Before handing your sweet babe over to someone...
I've been thinking about writing this blog for an age and a half! Choosing your newborn photographer is a really important part of the journey of documenting this early stage of your sweet baby's life. Even as a photographer, it's taken me a long time to realise we all have our own processes, our own values and priorities, our own styles and our own vibes. So I thought I'd take a moment to explain how we all differ and how I personally work.
Why is it important to choose carefully? Your newborn babe is an absolute precious gift and when you choose to have newborn photos taken, you are choosing to allow someone into your brand new family bubble. Your photographer will be handling your baby more than most people will, and will meet baby earlier than most also. Newborn safety is super important and newborn photography is more complex than it looks. Many popular newborn photography poses are made largely of illusion and photoshop. An example of this is that in some poses, baby is supported by an adult's hand, which is photoshopped out. You really want to be sure your photographer is up to date with newborn safety knowledge, as our vulnerable wee friends are easily injured. The New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography offers a Newborn Safety Certificate - I'm proud to have completed the course and received the certificate.
We are blessed with a number of amazing photographers in Nelson, Tasman and Motueka. We all have independent styles and approaches. Some are lifestyle focused, some are studio focused, some work in both realms. Have a think about what style of newborn photos you would like and have a Google. 'Newborn photographer Motueka' and 'Newborn photographer Nelson' are good starts, then hit that Images button to see an array of newborn photography styles in our area. My personal style is vibrant, I love my deep colours but I also love neutrals. I primarily do studio newborn photography in my boutique Motueka studio, but I offer relaxed lifestyle images in your own home also.
Newborn photographers have their own workflow. You can ask them about this to see what you can expect from your session. It's a good idea also to ask to see a full gallery of a prior client of your photographer. This can help guide your decision as you can see the full variety and consistency across the gallery. You might like to ask about the information they provide prior to the session to help you prepare. What happens if baby doesn't sleep? What happens if baby arrives early? What happens if I want to book my 6 week old in? I love these questions because I get to share what I love to do - and friends and family can only take so much newborn chatter 😅
Your newborn photography session is going to come along hand in hand with something else - the experience. Newborn sessions with Velvet Moon Photography last around 2-3 hours. Often this is the first adventure out of the house for my new families and hey, that can be really daunting. You might like to chat to your prospective photographer about the experience they offer. A big part of this will be their vibe - photographers are people who come with personalities -energetic, vibrant, friendly, focused, calm, patient, organised, spontaneous, planned - and everything across the personality spectrum. You can get a feel for their vibe across your communication, and it's a great idea to fit that in to your decision. Newborn sessions occur during a sometimes vulnerable time for mamas and babies, and whole families, so making sure you feel safe, confident and secure will make a difference to your experience. You can ask where the session will be held, if any extra people will be there, what facilities are available, all of that stuff.
My approach to a newborn session is to see it holistically as a whole family experience. I am a relaxed person and I don't care if you are running a few minutes late, you have a new babe. Sit, relax, switch off on my comfy couch and suck up the free wifi here. I will always be in sight of you with your babe and I listen heavily to baby's cues. I'm 100% happy to skip a whole set up if baby isn't feeling the pose. I overplay my newborn sessions so we just move on to the next thing after a snuggle.
Basically, chat to photographers and listen to your intuition really 🥰
I have to go pick my kids up now - but I'd love to hear what factors went into your newborn photographer choice if you'd had a session before and if there is anything you'd add!