by: Michael Kabel


            You’re probably taking plenty of photos of baby already, from the moment they arrive in the hospital to recording everyday events such as bathing, sleeping, and spending time with Mom and Dad. But for a lasting record of baby’s early days, as well as a gorgeous decoration for your home, high-end professional portraiture sets the gold standard. Whether for yourself or to make a unique baby gift for godparents, grandparents, or family friends, the baby portrait is the kind of present that lasts a lifetime.


Choosing The Best Photographer

            Professional photographers are trained in using lighting, shot composition techniques, and modern post-photography editing methods to create a lasting portrait or work of art. But like many other forms of art, photographers specialize in taking pictures of different places, people, and things. Many commercial photographers specialize in taking portraits of people; some work expressly with children and babies.

            Baby photographers are trained and disciplined to work with very small children, encouraging them to pose for the camera and with years of experience in getting the best response from their subjects. Because they work with children, they’re also highly efficient in getting the desired number of “shots” – the potential portraits – taken in the least amount of time.

Many child photographers will advertise online and in the phone book. Their Web sites will also usually offer testimonials from past customers as well. Before choosing one for your baby’s portrait, you should also consider the location of the studio, the pricing guidelines, and of course how much you like the photographer’s displayed work.


Portrait Pricing

Speaking of pricing, many photographers charge by the session (that is, the time spent taking the pictures itself) or by the package of finished photographs. They will also sometimes run sales and special promotions. 

As a means of ensuring a consistent product, photographers often offer the same photograph to many different customers. The result is something special, but not necessarily one of a kind. Of course, these standardized portraits are often more economical than something more individual (and time-consuming). It’s a question of economics, and how much you’re willing to spend. 


The Portrait Itself

            You’ve probably seen at least a few child portraits already, either on special displays in shopping malls, shown to you by friends, or in magazine advertisements. You want your portrait to be unique, though. Your child is one of a kind, and the styles presented may not best represent your family’s sensibilities, your own idea of beauty, or your expectations for the final product. It’s important to stick to your own tastes, since the keepsake portrait is meant to last for years and years. A good photographer will listen and incorporate your suggestions, and respect your hopes and expectations.

            A current trend is to capture the child dressed or adorned in a fantastical setting – as a tiny angel, for example, or in a magical garden. These portraits often appear in very soft focus and gauzy lighting. They’re lovely to look at, and quite pleasing in their own uncomplicated way. However, the style itself is somewhat ephemeral, and will come to seem dated over time. Again, it’s a personal choice you have to make, but a traditionally styled portrait will likely better stand the test of time.