What the heck does that blog title mean?!?! Well it means the National Associate of Professional Child Photographers took a look at the portfolio of maternity photos I submitted and decided that my skill level met their Master Maternity Photographer criteria!!!! You are probably thinking okay I still am not quite understanding what that all means but based on her exclamation points it must be good. Don’t worry even my husband was like so you won a contest ????♀️. No hun I did not “win a contest”.
Can You Really Judge Art?
Here’s the thing about photography, it’s art and art is subjective. What one person loves another hates. So how can you judge photography and determine that someone is a master or even good at it. I’m about to lay down a quick lesson that hopefully will help you when selecting a professional photographer at any point in your life. It all boils down to consistency no matter what. Anyone with a camera can at some point create a single stunning image in their lifetime. Does that make them a photographer? Yes technically it does, they took the photo so they were the photographer.
Professional vs Amateur?
Does one great photo make them a professional photographer? Nope. Would you trust them with your wedding or newborn photos? I hope not! So what sets a professional apart from an amateur or hobbyist photographer? To me it’s consistency. It’s seeing their portfolio and knowing that your images will reflect the style you see they’ve already produced. It’s the reason I send every client who inquires whether it was when I shot weddings or now that I do lifestyle newborn, maternity and family sessions links to several full galleries of photos. So they can see a complete session from start to finish and know exactly the style and quality of photos to expect from their own session.
“It all boils down to consistency no matter what.”
Portfolios Can Lie
It’s easy to stick your absolute best photos on a website and pretend that everything you shoot looks exactly like that. But what about times when the light isn’t great or the location isn’t so amazing. What about when clouds roll in on what you expected to be a sunny day? How about different seasons? A master maternity photographer should be able to produce images consistent with their portfolio through all of those situations. I’m not saying they can magically make a cloudy day look bright and sunny but they can work with that environment to produce portfolio worthy images.
So What Makes Someone a Master
So back to that fancy certification I mentioned above, consistency in varying locations, lighting and subject is what they wanted to see. But they were super specific about what you needed to include and I had to go back through my entire career portfolio to find enough images to submit. Check out these rules:
- No client included twice
- No duplicate poses
- Different locations for each photo
- At least 5 images must include other people aka spouse or children
- At least 15 images must be of mom alone
These specific rules really show how thoroughly NAPCP is vetting their photographers. You can’t just submit one stellar session and become a master maternity photographer. I spent hours combing through every maternity session I’ve ever done looking for images to use. I’ve photographed some clients more than once for maternity sessions so I had to pick just 1 image from all of their sessions. The different locations part really set me back a bit as I photographed dozens of clients in my favorite field in Virginia and I had to really be sure that I was showcasing different parts of the field and not the same spot over and over. No duplicate poses was definitely tough too since in a maternity session you are really showing off mom’s belly and there are only so many ways to do that and not make mom uncomfortable.
Master Maternity Photographer
So basically when you see a photographer that has earned their Master Photographer Certification from NAPCP or even PPA you can trust that you are getting the quality and experience your family deserves. These photographers have been in business for a good amount of time and photographed many clients in that timeframe. They have proved their style and consistency to a panel of judges and you can trust that your images will match what you see in their portfolio!
Tips for Booking Your Maternity Photographer
Here is a handy dandy little checklist to follow when booking your next maternity photographer in Miami!
- Check out their website and social media thoroughly, make sure their style matches what you are looking for.
- Read reviews for them on places like Facebook and Google, don’t discount someone for 1 negative review. See how they respond to that review. If you notice a pattern of client complaints then definitely take notice.
- Ask to see a full gallery from a recent session. This way you see every photo that was presented to the clients and you can make sure the entire session is consistent.
- Make sure when comparing pricing that you compare apples to apples. Clients who book my top collection get all their digital files AND a gorgeous leather album. So while I look more expensive than others up front when you take their price and add an album you’ll see we are actually very similar.
- Last but not least book early, typically my clients are booking me 4 months before our session.
Next up for me is getting my Master Newborn Photographer Certification this fall! Wish me luck!
Melissa Arlena is an award winning South Florida newborn photographer. She offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style. Her clients love that not only do they get digital files from their session but artwork to display in their home. She is happy to design custom wall art galleries to show off your favorite photos!
Melissa serves Broward, Palm Beach and Miami Dade counties including: Boca Raton | Cooper City | Coral Gables | Key Biscayne | Miami Shores | Palm Beach | Palmetto Bay | Parkland | Pinecrest | Southwest Ranches | Weston