Posts Tagged 'Newborn'
Storyboards are my favorite product that clients order. These are my favorite because they are super customizable and are beautifully stunning when displayed on a wall.
This weeks featured size is a 16×24 storyboard. These 16×24′s are very popular for all types of sessions.
16×24 storyboards are one of our most popular sizes by far! The tricky part my clients face is picking the right amount of images and the orientation because it really matters! This week tip I focus on 3 to 4 image storyboard because thats the average number picked. I’ve done up to nine images on one board though! These are great visual layouts to help pick images because whether its a canvas or in an Organic Bloom frame the goal is to make the images look balanced.
When mom showed me the adorable silver tutu she brought along, I died. I said, “I have this really sparkly background that would look amazing with, want to try it?!” Mom was all for it. It was perfect! Baby J was so teeny tiny and she slept right through our whole session. She had the most perfect little doll features. She snoozed in our pretty spring garden full of brightly colored hydrangeas. She curled right up into the arms of her adoring mom and dad. I could have photographed her all day! And isn’t her mom one of the most gorgeous new moms on the planet?! They were such a beautiful family and we had a great morning together. Enjoy your sneak peek!
I loved meeting the W family last week. They are one of our newest 2013 Baby Plan families! Their sweet baby girl was a social butterfly. Approaching 3 weeks old, she wanted to take in the world around her. She loved to be held and cuddled and fed. She looked like a living doll with the most gorgeous head of hair and pouty lips. I had so much fun getting to know her and I can’t wait to spend a year celebrating her as she grows. Mom and dad were completely in love with their new little one. We started our session with plenty of family portraits where she cooed and smiled for us. After 2 hours she finally drifted off to sleep and we captured plenty of dreamy images to end our day. Enjoy your sneak peek!
If you’re a local mom, you probably already know about one of our favorite local businesses, Bellani Maternity. If you haven’t stopped by to do a little shopping there, you must! From helping you to register for your baby shower, to picking out the perfect backpack for your preschooler, their amazing staff can help you through every step of parenthood. We’ve loved showcasing our work on their walls and are so grateful for the community of Bellani moms that we’ve stayed in touch with over the past years. We wanted to do something fun to show our appreciation for all that Bellani has added to our community and give away a complimentary Heidi Hope Photography session to a lucky Bellani family in 2013!
Enter to win!
Anyone who visits Bellani Maternity during the month of February and spends $100 can be entered to win a complimentary 30 minute Heidi Hope Photography session including all images in 2013. There is no additional purchase necessary! Simply fill out your entry card after purchase and we’ll draw a winner on March 1st 2013.
Get out there and shop, because we can’t wait to meet you!
I had so much fun with this sweet newborn boy last week. He slept like a champ on the bean bag and loved hanging out for our branch shot. After that though, he was ready to wake up and party! He would sleep just long enough to pull off a shot and then seem to say, “get me outta here!” We took some adorable shots with props that mom and dad brought along from home and then some sweet family portraits to wrap up our session. Can’t you tell that this little guy is very loved?! Enjoy your sneak peek!
This post has been floating around in my head for at least the past year, so I decided this week to take a crack at blogging it. Just about everyone I know is having a baby in 2012, including myself, and since there will be a period of time that I can’t take on any newborn clients, these are the questions I will be telling my best friends and family to ask before choosing their newborn photographer.
Newborn photography is an increasingly popular genre of photography these days. It seems each week a new baby photographer pops up on Facebook. Given the lower cost of digital equipment, the availability of ready-made websites, and the massive reach of social media, you can literally start a business with just a few clicks of the mouse today. This can be a good thing for consumers, and a very bad thing for consumers. It creates a more competitive marketplace and for those who are active online and do their research, there are some very good deals to be had. It is also a great time to start a business. Many of the most successful businesses I know locally have seen wonderful success through internet marketing (including ours!). The downside is that it also becomes hard to discern fly-by-night businesses from true professionals. Think of some of your favorite business pages on Facebook. Can you answer any of these questions about them: How long have they been in business? What kind of training and education do they have? Is their business registered in the state in which they operate? Are they insured? Where is their physical business located? How can you contact them outside of Facebook and are there any business hours during which you know you could reach them?
It might not matter to you much if you’re hiring a photographer who is going to burn all of your digitals onto a disk for $100. Heck, it’s not a huge loss. Who cares if you don’t love the images or if they aren’t in business tomorrow? It’s worth a shot to try them right? Well, with newborn photography, it should matter to you.
First, the period in which you can have newborn portraits taken is fleeting and very brief. Most newborn portraits are taken within the first month of life, often under 2 weeks of age. If you miss that period, or worse, hire someone that disappoints you, the opportunity to create newborn portraits is over. Much like wedding photography, there’s only one chance to get it right!
Most importantly, this is your very tiny, helpless newborn child. A newborn is a human life, not a photographer’s prop. You are entrusting them in the hands of someone you just met (or maybe just found on Facebook, YIKES). I remember how I felt when the nurse first took Giuliana away at the hospital. That gut-wrenching need to hold and protect the baby I just gave birth to. And that was a NURSE!
Note: I’ve created this post to highlight what I feel are important questions to ask when researching a photographer for your baby. The Newborn Photography industry is not regulated, nor is there a way to become certified. There are no right or wrong answers to many of these questions (although I will say that questions regarding safety in newborn photography should be considered seriously). It is up to anyone as a consumer to decide for themselves what answers make them feel most comfortable before investing their money with a professional. My intention is simply to get you to ASK.
Please, do your research and consider these things before hiring your newborn photographer.
Newborn photography is an art form and each photographer is an artist. When you are hiring a photographer, first consider their style. Baby photography can range from documentary black and whites to highly styled sets, from modern family candids to formal family portraits, from traditional newborn portraits posed on black to the use of colorful and whimsical props. Editing can range from soft and dreamy to sharp and full of contrast. When hiring a photographer for my family, I waited until I fell IN LOVE with someone’s work. I knew that every time I looked at their portraits in my home, my heart would sing. I saved up to go to them, rather than going 3 or 4 times to someone else who’s photos may never make it past an album on Facebook.
It’s often overwhelming to narrow down your choices. Style is a very personal choice and if you aren’t sure what you like, a good idea is to start with browsing photographer’s websites. A website portfolio is often the photographer’s BEST work. Out of all of the portraits the photographer has ever taken, these are their FAVORITES. If you don’t like the images on the website, move on, because chances are the BEST images from your session are going to look much like that… if you’re lucky! If the photographer has a blog, even better. A blog is often a photographer’s most recent work and can be updated daily. Our blog is full of sneak previews for clients, just a few images from every session we shoot here. Some blogs highlight full sessions, others showcase favorite images much like a portfolio. Find out what the blog is showcasing and you can look for consistency in the photographer’s work. A good photographer should get results you love at every session. Which brings me to my next point.
Experience should always be considered when hiring a photographer, but especially a newborn photographer. Experience should not just include how long the photographer has been in business, but also how long they have specialized in the genre that you are hiring them for. Ask prospective photographers how long they have been in business and how long they have been photographing newborns. Also, about how many newborns do they photograph a month? I’ve actually only been in business a little over 3 years. That’s young in the business world! But I also photograph hundreds of newborns a year (an average of 3 newborns each week). There might be someone who has been in business for 10 years and never photographed a newborn, or someone just starting out who was a neonatal nurse in their past career! You don’t know until you ask.
Why is it important to consider? I can tell you my newborn portraits today are leagues above my portraits from a year ago and a world away from my portraits of 2 years ago. I’m still learning more about newborns in every single session. With experience comes skill and consistency. Just being a parent does not make you a newborn expert (although I may have thought I was one after my first child). I think you can judge by how many people give you unwarranted baby advice just how many people out there think they are baby experts!
Every baby is so different from the last. There are endless variations in how each newborn eats, falls asleep, likes to be held and positioned, how heavily they sleep and how easily they wake, and their overall disposition. Experience allows the photographer to read a newborn’s temperament from the moment they walk in the door and create a session that keeps a newborn comfortable and happy. A newborn should never be forced into a pose or a prop they are uncomfortable in.
Good newborn photography takes a very high level of skill. Anyone starting out will remark at how hard it can be. Over time you learn babies and fine tune your practices. This leads to overall quality and consistency. No matter what the baby’s temperament, a good newborn photographer should be able to achieve beautiful newborn portraits out of EVERY SINGLE SESSION. If you hear a photographer excuse poor photos with “well, the baby just wouldn’t sleep” or “they wouldn’t settle down” or “all they wanted to do was eat”: be weary. Babies run the show. Some DO want to cluster feed, some will want to stay up the whole session, some will be fussy or gassy. A good newborn photographer observes your baby and allows what they see to inform the poses they choose during a session. If your baby is alert, I’m never going to try a hanging shot. I’m sorry. If they like their arms tucked in tight, I’m not going to force them to be propped up on their hands. No matter how much you love the shot.
An experienced newborn photographer should be able to comfort your baby, to work with them whether they are awake or asleep, and to create a gallery of beautiful portraits no matter what. After just about every newborn session I shoot, parents will remark: “Thank you for being so patient. You’re like the baby whisperer. It was so fun to watch. Can you come home with us?” Those are the best compliments I can receive.
A baby photographer needs to be good with babies first and foremost or you will never get the results you envision.
This is probably going to be a hot button issue in this post, but I’m telling you what I would tell my best friends and this is it: After running a growing photography business for the past few years I can guarantee you that someone who charges $200 for a DVD of all of the digital images from a newborn session is either A: portfolio building and doesn’t mind losing money on your session (so likely has little experience in the genre), B: has very little business and is just trying to get clients in the door (not knocking it, but you should certainly consider why their business is hurting), C: will either be out of business soon or forced to increase their prices. Here’s why:
Every business is different. I own a studio that has a full time salaried staff of 4 highly educated and experienced professionals. Our pricing is going to be different than, say, when I ran the business out of my home on a laptop. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other, just different business models. I can tell you however, and I know every legitimate business in the country will back me on it, all businesses have a huge list of taxes, insurances and other fees (lawyers, accountants, payroll, unemployment, etc) that go into staying afloat. Add all of that boring mumbo-jumbo to the fact that a newborn session takes 3-4 hours of shooting time, plus 6-8 hours of editing, equipment and image storage costs, gallery hosting, (I could go on and on), if anyone out there can profit off of only $200 when all of that is taken out of it, they should be teaching economics at Harvard.
I’m not saying don’t take advantage of a deal. Just know that there is a reason you are paying those prices and take the time to research WHY. Is it their experience? Is it the quality of the images? Is it their low overhead? You’re taking a chance and you could end up with a great deal on an up-and-comer or you could waste $200 and miss out on your chance for the newborn portraits you were hoping for, or worse, endanger your newborn.
This is another hot-button topic in the newborn photography industry today. There are some wonderful articles on newborn safety already written, so I won’t rewrite the book. Please take a look at these articles as they are a great wealth of information:
Take Off Your Mommy Goggles (a website full of resources)
After reading through some of the biggest issues in newborn safety above, here are some safety related questions you can ask your potential newborn photographer:
If the photographer is not coming to your home, what is the environment that you will be bringing your baby into? Please go visit beforehand if you can! You should make every effort to meet with your newborn photographer and ensure you are comfortable with them before you hand your baby over to them. Their studio should be cleaned regularly and be set up for babies as you will be spending a good deal of time there, usually when you are still recovering from delivery.
How do they achieve their more difficult portraits? Often if you look at a portrait and say “how did they get a baby to do that?”, the photographer composited a series of images together to achieve the portrait. That means they took multiple images in which baby was always safely supported and then spent a good deal of time in photoshop editing the images together to seem as if baby was really in that remarkable position! If they didn’t, they are risking the safety of the baby. The time and skill it takes to produce such images safely is another reason why you may pay more for that photographer. Ask photographers how they created those remarkable images. Babies should never be placed high above the ground without someone spotting them, placed in an object that could tip over without support, hung without support, or placed in glass containers. All of the images below were created using compositing.
Is their business insured? What if, god forbid, something should happen to your baby in the hands of this photographer who is practicing risky newborn posing techniques?
Do babies look comfortable in the photographer’s images? Newborn babies are very flexible and love being curled up into the positions that they were in in the womb. Babies should easily curl into these poses and their faces should be relaxed and peaceful in the final image. If a baby looks uncomfortable in a pose, they probably were. If they look like they were trying to squirm out of it, they probably were. I can’t even begin to convey to you how a portrait of a baby with their face buried in a bean bag or squirming on a hard surface makes me cringe! Who wants a picture of that? Peaceful baby photos are not magic. The baby really was peaceful. Some poses take a little comforting, or some time with a binky if baby is about to wake up from being moved, but your photographer should be able to comfort your baby and keep them happy.
Are parents allowed to watch the session? Every photographer is different in this respect. Personally, I love having the parents watch me work. I want them to see how comfortable their baby is with me. Actually, I even have the parents come over and help with some of the poses. Often they are the ones helping to hold the baby in some of the composites or sitting right beside a set up to ensure baby’s safety. I know I wouldn’t trust someone to take my newborn into another room and not allow me in for 3 hours, but that’s just me. It is sometimes easier for the photographer if nervous parents are not in the room with the baby, as the baby responds to a parent’s energy, but usually after a few minutes of watching me work, mom and dad lose any nervousness they may have had. I’d rather take a little extra time so that mom and dad can enjoy watching the experience and feel 100% confidence in me.
In a market where it can be hard to discern a legitimate business out from the crowd, one last thing to consider is the business practices of the photographer or studio you hire.
What happens if baby is born early or late (as they usually are)? Can the photographer get you in early or reschedule you to a later date. Newborn photographers are often more highly priced because they need to maintain flexibility in their schedule to move around their newborn sessions. Rather than jam-packing our schedule, we must limit the number of sessions we take each week to ensure each newborn is photographed within the first two weeks of life.
What is the general timeline for a session? How long will it take to see your final gallery, create birth announcements, receive your printed album? How long will it take for someone to get back to you if you call? I know it takes me a staff of 4 people full time to manage 6-7 sessions a week and maintain the level of customer service and quality of product that I am proud of. While it does take time to edit, design and produce orders, it shouldn’t take 6 months to receive an album, and you wouldn’t want birth announcements going out when baby is 5 months old. Not everyone needs a staff, but if you hire someone who shoots high quantity at low prices, know that you may sacrifice some level of quality and service.
Do you sign a business contract before the session? A photographer’s contract protects you as much as it protects them. A contract should outline all of the photographer’s business policies and be signed and agreed upon before your session date. And please, take time to read the contract and all of the policies before you sign the dotted line!
Reviews: Ask around town! Don’t trust everything good you hear, and don’t trust everything bad you hear. I remember I once had someone who never even booked with us write a bad review online because I couldn’t photograph her on a specific weekend (we’re not even open on weekends). With that being said however, if you repeatedly hear complaints about a studio’s service or quality, you should give it some thought. Also, don’t trust every good review you read online. I have a folder full of screen shots on my computer from start up photographers who have copied everything from my “about me” section to the reviews my clients have written off of my website. Don’t trust everything you see online. Anyone with some start up cash or a little copy and paste skill can have a professional website that looks pretty trustworthy in just a few days time.
Please don’t stop at a photographer’s website or facebook page. Take some time and be an informed consumer. Know what you are spending your money on. Your baby is worth it!
I had such a fun session last week with this family. First, they had a totally gorgeous baby girl for me to cuddle. Then, mom and dad both knew a little something about photography, which I always love to chat about. To top it off, big brother CJ was awesome with his new baby sister. He did an amazing job during the sibling shots and I could tell that he is a super helper at home too. Of course A was the star of the show and every detail was perfection! Enjoy your preview!
This little boy was a dream to photograph. He went from being kind-of sleepy to SUPER sleepy and never woke up once! He let us pose away and the images of him on our blue chair are some of my absolute favorite. Mom loved the our chair shots on the antique pink chair but I was thinking it might look too “girly”. So she said “what about that chair in your front hall?” It was perfect! Thanks for the inspiration mom. Enjoy your sneak peek!
I was so excited to hear the good news that these twins were born. I had the pleasure of meeting mom and dad for a maternity session a few months back and I’ve been counting the days ever since! E and O did not disappoint. They were so adorable and I loved capturing their bond with each other. We also were able to take our first twin hanging shot (with a whole lot of takes!). Great seeing you again mom and dad, enjoy your preview!
Newborn baby M was so perfectly gorgeous. She had the most beautiful skin and tiny pink lips. Mom and dad were absolutely in love with her and it was such a joy to witness. With 5 previews on their way today, I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking! Enjoy your preview!