Newborn babies are tiny precious beings who are not just the source of their parents’ pride and joy, but also the attention-grabbing subjects of photographs. Many new parents want to document everything about their new arrival and the camera is at the ready even in the delivery room. From the baby’s sweet smiles to their adorable hands and feet, they’re simply irresistible as photo opportunities, so much so that the newborn photography industry is thriving. By “newborn”, I’m loosely referring to the first few weeks of the baby’s life.
Whether you are planning to photograph newborns as a business, or if you want to capture memories of your brand new baby, or you simply have the opportunity to photograph a newborn, here are some newborn photography tips to consider:
Include parent/s in the shot – one newborn photography tip is to include one or both parents in some of the shots. Babies grow up so fast and capturing that profound bond between parent and baby will probably be some of the family’s most cherished photographs.
Create black and white photos – with black and white photography, textures, lines, and shapes are highlighted, details which might otherwise be overlooked in a color photograph. Tip: shoot in color and convert to black and white in post-processing. This way, you have a colored version if you prefer it later.
Shoot close-ups – this newborn photography tip is an oldie but goodie: get closer. Newborns are so small that their features are usually better appreciated up close, from their teeny tiny toes to their ultra soft and smooth skin.
Use indirect lighting – newborns are delicate, fragile beings and when photographing them, it’s ideal to use indirect lighting and to avoid frontal flash. Not only can the light from a flash hurt the baby’s eyes, but it will most likely also create harsh shadows and a flat effect that removes fine details which will result in an unappealing image.
Talk to the parents – if you are shooting newborns as part of your photo business, it is essential to talk with the parents and discuss the process of the photo session, including the poses, themes, and results. Some parents have specific ideas in mind while others are willing to let you do most of the conceptualizing.
Safety first – always keep in mind that you are taking pictures of a newborn, a living, breathing, fragile human being who is vulnerable and defenseless. When doing the compositions, see to it that the baby is always safe and warm, with no chance of slipping off a surface. You might have seen hundreds of shots of babies sleeping comfortably on top of giant flowers, clouds, baskets, and such. Most of these have been planned very carefully to ensure the baby is totally protected during the shoot. In fact, many of the photos are composites, or two or more photos merged into one to make it appear as if the baby is lying directly on top of the object.
Keep these simple but important newborn photography tips in mind. And if you plan to set up a photo session, familiarize yourself further with the basics of how to safely handle newborns before, during, and after the shoot.