Newborn photography is a booming business these days—and we want to help you make it big! Our handy guide will show you how to become a newborn photography whiz.
If the baby is your own or belongs to a close friend or family member, you may be looking to grab a few snaps and need a few tips. Or, you may be a professional photographer looking to make a foray into the newborn market.
Whatever the case may be, newborn photography can be both challenging and rewarding. Safety must always be the primary consideration, and poses take special care and attention. Many photographers find that one of the most difficult facets of this sort of photography is dealing with new parents. And while there are not many equipment requirements, you’ll definitely want to be a master of using natural light and off-camera lighting setups.
Here is a comprehensive guide to newborn photography. If you do not have a lot of personal experience with newborns, it’s essential that you get some before you begin working with paying clients. It’s not as easy as it looks, and confidence and a practiced hand are super important here.
Styles of Baby Photography
When to do newborn baby photography depends on the type of images your client is after. Lifestyle photos capture interactions and relationships within the family. Memories from these stress-filled and hectic days in the newborn’s life are often fuzzy. Since there’s a little more flexibility here, timing is less critical, and you can do lifestyle newborn photos at any age.
A posed newborn photoshoot is quite different. Here, the baby is posed to look perfect in a studio setting with cute props and backgrounds. Timing is important; for the best-posed images, newborns must be around two weeks old.
The ideal time frame to conduct the photo shoot is when the baby is between five and ten days old. During this time, infants spend most of their time curled up and sleeping. After the two week mark, they stretch, move about, and generally become much more active. Of course, you can still do a photoshoot, but you will spend more time getting the baby to stay relaxed and calm.
Going into the shoot, everyone will pick up on any nervous energy. The first to react will be the parents, who will lose confidence in your ability to pull off the shoot. After the parents, the baby will soon begin to lose comfort
Posing the newborn is probably the most daunting part of this type of work. Infants aren’t very good at taking direction, and their tiny and delicate bodies must be handled with the utmost care. It’s always best to have an assistant or another photographer on hand who has experience working with infants, who can move the baby into other poses without waking them.
The poses you come up will be the result of communication with the parents. They are your clients, after all, and the photos are for them. Have they been inspired by other newborn shots they’ve seen? What do they like and what do they hate? Are there any themes that are important to the family that can be played upon?
Build-in time to your photoshoot to sit down with the parents and ask questions. Give the adults some coffee and get to know them, and use the time to plan ahead and feel out what sort of photography they’re looking for.
When dressing the baby, try to keep it as simple as possible. Simple headbands or caps are perfect, as well as neutral-colored blankets. Flowers add an atmosphere of energy and renewal to the scene, so they are popular props.