5 Tips for Choosing a Newborn Photographer

choosing a newborn photographer

When I was born there was no choosing a newborn photographer. You would get the standard brightly lit photo at the hospital. It was taken from overhead and they would curl your hair around a pencil to get it just right. At least that is what my mom told me. When I was a teenager I would run for the calendar booth at the mall to get the newest Anne Geddes calendar. The babies dressed as tulips and daisies in flowerpots were the cutest thing and suddenly baby photos were becoming cool.

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Fast forward 20 years and newborn photos rival wedding photos in importance. I often find clients who didn’t spend much on their wedding photos now value professional photography and save for it. Baby albums are just as important family heirlooms as wedding albums. I like to think of them as chapter 2 in couples lives! Just like wedding photography though, couples find a variety of styles when it comes to choosing a newborn photographer. I have seen a shift away from the perfectly posed baby dressed as a tulip. My clients are embracing a more “lifestyle” approach to their photos! One where their baby is highlighted but the entire family is celebrated.

5 tips for choosing a newborn photographer

Newborn Photographer Styles

As you look through a sea of newborn photography websites you might start to see a difference in the types of photos they show, lifestyle or posed. There is no right or wrong answer on what you choose it all depends on which style fits you and your family.

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Posed Style

If you are more traditional or classic this style is perfect for you. Babies in baskets steal your hear and you’ve scoured Etsy for the cutest crown for your new princess. Your Pinterest feed is full of beautiful images of sleeping peaceful babies with flowers in their hair. You prefer solid backdrops to the images and want the focus entirely on your baby with cute props. A studio is more your style where they have every backdrop, wrap and accessory you could possibly imagine.



If you are a bit more modern you might find lifestyle is more your jam. Sessions that take place in your home and document your life as it exists right now, the nursery you brought your baby home to. The rocking chair you will spend endless nights in reading bedtime stories, the blanket that was handmade by your very proud grandma. Your perfect photo of your new family is piled onto the bed together with the dog of course looking happy and radiant! Yes you want photos of your baby alone looking adorable but you aren’t into dramatic props or poses.

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Pick the style that resonates with you and that will make choosing a newborn photographer easier. Look through their portfolios and their blog posts to see their latest work. Make sure it matches! You can check out my portfolio and I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which style I prefer! Newborn Photography Richmond VA

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Baby Photographer Personality –

I always recommend hiring someone you get along with, someone you come to think of as a friend. It’s not much different when choosing a newborn photographer. While you won’t be spending as much time together as you did with your wedding photographer you will still want someone that you feel comfortable with. Someone that can make you relax and laugh! Plus remember they will be holding the most precious thing you’ve ever created at some point so I really recommend liking them!

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Experience of the Newborn Photographer

I’m going to touch on posed sessions here first as I think newborn safety is of utmost importance. If you love the photos of babies posed like master level yoga enthusiasts I implore you to ask your photographer about their training. There is no formal degree in newborn photography. But any professional newborn photographer who does posed baby sessions should have studied and trained to do those poses safely.

They should be ready to tell you the precautions they take and how many of the photos you see are composites. That means that the baby was supported by mom or dad in some way and then they were photoshopped out. This is an absolute must when choosing a newborn photographer. Ask them about their education, ask them how they do that adorable photo of the baby hanging from a tree. If they are a professional with training they will gladly explain it all to you. It’s worth the extra investment vs injuring your new baby.

If you are going the more lifestyle route there is less training involved but general experience with babies is important. Either way you go make sure your photographer is up to date on their TDAP vaccination and either has a COVID vaccine or will take the necessary precautions. Take off any photographer that questions why you are asking these questions. Verify that they are insured, there are a lot of fauxtographers out there with no training or insurance. You want to make sure you are trusting your baby with legitimate businesses.

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Trusting your Newborn Photographer –

You need to trust your newborn photographer. If you love their style, like their personality and have vetted their experience that should lead to trust. Take a look at their reviews and see what past clients have had to say. Don’t be scared of 1 bad review but see how the photographer handled it, were they graceful or ugly. Starting your search by asking for referral from friends and family will help establish trust from the get go as hopefully they have used and loved that persons service. Be sure the photographer you choose is receptive to your questions and is helpful along the way with tips, suggestions and ideas for the session.

5 tips for choosing a newborn photographer

Collection Pricing –

This is the one that really seals the deal at decision time. The saying goes you get what you pay for and just like wedding photography it’s the same with choosing a newborn photographer. Ask any photographer you are considering for a full pricing guide. Furthermore you need to be aware before the session what the costs will be for what you are looking for. Be realistic too and realize for that photographer you love you might have to save up for a couple months.

Remember that the photographer with the proper gear, education and experience will cost more. When you look at your photos 10 years down the road do you really want to feel regret at not having gone with the work you loved the most? I scrimped and saved for our newborn photographer and never regretted it in the least. Those photos are more precious to me than my wedding photos!!!!

I hope this helps you narrow down your decision on choosing a newborn photographer even if it isn’t me :). If you happen to be looking for newborn photography in Richmond, VA or Charlottesville then click the button below to book a session with me!

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5 Tips for Choosing a Newborn Photographer

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Melissa Arlena is an award winning Charlottesville & Richmond VA Master newborn & maternity 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! Be sure to check out the Nov 21 issue of Inspired magazine to see a feature on Melissa and her work!

Melissa serves the Richmond and Charlottesville area including: Short Pump | Crozet | Harrisonburg | Staunton | Lynchburg | Palmyra | Fredericksburg | Culpeper | Waynesboro

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    I'm Melissa! Luxury maternity and lifestyle newborn photographer in Charlottesville, sail boater, lover of Lilly Pulitzer, and obsessed with true crime and interior design. I'm so glad you found me!


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    Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


    Melissa serves Charlottesville, Richmond, Staunton, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Culpeper, Gordonsville and beyond.



    Melissa Arlena Photography captures newborns, maternity, and families.

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