How to Choose a Newborn Photographer


The photos in this post are from a newborn lifestyle session in Plymouth. I'm absolutely obsessed with the photos taken by the window with the baby on the rug! I also really enjoyed taking the documentary photos in the nursery whenever mom needed to step away for a second. Perfect way to spend a rainy morning. Thank you Mendoza Family!

newborn baby sleeping next to a window
This is one of my all-time favorite newborn photos. There was a ledge right next to the window, so we put the nursery rug there and laid baby down with only a diaper on. The result was perfection!

There are a lot of photographers out there these days. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are as many as 860 photographers in the state of Minnesota with as many as 660 of those photographers being the Minneapolis area. (And that's not including photographers who aren't even legal and don't pay taxes.)


There are also several approaches to newborn photography: Traditional, posed, lifestyle, documentary. Add in location options: Studio, in-home, outdoors. And for good measure, there's also retouching or natural; props or no props; flash or natural light; birth photography, Fresh 48, or in-home photos.


With all the options and confusing terms, it can really be overwhelming to choose a photographer! Let me help you with where to start and what to consider:


First Decide What Type of Photos You Want

My biggest piece of advice when deciding on a newborn photographer: First know what type of photos you want!⁣ Understand the types of newborn photography and have them in mind when you start reaching out to photographers. It sounds simple, yes, but it matters. Big time.


When my daughter was born, I was a hopped up on hormones and sleep walking. I hired a photographer and I remember her asking me something like, "Are you into all that posey stuff with newborns? Do you want props? What about headbands?" I stopped listening when the milk started to seep through my bra. I said, "I don't know." "Sure." Or: "I trust you...so...just make it look good or whatever." Or some combination of the three.


At the time, I was just so excited that I didn't have to drive to a studio with my toddler and newborn! And I was anxious about timing my session so I didn't have to nurse my baby during it.⁣

I love the photos because my daughter is in them and the editing is professional, but I wish I knew then that the type of photos I really wanted was not the posed, hands-under-chin stuff. Looking back, I wish I had photos of my baby in outfits she would actually wear. I wish I'd hired a photographer who paid attention to the details. (During my newborn session for my daughter, I was so tired and hardly willing to remain upright that I put my baby's dress on backwards. Didn't realize it until I got the photos back.) I wish I had more photos of me holding her. And my oh my, I wish I'd had more help on what to wear and hadn't worn a nice shirt that was not at all reflective of our life at the time.⁣

So when you're choosing a photographer, spend some time thinking about the kind of photos you want. Do this before the baby comes. You don't want to be thinking about this when you're tired and overwhelmed.


Get off the contact forms and head over to Pinterest. Feel free to browse a photographer's website even though she's 500 miles away. You're just doing some research.


Posed vs. Lifestyle: Are you looking for posed? Or relaxed and natural lifestyle newborn photos? Do you want your baby in a basket? Swaddled to perfection? Or do you want to remember her in her crib, in a simple onesie, beautifully confused by her limbs, just being her in all her perfection?


Birth Photography, Fresh 48, or In-home Photos: Do you want raw and emotional photos taken right after the birth (or during the birth for that matter)? Or do you want to wait a couple weeks so you can first learn how to pee again and take a legit shower at home? Asking yourself questions like these will help you determine if you want to to hire a birth photographer, book a Fresh 48 session, or stick with newborn photos in the home.



Connect with a Photographer's Style

Once you've decided the type of photos you're looking for, it's time to see if you connect with a photographer's style. Editing, lighting choices, locations, and artistic vision all impact a photographer's overall style. But you don't need to understand the editing process or the ins and outs of optimal lighting or even how to describe a particular photo to know if you love how it looks and makes you feel.


A professional newborn photographer will have plenty of photos on her website for you to browse through. Spend some time perusing through her work and pay attention to what you like and don't like about them. Have a conversation with photographers about what you're looking for and what you like to be sure you're a good match before booking.


Keep Location in Mind

As you're searching for a photographer, keep in mind where you'd ideally like to have your photos taken: In a studio, outdoors, or in your home. Some photographers only shoot in studio, while others may only be willing to travel to your home.



Work with a Photographer Who can Be Flexible

We had newborn photos taken when my daughter was nine days old, and looking back, waiting even just a couple more days would've made a world of a difference. But since I'm a Type A, tule follower, I followed my photographer's recommendation to the T. Nine to ten days old is prime time? Consider it done! Even if won't remember it and pass out immediately afterwards.


A great newborn photographer will recommend a time window and will be super flexible. The best photographers are comfortable working with a baby at any age and will work with you to find the time that's right for you. This post here talks all about the pros and cons of newborn photography at different ages.


If You Want Nursing Photos, Choose a Photographer Who's Professional & Comfortable with Taking Them

If you have a vision of tasteful topless photos of you and your bed wrapped in your white sheets, the last thing you want to do is end up hiring someone who's shy and awkward about the idea. The other thing you don't want is a photographer who won't respect your privacy when it comes to posting and sharing your most private photos. Talk with your photographer about nursing photos before booking to be sure you're on the same page.


A side note, I definitely recommend considering having nursing photos taken. I was very private when I was a new mom and didn't have nursing photos taken, so I get it. But looking back, it's something I wish I had. I flooded our hallways with a lake of tears when I realized I'd never nurse my babies again. I'd love to have photos to remember that stage by.



Looking for a Newborn Photographer in Maple Grove?

I'm a Maple Grove Newborn Photographer and provide newborn photography all over the Twin Cities metro. I photograph babies outside and right at home! My sessions are very relaxed, and baby-led/parent-led. I'm all about the lifestyle and documentary approach. What I love about this approach is no two sessions are the same. My style has been described as bright, natural, creamy, candid, detail-oriented, and on the warmer side. I also really love a little magenta hue.


To get in touch with me head to the Connect page or email me at karajoyphoto@gmail.com. You can also text or call me at 612.599.8349.


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HEY, I'M KARA JOY

Looking for a Newborn Photographer in Maple Grove?

Based in Maple Grove, MN and servicing the Twin Cities metro, Kara Joy Photography is a lifestyle & documentary photographer who specializes in newborn & family photography. Kara Joy Photography is known for capturing raw emotion & authentic expressions through a laid-back approach. Her unforced images have a glaze that is natural yet polished. The cherry on top? A quick turnaround time.

If you're on the hunt for a newborn or family photographer, I'd love to chat with you and answer any questions you may have! Click the link below to send me a message or you can shoot me an email at karajoyphoto@gmail.com​.