Newborn portraiture is a take on portrait photography. Only the subjects are often less than two weeks old.
Newborn portraits are about capturing this beautiful moment before the child grows up. Soon enough they will start asking for pocket money and borrow the car.
What is Newborn Photography?
Newborn photography is a genre that focuses on capturing newborn babies. It is the only area of photography where the photographer needs to have the well being of the subject as the main priority. Safety is key.
The great thing is, you will have parents who can act as your assistants, holding and posing the baby. They can also make them laugh, and put them back to sleep.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in a few pieces of equipment to help this process.
Read our full guide to newborn photography tips and advice for creating the best work. And keeping mummy and daddy happy.
Camera Equipment for Newborn Photography
DSLRs are perfect for newborn photography. They can shoot in raw, allow for lens changing and have a high ISO range.
Mirrorless systems are also great as they are silent and keep the newborn undisturbed.
Both of these cameras provide great quality images, able to produce large prints.
Photographing newborns is no easy task. Most of them can’t move so well, so they tend to stay where you place them.
This doesn’t mean they can’t fall, roll over or pull faces that are less than admirable.
A camera for photographing scenes with newborns needs to have the right settings. Such as a wide range of ISOs and shutter speeds.
Your lenses should have a variety of apertures, as these will help you in low light.
Newborn Props & Accessories
When beginning your newborn portraiture business, start small. You may think you need to buy all the props and accessories you can get your hands on.
What you might not realize is that you already own many of these props. All you need is a little creativity. That will save you money and time.
One accessory that will give you many different backgrounds and settings is a towel. These come in all kinds of colors and add interesting textures to your image.
Read on for more simple yet fantastic everyday objects that you can use as props.
Nothing quite makes a person wish for the ability to freeze time like holding a newborn baby. But while pausing the space-time continuum isn’t possible, freezing that moment is — you just need a camera.
But what are the best camera settings for newborn photography? How do you keep the photo sharp, but the background blurred?
The best baby photography settings blur out the distractions. They freeze any movement for sharp memories of those first few months of a child’s life.
As a newborn photographer, a huge range of props allows you to be versatile in your captures. More props allow you to take many unique newborn photos.
Here, we have compiled a list of the most adorable props, safe for newborn photography. Capture them in style, and start by reading here.
How To Start Taking Newborn Photos
Knowing where to start with your newborn portraiture can be a challenge. Acquiring and finding a few simple props is a great place to start.
Knowing how to use these props is the key here. Layering blankets, towels and other materials create the perfect setting.
Remember, you are dealing with a few kilograms of incontinent floppiness. Waterproof sheets or puppy pads are a great way to protect the more expensive items you own.
Planning your newborn photography shoot effectively is very important. You need to know a great deal about the baby to be able to photograph them well.
Feeding and nap times are important. But knowing the baby’s age can help a lot. Often, within the first two weeks works best for newborns.
At this age, the newborns are easier to pose. You will find they curl up much easier than they will in a week or two.
Use this knowledge to your advantage, and make the appointment as soon as possible. Learn more about the planning stage of baby photoshoots here.
13 Tips for the Sweetest Newborn Photography Sessions
Photographing newborns can be a challenge at the best of times. Crying is a common occurrence that will only give you one interesting photograph. It isn’t great for a whole series.
- Prioritize safety in newborn photography
- Take photos of newborns before two weeks old
- Create a warm and consistent environment for the photo shoot
- Try to photograph sleeping babies for peaceful-looking photos
- Use caution when attempting complex or potentially hazardous poses
- Dress in layers to adjust to the temperature in the room
- Use white noise to keep the baby calm
- Photograph newborns while they are sleeping or when they are awake but calm
- Use props and accessories carefully and with caution
- Avoid overloading the baby with too many props and accessories
- Try to capture natural expressions and poses
- Work with the baby’s natural sleep patterns to get the best photos
- Take breaks and be patient during the photo shoot
If you are an on-location photographer, your preparation and workflow are going to be a little different.
Every tool or prop you use will need to be taken with you. Or has to be in the location where you are shooting.
The biggest tip we can pass on is that the parents need to have as much information as possible.
Parents will have a better idea about the location, they will own the props that you will use.
They will also be your assistants in posing and keeping the newborn happy. Learn more about being an on-location newborn photographer here.
If you are seeking inspiration, look no further. As photographers, we are always trying to create unique content. This comes from original photoshoot concepts.
This doesn’t mean that looking at and copying other images isn’t a good place to start. It will act as training until you find your own feet.
No matter the genre you are specializing in, we all need photography inspiration from time to time. Photography is about lifelong learning. And who are the best teachers? Other photographers, of course.
Never stop looking at other artist’s work. You can learn new techniques or find inspiration in their photos.
We collected 10 famous baby photographers who are great sources of creative ideas. And their newborn photos are heart-melting.
Adult subjects are proactive in deciding what to wear for a photoshoot. Newborns have no choice but to rely on the photographer’s styling ideas.
Newborn photos often have the same outfits. Sure, you need to be safe and use materials that are comfortable for the babies. But there is still space for creativity.
Read our article on the 10 best newborn photography outfits.
Smartphones are a great tool for capturing precious moments in time. They allow you to take high-quality images easily.
Through apps, you can edit, add filters and post your images. All in one tiny package.
One tip we can offer you here is to focus on the details. An iPhone allows you to get closer to a subject, locating those easy to miss wrinkles newborns have
Read here on other ways you can use your smartphone to capture amazing images.
Mistakes are helpful, as you learn how not to do something, letting you work towards getting it right.
Photography is no different. By getting out there and applying your knowledge, you will start to see what works and what doesn’t.
This article here is to help you get past these mistakes, learning faster and faster. This will allow you to take better images sooner, rather than later.
One mistake to avoid is putting too much pressure on yourself. Stress is not going to help you capture that shot, it will work against you
Understand that photography, especially newborn portraiture won’t be a quick learning path. It will take time and patience.
One idea on how to pose your newborn baby is within a flower wreath. This is a unique concept to create stunning images the parents will love.
You will need an area with plenty of natural light, some flowers, time and some patience. Quick and simple doesn’t go with newborn portraiture.
Use a neutral background for this shot. Something earthy will work well with the flowers. So light beige or off white will be good choices.
Read the article here for photographic examples and a step-by-step guide.
Babies grow up fast and change so much even in days. There is no way people can schedule a professional photo shoot to capture every little milestone.
So it’s a smart idea to learn how to take DIY newborn photography at home. The photos might not look that professional. But DIY newborn photography has advantages.
Like you can take all the time you need. Or use any props that you have on hand.
For the rest of the tips, read here.
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.
Especially if a family just welcomed a new member and they are celebrating the baby’s first Christmas together.
No matter if you want to shoot a newborn photography session or capture an older baby. You will find the inspiration you need!
Posing newborns can be a little daunting on your first try. They are all floppy and can’t hold themselves well, if at all.
Move slowly, be confident and never put the baby in danger. Use the parents to hold the baby in different poses. Then Photoshop them out during the editing stage.
The back pose is one of the most common and the easiest to start with. Lay them on their back on soft material. Place their hands on their tummies.
While they are there, grab some detail shots of their hands and feet. For the other two poses, read the article here.
Posing a newborn is not the same as posing men or women. What you look for in adults, you look for the opposites in the baby.
Fat rolls and wrinkles are the focus, alongside their expressions. Place them in poses that extenuate and show these off.
You can also decide not to shoot posed newborn photos. Instead, you can choose to do lifestyle shots newborn photography. It means that the baby is in a natural setting and moves into an unaided pose.
Read our article here for all the tips you will ever need about posed newborn photography vs. lifestyle shots.
There will be times when you want to capture the family or the siblings alongside the newborn. In case you’re doing a photoshoot for newborn twins, read our article here about some useful tips! An image of the whole family is something the extended family and friends would love.
So how do you capture a little one alongside the grownups?
Here we have 12 compositional tips for family portraits. It looks at compositions, inspirations to follow and the important things to look out for.
Having something like this under your belt means more clients and happier ones. And happier clients talk, giving you more families to photograph.
Your studio is where all the gear comes together. This is your controlled environment. This is where you set up your camera, lighting, and other accessories.
These allow you to take portraits in the style and manner that suits you. If you’re getting started, you’ll want to set up one that is affordable.
Of course, setup isn’t everything. You will still need to work with the subject in the studio. This way, you get the look, feel, and the effect that you want in the portrait.
Get comfortable with working in the context of the studio. The faster you’ll do this, the faster you will be able to improve your newborn portraiture.
Read our tips here on how to set up your home studio.
By working in a studio, or building your own, you will find a lot of different choices for lighting. Flashbulbs are the most common as they are cheaper and available.
But there are other forms that will provide constant light, rather than a flash. These are incandescent and fluorescent and are generally used in studios.
Read our article here on the difference between these lights, and why and when you would use them.
If you have a Speedlite, why not try some DIY. Store-bought modifiers can be expensive to buy, and you might find you don’t use them all the time.
Creating them at home means harnessing a few benefits. You get to try different ways to light your portraits without spending a lot of money.
You can try before you buy the professionally made versions. Or keep the ones you made for future use.
With a few small pieces of plastic, you can create a few different modifiers. You might need to buy a pack of Pringles, but then you can enjoy them too! Read our tutorial on how to create DIY flash modifiers.
Studio lighting is a vast topic unto itself. There is a large amount of terminology that you’ll encounter when dealing with it.
Become familiar with the vocabulary of lighting. It will help you become better at working with different types of light.
Sources, patterns, and tools will help you take successful portraits.
This short glossary is a handy reference. You can check these when assembling your lighting kit.
This will also allow you to manipulate your lighting setup while working in the studio.
Using the natural light that shines in through a window is a great way to get soft light. This is an excellent light for an indoor subject. Window light is often overlooked and it costs nothing.
The effect of the window on the outdoor light is the same as that of a softbox on a flash. The intensity of the light lessens and the light becomes soft.
Done right, the effect can be very impressive and professional-looking. You are harnessing the power by moving the subject closer or further away from the window.
Check out this article to learn how to use natural window light for your newborn photos.
Newborn Photography Business Tips
Starting your own business is a huge undertaking, and it will be challenging. You will need to build it from the ground up, starting with investing money.
The fate of your business rest in your hands, and it will only continue if you price well. You need to know how much to charge your clients.
Don’t become discouraged by the competition or that you may not make a profit for the first two years. It can be a difficult market, and you need time to get the word out.
Read the article here on how to start your newborn portraiture business today!
If you take quality images of newborns, the parents might decide to come back as the baby grows. They are repeat buyers into your product.
This is great, as they trust you to capture those fleeting moments. This is when you might feel that a baby plan will help you gain more repeat customers.
The BOGO (buy one, get one) baby plan might be a great idea for you and your business.
Give the parents a free session after they booked the first three sessions within a year. This will ensure repeat business from happy customers.
The time between the sessions means they are more likely to buy prints from you. The difference in the baby will be large.
A newborn photography contract ensures both parties retain their rights.
It makes sure that neither side can do anything that was not pre-discussed and agreed upon. Such as sharing or editing images.
If not followed, either side suffers the risk of legal action against them. The contract needs a notary for effectiveness.
Most stock photography requires this if you wish to sell the images online.
Read here for the other nine tips on what your photography contract needs to have.
As a professional photographer, your business model is important. Delivering your images on time is essential
That’s where Pixieset comes in. This is a platform that allows you to share large files with your clients. This all comes at a monthly fee.
This means your clients will be happy, satisfied, and likely to work with you again! Pixieset is one of the top options for file sharing.
For the full review, and information on how to get started, read our article here.
Post-Processing Family Photography
We can all benefit from using a well-organized workflow. This is a great way to make sure you do everything you need to.
It is also a perfect way to tackle a paid newborn portraiture session. It ensures that everything goes according to plan without missing or losing images.
The best advice we can give you is to make sure you upload your images on time.
Create a folder on your hard drive that you will remember. Use the clients’ name and/or date for the best naming system.
All our tips covering the workflow are here, in this article.
No doubt you will take hundreds of images of the newborns to make sure you have a few perfect ones. After ten different poses and angles, you could end up with a thousand.
How are you going to cull and edit all these images that make sense timewise? One way to do this in Lightroom is to batch-process images at the same time, in one go.
A hundred images of a particular angle will have the same light. So when you correct the light for one, you can apply the adjustments quickly to the other 99.
One way we can achieve this is by using presets. These are pre-made adjustments other photographers have created. You are free to use them on your own images.
Read here on all the information you need on cutting down your editing time.
The best way to edit images into stunning captures is to make sure you get as close as you can with the photograph. You can’t fix an angle problem in Lightroom.
Try to capture a well-framed scene in-camera. This will give you great photographs and will cut down your editing time.
Newborns are soft and cuddly, so the images should reflect this tone and mood.
To generate smooth, creamy skin tones, use the contrast and clarity sliders. You can find these in Adobe Lightroom.
Reducing the contrast creates this dreamy feeling and soft appearance.
Read here on all the editing tips you need for newborn portraiture.
Nothing is more rewarding than being able to freeze time and capture precious moments in life. Taking photos of newborns is a challenging yet heart-melting photography genre.
One thing is sure: if you read our complete guide, you will know where to start. And with time, you can master this field and get more clients than you can handle.