When I first started my journey into newborn photography, I thought, “Hey, this will be fun! I love photography and babies!”. Little did I know that there was a mountain of stuff to learn. It’s been over four years since I started and I still feel like I have a long way to go. Here are just a few things I have learned along the way.
I am a pretty patient person by nature but when you are working with newborns it is really something you need to have. You would think newborns would be easy since they can’t go anywhere but they are really a special kind of challenging. A challenge I love, but still. Newborns need time to relax, to eat, to burp, to poop and be cuddled. There have been times it takes me 15 minutes to get a baby all posed and something startles them and I have to start all over again. Oh, the joys of newborn photography.
I swear babies have a sixth sense. They know when their mamas are close or far and they know when you are worried or stressed out. I even think they can sense it when you are uncomfortable. Doesn’t matter if it is mama, dad, grandma or even me! They just know. It’s the strangest thing. I always try and prep my parents as to how a typical session goes and what to expect (Hello, poop!) so we can relax and have fun. Over the years I have learned to just let baby dictate our session, relax and enjoy my time with this amazing new life.
With experience, comes confidence. With confidence, I can relax during a session and enjoy working towards getting a pose(s) I want and planned for. When I am able to achieve my vision for the session I feel like I grow in experience and am even more confident and relaxed for the next session. Each session presents its own set of challenges and things to work on. It’s a process I enjoy while trying to be confident in myself that I can handle it. Last year I really felt like I grew my business and vision exactly in the direction I wanted to grow in and that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to a great 2018.
The Technical Stuff
Having an amazing camera is great but if you do not know how to use it you are going to run into some issues along the way. The technical aspect of photography and lighting was quite a bit more than I originally thought when I started out. There was just so much to learn! Aperture, shutter speed and ISO and how they tied together. Focusing, depth of field, exposure bracketing, how to light a subject and what’s best for each image along with equipment needs etc….oh my, this list could go on and on. Needless to say I have spent countless hours and classes learning and I still have so much more to learn.
The Business Behind it All
Being a photographer is awesome. I mean, I love it. It is the best job ever. But honestly, it’s only 20% of what I do for my business. Running a legitimate business is nothing to shake a stick at. There is so much to think about. It consumes me sometimes. It’s ok though because I really enjoy all the aspects of it but it can be overwhelming. Between the costs of doing business to marketing, pricing, insurance and taxes, budgeting and planning, preparing for and cleaning up after sessions…there is just a lot to think about. But I have to say I have loved planning it all and mapping it all out.
This subject is so immensely important. There is so much that goes into learning how to work with newborns. Not only to work with them, but to work with them safely at ALL times. Training is vital and should be something every newborn photographer puts at the top of their list of things to do. Even though I have learned a lot, I still try and learn more as often as I can. I can never have enough safety information.
Newborns are not dolls or props. They are tiny miracles of new life and their parent’s pride and joy.
What I Like (and Don’t)
When I first started out I bought props and posing fabric and headbands….all the things I thought I needed to achieve the look I wanted in my images. It turns out that most of those things I do not even use anymore. Last year one of my focuses was creating images using things I loved. I found a lot of fabrics did (or did not) photograph well. Sometimes I did not like the color or texture. Some outfits just didn’t fit very well. All the trial and error and researching what I like in pictures and what fulfills my vision this past year or so has been amazing. I have a small group of vendors I love and trust and enjoy working with.
Besides the love of photography and the love of working with newborns and expectant mamas, why do I do this? My heart really lies in this business. I love it. It brings me joy and is the best professional decision I have ever made. One of the biggest things about my job that I love is being able to create this unique experience for each client. I love getting to know everyone who chooses me to be a part of their journey. Customizing each session so it is different from the last is so much fun.
There was a time, many years ago, when I visited a small business and what I wanted was expensive. I loved the work of what I was visiting for. The customer service though was awful. I felt like it never mattered that I chose this company over other competitors. All they wanted was my money and didn’t care about my questions or concerns, never contacted me or replied to my questions etc. It made me walk away feeling sad and I hated that. I told myself that I never wanted any of my clients to feel that way. The special touches I create are just for my clients, to make them feel like they matter, like they are special and unique and valued, because they are. There are thousands of photographers to choose from. Trust me I know. Every time I am chosen to be a part of someone’s life it means the world to me. The trust they place in me gives me the heart to keep going every single day. My clients and their experience is the reason I do this. Oh and I get to cuddle babies….who doesn’t love that?!
It’s never too early to book your newborn session. Contact me HERE to get your due date on my calendar.
This is such a great post! I’ve had many experiences and learnings similar to yours. It’s really a craft you have to LOVE, as its not an easy thing is it? I enjoyed reading this, Stephanie.