I'm a studio and lifestyle photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, kids, and family photography in and around the greater Pittsburgh area.
There are several things to consider before you choose an in-home newborn photographer. Inviting someone you don’t know into your home is a big deal – especially if you have a newborn in the house – and it’s not something you should take lightly. While none of the tips below are a guarantee, there is a much greater chance that individuals who meet these basic criteria are far more likely to be trustworthy than those who don’t.
Photographers aren’t required to have a professional license per se (like cosmetologists, attorneys, physicians, etc), but anyone operating a corporation, LLC, or partnership is required to have a federal EIN number and to register the business with the state in which they are located (sole proprietors are the exception). You can check to see if a business entity is registered in Pennsylvania here, or check with the Department of State where you live.
Any legitimate business entity should have general liability insurance. This protects both you and the photographer in the event of property damage or bodily injury while he/she is in your home. You can ask for proof of insurance coverage if you are unsure.
While not necessarily required for photographers, any professional who has direct contact with children would be wise to obtain a state police criminal history record check, child abuse history clearance, and an FBI criminal history background check. These clearances are mandatory to work in schools.
These days it is extremely easy to create a website, and there are countless platforms on which to do it, and at no cost. Therefore, having a website is not an indication of legitimacy, and not having one certainly doesn’t mean the person is not a professional. However, there are some things to look for that might be a red flag: not having a dedicated domain (i.e. familyphotographer.godaddy.com vs. familyphotographer.com), excessive grammatical errors, generic text, and lack of contact information are just a few signs that the person you are dealing with may not be a professional.
This is a no-brainer. A good photographer will have plenty of satisfied customers and should be willing to let you speak with a few of them if you ask. You can also check Google and Facebook reviews. While positive reviews can be easily faked, someone who is not reputable may have an abundance of negative reviews. However no one is perfect, and there’s always two sides to every story. Check to see if the photographer posted a response to try and accommodate any unsatisfied customers.
Legitimate business owners look for opportunities to grow their businesses and network with other professionals. Ask your photographer if they are a member of their local Chamber of Commerce or other professional organizations.
Hiring someone who supports their local community and charity organizations is a win-win situation. By hiring them, you in turn help the community. Not to mention it speaks to the integrity of the person you are looking to hire. Support local!
Keep in mind that none of these tips are a guarantee, but someone who meets most or all of these conditions will greatly improve your chances of finding a professional whom you can trust, and who will stand behind their work.
Questions about how to choose the best in-home newborn photographer for you? Reach out today to schedule a free 15-minute call with me and let’s find out!