A child’s birth is one of the most special moments in any parent’s life. Many people desire to commemorate this time with newborn photos of their precious loved one. Any amateur and professional photographer can master the essential skills required in newborn photography. Just follow these eight newborn photography tips and you’ll be on the road to success.
8 Expert Tips for Newborn Photography
- Understand Parent’s Wishes for Their Newborn Photos
- Put Safety First
- Choose the Best Baby Photography Style
- Add Backdrops and Photography Props
- Use the Right Lighting
- Make the Baby be the Focus of the Photo
- Try Different Angles and Poses
- Select Lightroom Presets to Enhance Every Photo
Whenever possible, you should meet with the parents-to-be before their new babies arrive. That way, you can offer them additional services, such as maternity pictures. You can also be prepared to take photos soon after birth to capture the first joyful days with new family members.
Even if you’ve mastered the art of portrait photography, you need to learn some special techniques to excel in newborn photography. Since babies aren’t able to take direction during a shoot, you’ll need to plan ahead for multiple scenarios. They could be sleeping, which makes posing much easier. Or they could be upset and crying—so a white noise machine or gentle music might be necessary to calm them down.
Taking a newborn photography workshop might give you some great ideas about photographing newborns. You should also seek to gain some experience before offering services professionally. A good way to practice is by offering a complimentary newborn photography session to friends, family, or neighbors.
1. Understand Parents’ Wishes for Their Newborn Photo
Before you schedule a newborn photo session, you should consult with the baby’s parents in person or on the phone. This important conversation will help you understand the parents’ expectations and wishes. You should learn how they plan to use their newborn portraits.
Will the pictures be on display in their home or used for birth announcements? Are they looking for a single, memorable baby photo or do they want to create a collage of images? Do they want a casual baby photo or something more formal? These and other questions will help you select the right newborn pose for each photo.
Also, you’ll need to know the child’s age and gender to help you select backdrops and newborn photography props for your shoot. Find out if the parents want pictures of just their baby or if they want to be included as well. Maybe both? Newborn photography with mom is popular with many parents, especially if she has participated in maternity photography to chronicle her pregnancy. In fact, mom may request a photo while she’s still in the hospital room, holding her baby.
Don’t forget to ask about older siblings, since many parents like having them included in a newborn photo shoot, too! Finally, make sure you’re prepared if the parents have twins or multiples. Be sure to learn all you can about twin newborn photography before your session.
If you have a website, you can create a guide for families seeking photo shoots to let parents know what to expect. You can even build a survey form to gather background information before the newborn photo session.
2. Put Safety First
Newborn babies are very delicate, so you must take extra safety precautions. They also can get sick easily, so make sure your space is clean and warm. Having an extra heater in your studio is a great idea—especially since you may photograph newborns in only a diaper.
Ask the parents to feed and change the baby shortly before the photo session. That will help make sure that the newborn is comfortable and less restless. You may need to take breaks throughout the shoot—so schedule enough time to capture all the desired images.
Most importantly, make sure your shooting location is safe. Babies cannot control their body well—so you can’t perch them in precarious poses. Practice photography safety at all times. Make sure they are well-supported at all times. Also, since infants can’t lift their head, don’t cover them with blankets or stuffed animals and risk cutting off their air.
All the newborn photography poses you select should be safe and comfortable for the baby. Follow good newborn photography safety practices and choose age-appropriate props and backgrounds to ensure a positive outcome.
3. Choose the Best Baby Photography Style
There are two primary styles of newborn baby photography: posed and lifestyle. You can choose the right option based on your own personal photography approach or the parents’ wishes.
Typically, professional photographers take posed newborn photos within the initial two weeks after birth. Often, these photos are part of birth announcements—so parents want their babies to look perfect. These photo sessions may take a lot of time since babies are unpredictable and can’t be coached into posing for photos.
In contrast, lifestyle infant photography shoots are much more casual and spontaneous. In this type of photoshoot, a newborn photographer aims to capture natural pictures of the child. Some parents appreciate photos of their child’s quirky expressions or gestures—and may not even mind a picture of their newborn crying. These sessions tend to be more relaxed and fun for everyone—including you.
4. Add Backdrops and Photography Props
If you are shooting in a studio, you should definitely have a backdrop for your photo session. If you take newborn photos regularly, having a few backdrops on hand is a great idea. You can use plain or textured colors in classic pastels. Have a light blue for newborn boy photography and pink for baby girls. Also have some other neutral backdrops—like cream, yellow, or green—to offer parents more choices. And don’t neglect floor coverings, too. You can find special newborn photography rugs that are perfect for newborn pictures.
Newborn photography props—like blankets, baskets, and stuffed animals—are also essential. A few small hats and headbands may also come in handy. At times, parents may have special items that want to use. You should always honor their wishes if they do. New parents have many new responsibilities, and you can help them feel at ease by offering a selection of age-appropriate photo props.
Fortunately, you can find affordable newborn photography props at many retail outlets. Shop the clearance section of stores and websites to find great deals. And don’t forget about post-holiday sales! You can also make DIY newborn photography props—like a simple chalkboard to display baby’s name, birthdate, or age. If you do want specific accessories for newborn photography, you can buy them from a company that specializes in photography props. With a little ingenuity and some savvy shopping, you can have an array of newborn photo props on hand in no time.
5. Use the Right Lighting
Every photographer knows that the right lighting is key to taking a high-quality photograph. The same is true for newborn photography. However, there are some other important considerations to keep in mind.
Babies are easily startled by anything that is unfamiliar. Using a flash during a newborn photo shoot is a bad idea. You risk upsetting and scaring the baby—which can make them cry. This can be very disruptive for you and the parents alike.
Using natural light is a much better approach. Whenever possible, try to shoot near a large window or another source of natural light.
6. Make the Baby be the Focus of the Photo
When shooting newborn photography, let the beautiful baby be the star of the show! This is especially true for more formal, posed baby photos. One way to achieve this goal is by setting your aperture around f/2 and f/2.2. This approach lets in more light and creates a shallow depth of field and blurs background elements– while keeping the baby in focus.
You can also use a macro lens to get very close to the baby and capture tiny details worth remembering. However, for the lens to focus properly, the baby must be completely still during shooting. The best way to achieve this is by taking photos while the baby is sleeping. Sometimes, babies will naturally fall asleep during a photo shoot. If this doesn’t happen, ask mom or dad to soothe the baby to sleep so you can work magic with your macro lens.
7. Try Different Angles and Poses
During a newborn photography shoot, you can experiment with different baby poses and angles. This way, you can create a selection of baby photos for the parents, which they can use for different purposes.
One classic pose to try is the frog pose. Place the baby’s legs by the side, with their hands cupped under the chin. This is a great pose to highlight the baby’s sweet facial features. Another popular pose is the taco pose. With this pose, the baby’s lower body is securely wrapped in a blanket with the feet adorably peeking out the bottom. You can capture their cute hands, face, and feet while keeping them cozy. Another idea is laying the baby on his or her right side with hands under the chin. Snuggle the baby under a blanket and add a hat for a baby photo that is unique!
Changing angles lets you achieve different perspectives without having to move the baby. You can create the illusion of the baby being in different positions. Set up your space so that it’s easy for you to move around the baby and change your shooting angle every few shots. That way, you can limit or avoid moving the baby—and keep them content and relaxed throughout the photo session.
8. Select Lightroom Presets to Enhance Every Photo
Many newborn photographers consider themselves portrait artists. They have a good reason to feel that way about this special line of work. You can take your newborn photography from good to great just by choosing the right Lightroom preset for your digital images.
When selecting Lightroom presets for newborn photography, be sure to choose ones designed by professional photographers and Lightroom experts. That way, you will know that the preset will work well with whatever camera style and brand you use. Also, look for presets that are fully editable and adjustable so that you can tweak settings to perfect your image.
Excellence in Newborn Photography is Within Your Reach
With today’s advanced technology, many people can take amazing newborn pictures. Whether you’re interested in DIY newborn photography or are an expert looking to advance your skills, follow these eight photography tips when posing newborns.
Always make sure you gain insight on parents’ wishes and expectations before shooting photos. Create a safe, warm, and welcoming environment with a selection of backdrops and props to enhance your images. Use natural lighting whenever possible—but remember to always avoid using a flash! Explore some different options for newborn poses and take photos from varied angles to capture those perfect shots. And you can rely on newborn Lightroom presets to enhance every newborn photo.
As you’re learning the art of newborn photography, explore websites and social media to get baby picture ideas that you can adopt. You’ll soon be ready to build out your own photography website and portfolio for online viewing of your precious baby photos. Once you’ve mastered newborn baby photography you may decide to start taking maternity pictures or other family portraits.
Newborn photography is an exciting field that is full of opportunity. With a little practice, you can make your mark as an expert newborn photographer that creates beautiful portraits and special memories for families.