Soo… babies. The tiniest, cutest and most lovable humans who walk (or don’t) on our planet can be quite a challenge to photograph. But us photographers, we love challenges, don’t we? Well, to make it just a tiny bit easier for you, we’ve rounded up our best tips for newborn photography. Let’s dig in:
- Get your angles right
Newborns have come a long and adventurous way out of the uterus (mamas definitely know something about that) so it’s no surprise that in the first days or weeks of their lives they can be covered in marks or minor scratches. While you might not pay much attention to them in person, they have a way of creeping up on photos. Also, during those first precious days, the shapes of our tiny humans might seem a bit off as well (in the most lovable way of course), so if you’re struggling to find a fluttering angle, try these two:
for whatever reasons, humans make a great newborn photography prop. Having a family member or friend nurse the baby almost always makes for a great shot. Since it’s one of a few ways to get the newborn upright, you can really go to town looking for the best angle. Don’t forget to try out different positions, like over the shoulder, on the tummy etc.
- down low
When you get to the baby’s level, the shots have a different quality to them – it almost feels like you’ve entered the fantastic newborn land. You can also get more intimate that way and take some beautiful close-ups.
2. Don’t light them directly
While pediatricians haven’t rung the alarms yet, flashing the baby straight into their face is at least uncomfortable. And to get good newborn shots, you obviously want to keep them as content as possible. Experiment with shooting your flash into the ceiling to get that romantic, out-of-a-different-world-but-still-natural hue.
If your flash is not bouncable, a quick fix could be putting some tissue paper or a light shawl on it. Or better yet, schedule the sessions so that you will be able to use more natural light.
3. Always keep the camera close
Babies don’t move much, but when they shift a little, it can totally change the way a photo comes out. That’s why one of the most important thing is to keep the camera within reach, even when you take breaks. You never know when the cutest yawn or smile will come out. These shots can’t be staged and you definitely don’t want to miss them – even if that means staying on your toes at all times.
4. Use props, not too little, not too many
We obviously love props and we know you love them too. However, staging a perfect scene is a very difficult balance between the prop-kingdom and the baby’s natural charm. At the beginning, you might not want to bring all your props with you to the shoot, as that could make you feel overwhelmed. Instead, group them into things that go well together and take a few such packages, preferably after talking to the clients and asking for their preferences.
Props should bring out the best in your newborn, not the other way around. If you use too much it might feel like the baby is just another gadget in the scene. If you use too little, the shot will feel undone and incomplete. It is a difficult art and to master it you will have to take your time and experiment a lot.
5. Roll with it
You might have your session planned down to a minute, but in here (like in life), the baby is the boss. Therefore, it is much better for the outcome (and your sanity) if from time to time you just let go and follow the baby. Resist the urge to over-pose it and make use of what the newborns offer on their own. Patience is your biggest virtue, but if you’re in this business, you already know that, right?