10 Things to Know About Before Becoming a Newborn Photographer
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by Maxine & Shellaine | Last Updated:
Maxine and Shellaine have both been students in my classroom and I couldn’t be more proud of where they are now!
They do gorgeous work with newborns and are even teaching. They’re both moms and have not only the photography skills, but the life skills to do this kind of photography. Keep reading for some tips they have on getting into newborn photography.
It’s not all about the props
Lets get that out of the way first and foremost. When you are first starting out, save your money, it is more important to invest in yourself.
Elaborate props and accessories cannot create a beautiful image if you do not have the ability to create a proper exposure, lighting, and composition. Which brings us to the next point.
Know your camera, and what it can do for you
Getting off of automatic, and learning the ropes of manual exposure will rock your photographic world.
You do not need a crazy expensive camera to start out.
Settle for an entry-level DSLR, and opt for a few lenses instead. This will give you more versatility to accomplish an array of compositions.
Depending on what type of learner you are, either invest in some online modules, or sign up at a local photography school for your basics. Next you can work on specializing in your chosen area.
Ensure the safety of your newborn subject
Newborn photography is unique in that you will be completely posing your subjects.
This is a double-edged sword. It works for the experts, as they have had countless times to practice and therefore are established in exactly how to properly pose their little subjects, for both safety and aesthetic composition. But – they have been properly educated in how to do this, safety being the most important component.
There is nothing more essential to your session than insuring the safety of your newborn client. Which is why we suggest the next few points.
Take a workshop
A workshop in newborn photography or mentorship that is specific to newborn photography.
Please research, take a course, or mentor with an established newborn photographer, so that you will learn how to properly work with your precious little subjects.
While many workshops will teach you to safely pose and soothe baby, a good workshop should teach you so much more. Like what? Well, there is a lot more to a newborn session than simply posing and photographing.
Experts can really help you get a good start at learning all the steps to take in running your newborn photography business as well.
Cover Your Butt
Cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Don’t photograph a single person without proper insurance to protect all parties involved.
Ensure you have the right equipment, a clean and safe work environment, and a contract for your client to sign that spells out what each party will receive (even for portfolio building sessions).
Find your own style
The photography market has increasingly become super saturated and you need to set yourself apart from your competition.
What is it that you can provide for your clients to make them want to hire you, as opposed to the next photographer?
Provide something that is exclusive to your business.
Create a unique look or experience.
You want your art to speak to your target clientele.
Be prepared for the costs involved
Can you make a profit as a newborn photographer? Do you want to do this as a hobby, or use it to supplement your existing income?
Quitting your 9-5 job is a big decision, and to be quite frank, it is difficult to turn a profit right away in this industry.
There are a lot of startup costs that are not considered prior to starting.
It is not only a camera and couple lenses that you will need to set up your business:
marketing and advertisements
These things all add up very quickly, so be prepared to spend what you make and more for the first little while.
Do your research, and be prepared to really work hard on this entrepreneurial journey.
This is your business; you get out what you put in.
I may be beating a dead horse here, but again in this industry, you really need to work your tail off to become successful. You can be an amazing photographer, but if you don’t have the skills and drive to market yourself, your work will go unnoticed.
In this digital world, there is so much we can do with a raw photograph and good editing programs. This is another avenue that you can use to really create your own style.
Have fun, be creative, be you, but remember to be consistent.
Your clients will want to hire you based on your work that they have seen, so remember to produce something similar (unless you educate them before hand that you want to try something new).
Have a great time
Enjoy these little miracles, embrace the fact that you are running your own business, creating your own hours, and working for yourself.
Maxine began her journey into photography in 2010, shortly after having her third son. Mostly self-taught in photo-graphics, Maxine combined her previous visual designer and retail management skills and opened her own photography business. She constantly strives to always improve her talent, and when she doesn’t know how to do a task, her determination drives her to figure it out on her own.
Shellaine decided to not go back to teaching Elementary Education after having her second child, and instead go back to school. In November 2012 she began the diploma program at The Burwell School of Photography. Unsure of which direction to go in photography, she attended various workshops with well established photographers, and found a love for newborn photography.
It was at a newborn workshop that Maxine and Shellaine met, decided to do a shoot together, and then merge businesses, creating Maxine and Shellaine the Essence of Newborn Art.
Their love for photography, babies, and business are an integral part of their success.
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How to Become a Family/Baby Photographer
Families are the foundation of every society on earth. Babies expand and continue the family line, drawing couples closer together and shining a bright light on the future.
Only photography can capture and preserve a family’s precious moments in time. Yes, people snap away with the cameras on their smartphones all the time, but skilled portrait photographers are still in high demand for families who want a formal document of their milestones.
Anyone with a camera and demonstrable skill can pursue a career as a family/baby photographer. There are no special licenses or government requirements, although practice and independent training is valuable to develop your talent quickly so you can produce steadily better work, gaining more clients along the way.
Family/baby photographers essentially follow one of two career paths: either working as a salaried employee of a portrait studio or as a freelance portrait photographer who is self-employed. The latter route will usually lead to greater income, although the burden is on you to buy and maintain your own equipment, carry business insurance and handle all the marketing and promotion. But with that also comes the freedom to set your own hours and work a schedule that best suits your lifestyle.
Good people skills and the ability to communicate in a friendly but persuasive manner are essential skills to go along with your mastery of photography. Patience will also be a valuable trait on the days when young children refuse to sit still or the adorable baby who arrived cooing in his car seat is now crying inconsolably as you set the lighting for the photograph. This comes with the job. The joy of helping people preserve their legacies and loved ones in photographs is also part of the portrait photographer’s work. It is also arguably the greatest, most satisfying aspect of the art and craft of family/baby photography.
Read on to learn how you can get started as a family/baby photographer.
In this article you’ll learn:
How much money you can make as a family photographer
The required training and certifications
Professional groups to join
Employment opportunities for family photographers
Plus helpful tips
How much money can you make?
A portrait photographer on average makes $30,367 annually, according to a recent GlassDoor survey. Photographers on the high end of this specialty make $45,000 annually and up. These are individuals employed mainly by large portrait studio chains.
There’s less competition today than in years gone by when major retail stores often had an on-site portrait studio where special pricing on photo packages was routine. With the near-collapse of brick & mortar retailing, there are fewer of these retail-chain portrait studios that could offer rock-bottom pricing due to their size, marketing budgets and buying power, in terms of photographic supplies.
Today determined freelance photographers focused on family and baby portraits can make as much money as they wish, depending on their willingness to put in the hours it takes to market and run a business.
Training and Certification
You don’t need a license or certification to go out with your camera today, right now, and offer your services as a family/baby photographer, but some training is probably a good idea. Beyond talent with a camera, good people skills are necessary to get subjects to cooperate for the photo shoot. This is especially true of little children who may not be inclined to take direction, and babies, who definitely won’t.
There are dozens of online portrait photography training programs for you to pull up with a simple Internet search and review. Most are well under $100. Here’s an example. These courses teach good composition, how to light a scene, getting your subjects to pose, working safely with babies, creating inexpensive photo sets, basic image post-production skills and more.
To learn more about your clientele and how to manage them for best results, consider reading a few books on infant development, child psychology, family dynamics and so forth. This can enhance your people skills and help you develop strategies for getting the perfect portrait as timely and efficiently as possible – so you can move on to working with the next client.
Professional Groups to Join
There are many professional photographers’ organizations you can join to network with other pros and advance your portrait photography career. Here are two of the most relevant:
American Photographic Artists offers “inspiration, education and advocacy” with local chapters throughout the United States you can join for networking. They also hold regular events and photography competitions. There are several membership tiers ranging from $60 to $500 per year, each with different benefits. All memberships include a photo ID card and a listing on the member directory, which can help new clients find you when they search by city and state. The more expensive membership levels provide access to insurance, discounts on equipment, ongoing education opportunities and more.
Professional Photographers of America is the premiere organization of photography pros in the United States. A full membership is open to anyone living in the United States or its territories and costs $323 per year. Benefits include:
$15,000 equipment insurance policy
Data loss protection
Access to all online education courses
Online referral database listing
Printed and digital monthly issues of Professional Photographer magazine
One full registration to Imaging USA during the first year of membership
Contracts and Copyright Resources
Access to Member Discount Program
Contact portrait studios, churches and other places of worship, local clubs, the PTA and civic groups, letting them know of your services. Send them your marketing materials, brochures and business cards. Follow up with a phone call in a day or two.
Don’t be discouraged by rejection when calling potential clients. The very next call you make could be gold.
Use the networking power of your professional memberships to find assignments.
Business cards and a basic website should be the core of your marketing toolkit as a freelance photographer. The website need not be fancy or expensive, just attractively designed, with photos of your best work, your business location and contact information. No need to include your pricing. You can discuss that directly with your clients. You want to sell customers based on the quality of your work, not the price you charge. To do that, you’ll need to meet with them in person.
In addition to your business website, the next thing to do is create an Instagram account to showcase your photography. Instagram is the #1 online venue for creative professionals to display their work. It’s a free promotional tool that’s always working on your behalf.
Other strategies for attracting new business:
Create a referral program with discounts for returning customers who bring new clients to you.
Ask clients to review your services online. According to a recent survey, 90% of people say their buying decisions are influenced by positive online reviews.
Good to know
A few thoughts on equipment.
There are dozens of books, websites and photography magazines available to help you decide which gear to buy when you’re starting out as a portrait photographer of families and babies. Your needs may be different from another portrait photographer’s, so only you can decide which brand or model of camera suits your requirements and budget.
At minimum, though, you’ll need a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera body and at least two lenses, wide and telephoto. Two camera bodies are even better because then you won’t be spending so much of your time switching out lenses while the subjects of your portrait grow impatient.
A set of neutral density and polarizing filters will help you manage lighting conditions outdoors. Indoors, you’ll need a flash attachment at minimum. Over time, you may decide to invest in a lighting kit with reflectors, lamps and folding stands, all of which fits into a footlocker-type case for easy transport.
Spare camera batteries and memory cards are essential. And you’ll need a water-resistant bag to carry your equipment when you go on location. Some families may want their portrait taken at home or perhaps in some natural setting like a park. You’ll need an efficient way to transport your gear on these occasions.
A good, sturdy tripod should also be part of your standard kit. To get the maximum stabilizing benefits from a tripod, you should have some means of triggering the camera shutter remotely. Many modern digital cameras are Bluetooth enabled, which allows a radio signal to pass from the camera to a smartphone. Depending on the brand and model of your camera, you download an app to the phone, which allows you to trigger the camera shutter with your smartphone from distances of up to about 30 feet. This is especially helpful when photographing babies because you can step out from behind the camera to move closer to the child while you manipulate a squeaky toy in one hand to capture the baby’s attention while activating your camera shutter with your other hand holding a smartphone.
Finally, a computer or laptop loaded with image editing software such as Photoshop will be needed to work on your photographs in post-production. As your photography business grows, digital storage will become an issue. There are many online storage solutions (cloud storage), some of them even free for a certain volume of storage. Google Drive is one example. As a backup measure, though, you may want to invest in external hard drives that can store many thousands of high-definition images. These drives connect directly with a cable to your laptop or computer for immediate access. One advantage of an external drive is you do not need an Internet connection to access your work.
If you enjoyed this article, check out some more great PocketSuite. io content that can help you grow your career as a family photographer.Here’s a great place to start.PocketSuite has thousands of business owners who all started where you are right now. Our community is always happy to help you ramp up, grow your client base, and achieve your income goals, both within the PocketSuite app and as part ofour exclusive Facebook Community Group. PocketSuite’s vision is for any professional to be able to work for themselves and make a great living. It starts here. It starts with you. It starts today. Let’s get started, download PocketSuite now! Feel free to reach out with any questions (we’d love to hear from you)! Text us @ (415) 841-2300.
"How to become a children's photographer" or how the profession begins. Interview with Lyuba Zabelkina
Lyuba Zabelkina graduated from the Open School of Photography.
Studied on the course "Photostart" and "Pro" course. Now Lyuba is a well-known children's photographer in Kazan. Let's find out how Luba's creative life began.
— At what point did photography appear in your life? — Photography appeared back in 1995, but it was then that I could not imagine that this occupation would be my life and my breath!
— What were the challenges of becoming a photographer? — Difficulty entering the sales market, being in demand as a professional photographer. I was very afraid of photoshop. I am still with him on YOU).
— How did the Open School courses help? — Oleg Samoilov's courses were my first steps in the world of photography. Starting with how to turn on the camera and how to upload a photo for processing.
Inspiration is the sound of the sea, the cry of seagulls, a good film, a kind word from my colleague photographer Nadia, and ice cream, but always with nuts!
— What tips from teachers do you remember the most? — The most important advice is that you need a lot of practice! And one more thing - the photographer's legs are fed! Until you make 1001 frames you will not understand!)
— Do you improve your qualifications? Yes. There are 2-3 master classes on children's photography a year, as well as an MC on promoting business as photography.
— How critical are you of yourself? - I criticize all my work. I'm ready to sit in Photoshop for a long time, and redo everything the next morning!
— Nearest creative plans: exhibition, photo project? — I try not to carry out photo projects now, although I used to arrange them very often for my promotion. Now I want to work individually with the model! If we talk about exhibitions, I do not hide the fact that I really want to get to the exhibition in Venice for children's photography.
Photography has changed me forever! I seem to have woken up and now the world is different for me! Come to the world of photography, and you too will notice the little things in our big bustling world!
— In what direction do you shoot most often? — My direction is a photo session of a newborn baby up to 14 days old and a photo session of children up to 14 years old. I began to notice that more and more often I take models of a younger age - up to 5 and 6 years.
- Most memorable shoot? — I have a couple of shoots that will stay with me forever! The results obtained make me proud of my profession!
Whose work has had a big influence on you? — Among the children's photographers are Karina Kiel and Nadezhda Shibina. Among foreign - Rarindra Prakarsa.
— How has your work changed compared to last year? - My work hasn't changed much, but I see this movement) With every MC, with every knowledge gained, I become stronger or wiser!
— How do you see the future of photography? - The future and the present are live shots, this is children's laughter and ease!
A professional photographer is a person who sleeps little, eats on the go, communicates a lot with clients, likes to swim in the pool, a good psychologist and much more.
The main thing is to be a good person, and you will definitely become a pro if you have a goal!
— What makes a photo alive and of high quality? — Real emotions that need to be discovered in the model will make the frame come alive!
— What is the most difficult thing in photography? - The most difficult thing? There are no difficulties! There is only laziness! And you have to fight it)
Interviewed by Ksenia Solovieva, curator of the educational process +7(843)266-90-80 // WhatsApp +7(999)156-23-33
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Artyom Gorlanov sorted out all the questions of interest for ...
Patrick Fraser Portrait photographer Born in Norwich, Fraser studied fine art and then worked as a photography assistant in London…
"To become a children's photographer, you have to be a parent" - Russian photo
Anna Kvyatek: “You have to be a parent to be a child photographer”
May 28, 2014 Photo: Anna Kwiatek
Anna Kwiatek photographs not only families and children. She works in the fashion genre, is engaged in portrait and wedding photography, and she is equally interested in all these areas. But whoever is the hero of her work, her pictures have one thing in common: the desire to show how wonderful life can be. As Anna herself says: "The more love, beauty and kindness you discover in yourself, the more you will notice them in the world around you."
- Anna, good afternoon! The first question is traditional. Let's go back in time and remember how you discovered the world of photography? When did you first pick up a camera?
- Hello! It happened naturally. I think that most family photographers discovered the world of photography with the birth of their children, and I am no exception.
— Do you remember your first camera?
- Yes, of course! He is with me now. This is the Canon D500. Good, reliable equipment that I sometimes take with me on family trips.
- Did you study photography on your own or professionally?
— Before I thought about becoming a professional photographer, I decided that I needed to learn the art of creating good pictures, and I signed up for photography courses. There I received the necessary basics of knowledge and skills, and I develop my own style and artistic vision on my own.
- How long have you been reading our magazine? It would be interesting to hear your independent reader's opinion about our publication!
— I have been reading you for about three years. Wonderful magazine! I like its design and fascinating and interesting articles. I often drew ideas for inspiration from your publication.
— Thank you very much for your kind words! Very nice! How easy is it for you to get along with small models? Do you think that a children's photographer should have a special talent, say, to inspire confidence...
- I tend to believe that I can find a common language with children. And to become a children's photographer, you need to be a parent. By my own example, I can confirm my conviction: it was with the birth of a child that I began to perceive children and treat them in a completely different way. I manage to interest the baby, attract his attention and create comfortable conditions for him.
— Do you have a preference: what age kids do you like to shoot the most?
- I have no particular preference. I enjoy photographing both newborns and older children equally.
- In addition to this genre, you are also engaged in fashion, wedding and portrait photography. Can you single out the most priority direction for yourself?
- There is a common belief that a photographer needs to work in only one genre in order to be successful. Perhaps this is true. However, I can honestly admit that I cannot single out one thing for myself. I am really equally interested in shooting couples in love, babies, happy families and portraits of beautiful girls. The difference in approaches to shooting is what attracts me the most. I like to learn and do something new that I have not done before.
- You participated in the festival "OBJECTIVELY ABOUT CHILDREN". Please tell us what this project means to you? Do you think such events can contribute to the development of children's photography?
- I am very glad that I participated in it. This is indeed a very necessary and important festival. He revives interest in family and children's photography, focusing the viewer's attention on live, emotional and everyday pictures, pieces of the most touching and important moments in the life of each family.
— How would you define a family photographer? What personal qualities are necessary for this genre?
- A family photographer is a chronicler who writes family history in photographs.
- What kind of shooting do you prefer: studio or open air ?
- You know, after all, nothing can be better than live scenery.
- And how is it with photographing your loved ones? Is there time left for them?
- Unfortunately, lately, due to lack of time, I take pictures of my loved ones less often than I would like.
What goal would you like to achieve in photography?
— I want to reach the top of this art form (smiles).
— How important is post-processing to you?
- Very important. I really give her a lot of time. This process excites and fascinates. Graphic editors allow you to give the image expressiveness and artistic integrity.
- You have already said that you are working with Canon . Do you have any favorite lenses?
- Yes, 85mm f/1.8 and 35mm f/1.4L.
— Do you participate in contests? And how do you feel about competition in general?
— I participate extremely rarely. I take competition calmly, as an integral part of my profession.
— What advice can you give to aspiring photographers?
— Believe in yourself, experiment and shoot a lot.
- And finally, as always, the question: what does photography mean to you?