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The first hours of a child's life are some of the most precious to a parent, and many parents would love to have professional quality photographs to document the first time they hold their new child or their child's first nap in the hospital nursery. If you have a passion for photography and love newborns, working as a photographer taking pictures of babies in the hospital can be a satisfying career. Becoming a newborn hospital photographer will require you to have knowledge of the art of photography and experience working around new babies.
Attend college courses, private classes at an art center or become a photography assistant to gain valuable skills and knowledge of photography as an art form. Learn proper exposure settings and creative compositions to use in your photographs. If working as a photography assistant, try to work alongside a newborn or infant photographer to learn about taking pictures of babies specifically. Having a strong background in photography, such as a degree, or past work as an assistant on your resume will make securing contracts with hospitals easier as you begin your career.
Compile a portfolio that demonstrates your best work as a photographer. Your portfolio should exclusively contain pictures of newborns or infants to show your ability to photograph them in a professional, yet creative way. Your portfolio should contain a minimum of 25 photographs taken at a variety of angles and exposure settings to showcase your versatility as a photographer. If you have no previous professional experience taking pictures of newborns, consider advertising free photography sessions to parents or taking pictures of babies you know to get a portfolio built. Present your portfolio in a professional, organized book with only one photograph on each page.
Decide if your business name will simply be your name or if you want to have a catchy business name. Also, consider creating a visually pleasing logo. Apply for a business license and register your business name through your state and local chamber of commerce and trade commissioner's office.
Set your rates, and create a list of packages for parents to choose from. Packages should include a number of prints parents will receive in specific sizes, coffee table books or all of the photographs on a CD for the parents to print themselves. Having multiple packages in a variety of prices will attract more customers, as they can choose exactly what they want within their price range.
Create a website or hire a professional graphic designer to create one for you. The site should include your business name and logo. Upload pictures from your portfolio to the website, and post your packages and rates. Create a section where parents can log on and purchase packages of the photographs you took in the hospital. Include your contact information and consider adding an online form to book your services in the future for other shoots. As you build your career, include testimonials from parents you have worked with and continuously update your online portfolio.
Call hospitals in your area and set up meetings to show them your portfolio. Discuss your background in photography, and market yourself to them professionally. Create a contract with each hospital agreeing upon your hours and services. Some hospitals may pay you for your services, while others may simply let you work there as an independent contractor and your income will come from parents purchasing the photographs from you.
Constantly update your portfolio so that it contains your best and most recent work.
Consider offering seasonal specials on your rates to attract more customers.
Do not use a camera with an excessively bright flash as this will hurt the newborns' eyes.