Step 3: Don’t be cheap
This leads me to a very important point: when choosing a photographer, some people ask for a good deal. We see that a lot on social media. Truth is, being a professional photographer is costly, and if someone is cheap, well…they are either not very good, or they don’t do that for a living. And it can lead to other problems that will impact your experience: poor photo quality, lack of availability to communicate with you or deliver the product you paid for, no insurance, no ABN. But sometimes, of course, you can get a good deal. I know talented photographers who run discounted sessions for Mother’s Day or during winter, or they are looking for a family to run a portfolio session. Read all the terms and conditions on the contract (yes, there should be a contract!), and take an educated decision about having your children appearing on Facebook and Instagram. It may work for your family, or it may not.
As much as I understand the need for reducing costs, being a little flexible on the budget is a good thing. Your children are little only once. Your newborn will be two weeks old only once. You will be pregnant with your son / daughter only once. Therefore it is crucial to choose the right person to capture these moments. Someone you trust, someone whose work you LOVE. Not the discounted photographer. Photos are precious, because time passes and pictures stay.
Step 4: Pick someone you “click” with
It is worth it to invest in someone you feel connected to. Read a couple of blog posts, and the “About” page. They should tell you about the person’s style. If they’re fun, laidback, or fashion addicts. Choose someone that makes you dream, smile, or both.
Then, when meeting with your photographer, in person or even on the phone, listen to your gut feeling: you are going to spend time with them, and these moments may be intimate if you breastfeed, bathe your child…or are in labour.
I offer birth photography and videography to my clients, and only do so if I feel a strong connection. Mums always thank me for that. Not really because being present at the birth involves nudity and that there is a need for being comfortable around me (they forget I am even there at some point), but because my presence in the birth space means much more than taking pictures. The photos are part of their journey. Mums will look at them later on and realise how strong they were. They will heal if needed be. They will be proud.
So we spend a lot of time chatting about their pregnancy, their story, their life. We share so much about each other, because birth photography is not like any other genre I have experimented. I won’t (I can’t) photograph a single mum giving birth the same way as a mother of four with her husband. These are different stories, and they matter so much.
It’s the same when going to a family home. Discussing your life with your photographer is not being intrusive. At least not how I see it. It’s about letting them know about your family dynamic so they can take unique images that represent your family, and your family only. A good photographer doesn’t copy-paste poses and situations. A good photographer goes out of their way to see the unique beauty of your life.
Julie Abreu is a documentary family photographer based in Melbourne, who captures authentic moments of your everyday. She loves to photograph families’ journey into parenthood, from pregnancy to the birth of their baby, from the early smiles of their newborns to their first mischief. She also organises Mumtographers, mums and bubs photography walks, encouraging mothers to take time for themselves while caring for their little ones and to gain confidence in doing something creative. You can see her work on her website, follow her on Facebook, or check out the adventures of her son on Instagram.