What is the mission of Capturing Hopes? The mission of Capturing Hopes is to provide progress photography throughout the entire stay of a NICU baby in the hospital from the time they are born until the time they graduate. This gives families hope as they see their baby grow and progress through our professional lenses. It has been proven that families cope better with the traumatic NICU journey of their baby when they have access to professional photography for their baby.
Do the photographers get paid? No, all of our photographers are volunteers. Most own their own businesses and work full time in newborn photography or family photography.
What type of photography do we provide? The majority of photography is documentary style in the NICU of the baby in their incubator and/or photos with their parent(s) or other extended family. Posing is minimal, if at all.
Do we use newborn props similar to what we use in the studio? No, props are not used. If you would like to bring in donated items (always new), you are welcome to give those to the family for the session. The family must keep whatever is given to them and cannot be used on another baby for infection purposes.
Do I keep copyright of my photography? Yes, the photographer owns their own work and gives Capturing Hopes unlimited license to use those photos for our website, training, on social media, in print, etc.
How do I send photos to the family? You will have all of the family info, including the family's email address and phone number. You will send the family a photo gallery within 10 days following the session from your own photo gallery website. Downloads should be available to the family in a high resolution format. The gallery should remain open for at least 30 days.
Do I need insurance? We recommend that all photographers have their own liability insurance, as every business should have, but it is not required by Capturing Hopes.
What type of photographers work for Capturing Hopes? We only allow photographers with experience in newborn work or low light photography to work with Capturing Hopes. We also specialize in low aperture photography, blurring out the background and focusing in on the baby. This is what we expect from all of our photographer's work in the NICU(s) they are in.
How often will I need to be in the NICU? The amount of times each month that you go in is entirely up to you. Once you are on the schedule, you will get several requests within the hour(s) that you are in the NICU so that you do not have to go in multiple times in the same time period. This will save you time.
What days will I need to be in the NICU? You give us your best days and we will include that on the schedule along with your name for your area. (Thursday mornings: Photographer Jenny Jones). The family chooses which photographer's time works best for them.
How do I know when I get a photo request in my area? All photographer's in your area will get the photo request emailed to them as soon as it comes in. Whichever time was chosen by the family will determine which photographer takes that session.
Is everything free? Yes, we are a nonprofit organization and all of our photographer services, along with the high resolution digital downloads are always free to the family. We cannot charge the families for our photography services as a nonprofit.
How much do I provide? We only recommend taking 10-15 minutes max per photo session and providing 3-10 photos per session. If you have extra photos, you cannot charge the families for them, but you are welcome to include them in the gallery. We really try not to give them an overload of photos and we try to keep a consistent amount for all families.
How do I get into the NICU? You will enter as a visitor of the family. If there are flu restrictions, you may be prohibited at that time.
Does Capturing Hopes provide bereavement photography? Yes and no. From time to time, a baby that has been photographed through one of our photographers will pass away. If a baby is not doing well, we still provide a session upon request of the family or hospital. If the baby has passed away or going to pass away, it is up to the discretion of the photographer if they would like to take that request. We always recommend that the family or hospital contact a bereavement photography program if they are available in the area. But again, that decision is up to the individual photographer.
Can I post photos on my own social media? Only parents that have signed the consent form for social media posting can have their photos posted on social media. We prefer that you share directly from the Capturing Hopes page when those sneaks are posted, and we always ask that you tag Capturing Hopes in all posts of NICU babies on your own social media.
Will I get exposure? Yes, whenever a sneak peek is posted on our social media, your name and business will be included for our fans to see, along with your location (city, state). Capturing Hopes has a good social media following and regular engagement on our Facebook page from our fans and NICU families.
Can I solicit my business in the NICU? No, at no time can you solicit in the NICU or charge a NICU family for photography as long as you are with Capturing Hopes. However, if a family or a staff member ask you for a business card, you are more than welcome to give it out. At no time should you accept any money from a NICU family for a NICU session. Once they have been discharged from the NICU, if they reach out to you about further photography services, they then can become a client. Their relationship with Capturing Hopes ends when they are discharged.
*An exception to the above rule is if a NICU family is currently a client of yours who has already paid for newborn photography services in the hospital (Fresh 48). You can continue that relationship since it was established before they became a NICU family and you can choose to keep that payment or refund it, that decision is up to you. Just be careful about taking money in the NICU in front of staff as it can become a confusing situation for them and could cause red flags for the management.
What can I do with the baby? Do not ever lift a baby or hold one. Ask the mom/dad or nurse to do any moving or dressing of the baby. Minimal touching is allowed with proper hand washing.
What if the baby is really small? We photograph babies no matter how small or how big, as long as they are in the NICU. If the baby is low stimulation and cannot be moved or touched, you can photograph through the incubator and try to get whatever you can that day. We photograph babies their entire NICU journey, there are always other days to get more.
What kind of lighting can I use in the NICU? This question is best answered by the nurse that is caring for the baby that day. They will let you know if an external flash is allowed or not. In general, an external flash is not harmful to a premature baby, as it is no stronger than any other light that is in the NICU and is only flashed for a split second. However, some NICUs do have rules against a flash being used and we must follow their rules in order to be a guest in their hospital. Any other lighting set up is prohibited and would take up too much space.
*A pop up flash is never allowed and is not professional.
How often can a baby have a session? Micro-preemies (babies born less than 26 weeks gestation or 1 pound 12 ounces) and regular preemies can get a photo session once every two weeks. Any other newborn in the NICU can get a photo session during special holiday events. If a baby is full term but will have an extended stay in the NICU, they are also eligible to have sessions every 2 weeks as the photographer allows.
How will the NICU Families know about Capturing Hopes? Once a photographer signs up as a volunteer, they are emailed information on how to advertise in their NICU and community.
- If you would like to provide a holiday photo event in a particular NICU in your area, we can help you set that up through the hospital.
- Some hospitals have Capturing Hopes programs that are run through the administration. There will be a few things that are different due to this. We will let you know the differences upon your application being received.
- Photos should not ever be sold or given to media or other companies or organizations at any time, including the hospital. You must have written permission from Capturing Hopes and the family prior to allowing use of the photography in this way. Capturing Hopes will also obtain permission from you prior to allowing your photography work to be used in any of the above ways.
If you have other questions that should be added to this list, please email CapturingHopesDirectors@Gmail.com