Newborn portraiture is a take on portrait photography. Only the subjects are typically less than two weeks old.
It’s 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?
It is the only area of photography where the photographer is solely responsible. They need 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 easily put them back to sleep.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in a few pieces of equipment to help this process.
A white noise machine or soothing sounds can make a difference. Do you want a sleepy baby or a wailing newborn?
Your camera equipment is only important in capturing the little one. As long as you can change lenses and shoot in raw format, you can use anything.
Your creativity and editing skills are what makes the image stunning.
Running a newborn photography business is a great way to photograph your favorite subject. It’s also a great way to challenge yourself.
Research and invest in lighting equipment. This will ensure amazing image quality from that soft, ambient light.
Natural light is also a great source for newborn portraiture as it adds a warm, fuzzy tone.
Read the rest of our tips and advice for creating the best work, keeping mummy and daddy happy.
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 shoot silently, keeping the newborn undisturbed.
Both of these cameras provide great quality images, able to produce large prints.
Read the article here on all the different camera systems. And how they will benefit your newborn portraiture.
Photographing newborns is no easy task. Thankfully, 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.
Luckily, most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have the capacity to shoot different scenarios. For other camera gear recommendations, read our article here.
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, and 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.
For newborn photography, you can create simple, inexpensive setups. They will help you to photograph the little one.
What we see, across all areas of photography, is that simplicity is key. Viewers relate better to simple images because they understand them more easily.
Focus on only using simple colored backdrops and materials. This makes it easier to set the correct white balance. It will also help with color correcting during post-processing.
You wont need to worry about color casts, or reflected tones affecting your newborns’ skin.
How To Start
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 successfully.
Feeding and nap times are important. But knowing the baby’s age can help considerably. Typically, 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.
Newborns are great to photograph, as they sleep a lot and hardly move. Saying that they need a lot of attention and cooing when they are awake between shots.
They are both your best and worst clients. It goes without saying that safety comes first. You will see many images where the newborn looks completely on their own.
Yet, that isn’t the case, it comes down to clever mother placement and image stacking.
Post-processing allows this effect to happen. Read all our tips on how to photograph newborns here.
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.
Our recommendation is to wait until the newborn is nice and sleepy. This allows you to pose and photograph freely.
You will find this is easier when the newborn is only a few days old. Whereas a week old newborn can take up to an hour to fall asleep.
Read here for the other 11 tips to help you get started.
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 either need to be taken with you. Or already in the location, 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.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of what you need, your newborn photography is going to need a boost to reach that wow factor.
One tip that will really help your photography, is just to have confidence when you shoot.
This will help to put the parents at ease, soothing the baby and getting those stunning shots.
Confidence comes from practice, knowledge and believing in yourself. It is invaluable as a tool for your newborn portraiture.
Read the other four tips here on how to improve your photography.
If you are seeking inspiration, look no further. As photographers, we are always trying to create unique content. This comes from original photo shoot 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.
New parents love newborn portraiture. It offers them a capture of a fleeting moment in their lives, one that is impossible to get back.
This is why we need to use the best possible materials. It allows you to capture the best possible newborn photography.
Lightweight cotton wraps are a favorite in newborn portraiture. These are for swaddling the baby, so chances are, they are already accustomed to them.
They offer a tight covering, allowing the shape of the baby to show. Many of these host different patterns, that can add texture to a plain and simple backdrop.
Read here for more ideas on fabrics to use, to create better newborn photography.
Smartphones are a great tool for capturing precious moments in time. They allow you to take great 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 go swimmingly from the get-go. It will take time and patience.
One idea on how to pose your newborn subjects is within a flower wreath. This is a unique idea 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 work well.
Read the article here for photographic examples and a step-by-step guide.
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 images.
Here, we have compiled a list of the most adorable props, safe for newborn photography. Capture them in style, and start by reading here.
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, and 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 newborns should be relatively easy. Wait for them to fall asleep and then pose them in any number of humorous positions you see fit. After that, let’s get back to work.
Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near that easy. This is definitely an art form in itself. Start slowly and make sure the baby is comfortable and most of all, safe.
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. Read our article here for all the tips you will ever need.
There will be times when you want to capture the family alongside the newborn. 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? Luckily for you, we thought of that already.
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.
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 widely 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 just 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!
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 great for an indoor subject which is often overlooked and it costs nothing.
The effect of the window on the outdoor light is essentially 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.
But this is only a natural light source dependent on the time of day and weather. You’ll need to pay close attention to the quality of the light.
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 accordingly. 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!
As you will see, from taking quality images of newborns, the parents might decided 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.
Read the article here on different baby plans to help your newborn photography business.
Here, we have broken down the list of things you need to be a newborn photographer to ten necessary items. The camera and lenses are the first two you need.
There are a few things you might not think about but will help your workflow immensely. A space heater will keep the baby warm, especially when naked.
A white noise machine is a great choice, as they are still used to the noise inside the womb. The noise will help them feel comfortable and keep them sleeping.
Read the rest of the must-have items here, in the article.
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 risk of legal action against them. The contract needs a notary for effectiveness.
One rule for photographing people is to get a model release. This is a contract between both parties, allowing the use of the model’s image.
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 in a timely manner is paramount.
That’s where Pixieset comes in. This is a platform that allows you to easily 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! It’s definitely 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. Especially in a timely manner.
This is 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 asap.
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 our 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 makes 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 substantially.
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.