By Stacey Ash
As you are probably aware, newborn photographers are a dime a dozen in central Ohio. All it takes is one look on a local facebook page where someone asks for a recommendation and you will see a long list of referrals. So how do you know which one you should choose for your new baby’s photo session? Here are some things to research and ask when narrowing down your search. I hope this helps you make an informed decision.
1 – Safety: This is probably my biggest priority when it comes to running my business. Newborn photography is definitely a different animal than all other genres of photography. It takes a lot of training and studying to safely pose a baby in those adorable images you all love. Those baby photos you find on Pinterest are not poses you should try on your own. Trained photographers have listened to medical experts and professionals to ensure the safety of the baby. We know how to support the baby and signs to watch for to make sure the baby stays comfortable. We have weights in the bottom of buckets to keep baby from tipping and pillows to support the baby’s joints. Safety is why I have several trained assistants. This allows me to have extra hands on the baby so I can focus on capturing the image in camera. My assistants know their number one job is to never leave the baby!
2 – Legal: You wouldn’t believe how many photographers are running their businesses illegally. You can do a quick search on the state’s site (https://businesssearch.sos.state.oh.us/) to see if the photographer you are considering is registered. ANY photographer charging for a session, no matter the cost, has a legal obligation to file taxes, but sadly, many do not. Chances are, if they cut corners with the IRS, they probably aren’t investing in education for newborn safety or to improve their craft.
3. Insured: It’s pretty simple, really. Does the photographer value you enough to carry insurance? Your baby is not worth the risk!
4. Certified: Is the photographer you are considering part of any professional organization? Most memberships require some proof that the photographer meets all of the requirements. Certification is a quick way for you to see that the photographer is a professional. You can find one of my professional listings here: http://www.newbornphotographers.com/photographer/stacey-ash-photography/
5. Health: Newborn babies are very vulnerable. Is the photographer doing everything possible to ensure the baby doesn’t pick up unnecessary germs? I can assure you that I am fully vaccinated and insist on all of my assistants also staying up to date on their boosters, including the flu shot. We understand that we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to keep your baby healthy!
6. Comfort: How will the photographer make you feel at ease during your baby’s session? New parents are tired and nervous. The last thing you need is to feel anxious about a photo session. Does the photographer have a studio space where you will feel comfortable? Will you be able to sit and relax or will you be standing or sitting on the floor the whole time? What about when you get too hot because the studio is kept extra warm for the baby? I always make sure my fridge and snack bowl are well-stocked before every newborn session. I also provide seating in the studio and out in the kitchenette area in case the parents need to escape the warm studio for a bit. It doesn’t matter to me if you come and go or stay put. I just want you to be relaxed and know that your baby is in good hands while you enjoy some time off of your feet!
7. Creativity: Does the photographer provide outfits and props so you don’t have to add that worry to your list of stressors? Will your baby’s photos be unique to your family? I want your newborn session to be 100% worry-free. Your input is welcome and I value your ideas, but I am also willing to create a unique session that you will love. I can style your session based on your questionnaire that I provide or I can start from scratch to come up with beautiful sets. I do have a work-flow for posing, but you call the shots, really. I always prioritize the parents’ wishes and make sure your preferences are part of my posing timeline for the session. Often I have parent requests for specific themes that are important to them (special vacation spots, careers, hobbies, etc.) While not everyone’s cup of tea, if parents request a theme, I am happy to oblige! My theory is that you pay me to take photos that you will love, so even if it means not doing some of my go-to shots, I will always incorporate what matters to you!
8 – Baby Experience: Does the photographer have experience with babies, and not just the camera? I have been around babies my entire life. Babysitting as a teen, working in the daycare infant room throughout college, obtaining an early childhood degree, birthing my own children, being in the delivery room when my friend birthed her two children, and the many newborn sessions I have done. There is a comfort level that goes into newborn photography. If someone is nervous around babies, this isn’t the right gig. I have been around so many babies that I can often tell what the baby needs. On more than one occasion my team and I have been called baby whisperers or asked if we are available for babysitting. One time my friend’s baby got a little fussy while I was holding her. I changed her position and her mom said, “Wow, we have never thought to hold her that way, but she likes it!”
This is not an exhaustive list of things to consider. You still have to look at things like style, packages, products, and cost, but as far as service goes, the 8 items listed above are things you should not take lightly!
* I am a newborn and milestone photographer. I have a commercial studio in Powell and also offer in-home sessions. Stacey Ash Photography is the official photographer for the Lewis Center Living magazine. You will find my work on the cover each month as I photograph the feature family.
* I would love to add your due date to my calendar! To book your newborn session, reach out to me!