Tidbits: Photographing Newborns

Newborns. They are so. stinking. adorable.

Little babies are one of my favorite things to photograph… but definitely one of the most challenging.

Today’s tidbits has just a few simple tips I have found to work (at least for me) when photographing newborns. Hope it helps you too!

Tip #1- Timing and Location

I recommend trying to schedule your newborn session in advance. It is important you have that shoot within two weeks of the due date (if the baby arrives early/late you may have to adjust a bit but, usually this timing works well). It is important to photograph newborns during those first two weeks because they are pretty sleepy (and deep sleepers too…) and they are still so tiny. Babies grow really fast. A month old baby already looks so much different than a one week old baby. I also try and schedule the session at the family’s home. One, it is more comfortable for mom and dad. They don’t have to pack up their things to try and get out of the house. And two, in my opinion, it is kind of fun to capture the family in an environment that is true to that stage of life. They spend a lot of time at home snuggling that newborn those first few weeks… that’s what I want them to remember in the images.

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Tip #2- Photograph the family with the baby. 

Getting some great shots of the baby individually is important. But, it is also important to get photos of mom, dad, and even siblings with the new addition. The interaction between them is pretty priceless. Try to encourage your clients to love on baby and each other.

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 Tip #3- Try and be calm and serene.

When you are calm, Mom will be calm and in turn our little subject will be as well. Have patience. I never try and rush a newborn session. Mom and Dad are still trying to figure this baby thing out most of the time. If I can see that the baby is too fussy, I will let Mom take over and do whatever it takes to soothe him/her. If  that means she needs to stop and feed the baby half way through the session, no worries. Then while Mom is cuddling the baby or tending to baby, I may take advantage of some good photo ops of the two of them together. Or I may use this time to photograph the nursery. A lot of thought goes in to the nursery… so I love to get some good shots of that for my clients.

 

Tip #4- Sleepy Photos

There is nothing quite like those photos of the newborns curled up in an adorable sleeping position. But, it takes patience and a few tries to get them that way. I usually try and pick a spot that is safe, comfy, and easy for the baby to naturally tuck their legs and sleep.

This would also a great time for your clients personalize their photos. While I am not a giant fan of using too many props or outfits, it is nice to have a personal prop or object in the photos. Maybe it means baby girl is wrapped up in a blanket great-grandma knitted or baby boy is laying on daddy’s army jacket, whatever it is, just remember to keep it simple. And if you can’t think of something specific… don’t feel like you have to copy something someone else has done (or something you saw on pinterest). I usually just suggest my clients use a basket or chair/couch that already matches their home decor. And honestly, the more simple the background, the more attention goes to the little one.

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Tip #5- Get the little details.

Those little toes, hands, cheeks…. the newborn yumminess comes and goes in a blink. So don’t forget to grab shots of those little things that will change so quickly. It doesn’t have to be done with a studio backdrop either. You can do these kinds of shots anywhere. It could also be a shot to grab while the baby is using a paci or being soothed to sleep. If the shot is just of their toes… you will never know what was going on top 🙂

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JackieApril 19, 2012 - 10:00 pm

So insightful!! Thanks so much for sharing your expertise.

CorinaApril 20, 2012 - 5:00 pm

Eeep! This is one of my favorite posts so far. I was just asked to do a newborn session, and I was kinda freaking out because I’ve not done one yet. So I’m pretty excited to put these tips to use! Thanks Jenny :]

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