But newborn photography isn’t any less impossible than surviving those first few months as a new parent on minimal sleep. Whether you are photographing your own new little one, or looking to branch out into newborn photography professionally, here are 12 newborn photography tips to get you started.
Natural light from a window is soft. Hard light, on the other hand, can emphasise imperfections in the skin and many newborns have a bit of redness or bumps.
Focus on only using simple coloured backdrops and materials. This makes it easier to set the correct white balance and colour correct during post-processing.
Of course, setup isn’t everything. You will still need to work with the subject in the studio to get the look, feel, and the effect that you want in the portrait.
But this is exclusively 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.
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.
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.
Studio lighting is a vast topic unto itself and there is a large amount of terminology that you’ll encounter when dealing with it.
If you are an on-location photographer, your preparation and workflow are going to be a little different.
Watch how the light falls on the baby and make any necessary adjustments. Altering the angle of the light between poses can help add variety too.
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.
Of course, you can take pictures after the two-week mark — but you’ll have to work harder to get that sleepy baby photo. Alert, awake babies are also more likely to wriggle out of a swaddle or move their hands out of that perfect spot.
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.
Luckily, most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have the capacity to shoot different scenarios. For other camera gear recommendations, read our article here.
This short glossary is a handy reference that you can check when assembling your lighting kit. This will also allow you to manipulate your lighting setup while working in the studio.
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography’s Photographer-In-Chief: Thank you for reading… CLICK HERE if you want to capture breathtaking images, without the frustration of a complicated camera. It’s my training video that will walk you how to use your camera’s functions in just 10 minutes – for free! I also offer video courses and ebooks covering the following subjects: Beginner – Intermediate Photography eBook Beginner – Intermediate Photography Video Course Landscape Photography eBook Landscape Photography Video Course Photography Blogging (Service) You could be just a few days away from finally understanding how to use your camera to take great photos! Thanks again for reading our articles!
But there are other forms that will provide a constant light, rather than a flash. These are incandescent and fluorescent and are generally used in studios.
Read here on all the information you need on cutting down your editing time substantially.
Natural light is also a great source for newborn photography as it adds a warm, fuzzy tone.
Shooting early, the baby may still have some umbilical cord left in the pictures. While many beautiful newborn images still include that umbilical cord stump, if that bothers you, try to schedule closer to that two-week mark rather than earlier.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Posing newborns can be a little daunting on your first try. They are all floppy and can’t hold themselves well, if at all.
Read the article here on all the different camera systems, and how they will benefit your newborn photography.
Our recommendation is to wait until the newborn is nice and sleepy, so you are free to pose and photograph easily.
They offer a tight covering, allowing the shape of the baby to show. Many of these host different patterns, that can add a texture to a plain and simple backdrop.
There are a few things you might not think about, but will help your work flow immensely. A space heater will keep the baby warm, especially when naked.
Read here for more ideas on fabrics to use, to create better newborn photography.
Photographing a newborn may seem simple at first — after all, they don’t move around, right?
Babies look peaceful while sleeping — and they are also easier to work with for photographs because they aren’t going to pull out of that swaddle. That doesn’t mean you can’t photograph a newborn that’s wide awake, but be aware that many of the poses you see aren’t possible with an alert baby because they wiggle out of that perfect placement of the hands and toes.
What you might not realise is that you already own many of these props. All you need is a little creativity, and that will save you money and time.
Stay away from the skin blur since that skin is baby soft already. Leave birth marks, cow licks and other quirks alone too.
It is the only area of photography where the photographer is solely responsible for the well being of the subject. Safety is key.
Newborn photography is a take on portrait photography. Only the subjects are typically less than two weeks old.
Everything is new to a newborn — and if you want the little one to keep snoozing away while the lights change, the camera makes noises and the props are adjusted, you are going to have to do some prep work. Work to create a warm environment with a consistent noise level before you shoot.
A hundred images of a particular angle will have the same light. So when you correct the light for one, you can apply the ajdustments quickly to the other 99.
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.
When it comes to starting your newborn photography business, you may think you need to buy all the props and accessories you can get your hands on.
Read the article here on different baby plans to help your newborn photography business.
One accessory that will give you many different backgrounds and settings is a towel. These come in all kinds of colours, and add interesting textures to your image.
But if a newbie photographer tried to take that same shot without knowing those precautions that were edited out later, the baby could be seriously harmed.
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.
If you want to move into those tricky shots right away, take a class or workshop on baby posing to learn all the precautions first.
Newborn photography is not all as it seems. That baby in a hammock? The little girl propping her head up in that froggy pose? And the little guy in a firefighter helmet? Those are all Photoshop tricks. Babies can’t hold their heads like that, and you should never place a baby inside a prop that may tip over or otherwise endanger the baby without taking proper precautions.
Set up by a large window, but preferably one that doesn’t have direct sunlight. If the window does have the sun angled directly outside, you can soften the light by using sheer curtains.
Lightweight cotton wraps are a favourite in newborn photography. These are for swaddling the baby, so chances are, they are already accustomed to them.
The room doesn’t have to be noise-free — and in fact, soft consistent noise often helps babies stay calm longer. If the room already has some noise, the baby is less likely to react to any noises you make during the shoot. The heater I use is fairly loud, so it doubles as a white noise machine.
Photography is no different. By getting out there and applying your knowledge, you will start to see what works and what doesnt.
Photographing newborns can be a challenge at the best of times. Crying is a common occurrence that will only give you one interesting photograph, not a whole series.
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.
In newborn photography, however, there’s a fine line between reducing skin redness and airbrushing skin that’s already baby smooth. Editing temporary imperfections such as skin redness and newborn acne is fine, but make sure looking at those photos makes mum remember those days.
We can all benefit from using a workflow. This is a great way to make sure you do everything you need to step-by-step, in a timely manner.
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.
Read our article here on the difference between these lights, and why and when you would use them.
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.
One way we can achieve this is by using presets. These are pre-made adjustments other photographers have created for you to use on your images.
Most newborn photos are of calm babies — and usually, that means they are also sleeping. Photographing a sleeping adult may be weird, but when photographing a newborn, expect to spend some time working to get the baby to sleep.
Through apps, you can edit, add filters and post your images, all in one tiny package.
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.
For newborn photography, you can create simple, inexpensive setups to photograph the little one on.
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.
Babies are unpredictable — if you are photographing your own child, you are probably well aware of that. Don’t have your creative vision set on a specific shot, or you may spend so much energy trying to get a shot that’s not going to work for that particular infant and miss plenty of other opportunities in the process.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in a few pieces of equipment to help this process.
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.
If you are shooting professionally or taking photos for a friend, remember to be patient as parents feed or change baby.
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.
This is a perfect way to tackle a paid newborn photograph session. It ensures that everything goes according to plan without missing or losing images.
Read the other four tips here on how to improve your photography.
Camera EquipmentRecommended Cameras For Newborn PhotographyCamera Gear For Newborn PhotographyProps & AccessoriesInexpensive SetupHow To StartStart-Up GuidePlanning StageHow to Photograph Newborns12 Tips for the Sweetest Newborn Photography SessionsTips for The On-Location Photographer5 Tips for Improving Your Newborn PhotographyBaby Photography IdeasBest Baby FabricsSmartphone Baby PhotographyMistakes to AvoidFlower Wreath ImagesPosing3 Easy Poses for Newborn PhotographyTips on Posing NewbornsStudio PhotographyTips For Setting Up Your Home StudioBest Lighting To Get Started WithDIY Flash ModifiersTechnicalPortrait Lighting TermsUtilising Natural Window LightBusinessStarting a Newborn Photography Business6 Tips on Starting a Successful BusinessBaby Photography Plans10 Must-Have Items10 Things Your Photography Contract Must IncludePost-Processing Family PhotographyNewborn WorkflowPost-Processing Under Two MinutesEditing Tip
Read here on other ways you can use your smartphone to capture amazing images.
You don’t need to invest hundreds of dollars in studio equipment to be a successful newborn photographer. Yes, some photographers have elaborate studio set-ups and do well, but starting out, the easiest (and cheapest) way to light newborn photos is with a window.
Once the shushing and soothing of the session is over, your work isn’t quite done yet. Editing can make a big impact on the overall mood of the image. Lightening shadows can create a softer look, while altering colour with the hue, saturation and luminance sliders can create the soft pastels often associated with newborn photography.
Understand that photography, especially newborn photography won’t go swimmingly from the get-go. It will take time, and patience.
If this is your first newborn shoot, stick with the poses that the baby can hold on their own. These shots are still sweet, but most importantly, are safe.
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.
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.
These allow you to take portraits in the style and manner that suits you. If you’re getting started with studio portraiture, you’ll most likely want to set up one that is affordable.
Newborn photography is also a perfect place to practice macro photography too. As you alter the composition, capture some close-ups of that teeny-tininess too. Think toes, hands, eyelashes, wisps of baby hair and that brand new belly button.
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.
Read the article here on how to start your newborn photography business today!
But newborns can be one of the more challenging photo subjects. They can’t hold their heads up, which can make finding an appropriate pose a challenge. They’ll need breaks to eat or get a fresh diaper, which pushes a few minutes of taking photos into a few hours. And many newborns will have red or blotchy skin that’s tricky to edit.
Newborn sessions are often a few hours long, all for a handful of pictures. Patience is key when working with newborns. Much of the time during the session will be spent getting the baby calm, moving to new poses and taking the inevitable break because baby is hungry or has a dirty diaper — or worse, but common, dirtied your prop or backdrop because there was no diaper.
This is why we need to use the best possible materials to capture the best possible newborn photography.
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.
Most newborn photos are done in that birthday suit, a swaddle, or a diaper cover. Clothes can be bulky and just cover up that newness. But, a naked baby is also a cold baby. Before shooting newborn photos, if possible, I bring a small space heater to warm the area up. Baby is less likely to fuss if the temperature is comfortable.
Your creativity and editing skills are what makes the image stunning.
But, you can also download a white noise track or app on your phone or play quiet lullabies during the shoot.
By giving the parents a free session after they booked the first three sessions within a year, you ensure their return.
It’s about capturing this beautiful moment before the child grows up and starts asking for pocket money and to borrow the car.
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.
If you are seeking inspiration, look no further. As photographers, we are always trying to create unique content from original photo shoot concepts.
Skin redness is often a problem in newborn photography and adjusting the luminance of the red and orange channels can help reduce that redness without spending lots of time at the computer. Newborn acne can be removed with the healing brush tool in Photoshop, Lightroom or another full-featured image editor.
The time between the sessions means they are more likely to buy prints from you, as the difference in the baby will be large.
You also don’t need to worry about colour casts, and reflected tones affecting your newborns’ skin.
Knowing how to use these props is the key here. Layering blankets, towels and other materials creates the perfect setting.
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.
Running a newborn photography business is a great way to photograph your favourite subject, and of course, challenge yourself.
The photo above, for example, would not have been possible without Photoshop. I had mum hold one side of the helmet to keep baby safe and took the shot.
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.
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.
For the other 5 tips on making your business successful, read the article here.
Photographing a newborn from their level, and capturing them up close will give you great photographs to edit later.
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.
Becoming familiar with the vocabulary of lighting will help you become better at working with different types of light. Sources, patterns, and tools will help you take successful portraits.
Adjusting the composition is an easy way to add more variety. Take a full length shot then take a head and shoulders. Shoot one from directly above and another on their level and maybe another somewhere between those angles. Consider more adjustments than just height too — moving a few feet to the right or left can add some variety and emphasize different aspects of the pose too.
If the baby is alert and looking around, capture photos that highlight those eyes. If baby is fussy even after breaks for feedings, try altering the temperature or noise level. Or try shooting photos with baby in mum’s arms. If baby doesn’t like a certain pose you had in mind, move on to the next one.
If newborns can’t hold their heads up, how do you pose them? A beanbag is an easy tool for helping contour the baby into natural poses. Beanbags designed for the task are easier to work with, but a regular beanbag can work too with a bit more finesse and a bit less cash. Another great posing item for newborns is one that many mums have — a u-shaped nursing pillow.
Now if I could just figure out how to bottle up that newborn smell (sans poopy diaper)…
A good way to determine the pricing is to check other newborn photographers in your area. This research will also show you the quality of their work.
Read the rest of our tips and advice for creating the best work, keeping mummy and daddy happy.
You are capturing precious moments of a baby’s first few days outside of the womb. Parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles will be your clientele.
With some flexibility, you may not capture the image you had in mind, but you will capture that baby’s particular tendencies and get a variety of shots.
A new baby is an expanding family — so why not include the whole family in some of those shots? If possible, get a few family shots in the session, including everyone together, some of just mum and baby, just dad and baby and just the siblings and baby. Remember that mom just grew an entire human being and is probably both still recovering and a bit self-conscious.
Mistakes are helpful, as you learn how not to do something, letting you work towards getting it right.
Newborns don’t stay new for very long. After a few weeks, babies are more alert and spend more time looking around. Those sleepy newborn photos you see are best shot before two weeks old. That’s when babies are most likely to snooze away in that cute little basket.
Shadows will add depth (and emphasize the cuteness of any pudgy rolls), so place the baby at an angle to the window, rather than parallel to the light source.
Avoid placing the baby in any positions where light would seem unnatural — for example, light over the head is natural because of the sun, but light steaming up towards the feet, well, when was the last time you were stepping directly on a light?
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.
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.
One difference is that every tool or prop you use will either need to be taken with you or already be in the location you are shooting.
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.
Reducing the contrast creates this dreamy feeling and soft appearance. Read here on all the editing tips you need for newborn photography.
Smartphones are a great tool for capturing precious moments in time. They allow you to take great quality images easily.
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 and use the clients’ name and/or date for the best naming system.
New parents love newborn photography. It offers them a capture of a fleeting moment in their lives, one that is impossible to get back.
Creating them at home means that you get to try different ways to light your portraits without spending a lot of money. You can try before you buy, or just keep the ones you made.
Once you gain experience with working with newborns and the tricks behind some of those iconic but unnatural poses, you can venture into those trickier shots.
Incorporating the parents can also introduce new poses too, even shots that focus more on the baby than the family together. The baby in mum’s hands, for example, or looking over dad’s shoulder. These poses are great for babies that like to be held and fuss in other poses.
Camera Equipment Recommended Cameras For Newborn Photography
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.
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.
Your studio is where all the gear comes together. This is your controlled environment, where you set up your camera, lighting, and other accessories.
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.
All our tips covering the workflow are here, in our article.
The BOGO (buy one, get one) baby plan might be a great idea for you and your business.
Then I had her hold the other side of the helmet. Using the clone tool, I removed the hand from the shot.
At this age, the newborns are easier to pose, and 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.
The biggest tip we can pass on is that the parents need to have as much information as possible.
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 of Lightroom.
You will need an area with plenty of natural light, some flowers, time and some patience. Quick and simple doesn’t go with newborn photography.
Feeding and nap times are important, but simply knowing the baby’s age can help considerably. Typically, within the first two weeks works best for newborns.
Knowing where to start with your newborn photography can be a challenge. Acquiring and finding a few simple props is a great place to start.
Both the beanbag and nursing pillow can be disguised with blankets or backdrops, so bring a few different colours if you have them available. Bring more than one of anything you need that the baby will be lying on — or you may be stuck if that item is peed on. Baskets and buckets also work well for posing newborns, but again, make sure you can use those props safely.
Read here for the other nine tips on what your photography contract needs to have.
You camera equipment is only important in capturing the little one. Aslong as you can change lenses and shoot in raw format, you can use anything.
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.
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.
Ten tiny toes, wisps of soft hair, pudgy cheeks, snoozing eyelashes and, of course that new baby smell. But blink, and that newborn is suddenly running around the house half-naked and dropping things in the toilet. Childhood happens at lightning speed — which is why capturing those littlest moments with newborn photography is so important.
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.
It makes sure that neither side can do anything with the images that were not pre-discussed and agreed upon. A risk of prosecution from either side can be enforced if consent was not given.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of props, camera equipment and how to start, your newborn photography is going to need a boost to reach that wow factor.
DSLRs are perfect for newborn photography, as they can shoot in raw, allow for lens changing and have a high ISO range.
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.
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 kep them sleeping.
Photo Sharing & InspirationPhotography TipsPhotoshop Actions
While they are there, grab some detail shots of their hands and feet. For the other two poses, read the article here.
In newborn photography, any time the baby is moved, you may have to start the process of getting the little one back to sleep all over again. To maximize the variety of shots without overwhelming the baby (or, let’s be honest, yourself), turn one “pose” into several by adjusting the composition and props.
Turning your talent and love of photographing newborns into a business is a great idea. It is an area of photography that will only grow.
By integrating a few tricks from the right props to using (free) natural window light, you can capture that newborn essence in pixels.
Your lenses should have a variety of apertures, as these will help you in low light.
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.
Getting up close will capture details that you can’t see in the full body shots. Every baby is different, so find what inspires you or melts your heart and photograph that aspect up close.
Of course that means you’ll probably be uncomfortable, so wear layers you can remove as the room heats up.
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 for photographic examples and a step-by-step guide.
The sooner you can get comfortable with working in the context of the studio, the faster you’ll be able to improve your newborn photography.
Once you’ve shot a few different compositions of the same pose, you can also add variety by adjusting the props that can be changed without picking up the baby. Drape another colour swaddling cloth over, for example, or change out a headband or hat.
A white noise machine, or even soothing sounds can make the difference between a sleepy baby and a wailing newborn.
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.
Use a neutral background for this shot. Something earthy will work well with the flowers, so light beige or off white will work well.
Research and invest in lighting equipment to ensure amazing image quality and that soft, ambient light.
Avoid scheduling a short newborn session and leave a few hours to take the photos. If you are photographing your own newborn, take advantage of that and stretch the process out over a few days, shooting when the baby has just been fed and is comfortably snoozing away.
7. Adjust the Composition to Get More Variety From a Single Pose
Do not expect to start out newborn photography taking the same shots as professionals who have worked in the field for a decade.
A camera for photographing scenes with newborns in them needs to have a wide range of ISOs and shutter speeds.
A photography contract for newborn photography is to ensure both parties retain their rights.
Confidence comes from practise, knowledge and believing in yourself. It is invaluable as a tool for your newborn photography.
Newborn photography is full of cries, uncooperative subjects and even bodily fluids when shooting diaper-free. But newborn photography also captures the most fleeting days of parenthood, the expansion of a family, and the start to a new life.