7 Problems With Booking A Newborn Photo Shoot (And How To Avoid Them)

Problems newborn photographer

Choosing a photographer to photograph your precious newborn baby is an important decision. No doubt you’ll be over the moon at your baby’s recent or imminent arrival and will want to make sure that the photographs capture this special moment in time beautifully.

After all babies change and grow so quickly during the first weeks and months. You can’t rewind the clock and take the photographs all over again if the shoot doesn’t work out as expected. So how can you make sure you choose the right photographer for your family, and have a set of photographs that you love?

In this article I’m going to share 7 problems you could encounter when you hire a newborn photographer, how you can reduce the risk of them happening, and what I do to avoid them happening for my clients.

The potential problems that I’ll cover are:

  1. My chosen photographer isn’t available
  2. My baby is more than two weeks old and “too old” for a posed newborn photo shoot
  3. The photographer cancels the shoot
  4. The photographer doesn’t know how to pose newborn babies safely
  5. My baby doesn’t sleep during the newborn shoot
  6. It takes too long to see the photos
  7. It’s more expensive than I thought

1. My Chosen Photographer Isn’t Available

After you’ve researched different newborn photographers you may find that the one you would like to book a shoot with isn’t available. There’s a short window that’s the ‘optimum time’ for creating posed newborn photographs – usually when your baby is under two weeks old. For this reason most newborn photographers will take on a limited number of shoots each month, and I always recommend booking in advance to ensure that your place with your chosen photographer is secure.

How I Manage Availability For Newborn Photography

If you would like to book a newborn photo shoot with me I recommend that you book whilst you’re still pregnant. Ideally, soon after your 12 week scan.  Most of the time, unless you’re having a planned C-section or induction, you won’t know exactly when your baby will be born, so I’ll make a note of your due date in my dairy and ask you to contact me as soon as you can after your baby arrives. At this point, we’ll confirm the date of the session. I keep my diary flexible so that we can make sure your session happens during the first two weeks.

Problems with hiring a newborn photographer

2. My Baby Is More Than Two Weeks Old And Is ‘Too Old’ For A Newborn Shoot

If you’ve waited until after your baby has been born to contact newborn photographers, you may find that they tell you that your baby is ‘too old’ for posed newborn photography. As hard as this can be to imagine when your baby is so tiny, there is an optimum time frame for posed newborn photography as I mentioned above.

I completely understand that many families find themselves in this situation for many different reasons – perhaps an extended hospital stay, baby arriving early and taking you by surprise, or perhaps the first few weeks of your newborn’s life have been a bit of a whirlwind (I know they were for me) and you’ve waited until things have calmed down to start your research.

So what can you do if you find yourself in this position?

First of all, some photographers are flexible about the two week window and you may find that they are willing to offer a posed newborn shoot for your baby. You’ll probably find that nobody tells you this on their website, so the best solution is to pick up the phone and speak to each photographer about your specific situation directly.

Other photographers (like me) offer special sessions that focus on the poses that are suitable for older newborn babies.

If you find that it’s not possible to book a posed newborn shoot for your baby, you could also consider a lifestyle newborn shoot or waiting until your baby is three months old and having a photo shoot then.

My Approach to Photographing Older Newborn Babies

Although the optimum time for photographing newborns is when your baby is less than two weeks old, I can still create beautiful photographs of your baby up to ten weeks old in my Older Newborn Mini Sessions. Once your baby has passed the two week mark, they may be more alert and awake and may not be comfortable in all of the poses, so you may find that you have more photographs of your baby when they are awake or wrapped as a result. Either way, I’m sure they photographs will be just as precious to you.

Problems Newborn Photographer

3. The Photographer Cancels The Shoot

You may be thinking that surely a photographer wouldn’t cancel something as important as your newborn baby’s photo shoot. But sadly, from time to time it does happen. There are many valid reasons why a photographer may have to postpone or cancel your newborn shoot; Perhaps they are unwell or their children are unwell – in this case postponing the shoot is a very sensible thing to do rather than risking making your baby unwell too.

Sadly, there are also times when a shoot is cancelled without good reason. Photography is not a regulated profession – anyone can call themselves a newborn photographer, and so it’s not a given that every photographer is running a professional business with systems and processes in place to protect their customers.

So how can you make sure that your photographer won’t leave you in the lurch and cancel your newborn shoot at the last minute? Make sure that when you book your shoot there is a contract in place which explains what happens if you need to cancel or postpone, and what happens if the photographer needs to.

How I manage cancellations and postponements for newborn sessions

Thankfully I have never had to postpone or cancel a newborn shoot before, but there may come a time when illness, bereavement or another unplanned life event means that it’s unavoidable. Whilst I don’t want this to happen, I believe it’s important to be prepared.

When you book a shoot with me we’ll sign a contract which amongst other important agreements details what happens if I need to cancel or postpone your shoot.

If I need to postpone your shoot I will work with you to find a new date for the shoot. If this falls outside of the window where I can take posed photographs of your baby, I’ll offer you the option of having a lifestyle newborn photo shoot with me, or having a refund of your session fee so that you can arrange a posed newborn shoot with a different photographer. If I can assist you in finding an alternative photographer I will.

In the unexpected and unlikely event that I need to cancel the shoot completely I will refund all of the session fee that you have paid and do whatever I can to help you find another photographer to photograph your baby instead.

It’s Best To Book Your Newborn Photo Shoot Before Your Baby Is Born

Learn how to choose the best photographer for your family with my free, unbiased buyer’s guide.

4. The Photographer Doesn’t Know How To Pose Newborn Babies Safely

One of the most important skills of a photographer who specialises in posed newborn photography is knowing how to pose your baby safely. Whilst it looks and feels very natural for very small newborn babies to be placed in curled up newborn poses, the wrong placement can hurt or make the baby very uncomfortable – for example, if too much weight is placed on a limb causing hands or feet to turn blue, or if their head and neck are not properly supported.

There are also some advanced poses, which should only be created by taking multiple photographs and merging them together in photoshop forming a ‘composite image’. Unfortunately some photographers create these in a single shot, which is dangerous.

How I approach safety in newborn photography

My approach to newborn photography is completely baby led. Making sure that your baby is safe, comfortable and happy through the shoot is my number one priority. I won’t place your baby in unsafe or unnatural positions, and I’ll follow their lead throughout the shoot. I don’t create composite photographs – they don’t fit with my natural style.

Before I ever photographed a baby alone I invested in in-person training from one of the UK’s top newborn photographers, and have since completed countless in-person and online courses to make sure that my practice is safe. All of my equipment is secured with weights so that it cannot fall on your baby, and if I ever need to take my attention away from your baby during a shoot (for example to change or move equipment) I will always ask you to hold your baby whilst I do this.

problems newborn photo shoot

5. My Baby Doesn’t Sleep During The Newborn Shoot

If your baby is anything like my daughter was, they won’t sleep in the cot, won’t sleep in the pram, and will only sleep on you. If you find yourself in this situation you probably can’t imagine that they will ever fall asleep in a newborn photo shoot!

It is true that very occasionally some babies don’t sleep at all during their shoot. But it is very rare for a baby this young to stay awake for the entire shoot, which can sometimes last for four hours. Newborn photographers will usually use a number of different techniques to soothe babies including controlling the temperature, posing, wrapping and white noise. And when photographers work with newborn babies on a very regular basis they become very skilled at helping them to relax and sleep; when I first started photographing newborns I wasn’t as good at this as I am now. It’s something that comes with experience.

The other thing to bear in mind is that nearly all babies will spend part of their shoot awake, and this is a good thing! The photographs of their baby awake are often parents’ favourites when I show them to them after the shoot.

What I do when a baby doesn’t sleep in a photo shoot

When you book a newborn shoot with me, my priority is for you to walk away with photographs that you love. In the unlikely event that your baby doesn’t sleep at all during the shoot I will offer you the option to have a reshoot on another day with no extra charge. Babies have good days and bad days, and chances are that your baby will relax and sleep if we try again on a different day.

problems newborn photo shoot

6. It Takes Too Long To See The Photos

After your photo shoot you’ll probably be very excited to see the photographs, and no doubt you’ll be wondering when they will be ready.

Typically newborn photographers show you the photographs in one of two ways. Either they will arrange to meet you on a specified date where they will show you the photographs either in print or on a screen. Or, they’ll send you a link to an online gallery and you can view the photographs there.

How long you have to wait to see the photographs really depends on the photographer, and you could wait anything from a few days, to more than a month to see your photographs. If you’re planning to use the photographs for birth announcements or thank you cards, you might not want to wait that long.

When do families see their photographs after a shoot with me?

At the end of your session we’ll arrange a time for you to come back to the studio and see your photographs. Typically this is one to two weeks after your session. So you’ll know exactly how long you’ll need to wait to see the photographs before you leave the studio.

Very occasionally (for example if I am going on holiday) it might take a bit longer, but I will let you know about this before your session.

problems booking newborn photo shoot

7. It’s More Expensive Than I Thought It Was

We’ve all heard a story about a friend, or a friend of a friend who had a bargain photo shoot, only to go back to see the photographs a week later and find it would cost them thousands of pounds to buy them.

Whilst most photographers don’t employ these kind of tactics, I do recommend that you find out all of the costs of booking a session, buying photographs and any minimum spend requirements before you book with any particular photographer. With something as precious as photographs of your new baby, you’ll want to know that you can cover the cost before you commit to the shoot.

My prices for newborn photography

I like to keep all of my prices simple, clear and transparent. No hidden surprises! You can find all of my prices for newborn photography here.

Over to you

I hope that this article has helped to explain some of the things that could be problematic when you book a newborn photo shoot, and what you can do to avoid them.

What other questions do you have about choosing a newborn photographer? Send me a message here, and I will be back in touch with an answer.

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Picture of Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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