, this is important, but before you throw out a number, are you aware of the going rate? How did you come up with your budget? Is it based on preconceived notions of what you think it should be? Have you considered the importance of these images? How do they compare with the amount you spend on other things in your life? Dinners, shoes, nails, etc. There’s no right or wrong answer here, the only point I like to stress is that this is a once in a lifetime experience. While I feel that quality heirlooms that will be passed down to generations are deserving of financial sacrifices I also understand that budgets can only be stretched so far.
I will also add that not a single day goes by when I am not thankful for all of my clients but perhaps, I have an extra soft spot for those that I know struggle to make it happen and do it anyway.
Can you find a photographer for $150? Probably. Maybe they are the perfect photographer for you; it’s not my place to say either way. As for me? All of my clients are different, some invest under a thousand, and some invest a lot more. The beauty of it is that I don’t set a minimum purchase requirement and I don’t require the purchase of a collection so you are free to choose how you wish to invest in your memories.
What are you hoping to walk away from your session with?
Honestly, this one never gets any attention and it is SO crucial; it should be a priority! You want to make sure that the products your photographer offers match your vision or at the very least, your living room.
But before we get to that, does the photographer even offer products?
Yikes, are we ready for the can of worms that’s about to be opened?
I know what you’re thinking…You don’t need products, you want the files. You hate me for saying anything to the contrary. Let me stop you right there… If you aren’t a photographer yourself, let the professionals take care of your heirlooms, it’s their job and memories are too important to be gambled with! Do you trust that those FIRST printed photographs of your baby will stand the test of time? Are they archival? They should be. (Food for thought: thumb drives are NOT archival)
I think we all know that in the end, the only ITEMS that truly matter are the printed portraits of your loved ones.
It’s a no-brainer so why do we not act as if it’s the truth?
Why do we take so many images but print so little?
Flash drives go corrupt ALL. THE. TIME.
Also, how pretty does that thumb drive look? How often do you look at the images on it? Do they bring you happiness? Now if you have a print/canvas/wall art or anything hanging in your home of a loved one, how often do you see it? The answer is, you see it ALL the time, you enjoy it, you appreciate it.
Think of your baby’s first printed portrait. It’s a HUGE deal right?
Do you want it on a memory stick?
Do you think you will get around to printing it on your own between diaper changes? If you do, here’s a virtual high five because you are way more efficient than I am! (Little secret: naturally, I have the files for my children’s photos and guess what? I also have a lot of empty frames. I have a problem and it has motivated me to make sure my clients don’t make the same mistakes!)
Do you know where to go to get the best prints, albums, and canvases?
It has taken me months if not years to find the best products to offer my customers. I may provide 6 different products and guess what? They come from 6 different labs because each lab has their strength and I want the best of the best, not just aesthetically but in quality. The result is a collection of absolutely stunning folio boxes crafted in Ireland, beautiful albums crafted by HAND in Kentucky, pure cotton Amalfi paper and museum-quality mats handmade in Italy and more.
What are some things that parents to be should be looking for in a newborn photographer?
I’m not going to tell you to find someone with experience then proceed to brag about the number of babies I have photographed. I find that condescending; beginners deserve clients too and there are clients out there for them. What I will tell you is that you need to find a photographer who considers your baby’s safety in all that they do. I’m not asking you to drill a potential photographer about their safety standards, whether they have had their flu shot or how clean their studio is but I think you can get a sense of how important they deem safety to be through conversation.
When should parents-to-be start looking for a newborn photographer?
Every photographer is different so I will answer this for myself and other similar custom photography studios. I’m sure you have figured out by now that I dedicate a large amount of time to all of my newborn sessions therefore, I limit the number of newborns I take per month. I need to also leave room for other types of sessions such as family or maternity (hint hint) sessions. I also need a buffer in case I need to reschedule a session due to illness. I am extremely strict when it comes to sickness! I realize that newborns are extremely fragile and I refuse to put your baby at risk if I have a cold or anything else that could be a danger so leaving room in the calendar is a must. All this to tell you that yes, time is limited. My recommendation is to schedule it as soon as you can!
What if my baby comes early or late?
Those little cuties are known to appear on their own timeline! This is why, as stated above, my schedule has to be flexible. I like to photograph babies anywhere between 2 and 3 weeks so I plan the session based on your due date and adjust it as needed.
What’s the difference between hospital photography services and a custom newborn session?
I believe that it comes down to style and honestly, you can’t compare the two because they are so different. In fact, I have had a lot of clients do both. At the end of the day, you are going to love any photos of your new baby so I would never say that it’s a bad idea, I just would recommend that you set your expectations accordingly.
What is the difference between a birth photographer, a fresh 48, a lifestyle photographer, and a studio session?
This is a great question and this type of language is second nature to us photographers but can be so overwhelming to others not in the field! We covered studio sessions and showed you examples above so on to the others.
A birth photography session is well, photos of the whole birth process from contractions to meeting your baby and everything in between (no pun intended!?). While I don’t offer birth photography due to scheduling, I most certainly see the importance of these images. Looking at the image of the moment you see your child for the first time is a feeling I can’t describe. As for the more graphic stuff, it’s not for everyone and I respect that!
A fresh 48 photographer will come to your hospital room during the first 48 hours of your baby’s life and take his/her photos in the hospital bassinet as well as take portraits of baby and you along with other family members. In a way, a fresh 48 is similar to the hospital photographer but by booking your own photographer, you are able to choose a style that matches yours. If you can work out the schedules, it’s amazing to plan on having siblings and/or family members be photographed as they actually meet your little bundle!
Lastly, a lifestyle photographer will come to your home and photograph your baby in a candid manner; perhaps laying in his/or her crib, getting a bath, or being fed.
So I’m not telling you NOT to ask your social media friends, what I’m telling you is, be clear about what you are looking for.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While yes, I am obviously promoting my services (I am a business, after all) I am in no way shape, or form, nor do I ever, look down on any business that operates differently. I once was that $150 with all the files photographer so here’s what I have to say to them: YOU DO YOU! In the meantime, I am always happy to help you, even if I am in the same local community <3