We are pleased to debut Design Aglow’s Baby Week 2016 with a fantastic feature from newborn photographer, Robin Long. Enjoy!
I’ve always loved babies, kind of like Tina Fey in “Baby Mama”. I started photography in 2005, when I began photographing children modeling for clothing lines with a 3-studio light set up. I also photographed my daughter’s friend’s babies and then my granddaughter. I was hooked immediately! I just love the pure and fresh new beginnings of a life!
Everything about a newborn is a miracle and I want to be the one to capture those first few days of their lives. Due to that, I started photographing newborns more frequently and launched my own business in Newborn Photography in 2008. I fell in love with the raw and pureness of a newborn, and knew from those moments on that this was my purpose.
I always found myself looking at babies everywhere I went. I still do that! In the beginning of 2011, in addition to running my business, I began traveling the world teaching aspiring and seasoned photographers the art of newborn photography. In 2013 I completed my first book, Natural Newborn Baby Photography, which was published by Peachpit. It was such a joy to have accomplished something I had always dreamed of doing!
I have a lovely studio located outside of Portland, Oregon. In order to make my clients feel at home, I have a changing station stocked with all the essentials: diapers, wipes, sanitizer, lotion, pacifiers, drool cloths & swaddling blankets. It’s important to me that when my clients enter the studio, they feel at rest knowing I have everything taken care of for them. Maintaining a quiet, calm environment for the baby (and the parents!) gives them a sense of security and comfort.
Photographing newborns can be challenging, especially because they are so delicate. I absolutely love utilizing knowledge from The Five S’s from the Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp M.D. The five S’s are the simple steps that trigger the calming reflex: swaddling, shushing, swinging, sucking, and side/stomach position. These are the exact techniques I use at all my newborn sessions.
As someone who has been in the industry for some time, I have seen some incredibly common mistakes that new photographers make. My top 3 are:
Posing and handling newborns without any experience or training
Solution: Enroll in a Newborn Safety & Educational Course with a highly trained & experienced photographer who has been teaching for a minimum of 3 years. Do your research and ask for reviews.
Buying too much STUFF that you don’t need
Solution: Start with the basics and grow when profits allow. Stay within your means and don’t spend more than you are making.
Not knowing how to run a business
Solution: Take a business class at your local community college. Make sure you have a business license and liability insurance. In general, make sure that you have set up everything that it takes to run a business before you start taking clients. Get in touch with your local Small Business Association for help on where to start.
In this industry, it’s also essential to maintain a consistent social media presence. Personally, I mostly use Facebook and Instagram. I’ve really seen my Instagram take off over the past year, as I’ve been trying hard to devote time to it every day. I can schedule my posts throughout the day with an app called Planogr.am. It alerts me at the time I’ve set and then I go in and post it. It has helped a lot in staying on track with posting.
Engaging is also very important in marketing yourself. Ask your followers questions or give them a “call-to-action.” Help them out by offering tips and suggestions to encourage them in their journey. I believe being active, personal and kind goes a long way in building an empowering community of togetherness.
I have to admit, though, that I’m terrible with blogging. I can never find the time to spend doing it, so unfortunately it gets neglected. Thankfully, I am well established in my area that I don’t need to do a ton of marketing anymore. But when I first started, I partnered with local baby shops and doctor’s offices to get my work seen.
My desire and ambition as a mentor and friend is what drives my passion to keep creating, learning and striving to be the woman God has called me to be. With a business that is "Christ" centered, my focus is in bringing glory to the kingdom through my mentorship, causes and educational programs.
In closing, I’d like to say I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity in being a featured Newborn Photographer. It was my honor to be a part of this experience.
Wow! Thank-you so much, Robin. It’s our pleasure.
Stay tuned every day this week for more fantastic advice, stories, and fun from some of the top newborn photographers in the industry today. We can’t wait to share more with you!
Robin Long is a Multi-Award winning Newborn & Motherhood Portrait Artist, Speaker & Author of “Natural Newborn Baby Photography” based in Salem, Oregon. Her brand portrays a pure, natural and organic touch to the images she captures. Her airy, and soft color palette of neutral tones allows for a calming environment where intimate moments shine through.
To view more of Robins work, visit her here.
When I was in college, I had a friend who was a professional photographer. The first time I went to her home, I walked in to find stunning photographs of her children on the walls.
There was a huge canvas in their living room and a creative photo display in the main hallway. I remember being so moved by the beauty of those images, thinking to myself, “I want to create images like this!” I bought myself a DSLR as a graduation present, learned photography from online courses and started my photography business about a year later.