Your little one will be here in just a few short months! Knowing how special (and busy!) the first few weeks will be, you decide you want to hire a photographer. You want someone who can skillfully preserve this incredibly special time in your lives. A quick Google search reveals a few local photographers who offer newborn sessions. So, you browse several of their portfolios and earmark the ones you like. You want to pick the best newborn photographer, but which one should you choose? Read on to learn why you should always hire a Qualified Newborn Photographer (or a QNP).*
What is a Qualified Newborn Photographer?
A Qualified Newborn Photographer is someone who:
- has completed a newborn safety course and passed its mandatory test;
- has undergone an evaluation by an established panel of their peers to ensure their image galleries show quality, consistency, and variety;
- maintains their qualified status through continuing education, image competitions, and acquiring new accreditations in their specialty; and
- is an insured professional.
So let’s break these four areas down and explain why they are important.
Safety is by far the most critical factor you should consider when selecting your newborn photographer. Few people get the privilege of holding your little one during their first few weeks out in this big world. It is natural for you to be selective. But you should be especially choosy when in comes to selecting a stranger who will be holding (and wrapping and posing!) your baby. Keep in mind, studio based newborn sessions can be as long as three or four hours and can involve complicated poses!
A Qualified Newborn Photographer has undergone safety training and must have passed a mandatory test with a 100% score, before being awarded this title. A Qualified Newborn Photographer will never place your baby in a precarious or dangerous position. Learn more about the importance of newborn safety during a photo session from the Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers Association.
When you hire a Qualified Newborn Photographer you can rest assured that you will get high quality images. Your session gallery will be beautiful and cohesive, and will have have enough visual variety.
To receive a QNP certification a photographer must submit images for review by a panel of their peers. The images must show a consistent level of skill and competency in both image capture and photo editing. Only then can a photographer be awarded this certification.
A Qualified Newborn Photographer in good standing has access to a library of resources and industry groups to continue to actively improve their skills and knowledge in this very special niche.
They can participate in image critiques and competitions held by some of the most established professionals in the photography industry, where they can further develop their artistry and style. They can also work toward accreditations and designations. These set the highest standard and are only awarded for exceptional quality of photography and artistic mastery.
This is important, because you know your photographer is passionate about and completely invested in their work. They will have the most up to date industry standard toolkit to give you the absolute best experience and final product.
A photographer can only obtain the QNP certification if insured. This component is critical and ties right back into the first – SAFETY! They will do everything they can to handle your little one safely and ensure everything goes smoothly. Being insured is also a sign that a photographer is a legitimate, registered tax paying business, and has a professional mindset.
Although the hope is that you’ll never have to make a claim, your photographer’s insurance policy is there to protect you as well. So be sure to ask your prospective newborn photographer whether they are insured.
Bottom Line: Do Your Research
When you’re getting ready to welcome your little one home, you research and seek out the best and the safest car seats, strollers, and crib mattresses. Wouldn’t you want to extend this same careful attention to choosing the stranger who will be handling your baby? You want to select the best newborn photographer, so it’s important you ask if they are trained and qualified.
*For the purposes of this post I have referred to the QNP certification (which I hold) from the Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers Association (APNPI). There are other certification programs of similar caliber, but APNPI is Canadian-based and was my first choice. For more information, check out the APNPI’s page specifically for parents.