I saw this going around some photography groups this week as rumor initially but then it was confirmed and I'm sure some of you have now seen it in our local news as the situation is definitely viral news worthy. Just because it didn't happen here doesn't mean it can't. This is another reason I stress the importance of doing your research into your newborn photographer and not simply choosing the cheapest option.
There are a lot of new photographers coming out almost daily giving away free photo sessions and I understand people need to start somewhere, I also do model calls but I am also a well established business with plenty of repeat clients who can vouch for me. When I started out, I worked with family and friends for free, that is how I gained a portfolio and I did not start working with newborns until I had some experience and education under my belt. I purchased newborn workshops to learn before I ever touched a client baby. Doing free sessions for practice on older children and adults is one thing but newborn photography is another. There are skills and techniques to learn, important factors to know and understand about newborns. Charging $50 to practice is not acceptable in my opinion. Once a learning photographer has some education and training going in, then they can try some free sessions with newborns and work their way up. If someone is charging money for any service, they are now required by law to pay taxes on that income. They need to have insurance.
Education and experience go a long way and are super important factors to consider but also legitimacy. Always choose a reputable, legitimate business (not just someone who bought a camera, created a Facebook page and now claims to have a business).
You can also request to speak via telephone or video and meet with your potential photographer beforehand. If someone refuses to do either, I would highly question them. You wouldn't even be out of line to ask for references from someone new.
Safety risk is not only possible for clients, but also photographers. Afterall, we do meet our clients at various locations, go to their homes and like myself with a home studio, have them come to us. It should be a given, but if you don't know someone and they have no reputation, don't accept food items from anyone. I provide bottled water to my clients in the studio cause it gets dang warm in there, but they are always brand new sealed bottles and I don't offer food. Not that I can't be trusted but there are so many risks involved such as allergies or choking. I no longer make the cakes for my smash sessions, those are all through a professional baker or mom brings her own.
Do you consider any of this when you're looking for a photographer?
Stories like this are the reason we (all of us) need to be extra cautious with who and where we meet potential photographers and clients. It is a scary world out there and I always stress the importance of choosing a trained and experienced photographer for your newborn photos but now it's to the point where we need to hold interviews before making a decision rather than having an online conversation, booking and then meeting a stranger somewhere on the day of the session.
I myself plan on implementing some new booking procedures going forward and yes I realize most people want fast and easy but I guess it will help weed out the wrong type of clients 🤷🏼♀️. Your safety is important, as is mine. Let's not allow this type of situation to happen around here, I hope it doesn't happen anywhere else again period.
Your newborn, child and family photographer