How to become a baby photographer
Love kids? Love photography? Try your hand at being a baby photographer. While the idea of being in a studio with all your equipment, with pretty sets to hand and with adorable babies ready to be your subject may seem easy, there is lots to consider when it comes to becoming a baby photographer.
A baby photographer is a commercial photographer who is commissioned by families to photograph their babies, this can even include documenting the pregnancy before taking the perfect shot of the newborn bundle of joy. Most baby photographers will work for photography companies or independently in their own studios, but some may travel to client homes to capture mummy and baby in their natural, relaxed setting. The baby photographer will not only be capturing photos but also memories of the little one, something that can be embraced in a baby photo book.
What sort of salary can I expect?
Baby photographers who work as part of a photography company will be paid a standard salary, though often they will have to start their career here as a trainee or assistant on a low salary. Entry-level salaries can vary from minimum wage to around £20,000, and if you are a newcomer to photography, you will likely have to prove your skills before you can specialise or move up the pay scale. Independent photographers are paid per client and can supplement their income with a sideline of teaching, training or selling prints of photography created in their free time.
Pricing your services as a freelancer should reflect your experience, novices should keep their prices within a sensible range while those who have greater experience, a strong portfolio and a large base of happy customers can afford to charge more. You will also have the option to decide whether to charge by the hour, by image or by an overall fee. You’ll be able to generate additional income by selling baby photos in different formats that can be displayed on personal gifts such as keyrings. These are ideal for parents to share with family members and friends.
How to become a baby photographer
As the majority of baby photographers will work in a studio, you’ll likely need a solid knowledge of commercial photography under your belt, and the career route for a baby photographer is similar to any commercial portrait or family photographer.
Most photographers in the field will start in a studio of a photography company and specialise; you might even want to join an association so you can connect with other like-minded photographers and learn from experienced professionals. You can also start out on a voluntary basis, to slowly grow your skills and portfolio.
You’ll also need to be very aware of your subject, more so than just about any other area of photography. Babies aren’t able to hold long poses and newborns should not be manipulated to hold poses at all – with the health and happiness of baby in mind, you’ll need to have an affinity with children, a warmth that will help prevent an hour long crying session at the sight of a stranger and the empathy that will make parents happy to trust you with their child. To this end, you might want to undertake a bit of training first.
What qualifications do I need to become a baby photographer?
As a commercial photographer many studios, and even clients, will expect you to have a solid education in photography, not only in capturing images but also in editing them to be the best they can be. You may have a natural creative eye and talent, but you also need to know how to effectively work in a studio environment.
Time management, equipment usage, client interactions and aftercare as well as maintaining professional conduct are all things you can only learn from experience in a commercial business, so in the vast majority of cases, you will need to have served as a trainee or assistant in a studio. As you are working with children, you will also need legal clearance to do so in the form of a DBS check. Some studios may also be interested to see previous evidence of your interaction with children before letting you cater to their youngest clients – a love of children is essential, so you should have suitable experience to reflect this.
Well known baby photographers
Anne Geddes is commonly referred to as the world’s most famous baby photographer, whose work uses babies as her adorable models of choice for artistic shots inspired by flowers, zodiac signs and sea life to name a few.
Robin Long is another famed photographer whose work spans maternity to motherhood and enjoys a bright, fresh aesthetic to reflect what she calls a “renewing of lives”.
Have a warm fuzzy feeling inside now? Looking to start a baby photography career, or maybe you already have, share you experiences with us below!