Newborn photography can be very intimidating for not only beginners, but seasoned pros as well. Let’s face it, when you are working with someone else’s tiny fragile little baby who can be rather unpredictable at times, this can be very nerve wrecking!
It is crucial to do your research before diving right into newborn photography.
Newborn Photography Tips
Here are some things that you should consider when preparing for a newborn session.
Safety First Comes First With Newborns
One of the most important things you should focus on when working with newborns is safety. Newborns are very fragile and the last thing you want to do is harm them during a session. You need to learn to be gentle while positioning them for the shots you are going for. If you haven’t had experience handling a newborn, take any opportunity you can to get comfortable with them. Maybe a friend or family member recently had a baby? This could be a good time to take advantage of holding and getting a feel for being gentle without being nervous and intimidated.
Also keep in mind that many of the poses you see online are composites (two or more images combined). You should always have a second set of hands, whether it be an assistant or one of the newborn’s parents, to secure the baby when placing them on unsteady objects or any surface that baby could roll or fall off of.
With some Photoshop magic, your spotter can be removed and it will appear no one else was in the image. There are a ton of videos and workshops that teach the art of safely getting the popular creative poses you see other professional’s doing. Do your research before attempting to use any props with newborns.
What Kind of Props Should I Use?
Even if you aren’t a fan of props for your regular every day sessions, they can really add personality and creativity to newborn images. Scroll through sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and check out which types of props other photographers incorporate into their newborn sessions. What fits the style you are going for? From there you can begin to seek out a few to have on hand.
Some favorite types of props for newborns are more “personal”. Is Dad a fireman? Include his uniform or hat. Is he a huge baseball or football fan? Include a glove or helmet. Maybe Mom or Dad is a musician? You could include their guitar.
Get creative when planning a newborn session. Ask questions prior to the session. What are their hobbies? Do they have anything sentimental they want to include? Just use common sense and make sure whatever you are incorporating or placing baby on is sanitary and safe.
When Is The Right Time To Do The Session?
To get the most popular newborn images that you see online daily, you need to carefully plan the best time to do the session.
The ideal time frame to do a newborn session is between five and fourteen days. This usually allows enough time for the umbilical cord to fall off, and this is the time when newborns spend most of their days sleeping. This helps with posing and positioning them without them moving around too much.
You need to keep in mind that you need to be flexible with scheduling a newborn. Don’t assume that the date you have set is going to be the date the session will/should take place. Sometimes newborns arrive early, sometimes they arrive late, sometimes they arrive right on time. So it’s best to fit them into a “window of time schedule” rather than just one date.
Stay in touch with Mommy-To-Be in the weeks leading up to the due date. This will help you know if she is staying on course or if things may happen earlier or later than expected. Consider having her assign a friend or family member to make you one of the first people contacted when baby is born.
Not only can the date of birth be unpredictable, but so can the baby itself. Be prepared to spend more time than you would on a typical session when it comes to newborns.
Baby could be fussy, which could interrupt or delay the session. Mom may have to take a break (or few breaks) to feed or change the baby.
Newborns may “spit-up” or make other types of messes (use your imagination). So you may have to pause to clean-up as the session goes on.
When baby is sleeping and cooperating, the best thing you can do is make sure you are keeping them as comfortable as possible. Make sure the room you are using is warm. What may feel warm and comfortable to you likely isn’t to a newborn. Also, make sure you keep your hands warm (and sanitized) while handling them.
What Should Be My Go To Poses?
Things happen. You may not be able to fit in every shot or pose you had planned on. My advice is to start with the basics and get them out of the way just in case everything doesn’t go as planned. Here are a few “must have” shots when it comes to newborn photography.
- Baby on back
- Baby on side
- Baby on tummy
- Close-up details shots (fingers, toes, etc.)
With a lot of research, some training and practice, patience and knowledge about safely and creatively getting newborn “prizeshots”, and knowing how to use Photoshop to your advantage, you should feel confident and less stressed when it comes to capturing this special time in the newborn’s (and his/her family’s) life.