Choosing A Newborn Photographer

A Handy List To Help You Choose Your Newborn Photographer

Choosing a photographer is always a big decision, but choosing one to capture your new addition’s very first portraits may seem impossible. That’s understandable, Momma. Don’t worry, I’m here to help you make a decision using just a few important qualifiers.

Do you LOVE their previous work?

Look at a couple of recent newborn images that the photographer you’re considering has posted on their Facebook, Instagram, or website. Can you imagine your own child in that image? Would you want to proudly hang it in your living room, or in their nursery? Newborns are only tiny and oh so flexible for such a short time. If you choose a photographer that does “okay” work, or isn’t your style, and you recieve images you’re not happy with, you most likely won’t have time to book someone else and try again. It’s important to choose someone whose work you truly love.

Are you confident in their skills and prior training?

Newborns are fragile, and it’s incredibly important that your photographer knows how to handle a newborn and pose them safely and comfortably. There are no national regulations for newborn photography, so it’s up to you to ask what kind of training your photographer has had. Unfortunately, many photographers, and parents, don’t realize that some images should only ever be created as a composite-using Photoshop to create the illusion that baby is unsupported. This is also why DIY newborn sessions are a bad idea. Not only will they not look like the professional images you desire, but you may unknowingly put your newborn at risk. Newborns should never support the weight of their own head on their hands in froggy pose, should never be “balanced” without a spotter when in the potato sack pose, and a black backdrop on the floor or a poser should always be used to lie baby on to create a hanging illusion for images where baby is hanging in a wrap (or some have parents hold baby and do take the photograph upright, then remove the parent in Photoshop). Your photographer should be able to cite what safety courses and training they have that qualifies them to handle your baby. It’s not as simple as “well, I’m a mom, too!” Unless you choose lifestyle or very simple newborn images, please make sure you photographer knows how to safely handle your child. (I attended an in-person shoot out where a skilled nurse/photographer showed us up close and personal how to safely handle a baby. In addition, I’ve invested in education about where exactly to place my hands (or my spotter’s hands) for certain poses, and about how baby’s little body works, to make it more obvious and natural how I should move them and pose them.

Do you prefer to take baby to a studio setting, or have photos taken in your own home?

This is a simple matter of personal preference. Some new parents don’t want to have to de-clutter or clear out the space for an in-home session and would rather simply drive to a studio. Driving to a studio also means a bigger selection of props will most likely be used for your session. Some parents prefer lifestyle images that don’t involve props or posing, and simply show them interacting with baby in their own home. While this normally involves decluttering a couple of rooms, many parents still prefer this option. Or, if they like the look of studio work, but don’t want to take their new baby out so soon, some photographers offer to bring their studio to the client’s home, and set up their lighting, posers, props, etc right there. While they won’t have everything a studio holds at their disposal, this is still an attractive option for many parents of newborns.

Posing and Image Variety

Does the photographer that you’re considering have the skills required to create a gallery of images that you’ll be happy with? If you love the look of posed newborns all curled up, someone who only wraps newborns may not provide a gallery you’ll feel satisfied with. If you want natural, cozy, unposed interaction between you and baby captured, a posed studio session may not be right for you. Consider what you’re look for, and find a photographer you’re confident can deliver.

Age Range They’re Willing To Work With

Many newborn photographers only accept these sorts of sessions in the first two weeks. While newborns are able to comfortably settle into all the sweet, curly poses best in the first couple weeks of life, some photographers are more than happy to accommodate older newborns and simply work within their comfortability. I’ve personally done newborn-style photos for a baby that was two months old. While it’s important for parents to understand that posing may be more limited based on baby’s flexibility and how deep and long they’ll sleep, it’s absolutely possible to achieve sweet newborn images with babies up to 6 weeks. I always recommend scheduling a session for when baby will be between 5 and 10 days old, since they lose their newborn “look” quickly, and are easiest to pose at this size. But I never turn down a session no matter the age. I simply discuss realistic expectations with parents and we choose which session type would fit their needs best. For example, I may be able to wrap a 3 month old for a couple images, but parents should expect lots of awake, “free” poses.

Hopefully the process of choosing a photographer seems a little clearer to you now. If you’re in Central Arkansas, feel free to reach out to Rafter T Photography to inquire about your newborn session!


This baby was my two month old “newborn”!


Baby is safely side-lying on my beanbag poser

Kayla McDonald