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Shellaine decided to not go back to teaching Elementary Education after having her second child, and instead go back to school. In November 2012 she began the diploma program at The Burwell School of Photography. Unsure of which direction to go in photography, she attended various workshops with well established photographers, and found a love for newborn photography.
Depending on what type of learner you are, either invest in some online modules, or sign up at a local photography school for your basics. Next you can work on specializing in your chosen area.
Promote yourself. Marketing is an important aspect of building a business. You will need to engage in a lot of marketing at first while you are building your client base and business. Make a website. A website will be the place where potential clients can get more information about your services and view your portfolio.
Making your own website can be easy if you use websites that create templates for you such as WordPress.com, Wix.com, and Squarespace.com. Create your own business cards. Websites such as vistaprint.com will print and mail the business cards directly to your home.
These things all add up very quickly, so be prepared to spend what you make and more for the first little while.
Use props. Props are one of the most important parts of a baby photoshoot. Parents will enjoy seeing the cute props, such as pillows and baskets, that can be used to create an endearing shot of the baby.
Pillows not only support the baby, but they can be a great prop for a photo. Baskets filled with soft, fluffy material, such as blankets, are an excellent prop to use. They can be decorated however you would like, which makes them an easy and flexible prop to work with.
They can also last for a long time. Blankets are great to use for baby photoshoots because they provide a soft, comfortable surface for the baby to lie on. Blankets can come in virtually any shape, material, or color you would like.
They are also relatively cheap to purchase. Poster board can be used to write the baby’s name or age. This is a popular prop in baby photography because anyone who sees the photo will know who the baby is or how old the child was when the photo was taken.
Learn how to operate a camera. The camera is the photographer’s most important piece of equipment. They can be challenging to use on a professional level so it is important to familiarize yourself with different types of cameras and how they work.
Taking photography classes will allow you to learn about how cameras work in-depth and will also give you hands-on experience. You may also learn about different types of cameras, such as manual cameras, pinhole cameras, point-and-shoots, and DSLRs.
There are many online resources that will help you learn how to use a camera, and many of them are free.
The average session is 3-4 hours, and you will soon realize why when you have done a couple of your own. The session is taken up by everything BUT taking photos. When I do a session my camera is in my hand for less than ten minutes the entire time. The session will involve settling, cuddling, reading baby, soothing for sleep, and gentle posing. They baby runs the show, of that there is little question, and as each baby is different, so is each session. Try to rush it and clock watch, and you’ll put yourself under huge pressure, and babies pick up on stress, which could cause you to have an unsettled baby on your hands. As a general rule, most newborn specialists will do just one session a day.
Learn how to use Adobe Photoshop. It is imperative to learn how to use Photoshop to manipulate images from your digital camera. It is rare that an image right from your camera roll will be ready to be professionally distributed.
Just as manual cameras require work in the dark room to properly manipulate the photos and film, digital images require work in Photoshop to improve image quality. There are many classes in high schools and colleges that will teach you how to properly use Photoshop and learn common techniques for improving photos.
Photoshop allows you to get creative with your images and digitally alter them in an exciting and creative way. There are plenty of tutorials available on YouTube if you prefer to learn about the software on your own.
It was at a newborn workshop that Maxine and Shellaine met, decided to do a shoot together, and then merge businesses, creating Maxine and Shellaine the Essence of Newborn Art.
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Create a studio. Having a studio will allow you to have a permanent setup for your baby photography that you won’t have to worry about setting up and tearing down every time you have a shoot. A studio will allow you to have your own workspace for creating beautiful images that will last for a lifetime.
Rent studio space. If it is in your budget, you can look for a studio outside of your home to rent. You may need to talk to a real estate agent or browse commercial spaces for rent in your area via online listings.
For example, you can type “real estate listings in Detroit, MI” into a search engine to pull up listings in that area. Use studio space in your home if you have it. A basement or spare room will work for this purpose, as long as you are able to keep the space warm for newborns.
You will need just enough space for your equipment, props, and subjects.
Photographing babies can be difficult but rewarding work, especially if you enjoy working with children and you enjoy a challenge. Parents often like to get professional photographs of their babies to preserve memories, so business is usually booming. You can launch your career on your own as a freelance photographer, or you can join an established photographer or a portrait studio. Become a baby photographer by studying photography, taking pictures, working with babies, and putting together a portfolio of work.
Prepare for taxes. Once you have established your business entity and have been paid for your services, you will want to be sure to prepare yourself for taxes. Tax laws vary by state so you will want to be sure that you are acting in accordance with your state’s laws.
Set up an accounting software. Many small business owners use QuickBooks to track their accounting activities. Tracking your income and expenses is crucial for filing taxes.
There is nothing more essential to your session than insuring the safety of your newborn client. Which is why we suggest the next few points.
You are selling emotions. That is really the bottom line with newborns. The parents are melting with wonder and love at their new baby, and emotions are running their lives completely. If you can build a relationship with your clients that taps into their emotions, and leaves them feeling that you can truly relate to them and their baby, they will be more inclined to not only book you, but trust you.
Lighting props studio costs web-hosting software programs sets computers marketing and advertisements
Know your camera, and what it can do for you Getting off of automatic, and learning the ropes of manual exposure will rock your photographic world.
Use composite images. Composite images are several images that are merged into a single image. The ability to use Photoshop is crucial to creating composite images, as the majority of composite images are created in Photoshop.
Composite images allow you to take pictures while the spotter is holding the baby and then later combine the images to create a single image with no evidence of the spotter. The use of composite images will make baby photography safer for the baby and will ensure that they are protected while you can still get a great shot.
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Quitting your 9-5 job is a big decision, and to be quite frank, it is difficult to turn a profit right away in this industry.
The short answer is yes. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are at photography, because the skills required to be safe and of a good standard as a newborn photographer are really very different than anything you have done before. If you decide to become a wedding photographer with no training, the worst that may happen is you let down a couple on their big day. As bad as that could be, no one will get hurt.
Cover Your Butt Cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Don’t photograph a single person without proper insurance to protect all parties involved.
on May 25, 2016 Posted in Photography Tips by Maxine & Shellaine
Word of mouth is one of the best marketing tools in this genre. Mums talk, and will recommend you if they came away feeling that their baby was safe, respected and adored. The testimonials that will get you more bookings will not be the ones where mum says the pictures are good, but rather the ones where she gushes about how lovely the experience was while with you.
Find your own style The photography market has increasingly become super saturated and you need to set yourself apart from your competition.
Enroll in classes. If you are not already a photographer, it is important to study photography and learn how to utilize the equipment that photographers use. There are many aspects of photography that can be challenging so it is important to take classes or study with an experienced photographer.
Classes are often available in high schools, community colleges, universities, and through private instruction. Study commercial photography if it is offered at your educational institution so that you can learn the business and what clients are looking for.
They do gorgeous work with newborns and are even teaching. They’re both moms and have not only the photography skills, but the life skills to do this kind of photography. Keep reading for some tips they have on getting into newborn photography.
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Sleep isn’t the only issue that dictates though. Newborns are gorgeously squishy, floppy and bendy under ten days old, which, coupled with being sound asleep, makes them perfect for gently posing into those adorable positions parents love. Much after two weeks and they begin to gain muscle tone, which means they lose the flexibility that makes such posing possible.
This is a double-edged sword. It works for the experts, as they have had countless times to practice and therefore are established in exactly how to properly pose their little subjects, for both safety and aesthetic composition. But – they have been properly educated in how to do this, safety being the most important component.
It is because of this difference that it is so specialized, and requires the right set of skills. Not having those skills is about more than the risk of poor images – someone’s safety is at stake.
Your clients will want to hire you based on your work that they have seen, so remember to produce something similar (unless you educate them before hand that you want to try something new).
Develop customer service skills. The parents will need to feel like you are friendly, trustworthy and a great photographer as well. Practice being professional and flexible. It may take time to calm down a crying baby or you may have to deal with angry or concerned clients.
Approaching the situation with a level head and positive attitude will help you address the concerns in a constructive way. For example, if someone is angry with the way the pictures turned out, you can say, “I am so sorry that you are not satisfied with the photos.
We can schedule another shoot and I will waive the fees.” If you are calm and collected, you are more likely to calm the client down and come to an understanding. Work on accepting criticism. Remember that photography is subjective, and sometimes people will not like your pictures.
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If you have children, you may well remember that newborns sleep a lot, at least through the day, and seem able to sleep through pretty much anything too. But that changes really quickly, and by week three babies are waking more easily, and spending more time awake each day. You cannot pose a baby that is awake, so a sleeping newborn is what you need, meaning you need to aim for under two weeks, and under ten days is even better.
Provide something that is exclusive to your business. Create a unique look or experience.
Have fun, be creative, be you, but remember to be consistent.
Form a business entity. Before you are able to offer your services to anyone, you must form a business entity and register with your county and/or your state. This will allow you to open a bank account and act as a business entity when purchasing supplies and making other decisions.
Once you file for your business entity with the state and it is approved, you are free to start your own small business.
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So that covers not doing a session too late, but you need to know why doing it too early isn’t good either. Newborns don’t usually look their best after birth, and it can take time for their faces to settle. Also, feeding needs to be established because until a baby is feeding well, he won’t sleep well. My advice would be don’t do a session under 5 days of age.
Keep the room warm. Newborns and young infants are not able to regulate their body temperature as well as older children and adults, so make sure that you keep the room or studio toasty warm to ensure that the baby does not get too cold during the shoot.
Set up a space heater or two, depending on the size of the room, but make sure that the baby is a safe distance away from the heater.
Four Parts:Getting Started in PhotographyHandling Infants SafelyGaining ExperienceStarting Your Own BusinessCommunity Q&A
Ensure the safety of your newborn subject Newborn photography is unique in that you will be completely posing your subjects.
10 Things to Know About Before Becoming a Newborn Photographer
Keep it simple. Training will show you the basic equipment you’ll need, like beanbag and backdrop stand, as well as a small selection of throws, hats, headbands, and wraps. The most important area for your development as a newborn photographer will be developing safe handling of the baby in your early months. The confidence in posing takes time, and that is where your focus should be, not on having all the props and the biggest selection of hats. What will set you apart as a top newborn photographer will never be the amazing set up you design – it will be how good your posing is, and how comfortable your baby looks in the images.
Maxine and Shellaine have both been students in my classroom and I couldn’t be more proud of where they are now!
Learn how to use lighting. Lighting is one of the most crucial aspects of photography. Knowing how to properly use lighting will set your images apart from others. Poor lighting will often result in shoddy images.
The key to learning about lighting is to experiment! There are many different types of lighting that are used in photography, such as natural lighting, natural lighting plus fill-in flash, flash photography, ambient lighting, and studio lighting.
It is important to study each kind of lighting and learn how to use them in order to become a professional photographer. Classes offered at colleges and universities can help you learn how to use different types of lighting.
There are plenty of online resources to help you learn how to use proper lighting in photography.
Consider taking business courses as well as photography classes. This will help you with marketing and sales, especially when it comes to your target market of parents and family members. Develop a unique style that will set you apart from other photographers.
This may be the use of props, using black and white instead of color photography, or something else that defines a baby’s photograph as a photograph that is your particular style.
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Sweat Equity This is your business; you get out what you put in.
Look after the parents when they are with you. Provide drinks and snacks, and comfortable seating. Mum will be sore and they are both likely to be exhausted.
Newborns are delicate and must be handled correctly. They can suffer circulation problems, are poor at regulating their temperature, and cannot tell you when they are feeling uncomfortable, which means they are relying on you to take care of them at all times. The correct training will teach you safe handling techniques, how to spot signs of baby not being happy for many reasons, as well as general safety and other important areas.
There are a lot of startup costs that are not considered prior to starting.
Have a great time Enjoy these little miracles, embrace the fact that you are running your own business, creating your own hours, and working for yourself.
Wash hands often. When you are handling babies, it is crucial to wash your hands often to avoid spreading disease to the baby. Wet your hands under the tap of the sink with clean, running water, apply and lather soap, then rinse hands under warm, running water.
Dry off with a clean towel or allow them to air dry. You can use hand sanitizer periodically as well. However, hand sanitizer will not eliminate all types of germs and is not quite as effective as washing with clean water and soap.
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Their love for photography, babies, and business are an integral part of their success.
What is it that you can provide for your clients to make them want to hire you, as opposed to the next photographer?
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For more on newborn photography and business see these articles:
It’s not all about the props Lets get that out of the way first and foremost. When you are first starting out, save your money, it is more important to invest in yourself.
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Offer photography services on a freelance basis. You do not necessarily need a studio if you are invited into the homes of the parents to take pictures of babies. However, you will need to have the props and proper equipment with you to take high-quality photographs outside of a studio environment.
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Do your research, and be prepared to really work hard on this entrepreneurial journey.
Be prepared for accidents. Infants are known for their “accidents” which can involve spitting up, sudden bowel movements, or urinating on the props, floor, or someone else (if the child is not wearing a diaper).
Have cleaning materials on hand and back-up props to deal with these situations. Invest in cleaning equipment, such as mops and buckets, disinfecting wipes and sprays, paper towels, and garbage bags and cans.
This way you will be prepared for any messes that may occur. When purchasing props, be sure to purchase back ups just in case an accident occurs on one that you are using for a shoot.
Settle for an entry-level DSLR, and opt for a few lenses instead. This will give you more versatility to accomplish an array of compositions.
Ensure you have the right equipment, a clean and safe work environment, and a contract for your client to sign that spells out what each party will receive (even for portfolio building sessions).
So having decided it’s for you, you’ll have a huge number of questions. Here I aim to answer some of the biggest, and most important ones.
Elaborate props and accessories cannot create a beautiful image if you do not have the ability to create a proper exposure, lighting, and composition. Which brings us to the next point.
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Work with another photographer. Look for baby photographers in your area and ask if they are hiring or could use help. If there are no paying jobs available, ask if you can intern while you gain experience.
Be prepared for a lot of grunt work. If an established baby photographer agrees to let you work with them, you will be busy. It will most likely be your job to fetch supplies, entertain the babies, and manage the paperwork.
Build a portfolio. In order to become a baby photographer, you will need to show potential employers and clients your work. Practice photographing babies that you know. If you do not have little ones of your own, ask friends and family members if you can practice by photographing their infants.
They will probably not mind, especially if you offer them copies of your prints. Include samples of posed portraits as well as candid shots.
Tagged: Baby Photography , baby pictures , Newborn Photographer , Newborn Photography , Newborn Pictures
Look for work in a studio or portrait center. If you cannot find an opportunity working one on one with a photographer, check with studios. Photography centers in stores such as Sears and JCPenney may have openings.
Inquire within at department stores such as Sears or JCPenney to see if there are any openings in their portrait studios. You can also browse the “Career” section of their websites online. Browse online for photography studios and stores in your area.
For example, you can type “Photography studios in Phoenix, AZ” to pull up results for that particular area. Browse the websites that come up in the results to see if there are any openings near you.
While many workshops will teach you to safely pose and soothe baby, a good workshop should teach you so much more. Like what? Well, there is a lot more to a newborn session than simply posing and photographing.
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Take a workshop A workshop in newborn photography or mentorship that is specific to newborn photography.
Talk in a way that shows their baby means almost as much to you as he does them. Ask them lots of questions about their baby, and life since his arrival. New parents can talk all day about their baby, so showing he interests you will really endear you to them. Use emotive language on your site and Facebook page. Rather than saying “I like doing baby shoots” say “I simply adore capturing images of beautiful, squishy babies!”
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I may be beating a dead horse here, but again in this industry, you really need to work your tail off to become successful. You can be an amazing photographer, but if you don’t have the skills and drive to market yourself, your work will go unnoticed.
Use a spotter. When posing the baby, you will need someone to spot the baby, which is often mom or dad. Spotting means that someone else will support or hold a part of the baby while they are in a pose.
Spotting can involve holding up the baby’s head with a hand or fingers, holding up a sling with baby in it, or holding and supporting the baby’s arms or legs. It is highly likely that you will need a spotter when photographing babies, as they can fuss, move around, or are unable to support the weight of their head.
All professional photography involves a multitude of skills and newborn photography is no different, with one very important exception. It is the only area of photography that involves the photographer being completely responsible for the safety and welfare of the subject – the baby. As a newborn photographer you will hold, comfort, soothe, pose, wrap, and often even feed and clean up after your subject, even with the parents present.
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Be prepared for the costs involved Can you make a profit as a newborn photographer? Do you want to do this as a hobby, or use it to supplement your existing income?
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So in summary, I would suggest you take your time setting up as a newborn photographer. Research good training, and consider that in this area especially, you get what you pay for.
Invest in quality equipment. Buy at least one professional camera and all of the accessories you will need, including batteries, flashes, a tripod, and any materials you will need to develop, process and print pictures.
There are many online camera purchasing guides that you can utilize to make sure that you are making the best purchase for yourself. Talk to any teachers, professors, friends, or coworkers who you know are experienced in photography to gain a professional opinion on what type of camera you should buy.
It is not only a camera and couple lenses that you will need to set up your business:
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Use a bean bag. As a precautionary measure, whenever the baby is lifted off the ground for a pose, place a bean bag immediately under the baby. Always make sure that the bean bag is no more than a foot or two away from the baby.
Participate in monthly photography challenges. Join our very interactive community, participate in challenges each month that help you stretch and grow. Learn new skills and make your photos “pop”.
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Post-processing In this digital world, there is so much we can do with a raw photograph and good editing programs. This is another avenue that you can use to really create your own style.
Maxine began her journey into photography in 2010, shortly after having her third son. Mostly self-taught in photo-graphics, Maxine combined her previous visual designer and retail management skills and opened her own photography business. She constantly strives to always improve her talent, and when she doesn’t know how to do a task, her determination drives her to figure it out on her own.
Please research, take a course, or mentor with an established newborn photographer, so that you will learn how to properly work with your precious little subjects.
Experts can really help you get a good start at learning all the steps to take in running your newborn photography business as well.