Newborn and baby photography has become a booming industry with all kinds of props, outfits, and gear for photographers to use. Although some of these accessories can be useful, the photographer is still the most important factor for getting great baby photos. The photographer’s experience, forethought, and planning are all essential for a successful baby photo shoot.
While there are big differences between newborns and older babies, all ages and personalities share one quality in common: unpredictability. Even the most peaceful newborn can have an “off” day, and a baby who cries a lot may still have a sudden sweet smile. This unpredictability can be exciting or intimidating. It just depends on how you approach the shoot.
With so much unpredictability, you might be tempted to take a spontaneous approach. “Let’s just see what happens,” you might think. However, spontaneity rarely leads to perfect baby portraits.
In fact, the best strategy is to plan more, not less. For the greatest chance of success, you need to consider and prepare for all kinds of scenarios. This can be daunting for the first shoot, but it’ll get easier every time.
Planning is especially important for newborn photo shoots. Although sleepy newborns can sometimes be easy to work with, they do require extra supplies and special precaution. For instance, it’s best to avoid wearing perfume or cologne when photographing newborns, as their sense of smell is quite sensitive. Likewise, you’ll want to have a space heater and/or warm blankets nearby, since their tiny bodies get cold very quickly.
Most importantly, you need to be extremely careful when posing newborns. As a newborn photographer, you’re fully responsible for the baby’s safety. While the parents can help with soothing and comforting, they rely on you for safe posing. If you’re not careful or well-prepared, you can end up injuring the fragile newborn with unsafe poses.
To safely get cute photos of newborns, you can choose to either use easy, natural poses, or create unique poses with editing software like Photoshop. This article on HuffPost gives examples of newborn portraits that were made possible with clever editing and photography.
Newborn and Baby Photos
For more guidance on how to have a smooth (and safe!) newborn photo shoot, check out these 5 Tips to a Stress-Free Newborn Photo Session. Then, for inspiration, look through the following photos selected from our fantastic community on Flickr.