Welcome to the second post in the Newborn Session Series –  20 (ish!) questions to ask your newborn photographer before booking. Throughout this Newborn Session Series, I will be guiding you through the entire process. From deciding to have your newborn photo session, all the way through what to do with your photos once you have them, we’ll be covering everything you need to know to ensure you end up with beautiful photos you will cherish forever. 

A new mother holding her baby while standing and sitting by a window photographed by newborn photographer Kate Voda Photography

Feel free to bookmark this post and come back to it as all of the posts will be linked here as they are released.

More in this series:

  1. The Top 5 Reasons To Book a Newborn Photo Session – Even If Feels Overwhelming
  2. The 20 Most Important Questions to Ask Your Newborn Photographer Before Booking
  3. What To Wear For Newborn Photos: The Complete Family Guide
  4. When To Take Newborn Photos: The Complete Guide
  5. 5 Tips for An Easy In-Home Newborn Session
  6. The 8 Best Newborn Photos At Home

Today we’re covering the 20+ questions you should consider asking a photographer before booking a newborn session. Vetting your newborn photographer before booking will ensure that you not only end up with photos that you love but also that you will feel comfortable throughout the entire process. You will be handing over your sweet newborn baby to this person, so knowing your little one will be in the best hands should be a top priority. 

Here’s a list of all the topics that we will be covering today:

Each section will have a list of questions at the end. If you would like the complete list, you can access it by clicking here and signing up to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Your Newborn Photographer’s Style

Knowing the photography style that you are drawn to is so important in making sure you end up with newborn photos that you love. Before beginning your search for a newborn photographer, ask yourself the following:

  1. Am I drawn to light and airy images or dark and moody images?
  2. Am I drawn to images that feature the baby wrapped up and posed with props, or do I prefer images that have the baby posed with the parents? 
  3. Is there something I’m noticing myself being really drawn to such as a consistent color palette, or black-and-white images?

A great thing to do is to head to Pinterest or Instagram and search to see what speaks to you. You can start on Pinterest by searching “Newborn Photography”, “Lifestyle Newborn Photography” and “Studio Newborn Photography”. Make a board and pin anything and everything that speaks to you. Once you’ve got at least 20-30 images on your board, go back to it and see if any themes jump out at you. 

On Instagram, try hashtags like #newbornphotos and #newbornpictures #themotherhoodanthology. If you want to find local photographers, try searching hashtags like #newjerseynewbornphotographer or #njnewbornphotographer, changing out the state/county/city for whatever area you live in. 

Once you’ve found the style that speaks to you, go ahead and start looking at various newborn photographer’s websites

A new mom sits and stands by the window wearing a sage green floral dress. She is holding her newborn son during his in home newborn photo session photographed by newborn photographer Kate Voda

While “What is your photography style” might not be a question you directly ask a newborn photographer, you can easily find the answer by taking a look at their Instagram feed or their portfolio.  

A question about style that you do want to ask a potential newborn photographer directly is “What is your posing and directing style?” 

Some newborn photographers are very involved in directing their clients into various poses throughout the session. They will tell you exactly where to stand, what to do with your hands, how to move your hair, and so on. 

Other newborn photographers take a more “fly on the wall” approach and let you interact with your baby while they document the moments unfolding naturally, giving no posing direction whatsoever.

Some newborn photographers (like myself!) use a combination of the two. I guide my clients into a pose so they know what to do and then step back and see what organically happens over the next few moments as they interact with their baby

Questions about Style to ask yourself:

  1. Am I drawn to a more light and airy, or dark and moody style?
  2. Do I prefer solo images of a baby, or do I like images that feature the parents/entire family?
  3. Do I prefer images where everyone is smiling and looking at the camera, or do I like more candid-style images?
  4. Do I prefer a very hands-on approach to posing and directing, or do I prefer a more fly-on-the-wall approach (or somewhere in between?)

Questions about style to ask your newborn photographer:

  1. What is your photography style? (Check their website, portfolio, and Instagram for the answer to this one!)
  2. What is your posing and directing style? 

Your Newborn Photographer’s Experience and Expertise

Different newborn photography styles require different types of expertise. Light, airy lifestyle newborn photographers need to be experts at working with a variety of lighting scenarios as each home/location is different. Studio newborn photographers who do highly posed sessions need to be incredibly well trained in the safe posing of newborns as well as experts at studio lighting.

You’ll want to start by knowing how long they have been in business and how long they have been working with newborns. While everyone starts somewhere, make sure their level of experience is enough that you feel comfortable handing them your newborn baby.

Ask about their newborn posing philosophy and years of newborn photography experience. Posed studio photography requires significantly more training and emphasis on safety whereas Baby-Led posing is more about placing the newborn in a position they would safely put themselves into. 

If they are doing posed studio photography, ask if they have taken any online or in-person posing courses, and what their safety precautions are. Some things to look for are if they create composited images. This means that they take multiple images and photoshop them together to ensure that your baby is always being safely positioned and supported. Here is an article from The Milky Way Photography about newborn safety and using composites.  

A couple of questions about general safety are always good to ask! Finding out the studio and prop cleaning policy is important as well as if the photographer will wear a mask or not during the session. 

I choose to wear a mask for every session even though it is no longer required by law. Since I have a toddler who is in daycare, I just feel more comfortable wearing a mask during sessions so that there is no risk that I am exposing your newborn to any unwanted germs.

Since photographers typically see your baby before they have had any vaccines, extra caution is always important. I always wash my hands before I begin working with your baby and use hand sanitizer frequently throughout each session.  

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the minimum amount of experience am I comfortable with my photographer having?
  2. Are there any safety standards that I require for someone who will be holding my baby?

Questions to ask your newborn photographer:

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. How long have you been photographing newborns?
  3. If doing posed studio photography, what training have you taken?
  4. What is your posing philosophy and any safety measures?
  5. What is your policy regarding masks and cleaning the studio/props between sessions?
A new mother holding her baby while standing and sitting by a window during her in-home newborn photo session photographed by newborn photographer Kate Voda

Session logistics

It’s good to know what to expect for the session so that you feel prepared and excited. Here are some great questions to ask your newborn photographer about session logistics

  1. How long does the session last?
  2. What happens if my baby doesn’t cooperate
  3. Does the session happen in the studio or at my home
  4. What do I need to pack/prepare for the session
  5. Are there any additional travel fees?

Pricing, Products, and Package Inclusions

Knowing what exactly is included in your session fee is very important. Different newborn photographers have different packages and pricing structures and the last thing you or your newborn photographer want is for you to have any miscommunication about what is included. 

There are many different pricing structures out there, but two of the more common ones include the session/creative fee model and the all-inclusive model.

The session or creative fee model is when you pay only for the newborn photographer’s time and talent. It is typically a lower fee such as $200-$400 and does not include any images. You then get to view your images before purchasing any so you don’t end up with images you don’t want. The pros to this model for the client are a lower cost for the photo session itself, and the ability to pick and choose which images you like before purchasing any.

Purchasing the images can be done either online through a gallery or in person with the guidance of your newborn photographer. Your newborn photographer will help you select the perfect products for your home, whether that is framed prints, a beautiful album, or a variety of other products. 

The other common model is an all-inclusive model. This is typically a higher fee at the time of booking (anywhere from $800-$1500+ per session) but includes a set amount of digital images and/or products. No additional purchases are required. The pros to this model are that you know exactly what you’re getting upfront with no required additional purchases after your session.

A good thing to check with your newborn photographer is what they offer for products. I am a big believer in printing your photos and I always recommend leaving a photo session with a physical product that allows you to hold your images in your hand. Not all newborn photographers offer physical products, however. Many offer only the digitals and leave it to you to print your images yourself. 

It’s a good idea to ask yourself if you will actually print your digitals when you get them, or if it would be best to let an expert help you select the products that you want, design them for you, and then take care of the ordering and delivery. 

If asking about printed products, be sure to ask for a pricing menu so that you are not surprised by the prices when it comes to the ordering session. Especially if you have never ordered custom artwork before, you might not have a frame of reference for what to expect. Knowing what to expect as a total investment before you book will help you to decide on the best newborn photographer for you. 

Ask about any additional package offerings that your newborn photographer might offer. For example, is there a package that includes multiple sessions? This is great for maternity, newborn, and first-year sessions. Another example is the use of a client closet for your session wardrobe. The little extras might be exactly what makes your newborn session experience perfect for you.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Will I really print my photos if I get them as digitals only, or will it be worth it to have my photographer take care of designing and ordering my albums/prints/framed prints etc.
  2. Am I interested in multiple sessions, or session extras like Client Wardrobe

Questions to ask your newborn photographer:

  1. What does the session fee include?
  2. What exactly do I get for that session fee?
  3. Can I see a price list for the products you offer?
  4. Do you offer multiple session packages?
A new mother holding her baby while standing by a window during her in-home newborn photo session. Also pictured is a profile view portrait of the newborn wrapped in a light pink blanket with a bow on her head.

Turnaround time and deliverables

Knowing your newborn photographer’s turnaround time can be a huge factor in deciding to book with them or not. If you need the photos quickly for a birth announcement but the newborn photographer’s current turnaround time is 4-6 weeks, you might need to find another newborn photographer who has a turnaround time of 2 weeks.

Each newborn photographer’s turnaround time is different based on their client load so it’s important to check. The time of year also has a big impact on turnaround times. While January or February might have a turnaround time of 1-2 weeks, October and November might see turnaround times of 4+ weeks due to the high number of sessions 

Another good question to ask is how do you receive your images. Do you get to view them via an online gallery? A reveal appointment? An in-person ordering appointment? Again, each newborn photographer will have a different way of delivering your images so knowing what to expect ahead of time is very helpful.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. When do I need these photos by?
  2. Do I have a preference (or time in my schedule) for an in person/zoom appointment to see my images vs receiving them in a digital gallery only?

Questions to ask your newborn photographer:

  1. What is your typical turnaround time at this time of year?
  2. How do I get to see my images for the first time? 
  3. How do I access my images?

Policies to be aware of

Finally, ask about any policies that you need to be aware of such as rescheduling or cancellation policies, ordering timelines, or gallery closures. It’s also good to know how long your newborn photographer will keep your images after your session in case anything happens to your copies. 

Another thing to ask yourself is your level of comfort with your images being shared. Newborn photographers need to share images so that potential clients (like yourself!) are able to see our work and make decisions about booking.

That being said, not everyone is comfortable with their images being featured. It’s important to be honest with yourself about your comfort and to ask your newborn photographer what their policy is. Some newborn photographers will require a model release to be signed to book, while others are willing to let you book without signing one. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is my level of comfort with my images being shared?
  2. How likely am I to need to reschedule my session?

Questions to ask your newborn photographer:

  1. What is your rescheduling/cancellation policy?
  2. What are the ordering timelines?
  3. How long do you keep my gallery live and/or in your system in case something happens?
  4. Do you have any flexibility with the model release or is it required?

To sum it all up – there are a lot of things to think about and to ask your newborn photographer before booking! Having this list of questions up your sleeve will ensure that you book a newborn photographer who is knowledgeable, and experienced, and whose policies and pricing you understand and agree with. 

If you’d like to download this list of questions you can click here, enter your email address and I’ll send it right over to you! 

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Next week we’ll be tackling the big question of what to wear for your newborn photos, so make sure to check back!


Kate Voda is a New Jersey Newborn Photographer specializing in in-home newborn lifestyle photography sessions and lifestyle portrait photography sessions. Kate serves Central New Jersey and the surrounding areas.

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