They are cute. They are innocent. And you want to eat their tiny fingers and toes.
Yes, we are talking about the newborns who just stepped into this world a few days ago.
As a photographer, a newborn photoshoot is quite an exciting yet challenging project. They don’t give you the exact pose and facial expressions you want and when you want. They have their mood swings, which you need to bear.
But that’s where your expertise will come to help.
In this post, we have written a detailed guide explaining how you can make the newborn photoshoot look easy with the right techniques specific for the tiny ones. These include:
The technique to handle your clients (the new parents)
Studio equipment for babies
Lighting and positioning techniques
How to keep the baby sleeping
Posing and angle techniques
Safe working practices
We have also mentioned tips for parents to prepare their little ones for the photoshoot to avoid giving the photographer a tough time.
So without further ado, lets get started with our photo-snapping guide.
How to Ace a NewBorn Photoshoot Like a Pro?
Shooting newborns is unarguably one of the most lucrative genres with increasing chances of photography sales. Every parent wants their newborns’ precious moments to be captured, which they can forever treasure. At every chance they get, they try their hand at DIY newborn photography to capture the little one’s memories.
Our newborn photoshoot step-by-step guide will help you pull off your next project flawlessly and make a sustainable career out of it too!
Win the Parents' Trust
Okay, this is not easy.
You have to understand that they being new parents, have their concerns and doubts.
Even if you are a developing professional, they might still be skeptical.
Relax and think like a parent who just wants their newborns in safe hands and won’t settle for anything less than perfect.
We recommend having a coffee & chat session with them. Understand the exact type of photoshoot they have picturized. Is it posed or a lifestyle portrait that is expected from you?
Once you know about their personal taste and styling choices, you can suggest improvements and take them under confidence. Assure them of the baby’s safety and leave them on a lighter note so that they get a hint of having an enjoyable session with you ahead.
Convey to them what they should be expecting from the session. They should know you are concerned about their child’s safety by getting a good glimpse of your planned session ahead.
Use Natural Lights Only
Those cute smiles and innocent looks are best captured under the natural light.
A perfect location to shoot a newborn would be near a window or a door.
Don’t place the baby under direct sunlight!
Direct sunlight will not only make the child restless; it will also result in a one-dimensional, overexposed image.
A baby portrait captured with attention to detail is everything to do with the angle and the lightning.
Position the baby with light falling on his face at a 45 to 60-degree angle, creating a soft shadow over him.
To achieve this ideal positioning:
Keep the baby setup 3 to 4 feet distant from the source of sunlight (door or window).
Keep the baby and the setup tilted at 60 degrees from the window/door.
Safety Comes First: Keep the Baby Warm
Yes! If you want your subject to be comfortable, keep the room where you are shooting well heated.
Your room should ideally be at a temperature close to 98 degrees and definitely above 75 degrees.
In fact, Courtney Slazinik, a baby photoshoot pro, mentioned while giving tips from his experience:
I have my space heater going the whole time, and if I’m not sweating, I know the baby isn’t warm enough.
He also tried a heating pad over the blanket where the baby was to be placed. This worked wonders, too, and the babies kept sleeping with the warmth they needed.
Keep the Baby Still and Asleep
Being a newborn photographer has got a lot more to do than just knowing photography.
Once the parents leave their babies on you, they are your responsibility.
Newborns usually sleep for long durations. But you never know! You can encounter a baby who won’t sleep and give you a tough time shooting.
There are specific proven tips employed by famous newborn photographers that you must follow so that the babies keep sleeping soundly throughout the session.
Let’s learn the tactics to keep the little ones calm and still.
1. Use a Baby Shusher
This machine works magic. It generates a white noise that cuts off noises from surroundings that wake the baby up. If you can’t invest in a machine, simply download a white noise app on your phone or play a video with white noise from YouTube.
Keep the volume of the noise louder than the cry of the baby. That’s the main trick.
2. Work With Upto 2 Weeks Old Babies
The best age to work with the infants is between 5 to 14 days. The earlier, the better.
Newborns, in the first few weeks, tend to sleep for long durations at a stretch. This gives the photographers a more relaxed environment to work in.
You can efficiently play around with baby poses and angles. You can also be twice as creative as you could be with a few weeks old babies waking up every now and then.
3. Don’t Swaddle Every Baby.
A tightly swaddled baby sleeps soundly and remains straight and warm. That is a fact.
Also, the wrap’s tightness imitates a mother’s cuddled hug, and so the baby feels secure. This is a secret to a happy and comfortable baby, ready for a memorable photoshoot.
But not every baby is the same. Before trying out the cliched non-practical tips, we recommend checking the baby’s comfort level with your techniques of soothing them.
Some babies just can’t stand being tied up. Put your effort into finding what is working out for this unique individual. Make this little miracle as comfortable as you can, and we promise they will not let your efforts go in vain.
If your subject is loving being swaddled up, try your hands on a doll before the shoot to create different looks with a wrap.
Get Them Posing Right
Once the baby is sound asleep, he is ready to be molded in whatever pose you want.
There are indeed so many different poses to try when it comes to babies.
But what helps keep them rested in that pose with comfort and safety? Which props make the molding process seem less of a task?
The answers are right down here.
1. Hold The Pose With Your Hands.
Once you have set their tiny toes and hands in place for the perfect pose, keep your hands on them to make them feel secure in the changed posture.
Later on, edit and remove the hand from the final picture.
2. Lie Them on a Soft Surface
When you curl up the baby to get your desired pose, it is essential to rest them on a soft bean bag, couch, or bed.
A rug would work too.
The soft surfaces these props provide help turn out the pose exactly how you want them.
3. Don’t Force a Pose
Okay, you might have tried a particular pose on twenty different newborns, and they all turned out well.
But this doesn’t mean you can force the same pose on every baby.
Workaround the baby a bit, and you will know soon which position the baby feels the most relaxed in.
That’s it. You have your pose with you. Take as many pictures as you require in this pose because the baby likes it in there.
Make Them Smile
With children at such a young age, capturing the ‘ideal emotions’ is pure luck. They smile when they want, and that is usually very sudden and impulsive. Obviously, you can’t always keep your cameras ready to capture their million-dollar smiles.
That is where the ‘efforts’ part comes in.
Try these successful tricks and get them smiling:
Make the mother whisper something in the newborn’s ear. This will result in an interactive and enjoyable session for the parents too.
Tickle them with a gentle touch or light object like a feather around their cheeks.
Blow gently over their faces and keep your cameras ready to not miss the sweet grin that comes along.
Note: Try all these tricks when the baby is entering the deep sleep cycle. Taking deep breaths is indicative of the baby going into a sound sleep where it is easier to make them smile.
Use The Least Number of Props
Newborn photography is an ideal field for those who plan to start a photography business on a tight budget.
It requires minimal investment to start your career.
For instance, who needs props when a baby is enough to steal the show?
Babies are so attractive, even when they are asleep. One just can’t take his eyes off them.
You have to be cautious with the props for a newborn photoshoot. Don’t go overboard with them. Make sure the baby is the centerpiece, and nothing is distracting the viewers from him.
In fact, you can create a masterpiece using a blanket as the only prop!
Advice: Use thick and textured blankets as backgrounds as they are less likely to get wrinkles. This makes the post-processing session to smoothen the backdrop less tiring.
Right Selection of Colors is Important
The color execution sets the mood and makes everything (especially the baby) look pretty.
What Colored Props and BackDrops Should I Choose?
To select colors for props and backdrop, discuss the location with your clients to display the images.
Make sure the colors don’t overshadow the main subject, “Newborn.”
Muted Natural Tones – For Master Bedroom Decor
With babies being such a colorful subject within themselves, you don’t really need popping colored props or backgrounds to pull off a great shot.
Babies stand out in earthy-toned backdrops and props.
Nothing beats the combination of muted tans, greys, rusts, greens, and browns with the baby’s skin tone when it comes to texture and richness.
They help create the sensation of warmth and love that comes along with a baby.
If the client tells you that the newborn gallery will be hanged up there in the master bedroom, these neutrals would be the perfect choice to go with.
Soft Pastel Colors – For Nurseries
There is something so serene about pastel hues that one can’t resist using them as a significant part of a photography session.
Pale pink, butter yellow, magic mint – they all help focus on your adorable subject.
A session based on a pastel color theme will serve as the perfect decor for baby nurseries.
Some Tips For The Parents
One more thing that will make the newborn photoshoot turn out exactly how you want it to be.
They need to know how to prep-up their little one for the spotlight.
Before they come over to your studio or you go over to their place, tell them to:
Feed them well just before the session starts so that the babies enjoy a peaceful and long sleeping time.
Try keeping them up for at least two hours before the shooting time. They will be so tired by the time shooting begins that the only thing they would do is sleep.
Give them a good warm bath and a relaxing oil massage.
A baby is a difficult subject to photograph. But it is also fun and rewarding.
With the above tips, you will pull off an effortless newborn photoshoot with satisfied clients leaving your studio.