So, chances are you A) Are pregnant (congratulations!) B) have JUST had a baby (Again, Congratulations!) or C) know someone who is either A or B. In any event, the time a newborn IS a newborn is very fleeting and you want to capture those moments, (rightfully so!) So let me help you in deciphering what "Newborn Portraiture" actually means compared to... "Baby Pics"
First Lets start here:
What your friend with a camera does
"Hey I just got this Nikon/Canon for (fill in Christmas/Birthday here) and I only shoot in Auto but I know your baby is due soon, so umm will you let me shoot this once in a lifetime event and hopefully you will like them after I get through editing them with PicMonkey, if not, I mean hey... you didn't lose anything." .....Riiiiiiiight...Newborns actually grow out of the "Newborn" stage faster than you realize (by 14 days of life they have hit their first growth spurt and are now considered.... a baby and when you realize you made the mistake, the images you wanted; that you see of those sweet, chubby, sleeping newborns will be HARD to get *NOT IMPOSSIBLE... JUST VERY HARD*. You will have also found out by now that your baby is more awake and alert by this time.
What Big Box Studio's do (Olan Mills, JCP, Picture People etc)
You call and speak to the high school student working there part time, and make an appointment, you show up and the same high school student who is more concerned with the exam they have to take tomorrow gets behind the camera that never moves that is on a tripod with settings that never change and presses a button. They do the same set up that they have been doing for everyone, wrinkled backgrounds and all (yes, this happened to me and what made me NEVER go back to them again), if it is close to a holiday then you will get their holiday backdrop (woohoo!!! <<Sarcasm) that is again been done for EVERYONE who comes through their doors. After the session is done you go and sit at a computer and tell them which images you want on a cd and what images you want printed and an extra fee is added for retouching, kind of like the school pictures that you will be forced to buy later when your baby starts school (Yeah, my babies starting school was NOT something I wanted to happen either but it did and I still don't like it). a few weeks pass and you come back to pick up your order and you go home and where are they right now? Still sitting in that same envelope on the same shelf since the day you brought it home. (I'll come back to that in a different post)
What I do
I've learned my camera, I've learned settings and took the time to study everything I can to make my camera do what I want it to do. I constantly study newborn portraiture and attend training courses and learn lighting techniques to stay current on my craft. I take my business seriously which is why I went through the proper channels to become incorporated and hold insurance as well as ALWAYS having an assistant with me during sessions; who I work with regularly, who knows my style and how I want things to look *Thank you Amber!* . I take my time to get to know each family as well as get to know what their home decor looks like because I want these images to be cohesive with their home and style. I design beautiful wall art and heirloom albums for my clients, from start to finish or book cover to book cover however you want to look at it. Because my clients are not just a number or people who I can experiment trial and error runs with during once in a life time events. My clients are my number one priority and making sure they are satisfied with what they have invested in means the world to me.
Why do I do what I do?
If you remember nothing else from this post: remember this... PASSION. My clients can see my passion for Newborns. The love and attention to detail I have in my work with them permeates through the session into the editing phases and finally into the delivery of the products. I also speak from personal experience- I have 3 boys, they are my world. New Mothers have to learn how to be a Mother in an instant, from the moment her baby enters the world and takes his or her first breath on their own The "Mommy to be" has just lost the "to be" part of the title and has just been given a new reason to live. This isn't an easy task. The first few months will be a blur, in the moment just after delivery she will be so engulfed with emotions and in the days passing will be something new to learn. She will forget just how perfectly her precious baby fit into her arms. Or just how small their little fingers, or toes were. How tiny her babes nose was. Those tiny details get lost in the moment. They get lost in time, between the midnight feedings, sweet helpless cries and constant diaper changes, those details are lost. When my twins were born I didn't have the knowledge of what I know now. I thought Olan Mills was perfect. I went there to get "Newborn Portraits" done when they were.... (hangs head in shame) 2 months old. Their facial features had changed soooo much from when they were just born, the cute, squishy faces were replaced with ever changing, alert to everything, wide eye baby boys. *Fast Forward 5 years* When Maddox was born his NEWBORN images were done and I just wish I had the same type of images of Ashton and Aiden that I have of Maddox, please don't make this mistake. Please don't settle for the big box places, where you are just a number to a high school student. And Please don't chance it with a friend with a camera. This truly is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME EVENT. The little amount of time you have to get newborn portraiture is so fleeting. After that time is passed, it is gone. Take it from someone who regrets NOT getting her first borns images done by someone who specializes in newborn photography when they were actually newborns. I think about it every time I see Maddox's newborn portrait on the wall. Don't be the old me. Please.
"But Custom Portraits are Expensive!" or "Why do You Charge so Much?"
I want my clients to be able to pass down quality, heirloom products to their children when we pass on. My prices reflect that because I only offer products that are of the highest quality, that CAN stand the test of time. My prices also reflect that I want to continue to stay in business (as I am a tax paying, legitimate business), that my own family is important to me (because there are so many HOURS spent editing your session that you NEVER know about and that takes away time from my own family), that I want to keep attending training, and taking courses to keep offering the best experience as well as the best products I can. My prices reflect that, in case of an emergency with my equipment (that I use to create such beautiful images) happens to break or malfunctions I have the means to replace it. Custom Portraiture is not for everyone, I understand it is not in everyone's budget. But I know that my clients love my art, they love what they get from me and on that same note... I want my clients to be able to have beautiful images in their home even if I am a little out of their price range.... this is why I do offer a payment plan if it is needed.