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Tips for Taking Pictures of Newborn Babies
As a photographer, one of my favorite treats is getting to take pictures of little ones shortly after they are born! These are family treasures that will be shared with grandparents and other relatives. They will also be kept for the rest of this baby’s life so everyone can remember this sweet season (or maybe be embarrassed at a graduation or wedding)!
So how can you make sure you get the most out of your time with an infant or newborn in front of the camera? Here are my top tips, so you walk away with images that make you proud and touch parents’ hearts.
7 Tips for Newborn Photography Sessions
- Plan Ahead
- Adjust Your Schedule
- Use the Light
- Keep the Baby Cozy
- Keep the Baby Safe
- Go With the Flow
- Enjoy the Moment
1. Plan Ahead
This may seem obvious with any shoot, but the importance of planning cannot be overstated when your subject is a tiny baby, and the person helping you is probably a stressed-out, sleep-deprived mom. Talk ahead of time with the parents about what spot in the house would work well for the photos, what outfits they want the baby to be in, any special toys they would like included, and if they want themselves or the baby’s siblings included in the photos.
As they share those details with you, write them down and think about how to incorporate them! Make it your job to keep those elements straight so parents can worry about keeping the baby happy while you shoot.
As parents share details with you ahead of time, write them down and think about how to incorporate them!
2. Adjust Your Schedule
You may have a million other things to do that week, but the baby doesn’t know that! Try to find a window of time where the baby will have recently been fed, be well-rested, and generally in a good mood. Photos of sleeping babies are also so cute; so don’t be too concerned if you get there during naptime.
3. Use the Light
You might have professional lights available, but if you don’t, think about where the natural light will be. Taking a baby outside can get dicey, but laying them on a couch or bed next to a window can do just the trick! You’ll probably want some kind of sheer blind to diffuse sunlight; otherwise, you may get harsh, dramatic shadows on the baby’s face. If you're depending on natural light, late morning or early afternoon can be an excellent time to take pictures. A west-facing window late in the day could also give you beautiful golden lighting for your shoot.
4. Keep the Baby Cozy
Everyone loves the look of soft baby skin, but no baby likes to be cold! Make sure your space is appropriately warm for your little subject. There are a few different ways you can do that. One idea is to fill a hot water bottle, put a blanket over it, and then lay the baby against it.
You could also direct a space heater in the direction of where the baby is lying or drape a blanket around the baby as much as possible. Just always ensure that while the baby is comfortably warm, there is no way the baby can get overheated or burned! On that topic . . .
5. Keep the Baby Safe
Yes, photos are forever. But nothing is going to replace the little treasure in them. No cute setup is worth risking harm to the baby. That being said, it won’t endanger the baby if you make minor adjustments to how it is laying. If you don’t feel confident carrying or holding the baby, always ask a parent or caretaker to move them around, and if the parent is ever in any way hesitant about a photo, prioritize their concerns over your innovative ideas.
Nothing is going to replace the little treasure in your pictures. No cute setup is worth risking harm to the baby.
6. Go With the Flow
In the course of the time it takes to get a good variety of pictures, the baby will probably go through a few different phases. Sleeping, content, fussy, or expressive. If they have outfit changes they may get a little upset; encourage parents to be gentle and take their time. Don’t wait for what looks like the perfect Kodak moment: keep shooting!
When you start editing the photos, you’ll be surprised to find how cute a crying baby is once you can’t hear the noise it’s making. Capturing a variety of expressions allows parents to catalogue all the funny faces they normally see in a day.
7. Enjoy the Moment
When you get asked to take pictures of a newborn or infant, you are entering into one of the most tender times a family has. Their house might be a mess, they might seem frazzled, and clients might even be short with you.
However, you are getting to play a part in creating their family memories! So work with care and pride, knowing that the way you capture their new baby through your lens is what they will use to remember this time for years to come.
© 2017 Bethany Halbert