So you’ve decided you want to take your interest in photography into a full-time job. However; before you decide to take the plunge into doing this full-time, there are a few things you need to know. Below are my top 7 things to consider before becoming a professional newborn photographer.
7 Things To Consider Before Becoming a Newborn Photographer
Invest in Yourself
Becoming a professional photographer involves learning your camera. This means, taking the plunge and moving out of automatic mode and really diving in and learning your camera; manual feature and all.
There are two ways people learn photography: researching and taking online courses or registering at your local photography school/junior college. While this is an upfront cost, learning the ins and outs of photography and how a camera works, will provide you with a solid foundation in taking those gorgeous artistic photos you are longing to take. The positive to investing in yourself and in classes like this, is it provides you with ample opportunities to practice! Practicing and really learning your camera is essential in becoming a top notch photographer.
Take Newborn Safety Classes
Newborn photography is unlike any other genre of photography because you are physically posing your tiny, precious subject. Newborns are extremely fragile beings and safety is the top priority for all newborn photographers. No poses, techniques, or props should put a newborn in harm’s way, no matter how adorable the end product might be. Investing in newborn safety classes is an absolute must for anyone considering a career in this field. And again, while there is an upfront cost, providing clients with the peace of mind that safety is your top priority will be invaluable.
These sorts of classes can include but are not limited to:
- Newborn CPR classes
- APNPI Certification (Accredited Professional Newborn Photographer International)
- Master Photographer Certification through NAPCP (National Association of Professional Child Photographers)
- ANP Certificate in Newborn Photography (Academy of Newborn Photographers)
- Newborn Photography Safety Training and Certification through AANPS (American Association of Newborn Photography Safety)
- Take a Workshop or Mentor with a Professional Newborn Photographer: Once you master your camera and the basics of photography; taking a workshop with a seasoned newborn photographer or being mentored by a professional newborn photographer is an absolute must. Workshops and mentoring offer students the opportunity to have a hands on experience with real human infants while being guided by a professional photographer right next to you. Not only will a workshop or mentor experience give you hands on experience but you are also able to ask questions ranging from running a business to lighting to props to safety. At the end, you will also receive the photos you took which will help grow your much needed portfolio!
I previously wrote a post on mentoring, which you can read here. If you are located in the Orange County area and are interested in mentoring with Candice of Candice Swanson Photography, please click here to connect with her!
Get Insurance and Contract Templates
Having the proper liability and business insurance is an absolute must when running a successful newborn photography business. You also need to have proper contract templates ready to go. Contract templates are essential in your business because they outline all expectations up front so there are no surprises on either end.
Initial Investment (What Will it Cost?)
Other than the above listed investments (i.e., photography courses, safety classes and certifications, workshops/mentorships, insurance, contract templates), there are other costs associated with starting a newborn photography business. While you don’t need a super fancy D-SLR to start out, you do need to invest in a few additional lenses along with the below:
- Props: keep these simple at first. From a few wraps, blankets, headbands, and bows
- Studio space: If you choose to be a studio photographer, you will need to decide if you will designate a portion of your home as your studio or if you will invest in a studio space which will then include rent and associated insurance
- Website: This includes web-hosting, domain name, and website themes
- Editing programs such as Lightroom and project management software such as Honeybooks, Asana, or Trello to name a few
Decide Your Style
In a field that is fierce in competition, you will need to decide your editing style and what sets you apart from the rest. Once you decide on your style, you will be able to focus on your ideal client and will be able to start to market yourself to that base. Which leads me to my final point.
Can Your Market Yourself?
In order to make your business successful, you must be able to market yourself. The first thing you need to do is get into the mindset that this is a business and you are a business owner. The success of this business is on you. You will need to market yourself and you may have to get creative in how you get your name out there. Some free easy options are: create a Facebook business page, Instagram account, and Pinterest account. All these platforms have business features which will allow you valuable insight into analytics which is needed to see if you are reaching your ideal client base. Second, you have to be present on these platforms! Showing up and creating constant, engaging content is vital to your social media presence. By being present you are also showing the world you are a real person; this helps create a connection which will hopefully turn into partnerships! Finally, visit local baby stores, boutique stores, even your local chamber of commerce to advertise your new business. It won’t be easy to get your name out there but once you do, all your hard will pay off!
Turning your passion for newborns into your full-time career is not one that should be taken lightly! There are a lot of things to consider when you are venturing down this road. However, I hope my list of the top 7 things to consider when becoming a newborn photographer is helpful to anyone who wants to enter this field!
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