Like all aspects of photography, photographing newborns takes a certain amount of skill. Newborns are often unpredictable, which can be pretty frightening for the average photographer. Following a few of these simple tips will help soothe a cranky baby and lead to better images for the clients.
It is recommended that the newborn session be scheduled within the first 14 days of life. During the first 14 days, newborns are more prone to sleep and more flexible allowing them to be molded into poses safely and easily.
Time of day
Time of day is vital to the success of a newborn session. It is best if the newborn has been fed, burped, and changed before the photographer arrives. This will help soothe the baby to sleep which makes them easier to a position and photograph.
Light is another important factor. The session must be scheduled during a time when the most light comes into the client’s home, such as around midday. Most newborn photographers use natural light streaming in from a nearby window.
A newborn session usually takes two to three hours on average. There will often be breaks for feeding, diaper changing, and rocking to the lull the baby back to sleep. Sometimes the infant is just a little bit fussy or does not feel comfortable in a certain setup causing the setup to be changed or the baby to be soothed. The session should never feel rushed or worried.
Keep it warm and soothing
Newborns crave warmth since their bodies don’t retain heat very well. The best solution for this is to ask the client to raise the temperature in their home a few hours before the session. The photographer should also bring their own space heater, and they should wear light clothing. It will get really hot in there!
As strange as it may seem, newborns also like noise. The most soothing noises are womb sounds or white noise such as a hair dryer or fan. There are numerous free apps that can be downloaded and played from a phone during the session.
Props and details
It is no secret that props add more interest to an image, and newborn photography is chalk full of them. Props such as blankets, baskets, and hair accessories should be chosen before the session. This will help with time and transitions from setup to setup. The color pallet should also be established before hand. It helps to speak with the client ahead of time as well about personal items they want to incorporate.
The well-being of the newborn is the most important thing. There should always be someone right next to the infant during shooting to make sure they do not fall or injure themselves in any way. Keep in mind that complex poses are usually composites made in Photoshop.
Newborn photography is not easy but it is rewarding. Creating a soothing environment for both the baby and the client is key. These tips are a great place to start!