Why a generic post in a local Mum’s group is a terrible idea

Find the Perfect Photographer in Canberra

What You Need To Know To Find Your Perfect Photographer…

So, let me elaborate on the title…. It’s a great idea to ask for recommendations. But, a mere “looking for a photographer” isn’t going to cut it. You’ll be bombarded with a massive number of photographers, who may or may not be what you’re looking for.

Before you post, figure out WHAT it is that you’re in search for.

Here’s the thing. Any photographer (whether you book me or not) will want to educate you on HOW to look for a photographer that suits your needs.

There is a photographer for everyone… I may or may not be for you, but that’s not the point. The point is to help you figure that out!

In this post, I’m going to talk specifically about how to choose a newborn photographer. However, this advice is also perfect for other types of photography, such as older babies, families, first birthday sessions!

If you’re looking for a newborn photographer, you’ll already have many questions running through your mind…

“will my baby be at a disadvantage if I can’t breastfeed?”

“cloth or disposable nappies?”

“will I cause nipple confusion if I use a dummy?’

The list goes on and on, the hormones are a bitch, go on, crack that tub of icecream, you deserve it mumma!!

I hear you, and that’s why I want to help you with this quick guide to finding the best newborn & baby photographer for you. Or, at the very least, knowing how to ask for recommendations. And if you’re a dad, good for you, its 2020, I love it when dads get involved!

There are a HUGE variety of photographers out there. They have a massive variety of services; and you guessed it, suited for a WIDE variety of budgets. When someone posts in a mum’s group and asks “looking for a good photographer” … it leaves A LOT of unanswered questions, such as:

  • What is YOUR style?
  • Are you the kind of person to do some DIY to save some $, or do you want a complete ‘done for you’ service?
  • What is your BUDGET?
  • What are you hoping to walk away from your session with?

These are all very important questions that will help others recommend. Unless they ignore your specifications, and insist on recommending their friend who is brilliant with a camera!

WHAT IS YOUR STYLE?

Everyone has their own particular style. Style is the only question I can’t answer for you.

But one thing I can say is research portfolios!!! Look at the photographer’s body of work. Both on their website, and their social media feeds.

Don’t ask for numbers without having a good grasp of their work. Do you like light and airy? Do you like deep, rich and vibrant? Do you love black & white and simple, or do you love lots of flowers and styling elements?

You will KNOW when you find someone whose work draws you in. You can’t stop looking at their work!! Let me be clear, their work SHOULD draw you in!!! If it doesn’t, keep looking.

 

ARE YOU THE KIND OF PERSON TO DO SOME DIY TO SAVE SOME $$, OR DO YOU WANT A COMPLETE DONE FOR YOU SERVICE?

I’ll talk about printed products vs digital images soon. It’s important to think about the type of service you’re looking for.

I put a large focus on service;

  • from your design consult, where I get to know your preferences, and plan out your session so that it’s customised to your needs.
  • On the day of the session, I take my time, and allow plenty of time for us to capture your images, without feeling rushed because baby is unsettled.
  • At your ordering session I help you choose your favourite image; design wall art, albums, and provide a large amount of guidance in choosing your favourite photos.

The process I take you through helps you walk away from your experience feeling very confident you’ve chosen your absolute favourite photos, and the best way to display them.

I’ve also got a fully stocked studio for you, with an extensive closet for babies, children, and even mum and dad, so my clients know that no matter what, they’ll look their best.

Is this type of service important to you? I wholeheartedly believe in what I offer, and love delighting my clients with a done for you service and amazing printed products. Every time a client’s order arrives, it’s like Christmas opening up the boxes and seeing the beautiful photos. But, different people are in search of different services, and that’s perfectly OK too!!

Every photo you see on my website, all the outfits and styling elements are a carefully chosen to create a cohesive gallery that will suit your colour preferences, home décor and style. My wardrobe is overflowing with pieces that are timeless, colourful (also neutral if you prefer too) and most importantly, complimentary.

 

WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?

Lets be realistic. This is important.

Before you throw out a number, are you aware of the going rate for a professional, accredited photographer? Or is your number based upon a preconcieved notion of what you think it should be? Have you considered the importance of these images? How will they compare with the amount you spend on other things in your life, for example, the latest phone, TV, dinners out, the pram that your baby is going to grow out of in 5 years?

THERE’S NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER HERE…

The only point I’d like to make here is that your newborn photography experience is a once in a lifetime thing. While I feel that heirloom quality products and timeless imagery that will stand the test of time are deserving of financial investment; I also understand that budgets can only be stretched so far.

Can you find a photographer for $150? Most likely. Maybe they are the perfect photographer for you. And that’s ok too.

As for me? All my clients are different. Some invest under one thousand and some invest a lot more. The beauty of what I offer my clients is the same. The same level of service for each and every person who walks through the door. Even if you’d like just digital images! I don’t set a minimum purchase amount, and I don’t require the purchase of a “collection” or “package”. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to choose how you wish to invest in your memories. I’ll guide you through a process that will leave you feeling very confident in your choices!

 

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO WALK AWAY FROM YOUR SESSION WITH?

Honestly, this question NEVER receives much consideration when my clients first enquire. This is SO crucial. It should be a priority!!! You want to make sure that the products your photographer offers matches your vision, or at the very least your living room!

But, before we get to the root of this issue, does the photographer you’re considering even offer printed products?

Yikes…are we even ready to open this can of worms?

I know exactly what you’re thinking…You don’t need products; you just want the digital images. You hate me for mentioning anything to the contrary.

Let me stop you right there.

I understand the importance of digital images. They’re incredibly important to me too. But, digital images are not archival. Your computer crashes, and unless you’ve created a backup, you’ve lost the images.

Do you trust that those FIRST printed photos of your baby from Kmart will stand the test of time? Are they archival? They should be!!!! (food for thought, USBs 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 act as if it’s the truth?

Why do we take so many photos, but print so little?

USB’s corrupt ALL…THE…TIME…

I don’t know about you, but my small girls aren’t allowed anywhere near our laptops, because we can’t trust them not to spill a drink on it…

Also, how pretty does a USB look? How often do you pull it out of the draw, turn on the computer and look at the photos on it?

Now, how often do you see the framed print or canvas on the wall? How often does your child point out their photo of them that’s hanging in the entrance way to their friends that come to visit? Every time?

That’s the answer. The photos you print and display in your home? You’ll see, and enjoy them EVERY…SINGLE…DAY

 

Now, think of your baby’s first printed portrait. Its kind of a HUGE deal, right?

Do you want it on a USB?

Do you think you’ll get around to printing it yourself one day, between nappy changes, spit ups, laundry and childhood illnesses?

If you do, tell me how you find the time! High Five!!! Awesome job mumma.

Here’s a dirty little secret of mine for you. I, as a professional photographer, have the files of my children’s photos and guess what? I’ve still got three years of photos that I still need to print to add to our wall gallery, and two albums to print.

My difficulty in doing this for myself has motivated me to make sure my clients don’t make the same mistakes!

Do you know where to get the best prints, albums and canvases? Let me tell you. Its not from Officeworks or the Canvas Factory…

It has taken me years to find the best of the best products to offer to you as my client. I may provide 6 different types of products, and they don’t all come from the same lab, because each lab each has a different strength. I want the best of the best for you, not just aesthetically, but in quality too.

The result? The best of the best Australian Made products, that are also some of the best quality the world over.

 

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR IN A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER?

I’m not going to tell you to find someone with experience, then go on to brag about all the babies I’ve photographed in my career. Photographers with less experience as I are just as worthy of you as a client. What I will tell you is that you need to find a photographer who is trained in how to photograph your baby safely. They must consider your baby’s safety in all that they do. If the baby is balancing in a prop, is there a spotter? Do they know how to do the head in hands pose correctly? (I actually refuse to do this pose, because I’m not keen on the safety risks it poses to your baby) ETC.

I’m not saying here to drill your photographer on their standards, whether they have their yearly flu shot and are up to date with their whooping cough vaccination, how clean their studio is, how they manage to photograph baby safely in elaborate set ups. However, I believe you can get a sense of how important they deem safety to be through general conversations.

 

WHEN SHOULD YOU START LOOKING FOR A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER?

Every photographer is different, so I’ll answer this one for myself. Due to the custom nature of the service I provide, I can only manage 8 – 10 clients a month. This allows me time to take my time conducting your session, gives me a buffer to reschedule if baby arrives early or late, or reschedule if I, or you! are ill in any way. Babies are extremely fragile and I refuse to put your baby at risk if I’m unwell. All this to tell you that yes, session availability is limited, so I recommend booking as soon as you can.

WHAT IF MY BABY COMES EARLY OR LATE?

Babies arrive when babies want to arrive. I’ve had babies who’ve arrived at 32 weeks, and babies arrive 2 weeks later than their due date. This is why I’m very flexible around you and your bub’s arrival. I prefer to photograph babies between 5 – 21 days, so I put your session date in my diary to hit this time window, then adjust as needed.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOSPITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICES AND A STUDIO NEWBORN SESSION?

This all comes down to style. You can’t compare the two, because they are so different. You may be rushed through a 20 minute session with the hospital photographer, or they may not turn up at all. A custom, studio session allows time for baby to be settled and for you not to feel rushed through the whole process.

However, you’ll never regret having the photos of your brand-new baby taken. You’ll be doing the most important thing, which is HAVING THE PHOTOS TAKEN. At the end of the day, you’re going to love any photos of your newborn. So, I would never say that it’s a bad idea, I would just recommend that you set your expectations accordingly.

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPH, A FRESH 48, A LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER, AND A STUDIO SESSION?

Great question! This type of language is second nature to photographers, but it can be completely overwhelming to you, who’s not in the know. I’ve already covered studio sessions and customised fine art posed newborn photography in this blog.

A birth photographer is, well, photos of the whole birthing process. From contractions, right through to the arrival of your child, along with the first weighing, meeting of family members ect. I don’t offer birth photography, but am very happy to recommend a number of well respected Canberra Birth Photographers who I’d trust to capture the experience for myself.

A Fresh 48 session is a photography session that happens in your hospital room (or at home) within, yes, you guessed it! The first 48 hours of your baby’s life. This type of session takes photos of baby in the hospital room, capturing the first meeting between other family members, and capturing all those heady hazy details of the arrival of your baby. I do offer Fresh 48 sessions too!

Lastly, a lifestyle photographer will come to your home (or photograph you in a home-based setting) and photograph you and your family in a candid manner, perhaps feeding, laying in your bed, or being fed.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So, lets be clear here. I’m not telling you NOT to ask for recommendations on social media. What I’m suggesting is to be clear and detailed about what it is you’re looking for!

IMPORTANT NOTE: I’m obviously promoting my services in this blog post. I am a business after all. I’ve outlined the way I do business, and the service I offer to my clients. Hopefully I’ve made what I offer clear, so you can confidently make your choice in the photographer that is best for your needs.

Lastly, I in no way, shape or form look down on any business that operates differently. I myself was once one of those $150 for 10 digitals included photographers, but quickly had to change my way of doing business so I didn’t burn out and have to leave the industry I love. If you’re a photographer reading this, YOU DO YOU! In the meantime, I’m always happy to help you, even if we are in the same local community <3

I’d love to hear from you

xoxox

Janet

Hi, I’m Janet

Mother of two fierce, highly rambunctious, primary school girls and Moments photographer. After years of photographing my own little ones in their early years, using photography as a creative outlet grew into a passion that grew into a business.

I am a fully accredited, award-winning photographer. From the moment your family is growing, I’m passionate about capturing snippets of the journey to display in your home forever.

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