I've thought about writing this for quite awhile, and struggled on how to word it without coming across sounding rude, or anything other than informative. So please understand this comes from my heart! As a newborn photographer, I've seen a lot of photos posted from photographers in the area that concern me so much, I can't keep it in any longer.
The photography industry has become one of the fastest growing industries since digital cameras were introduced. Anyone with a "good camera" who loves to take pictures can decide that this is the best job for them. And honestly, good for them! Some people have discovered a talent that they never knew they had before, and if they can share that with the world, we're lucky to benefit from it! It can be difficult to carve out your place when there are a ton of other people offering the same service - especially when they have very affordable (cheap) prices. It is to be expected when photographers are starting out or portfolio building, that their prices are very low, but remember that you're usually getting what you pay for. Ok, I'll get to my point...
I get that finding the best price is usually the top of the priority list. That's my main objective in just about everything! BUT, please stop and consider what you are placing in these photographer's hands. You are handing over your brand new, precious, perfect baby, probably less than a couple of weeks old. Have you done your homework on the person you're handing them over to? It's all well and good if they're good at taking pictures. If they have "the eye" that not everyone has. But are they doing it safely? Of course, no one is going to offer to take pictures of your baby without promising to be careful. They might have kids of their own, and feel comfortable holding a baby. Have they been trained on baby safety? Are they aware of all of the different reflexes that newborns have? And those oh-so-cute poses - are they going about them properly? Or just trying their hardest to duplicate an image you saw on pinterest and asked them to do for you as well. Here's a secret (that shouldn't be a secret): many of those poses are composites. AKA: magic done in post processing. Are they CPR and first aid certified? Are they familiar with how to handle different special needs that the baby may have been born with? And what are they putting the baby on or in?
I'm not saying you need to have sit-down interviews before you hire a photographer. But it's pretty important to do your research. Take advantage of the fact that this area is so saturated with photographers. If you find someone with crazy good deals, that seem to be significantly lower than the majority of others, find out why! How long have they been doing this? Or better yet, how long have they been doing it regularly? Sure, some people are just starting out, and could be portfolio building. I've been there! In that case, will they have an assistant, or a mentor working with them? Are they comfortable attempting the shots that you want without the experience? Here's a big one - Are they current on vaccines and the flu shot? ASK THEM THESE QUESTIONS! See what they say before locking in your session.
Photography can be a big investment for some. But considering what you're asking them to capture for you, it makes a lot more sense to have someone who really knows what they're doing, and how to capture the best images for you - SAFELY - than someone who will try their best at the cheapest rate. My baby's safety isn't worth the best deal, and I don't believe anyone else's is either!