When I first started photographing newborns, I was drawn to intimate lifestyle photography, but initially I thought it was necessary to have a traditional posed baby component. For a few years, I tried to do both at my in-home sessions – lifestyle and posed newborn photos. In the back of my mind I thought about just focusing on a lifestyle/documentary style but I was scared that no one would hire me. At the beginning of last year I took the plunge and started promoting myself as a newborn lifestyle photographer. Below are a few tips that I wish I had known earlier to help ease this transition.
Believe in yourself and don’t look back. There will always be doubts and excuses because making a change is hard. For a year and a half I wavered but my only regret is not making the change sooner. Now I’m happier doing what I love.
2. Tell people
Once you commit to the change, tell people. The hardest and most important part is eliminating any confusion with returning clients or client referrals. They will remember the photos you previously gave them or saw at their friend’s house or Facebook page. Clients might not understand the term. Even among photographers lifestyle can be defined differently. It is essential that you clearly articulate what this style means to you. Keep your explanation positive – focus your definition on what you do document in a session and not what you don’t photograph.
3. Remove your crutch
Sell your hats, headbands, backdrops, bean bag and any other props you don’t want to use. If you don’t have it you can’t use it. In the past, I lugged a trunk full of items to each in-home session. Now I arrive with two small bags – my camera bag and another bag that holds my reflector, sheers, clips, stool and one wrap (just in case). Eliminating props has challenged me to create unique images for each family using only what is available and special to each family.
4. Update your portfolio
Visually define your transition to this style with your work. Whether it is your website or social media, start showing the work you want to be hired for. It is essential to curate your current work, adding new images and removing photographs that don’t fit your new style.
5. SEO Revisions
On the backend, add in new keywords, alt tags, and hash tags to your blog posts, website and social media accounts so future clients can find you. Not all potential clients will know the latest vernacular in photography so in addition to newborn lifestyle photographer don’t forget about using adjectives that clients might search such as natural, documentary, in-home, relaxed, storytelling, loving, etc.
6. Embrace your foundation
Professional photographers who focus on posed newborn shots are masters at using light and selecting flattering posing angles. Don’t forget this foundation but instead challenge yourself to use these skills in new creative ways.