I first published this post in the winter for 2017, and thought it would be helpful to share again. There are so many things to consider. Whether your book me or one of the other wonderful photographers in Columbus and beyond, here are a few things to keep in mind.
So you are expecting and are so excited to begin your journey as parents. It's such an amazing and intimidating time all at once. Nine months seems like a long time. But somehow between doctors appointments, morning sickness, registering for and having baby showers and getting the nursery ready time seems to fly by. There are so many things to do from a planning standpoint as well. Like booking prenatal classes, parenting classes, checking insurance, registering at a hospital and booking a newborn session of course!
For many parents this will be their first newborn shoot. Here are a few guidelines to help you find the perfect photographer to capture one of the most important moments in your journey becoming a family.
WHEN TO BOOK
Each week I get emails from parents who have either had their baby already or who are due in a few weeks or days. It breaks my heart because I am typically already booked. There are exceptions if it just happens to be a slower month for me or if other clients delivered early. But generally, I'm booked up. Most professional newborn photographers book about 2-4 months in advance and often have a limited number of newborns each month. So if you do have your heart set on getting portraits of your baby, make sure to start researching and contacting photographers a few months prior to your delivery date so you can make your decision and officially book with the photographer of your choice.
When choosing a photographer there are several things to consider. First, budget. How much are you planning to invest in these portraits. For me, there are 3 times in one's life that you should invest in portraits - newborn, high school senior portraits and wedding portraits. Obviously there are other moments and milestones along the way. But these three are ones where your budget should be the largest. You can find photographers ranging in price from $250-$2500 and up depending on where you are located. But remember, not all photographers are created equal. Newborn portraits are just like anything else - you get what you pay for. But if you have a smaller budget that is okay. Just don't go in knowing that you might be going with a less experienced photographer who is just starting out. Hey, I was there once and wouldn't be where I am now without all of the clients who hired me then. Once you have decided on your budget do some research and contact your top 3-4 photographers for their rates. Then compare and go from there. You might end up spending a little more than you budgeted, but then again, this is a once in a lifetime kind of shoot so it's worth it!
After establishing a budget you should begin searching for the perfect photographer for you. One thing to keep in mind is that there are several styles of newborn sessions. I refer to them as "posed" sessions and "lifestyle" sessions. Posed sessions are the ones you see of babies and all of those perfect poses laying on blankets with hats, headbands and other props. Posed sessions are often done in a studio setting, although many photographers do travel to homes and bring all the necessary props and equipment to achieve this look. Lifestyle sessions are more about the family and are designed to capture the baby and family members in a more natural, less posed atmosphere. They are often done in-home but you also can find photographers who design their studio space to accommodate lifestyle sessions. So take a look at both types of sessions and decide which works best for you.