Pudgy cheeks, ten tiny toes, snoozing eyelashes, wisps of soft hair and most importantly, the baby smell. But, it doesn’t take long for a newborn to be running around half-naked and creating a mess everywhere they go. Childhood goes by at lightning speed due to which it is all the more important to capture those beautiful moments with newborn photography. Taking photos of a newborn seems extremely simple. After all, newborns just sleep and don’t move around much, right? No, that’s not true. Newborns are actually the most challenging subjects because they cannot hold their head up, which can make it difficult to find the right pose.
Newborns also require breaks for getting a fresh diaper or for eating, which means a photo session that could have been done in minutes will stretch to a few hours. Plus, lots of newborns also have blotchy and red skin that can be very difficult to edit. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that newborn photography is impossible. It is not that different from the first few months as a new parent and you will get the hang of it eventually. Here are some of the best tips that can help you in mastering newborn photography as soon as possible:
Make safety a priority
Newborn photography is not as it appears to be. The photographs that you see online with babies wearing a fire helmet, propping their heads in a froggy pose or lying in a hammock are all Photoshop tricks. You should never use props with babies as it is dangerous and babies cannot hold their heads like that. You shouldn’t expect to start with newborn photography in the same way as professionals who have been doing this for a decade. You have to take precautions and should stick to poses that the baby can hold themselves. These are very sweet and most importantly, sweet.
Photograph them before they are two weeks old
You need to bear in mind that newborns will not remain new for very long. After a couple of weeks, babies become more alert and start looking around. The sleepy newborn pictures you come across are taken when babies are less than two weeks old. That’s when babies like to snooze the most. Reduce the challenges of newborn photography by doing the shoot before they turn two weeks old. Older babies are more alert, awake and more likely to move their hands and wriggle out of their swaddle.
Establish a baby-friendly environment
Newborns are new to this world so everything is new for them. If you want to keep the little one sleeping while the camera makes sounds, the lights change and prop adjustments are made, you should make some preparations. Before you start shooting, create a baby-friendly and warm environment that has a consistent noise level. The temperature also needs to be comfortable because the baby is less likely to fuss in this way. Don’t make the room completely noise free as the noise will keep the baby calm. They will not be alarmed with the camera noise if there is already sound in the room.
Sleeping babies are really peaceful
Most of the newborn photos that you come across will show you calm babies and this means they are usually sleeping. Taking pictures of a sleeping adult may come off as weird, but in newborn photography, you have to spend some time in getting the baby to sleep. Not only do they look peaceful when they are asleep, but it also makes them easier to work with as they will not wiggle around and will not try to pull out of the swaddle. This doesn’t mean that you cannot take pictures of a baby that’s wide awake, but poses will become limited.
Expect to spend most of the time calming your baby
Newborn photography sessions are mostly a couple of hours long and you will only have a handful of pictures to show for it. When working with newborns, patience is vital. You will spend most of your time in calming down the baby, adjusting for new poses and taking the inevitable break because the baby’s diaper may be dirty or it may be hungry. Don’t schedule a short newborn session and always leave a few hours for taking their pictures.
Use a beanbag for posing
One of the biggest challenges of newborn photography is the poses. How do you get the baby to pose when they cannot hold their heads up? One of the best ways to get some natural newborn poses is with the help of a beanbag. There are beanbags that are especially designed for this task and working with them is easier. You can also use a regular beanbag, which costs you less. You can disguise it with the help of backdrops or blankets. There are other baby-friendly props you can also use, such as a nursing pillow, buckets or baskets.
Adjust the composition for getting more variety
The problem with newborn photography is that any time you move the baby, you have to start the process of getting them to sleep all over again. If you want to get a variety of shots and do so without overwhelming the baby, you can turn a single pose into several ones. How? All you have to do is adjust the composition and the props. You can take a take a picture of just head and shoulders. Then, a full length shot. You can take a picture directly from above and another from their level and one more from a different angle. You can make more adjustments, other than height. Another option is to emphasize different aspects of the same pose. The props can also be changed like using a different headband or draping a blanket of another color.
Look into the details
Newborn photography is a great opportunity to try out macro photography. Take some close-ups of those teeny tiny toes and fingers. Think of eyelashes and the new belly button too. This will help you capture details that full shots cannot achieve.