Julie Kulbago Photography | Pittsburgh Newborn and Maternity Photographer
Julie Kulbago is the Premier Newborn Photographer for Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. She has photographed the newborns of professional athletes and professional musicians and most importantly will capture timeless images of your newborn.
I often get asked by friends and family outside of Pittsburgh what they should look for when searching for a newborn photographer in their area. To me, it seems like it’s a really easy answer. After all, I’ve been a newborn photographer for 9 years and when I look at other newborn photographers website I can quickly tell if the person is a good newborn photographer! I thought I would use today’s post to share some of my thoughts on what to look for in a newborn photographer.
So here are my top 5 things to look for in a newborn photographer
Knowledge of Safe Newborn Posing Practices
The safety of your newborn is by far the most important factor when considering your next newborn photographer. Above all things, safety needs to be their number one priority – – above getting the shot, above getting a full gallery, above getting a bunch of likes on Facebook or Instagram. You should choose someone who not only knows/practices basic newborn safety (knowing how to handle and care for your newborn) but also more advanced newborn safety (using advanced photoshop to capture challenging poses, monitoring baby’s temperature and comfort level). I remember when I had my first child I researched the best and safest car seat, strollers, cribs etc . . . I felt at a loss though to know how to find a safe newborn photographer. A couple of things to ask: Do you use photoshop to capture challenging poses, did you take any classes/workshops from experienced photographers? Getting referrals also goes a LONG way! Ask your friends who they used and what their experience was!
Are you an aspiring newborn photographer? Check out this newborn photography course that I created. In it I talk extensively about newborn posing and safety: Newborn Posing Workshop
Years of Experience
Yes, everyone starts somewhere. But if it were me, I wouldn’t want someone to practice on my newborn! And yes, just because someone has called themselves a photographer for X numbers of years doesn’t make them a good newborn photographer! A couple of questions to ask: How many years have you been a newborn photographer? How many newborns do you photograph each year?
Knowing the above two things will help you know if your photographer is experienced. The more newborns a photographer photographs, the better equipped he/she is to handle babies of all different temperaments. Lots of photographers can handle sleepy, calm, content babies. But I can tell you . . . not all babies come that way! I photograph hundreds of newborns each year and I can tell you that no two are alike! You need to find a newborn photographer that has a lot of experience dealing with all the baby personalities!
Let’s face it, every mom/dad who buys a fancy camera thinks that they can be a newborn photographer. That never ends well. Please do not take the chance with your newborn – – take your photographer’s level of experience into consideration when booking.
Variety of Images
When looking at a photographer’s site, look at each blog post. Is the photographer only showing 1 or 2 images from a session? Or, are they showing 7 angles of the same pose? One or two angles of a pose is totally fine. If all of the pictures you see are of the same pose then that might mean that the photographer is not skilled at a variety of poses. Questions to ask: How many pictures & set-ups can I expect of baby alone? How many pictures & set-ups can I expect of our family? Are family images part of the session or are they extra?
Ok, so I hesitated to put this one as one of my top 5 things to consider because I hate talking about money. Since I quite often see people post online about looking for an “affordable photographer” I thought I would touch on it . When people say “affordable” what that translates to is “cheap”. But let’s be honest. Good photography isn’t cheap and cheap photography isn’t good!
Yes, the cost for newborn photography can vary greatly. After all, different cities have very different costs of living. But generally, what you are paying for goes far beyond the 3 hours the photographer is taking pictures. What you are are paying for includes (among other things) your photographers years of experience, years of training, equipment, insurance, business expenses etc.
When people comment photography is “so expensive” I always like to ask them how much they paid for their cell phone (that will be gone in 2 years) . . . or what they pay for their cable tv bill each month. I can guarantee that you won’t remember (or care to remember) how beautiful your new iPhoneX was . . . but your baby? Yep, that is something that you are going to want to have tangible memories of!
When booking your session, always remember, you get what you pay for!
Finally, if you can, meet the photographer and check our their studio before booking, Or at the least, talk to him/her on the phone. It’s so important to feel at ease with the person who is going to be handling your newborn! It is always a lot easier to relax around someone you know a little!
If you are looking for a photographer in the Pittsburgh area I would love to meet you to show you my studio and talk to you about what a newborn experience with me is all about!
Give me a call (412 519 4830) or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
These twins were just as cute as can be for their one year photo shoot. I had talked with their mom about what she wanted to do to commemorate this milestone in their lives. She decided she wanted to do pies! After all, everyone does cake and she wanted something a bit different. I think the resulting images were a huge success!
If you are interested in capturing an upcoming milestone (6 month birthday, 1 year birthday, 2 year birthday, etc) give me a call or shoot me an email!
Be prepared for the cutest 2 month old baby boy ever!! Baby K came to me when he was already 2 months old. Needless to say we didn’t do our typical newborn poses. Even though he was older than most of the babies I photograph I was still able to capture priceless memories for his mom.
If you hadn’t planned on having newborn pictures of your baby taken and are now looking at an “older” baby . . . . don’t worry! Give me a call. Your baby will never be as small as they are today!!
Hey Pittsburgh Seniors! Are you looking for an amazing senior picture session? Senior pictures are such a HUGE part of your senior year and I want to make the experience amazing for you! If you are looking for something more than just “pictures” give me a call . . . I want to create an experience for you!
I have 5 spots left for high school seniors. If you are looking for something in a field, in a city, in your house or in a location that is meaningful to you – we can create beautiful images for you to cherish for a lifetime!
I am so excited that the weather in Pittsburgh is FINALLY turning around and we are back in outdoor family photography season!! Nothing is better than a beautiful family and a setting sun! Ok, add a happy baby to that scenario and it’s a recipe for success! I love photographing families outside because it allows me to capture them just as they are . . . goofy, fun loving and happy. I never go into a session with any preconceived ideas about how the session will go. Each family is so unique and I like to watch how families interact and then capture what is authentic to them. If you are looking for a fun/ natural family photography session I would love to connect!
My weekends are almost completely booked from how through the fall. If you are interested in scheduling a family photography session shoot me an email at email@example.com or give me a call at 412 519 4830
This is another family I have worked with since they were expecting their first child! It feels like yesterday when I was photographing their maternity session and their first newborn session. When we did their first session it was all focused on being a new family and what it means to have a baby . . . and like all first baby sessions, baby was the center of the day!!
Now, two and half years later, they have 2 kids and bringing a new baby into a family is a little different! Introducing a big sibling to their new baby is a HUGE deal. Therefore, I thought I would share my favorite tips for getting those desired sibling shots!
4 Tips for working with Siblings during Newborn Photo Shoots:
Set Parent Expectations:
Being able to take adorable sibling images starts long before you pose the kids and lift your camera. From the moment my clients contact me, I set their expectations of what to expect based on their older children’s ages. You can not expect a 2 year old to smile for 30 sibling images . . . it’s NOT going to happen! With 2 year olds, I am happy to get them next to their new sibling. After all, their little world has just been turned upside down and then a few weeks later we are asking them to sit and smile with this little person who they aren’t too sure of! The best thing you can do is let parents know not to put too much pressure on big siblings. Kids can feel that pressure and there is the best way to lose cooperation is to force it!
Make Big Sibling Feel Special
As soon as a family walks into my studio, I greet them, greet the big sibling and then ask them to introduce me to “their new baby”. So many people walk in and focus on the new baby and that makes older siblings feel invisible and displaced. I talk to the toddler (from a safe distance because you don’t want to overwhelm them), ask how they are doing, what’s the baby’s name etc. Having a small gift for older siblings also goes a very long way!
Focus on Safety:
As with most things that relate to newborn photography, baby’s safety should ALWAYS be at the forefront of your mind. Above all things, safety needs to be your number one priority- – above getting the shot, above getting a full gallery, above getting a bunch of likes on Facebook or Instagram. These are tiny humans that you are working with. Each baby needs to be handled with extreme care. When working with siblings, you have to be extra careful. Toddlers and young kids aren’t exactly predictable!
First off, I ALWAYS swaddle the newborn during sibling shots. A swaddled newborn is much easier to hold! Also, I photograph siblings on the bed a lot. The bed provides a “barrier” for younger kids who may try to escape. It’s also a soft place to lay baby if the older sibling can’t hold baby but just wants to sit or lay nearby. Don’t have a bed? You can fake it with either a futon or air mattress! Always make sure that Mom or Dad is standing right next to them at every moment.
Think beyond the hold
Holding the baby is not the only option. You can pose the baby alone, safely laying on the bed, and let the siblings find their place around him/her. These images are always adorable and totally unplanned. Having mom hold the baby is another great way to get siblings close to the new addition.
Use a Pillow to Make Holding Newborn Easier:
Laying baby on pillow also makes them much easier to hold. With kids who are less than 4 this is my go to shot
This is huge, I am a big advocate of a workflow but with siblings you have got to be flexible. If big sibling is into it then we keep shooting, if they are getting antsy or grouchy then I let them take a break and shoot parent shots. Letting them feel like they are in charge will go a long way towards getting cooperation. Asking them if they want to sit with their sister or lay with her. Asking if they want to be on the couch or floor. Let them feel in control and you will get cooperation! Similarly, while I have boutique dresses for my clients, this little girl wanted nothing do do with them so we just let her rock the dress she came in. Had we forced the issue we would not have had any cooperation! Later, mom asked her to look at the dresses and she decided that she did want to match her mom! Towards the end of the sibling/family images she was also “done”. I wanted to get a few more family images and the only way to do that was to have her pet tiger in the picture. That’s what flexibility is about. And you know what? In 20 years they will look back on this image and remember how attached she was to it!
Composites save me so much stress and help me get more images than I normally would! It is far better to spend some time cloning a parent’s hand out of the pictures in post-processing than to take any risk of baby slipping or getting bumped.
In order to keep baby super safe I had dad keep his hand on the newborn. I also took a shot of the wheelbarrow (with no baby in it without the dad there) and combined the two.
After this image, baby was starting to fuss, so we pulled her out and kept going!
Composite baby back in and you get this!
I hope these tips help you rock your next newborn session!
And because I can’t do a post without showing how cute baby sister was . . . here are her images!
I love being able to watch families grow! I photographed this family’s first child and now 3 years later I got to photograph their new baby! I mean, how cool is that?? These two girls looked sooo much alike as newborns – it’s crazy!
One of the best things about having your newborn photographed is having images to look back on because no matter how hard you try (and I speak from experience) you won’t be able to remember how they looked as newborns! I know, you are probably thinking “no way, I will remember everything about my baby” but years pass, baby’s grow and memories fade. Photographs last forever! Contact me if you would like to learn more about what a newborn photography experience with me is like. You won’t regret it! firstname.lastname@example.org