So You Want To Be A Newborn Photographer…
As a newborn photographer you would specialise in taking photographs of babies newborn to about one year old. Typically a newborn photo session would happen while the baby is still under two weeks old as they are more likely to curl into “womb-like” poses, sleep heavier, are happy to be undressed and feed about every two hours. Also, babies under two weeks old are unlikely to have developed any baby acne. Most newborn sessions are scheduled during the week as it is quieter and more convenient for new parents. This is great if you have children yourself as they are most likely at school.
TYPES OF NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY
There are two main types of newborn photography; studio/styled and lifestyle.
A studio session tends to be booked while the baby is under two weeks old as they still move into curly poses and are happy to be unclothed. It’s common for a studio newborn photographer to use props such as bean bags, buckets, baskets etc and provide clothing such as wraps, blankets, hats and headbands. A session generally lasts up to four hours including breaks and pose changes and the images edited in software such as Photoshop and Lightroom so that the baby looks perfect and angelic.
On the other hand, a lifestyle session is more casual and can accomodate babies up to about six weeks old. The aim of a lifestyle shoot is to capture natural images of the baby, parents and their home environment. This often includes close ups of the nursery or favourite toys as well as lots of natural light images of the new family. This might include activities such as feeding time, bath time and cuddles. Typically, lifestyle newborn sessions last about 1-2 hours.
WHAT ABOUT PROPS?
It’s common for newborn photographers to use props in their photography. Props are generally chosen because:
- They suit your photographic style e.g. vintage, pastel, modern, simple, minimal, colourful.
- They are inspired by the family and their home e.g. classic, traditional, modern, eclectic, cosmopolitan, rural.
- They are inspired by colours in the home e.g. neutrals, soft blues, baby pinks, bright pops of colour, earthy tones.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
When you are photographing newborns makes sure to get images are both parents with baby. Babies are such novelties when they arrive that most parents spend every waking moment photographing everything their newborn does from sleeping to eating to bathing but often forget to be in the photographs themselves. So make sure to get some special images of both parents with their new bundle. Remember that a lot of newborn mothers might still be quite uncomfortable in themselves and nervous around their new baby so make sure to be gentle with them.
If a new baby has older brothers and sisters try to include them in the session too. A lot of baby photographers suggest you take the sibling and baby shots at the beginning of the session as toddlers won’t sit still for long. It’s best to get them out the way first so that they can go off and play for the rest of the session.
It’s incredibly popular to tie new parents into more photo shoots by offering “milestone sessions”. This could be showing baby crawling, starting to walk, and turning one. A lot of photographers now offer Cake Smash Sessions showing baby enjoying their first ever birthday cake. Be aware though, that for new parents the first year of their baby’s life will be the busiest and most challenging. Therefore it’s up to you as a photographer to make a note of when you should be offering each couple a new milestone offer.
P.S. Be aware that some babies develop sooner than others, so make sure you contact parents as soon as their baby might be moving into their next milestone. It’s always better to be premature than have missed the window.
- Schedule newborn sessions in the morning as babies are happier to be moved and unclothed. Also make sure the baby has had a feed before you start the session as they are more likely to snuggle down with a full tummy and sleep.
- “Natural” light is always best even if it’s helped along with a little artificial lighting. Flash photography tends to wake sleeping babies!
- Many newborn photographers suggest parents book their session while they’re still pregnant and for a date about one week after they’re due. If the baby then arrives a little early or late the date can easily be adjusted to suit.