First and foremost, congrats mama! I'm so excited for you and I'm thrilled that you're here, because that means you're considering a newborn photo session of some sort. I'm willing to bet you've got quite a bit going on in your life right now, so I'll try to keep this brief and to the point to get you on your way!
First things first, you should decide what style of newborn session you want. Do you want more traditional, studio type portraits? Do you like the themed, posed portraits with the baby swaddled in beautiful cloth with props and fancy headbands and lots of retouching? Or do you prefer a more candid, lifestyle session done in your baby's nursery? There's no wrong answer here--it's definitely a personal preference and that's ok! Whatever you decide on will help you start your search. Most photographers tend to specialize in a particular style (both in shooting style and editing style), so find photographers that specialize in the style you prefer!
2. Safety/Photographer Experience
Once you find a photographer (or two) that you think you like, the next thing you should consider is safety. You know those gorgeous posed/swaddled studio sessions? Photographers typically go through training to get certified on proper handling and posing techniques, as well as safety. Do not ever assume that because someone offers these types of sessions that they're qualified to safely work with your baby. You might be tempted by photographers with lower rates, especially if you are on a tight budget, but do not sacrifice your baby's health and safety for the sake of saving some extra cash. Be sure whoever you work with is properly trained if this is the style you're looking for. It's ok to ask questions like "How long have you been doing newborn photography?" and "What training do you have in newborn photography?"
I am not trained/certified to work with babies in this manner, so I offer lifestyle (documentary) sessions and Fresh 48 session because I can be completely hands-off and still offer newborn services. I very rarely, if ever touch the baby during lifestyle or Fresh 48 sessions. If I do feel like I need to make any adjustments or anything myself, I always ask permission first, but honestly, I usually try to avoid this as much as possible by trying to communicate with parents what adjustments need to be made. (During COVID I am strictly hands off.) Being these are more of a photojournalistic type session, it's a rare occasion that there's any issues with moving the baby around. I am there to document what's naturally happening, so posing isn't so much an issue.
From here on out, the rest of my pointers can apply to other portrait sessions as well, not just newborn. :)
3. Do you like the photographer's vibe?
This might seem like an odd thing to have on my list, but I think it's vital that you feel like you connect with your photographer. The more you can relate to your photographer, the better your session will go. If they seem like someone you think is fun and someone you would be friends with outside of your session, you will probably have an amazing session. Why? Because by having that connection, you will innately trust your photographer, and thus be feel more relaxed and natural at your session. The more you feel you connect, the easier communication will be, and the better your personality and story will come out in your portraits. You'll have a better experience working with someone you vibe with vs. someone you don't.
This is a bit of a broad topic, but in attempt to keep this brief, there are a ton of photographers out there, and some charge more than others (duh). You might have an idea of what your budget is in your head when you start the process of looking for a photographer, but as you research, you might find you need to adjust your budget. Have an idea in mind what you are looking for in the end result--this will help you when looking at pricing from photographer to photographer.
Are you just looking for digitals for social media? Or do you want prints to make a scrapbook? Are you looking for large canvas to put up on your wall? Or do you want heirloom quality products to pass down in your family?
Having an idea in mind of what products, if any, you'd like to have when all is said and done will help you narrow down a photographer. If it is unclear to you what exactly is included in a photographer's package and what kind of total investment you might be looking at, don't be afraid to ask! Sometimes the way packages and pricing are laid out can be confusing, but your photographer should be happy to answer any pricing/investment questions you have. (If not, that's a red flag!)
This kind of goes along with budget, but are you looking for an experience, or are you looking for the bare minimum to get these photos done? By experience I mean do you want a style consult? Pre-session meet and greet? A client wardrobe or hair and makeup upgrades? Any other extras you can think of to give you an experience. If you just want to book a photographer, show up the day of and get what you get, that's totally fine, you will probably pay less for that, but if you want this to be an experience, your budget is probably going to go up too.
Well that about wraps it up! I hope this guide was helpful to you in your search for a newborn photographer. If you have any questions or are interested in a Fresh 48 or lifestyle newborn session with me, I would love to chat with you! Just fill out my contact form and I'll be in touch with you soon!