Photographing a newborn can be challeging for professionals, and even more daunting for parents or amateurs. It doesn’t have to be if you do some advance prep and get some advice from the experts. Dreamstime Professional Photographer Barbara Helgason offers these 10 must-see tips:
1. Safety first. This should go without saying. Babies have a startle reflex and their strong little legs can do a froggy kick and propel them forward. Always, always, have mom sitting right next to baby within arm’s reach.
2. Young babies are sleepy babies and sleepy babies make the best little models. Try to photograph them as young as possible, usually between 7 and 10 days old. As they get a little older they start becoming a bit more awake and alert. Also many newborns develop newborn acne around two weeks of age, so that is another reason to plan your sessions as early as possible.
3. Warm babies are sleepy babies, and do we love sleepy babies. Crank up the heat a couple of hours before a newborn session. It should be uncomfortably warm in the room so baby can rest well.
4. Hungry babies are not happy and they are definitely not sleepy. Babies should have a full tummy and to be prepared to feed, a lot if needed. Ideally we want baby to feel the way we do after a big turkey dinner.
5. All babies love white noise. You can also get womb sounds online. Those a bit more soothing. You can play them on your phone and tuck it under the blanket behind baby’s head. If you do use your phone, don’t forget to put it into the do not disturb mode. For a really fussy baby shushing in his or her ear will also work wonders.
6. Patience, patience patience. Newborn sessions should absolutely not be rushed. Getting those cute little poses takes time. Hold their little arms and legs gently in the position you want until you can sense they’ve settled into a deep sleep. Pay attention to detail. Take the time to open those little fists and uncurl each of their tiny fingers. Rub the frowns out of their little foreheads. Gently tug their cheeks and if you’re lucky they may even give you a little smile.
7. Invest in the right props. Bean bags, thick plush and textured blankets, knitted hats, head bands, and wraps and diaper covers are great investments. Also, a basket of washcloths in various shapes and sizes are great to slide in under the blanket, to help position baby. These can be tucked under to tilt baby’s face just so, to lift their bottoms a bit more, etc etc.
8. Don’t forget to zoom in and get close ups of their eyelashes, little fingers and little toes. And if baby is crying, keep it real and capture those tears as well.
9. Don’t shoot up the babies nose. It’s the one angle that’s never ever attractive.
10. And last but definitely not least is lighting. Really, if you don’t have good lighting, none of they above tips will matter at all. Placing your beanbag next to large bright window. Look for soft shadows and learn to see the light. Photography is always about the light. You may have the most expensive camera and the best and fastest lenses, but if you don’t have the right lighting, you will not get a single good image.
We hope these tips help! Good Luck, Parents!