The appearance of a new life is such a magical moment! Excitement, panic during the long pregnancy, stress during birth, tears of relief after the first cry is heard… And the cute baby is born, bringing so many great emotions that it’s hard to resist capturing all these first moments of life with a camera.
Well, many people don’t limit themselves, becoming clients of people who call themselves newborn photographers.
Possibly this is because these people realize that pretty soon their infant angels will start talking and demanding money for a new iPhone.
When people try to take pictures of their babies by themselves, they often discover that the result is far from their expectations – and far from the beautiful reality being captured. There are several rules for newborn photography that you should take into consideration.
By following these rules, anyone can become a newborn photographer. It’s just a matter of time and willingness.
Notwithstanding your plans for the future, we highly recommend learning these rules — that is, if you want your models to grow up happy and without the shock of a stressful photo shoot during their first days of life.
This guide is for people who want to conquer the creative and complex area of infant photography and learn how to create awesome and accurate baby portraits.
Tip 1. Acquire basic photography knowledge before taking any baby pictures.
How can you create awesome newborn photos? First of all, make sure you know everything about the peculiarities of how your camera works, the rules of proper lighting, and the specifics of various lenses.
Capturing newborn photos requires the same set of rules as other types of photography. So start from the basics in any case. In terms of proper equipment for taking baby pictures, most resources advise DSLRs or silent mirrorless cameras.
However, the task of this post isn’t to explain the fundamentals of photography. To check your knowledge, read everything possible, from the list of photo composition techniques to more specific materials on infant photography).
The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel while practicing in such a specific art as newborn photography.
Tip 2. Choose your area of interest in newborn photography.
Basically, there are two styles for newborn pictures: the traditional style and lifestyle photography. They differ based on the goals you want to pursue during the baby photoshoot. We recommend determining what interests you before experimenting.
But don’t choose based on time spent during a photoshoot. Generally, both traditional and lifestyle photoshoots require around three hours. So you won’t fix your work-life balance by choosing one in favor of the other. Consider something more.
Traditional baby photography
If you decide to work in the traditional style of capturing newborns, never forget to take your time on proper preparation. You should learn about the basics of baby poses and create special newborn photography props and outfits.
Traditional newborn photography requires solid knowledge and additional equipment. Because you’re capturing very special models, a good camera, various lenses, accurate lighting, posing bags, wraps, and backdrops are critical. To get great baby pictures, pay attention to the tiniest details: even the sound your camera makes while shooting matters.
Concerning photo props, try to use any available equipment in a creative way before deciding to buy something new. You may be surprised, but towels and blankets are the best photo props for newborn photos. They provide a smooth background with a simple color that pleases the eye.
Lifestyle baby photography
If you fancy more natural results, lifestyle newborn photography is the right direction for your professional development. In fact, it’s easier to prepare and take this type of baby photos.
For lifestyle newborn photography, you won’t need any additional materials and can enjoy the ability to take awesome pictures in natural surroundings. But don’t think this is a shortcut to learning. In the case of lifestyle photography, your creativity and knowledge about the challenges of natural light are needed.
When taking your first steps in lifestyle newborn photography, don’t hesitate to adjust your baby photos in photo editing software. Below, you’ll find a very useful tool to make instant and Photoshop-like changes to your images in a simple manner.
Tip 3. (Very important!) Never forget that safety should be the top concern of a newborn lifestyle photographer.
Remember: newborn photography is the only area where a model’s safety is the complete responsibility of the photographer. In other words, if you’re not sure about the safety of a child, you can’t claim to be a professional photographer.
To take traditional baby portraits, you need to be experienced in working with different newborn poses. Moreover, it’s critical to establish proper lighting. The highly sensitive eyes of newborns call for taking this into consideration.
Even in lifestyle newborn photography, the concept of baby safety is critical. Proper swaddling requires special knowledge.
What does this mean in practice? As a newborn photographer, consider the importance of insurance coverage prior to the photo session – along with a solid contract, photo release, and an educational background.
Also, don’t hesitate to investigate the topic of newborn photography further to make sure you understand different safety basics of infant photography. Keep in mind that your models will surely need help from parents. Newborns are highly dependent and cannot keep complex poses alone.
For a proper start, Expert Photography advises putting a newborn on its back. This position is both safe and easy.
Tip 4. Have the right traits for a newborn photographer.
To start taking pictures of babies, you should present yourself as someone with all the traits needed for a professional in newborn photography. That’s why it’s so important to start with a feeling of self-confidence and knowledge of safety basics.
In addition, get ready to be flexible. Newborns are highly unpredictable, so consider possible shifts in the schedule. In this art, there exists a ten-day rule, which says that the optimal age for a newborn to be photographed is five to ten days.
Additionally, safety concerns increase the importance of communication skills. During a photo session, demonstrate calmness and confidence – that’s crucial.
For lifestyle newborn photos, be creative: think outside the box and engage the whole family in an activity to capture inspiring moments. The same applies to traditional baby pictures. The clever placement of a mother can result in outstanding photos (for example, where the newborn appears alone but relaxed).
Tip 5. Search for inspiration in newborn photos by other artists.
Taking into consideration the safety concerns and the specifics of newborn models mentioned above, not all the baby picture ideas in your head can work well in reality. Because of this, we recommend checking the best examples of maternity photography and family photography available on the internet. This will help you gain a proper understanding of what good newborn photography actually looks like.
No matter which photos inspire you, remember that the best newborn family photos are made with an infant that has a nice and sleepy face (not crying and suffering!).
As another great source for newborn photo ideas, smartphone baby shots of babies can provide insights into how to make detailed pictures of newborns. Moreover, mobile photographers can be highly creative while creating lovely setups – feel free to use their images for inspiration too! Being supplemented by the functionality of a high-quality color photo editor, the result will surely impress your clients.
Tip 6. Never underestimate the post-processing stage.
To achieve outstanding results while working with newborn family photos, consider post-processing as an important stage of your work. If you’re making the first steps in this area, even a maternity photoshoot can be challenging. And so, a good photo editor can fix the unexpected problems. Or add the necessary lighting when an unexpected contrast problem appears.
However, some people experience serious problems while working with post-processing tools in Photoshop. If you think you’re among them, consider Luminar for your editing needs. Luminar is powerful enough to eliminate most of the headaches that appear while dealing with traditional Photoshop tools. In particular, Luminar lets you start editing easily, offers useful ideas, and contains an optimal number of buttons to remain effective yet understandable.
In fact, you can evaluate the functionality of Luminar for yourself. Buy it or check out the free trial version below!