Firstly please don’t take offence at my tongue in cheek car comparison, I’ve been in the position where I can’t afford a photographer, i’ve also had to make my children have cutbacks on Christmas presents so I can buy something essential to run my business. I’ve worked another job and my business and nearly fallen asleep driving where I’m so exhausted as I’ve been up until 2am editing. I honestly do know not everyone can afford a photographer, hopefully this will give an insight into different types of photographer and why we charge what we do when we know our worth.
This was a follow on from me borrowing my daughter as I had a reluctant 3 year old that didn’t want to hold her sibling, so after shooting “baby build-a-bear” in position on my daughter so I could photoshop the blanket and shadowing area to make it look like the family was together, I had a go at wrapping techniques, and posing whilst I had a willing victim, and the photos are a bit blurry from us laughing at me telling her to hold her baby close as one day baby would be too big to fit there again. It made us smile anyway!
Sometimes you can’t get safe sibling shots and it’s better to be safe than sorry. And put in a bit of extra work to ensure Mum has the images she loves and wants, and safety comes first all the time.
Some photographers have not had training, which is fine if they aren’t posing baby in these sorts of positions, I have even seen photographers photographing babies perched in this position! Not only should their wrists not be totally supporting the weight of the head, baby could fall. A sign of a committed newborn photographer is that they are insured – I am proud I have always been fully insured, it proves my commitment to parents – not that I want the insurance policy to pay out in case I have an accident as I really am very safe with everything I do, it proves I value babies safety over the sake of getting a photo or money.
There are a lot of shoot and burn photographers, no editing, or very little, or just learning and building up business, some of these charge between £20-£70 for all images on a disk – again that’s fine there are photographers out there for all price ranges, what shouldn’t be happening is they are learning by practicing on babies – babies should not ever be at risk for a photographer to learn from, rather than them paying out for training, there ARE good photographers that charge this amount and they don’t pose babies in this way. So many new photographers start up and are so passionate about it, they shoot all their friends for free, photograph Weddings for free e.t.c. That’s great for those that have no money, but 20 years down the line, if that person is photographing to pay bills and provide for their family, and having to replace their equipment from use, I guarantee they will start to charge, how many of your friends go out and go to work for free for you?
I frequently have to justify to some enquiries why am I so expensive when they had photos before for this price – quite simply, I am very reasonably priced – I am out of some peoples price range. I live a modest life in a modest house, and I work very very hard to pay bills and put food on the table, I take time away from my beautiful children and work very many hours to provide a really fantastic service to the lovely families that I work with. I charge a very fair price.
As in life there are things out there that are out of our price range, however you don’t fill your trolley up in Tescos and argue at the till that it’s too expensive and try to barter, frequently this happens to photographers. And we aren’t greedy, I think people think we shouldn’t charge what we do because we love our jobs. But in honesty, whether we are rich photographers or poor photographers – we should be able to pay our bills and not work every waking hour.
Even poses like the one above (and yes I know bottom baby is blurred I just grabbed an image for an example), babies have startle reflex, a peaceful snoozing baby with oodles of room on a safe surface won’t go far, but when you care about baby safety that much, there is no room for even a chance baby could fall, hands are photoshopped out. Better safe than sorry, even posing, cutting off babies circulation. Everything is taken into consideration.
Oh my goodness this pose looks easy doesn’t it? Lots of photographers try it, babies head can roll, fingers could be straighter but sometimes they just don’t like uncurling them so not a perfect example. But note this is untouched, babies hands are a wee bit red from circulation where his fingers are not relaxed, but there is good circulation in his hands, you can see his legs are their normal skin colour, he isn’t going blue, and his head isn’t tipped too far back or forward to cause him to stop breathing, and there is a hand supporting his head that was photoshopped out. Every pose is thought about, every little finger, safety is paramount at all times, again, babies should never be practiced upon unless a trainer knows what they are doing and training someone who doesn’t.
Again good positioning to start off with, baby is safe and comfortable and supported.
Any poses in pots,on props, there should be a spotter, even in the soundest sleep, baby can jump and boy can they move!
Sometimes I will take 4-5 shots to ensure baby is totally safe and photoshop them together.
It just is not worth risking babies safety for the sake of a photo.
So research your photographer, feel free to ask questions. Ask if they have experience of posing, have they been trained, are they insured, don’t risk your baby though because you want the poses but can’t afford the photographer. A newborn shoot without all the posed stuff, safe in a basket, is better than taking your baby to someone practicing, and don’t get me wrong we do all have to start somewhere, however a good photographer will know their limitations and eventually will get trained before undertaking complex poses.
Ask your photographer if they are a bit out of your price range if they have a payment plan, or a more budget option, clients today want ALL the digitals, WHY? I know it’s nice to have everything and want it all, but surely it’s nicer to have 5 beautiful images that you can get put onto a canvas, than 30-100 not so good images? Honestly how many images would you put on your wall? For those of you, that feels every photographer is out of your price range, I hope to put together a blog on how to take better pictures of your baby/child next month. And how to be safe. For those of you looking for a photographer, shop around, ask for price lists, ask the right questions. Just don’t settle for your baby being practiced on. For photographers looking for training, search on Google, or there is a link to some newborn trainers here Newborn Workshop Training.
After all, we all want to see happy smiling content babies! Isn’t she adorable!