Thinking of booking a newborn photo session? This is what you need to know 4 years ago

Thinking of booking a newborn photo session? This is what you need to know

Let's face it, pretty much ALL photos of newborn babies are adorable. But throwing in a cute prop or two takes that picture to a whole new level of cuteness.

Creative newborn photo shoots are becoming increasingly popular among Irish parents, but there is a lot more to choosing the right photographer than you might think.

A few months ago, we reported that parents were being urged to be aware of photographers attempting to produce creative newborn photo shoots without following the correct techniques and safety procedures. The warning came after a number of photographers were putting babies at serious risk by trying to recreate images without being properly trained.

We spoke to Mayo-based fine art baby photographer, Olga Klofac about the process of choosing a baby photographer, and what parents should look out for. This is what she had to say...

Every type of photography requires a different set of skills...

Photographing babies presents unique challenges. The experience that photographers who specialise in newborns and babies have is invaluable. They know exactly how to follow a baby's lead; they are aware of what babies are capable of developmentally at each stage during the first year, so know how to handle them safely.

How to choose a baby photographer...

I can't emphasise enough how important it is to choose a professional. With pro digital cameras becoming more available, anyone can call themselves a photographer. There are many 'weekend photographers' who occasionally photograph a friend's baby, set up a Facebook page and call themselves photographers. But a professional who deals with babies on a daily basis should have proper business systems in place, including professional insurance.

Check that your chosen photographer has enough experience with newborns and babies. Newborns are often photographed without their nappy on, which means cleaning up poop is part of the job!

When it comes to style, I recommend going through portfolios until you find photos you are drawn to. Every artist is different and uses props that are true to their style. Each photographer also uses different editing techniques, so if you want your photos to look timeless avoid those who use outdated techniques like selective colouring or sepia.

When to book...

Good photographers will be booked for months ahead, so it's wise to book early. Newborn photography is best within the first two weeks of life - when the baby is still curled up in the foetal position - so it's important to book one of these sessions in your second trimester. Of course, babies are rarely born on their due date, so your photographer should give flexibility to change your session date according to baby's arrival.

Once babies pass two weeks, they become much more alert and less flexible, therefore many of the newborn poses are no longer possible. But it's never too late to book a baby session, even if your baby has already arrived. As babies grow and acquire new skills, there are different ways to photograph them. You get a completely different gallery of photos from your session at every stage - from the sleepy curled-up newborns, right up to the incredibly fast ten-month-olds who just want to crawl everywhere.

What to expect during the shoot...

One thing parents have to be prepared for is the time they'll spend with their photographer. Baby photo sessions will last around two hours, with newborn sessions usually taking up to three hours. Babies need to be fed, burped, changed and cuddled between poses. Parents should be wary about studios that give a limited time to photograph a baby.

What to look out for during the shoot...

The room where the session takes place should be very warm. If we are photographing babies when they are naked, we have to make sure the room is warm enough as they can't regulate their own temperature in the way adults do.

I would advise parents to use their instincts. If there's anything they're not comfortable with during the photo session, let the photographer know immediately. The photographer should never leave a baby unattended without making sure someone else is keeping a close eye on them, and they should never balance baby on a prop where they could roll off. When leaning over the baby, photographers should always have their camera strapped around their neck.

How the images are created...

Baby photographers often use Photoshop to help them create artistic photos you couldn't create at home. This is called compositing, which means combining two or more images to make a single photo. So next time you see a photo of baby balancing on a tall chair, rest assured that the baby was actually held in position at all times, with the final photo created digitally.

composite Olga Klofac Photography