When I started my own business, I looked at newborn photography as a way to get busy during the week, I needed that weekday work to survive as I could only do so many family portrait sessions on the weekends, and that did not generate enough income to support my growing family.
At the time I thought; ‘How hard can it be? Just put the baby on a pillow and shoot away!’
Boy! Was I in for a shock!
I soon learned that apart from the necessary skills needed to settle, pose and photograph newborn babies, I needed a few particular character traits too.
Here are the five character traits I think we need to be successful newborn baby photographers.
1. PATIENCE, PATIENCE AND MORE PATIENCE
We have all been there; it’s taken 20 minutes to get the baby to sleep, another 5 minutes to get him posed perfectly, you frame up, hit focus and the moment you are about to release the shutter the baby squirms out of position, and you have to start from scratch! It really can sometimes be testing.
You have to have buckets of patience to be a newborn baby photographer!
Newborn babies are entirely unaware of what we want from them, they react to tummy cramps, wind and sometimes they just want to wiggle into their comfy spot.
I have found that it is best to take things nice and slow and wait until the baby is in a deep and settled sleep before you pose them, It may take longer to get them there, but there will be less chance of waking them up and having to start again.
For those of you who have babies of your own, I am sure you remember how you felt in the first few weeks after your baby was born! New mums are so in love with their new bundles of joy, but they are also often overwhelmed, anxious, sore, and completely exhausted!
Your job as a newborn baby photographer is not just to take beautiful photos but to provide a WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE that will be remembered for many, many years to come.
Make your customers feel completely relaxed at all times, both physically and emotionally.
Have a comfortable chair for mum to relax and feed her baby. Pamper her and always explain what you are doing when posing her baby.
Reassure her that the session is going well (even when it is not!).
Babies really respond well to a calm, gentle touch.
I sometimes see babies being posed like they are a Rubix cube! When babies are in a deep sleep, they are often very floppy and can be moved like this without them waking up, but how would you feel if it was your baby being handled in this way?
Be slow and gentle with your movements, for the baby’s sake as well as mums.
4. A SENCE OF HUMOUR (AND A STRONG STOMACH).
There WILL be times when you get peed on, pooped on and vomited on!
Mum will be devastated when this happens but take it in good grace and have a good old chuckle about it. It is the one occupational hazard we face as newborn photographers! Just make sure you have a spare set of clothes at the studio!
If you are a newborn baby photographer just for the income it brings in; you will not last long.
You will soon realise that there are much easier ways to make your money! There is one thing that all successful newborn photographers have, PASSION.
They are passionate about creating timeless and precious images of a new family.
They are passionate about taking the very first professional picture of a person that may live to be 100 years old, and they are passionate about capturing the raw and powerful emotions new parents feel towards their precious new baby.
It’s much more than just a job; it’s a privilege.
If there is one thing I want you to take from this post, it’s this; Our clients will not always recommend us to their friends and family based just on our photography.
The SERVICE and EXPERIENCE we provide are much more important!
If you went to an expensive restaurant and the service was terrible, would you tell your friends how great the food was?!!!
People will ALWAYS remember how you make them feel!
Make sure your clients feel comfortable at all times and have a warm, friendly and supportive experience during their session. You will then always have a flow of happy returning clients that would be delighted to recommend your services to everyone they know!