Ah! As they say, you’re only young once — and this is definitely true for your newborn. Infancy is a precious time, and a difficult one to capture to as well. It’s always wonderful to capture the first few stages of a child, and evokes a unique, special feeling when you look through these photos. I know newborn photography can seem daunting, especially if it’s your first time, with the sensitivity of a child and wanting to keep them comfortable throughout. Fortunately, with just a few tips, newborn photography is actually manageable and can leave you with a collection of gorgeous photos. A successful photography session is not just one through which you end up with a beautiful gallery, but rather also one where the child and parents feel excited and comfortable throughout and after the session. With that, Revel has a few tips for your newborn photography session to go smoothly.
1. Should I Engage Studio Sessions or Lifestyle Session for my Newborn Photography?
Choose between the kind of shoot you would like for your newborn: the difference between a studio shoot and a lifestyle shoot lies in the outcome and the process of the shoot. Where a studio shoot requires more hands-on efforts from the parents/photographer, a lifestyle shoot lets the child be more free and easy.
• Studio Sessions
Studio sessions are usually done within the first two weeks of the child’s birth; at a time when the child is still very delicate and can be easily posed according to the photographer’s choice. A studio shoot focuses on the child looking perfect, and usually requires the use of accessories like blankets, hats, headbands, cushions, etc. If you take in other required activities like feeding, breaks and posing, these shoots can take up to 4-5 hours.
• Lifestyle Sessions
These sessions tend to be on the casual side, and require less on-site preparation. While some aided posing may occur, the purpose of these shoots to capture the baby in their natural habitat. More time-flexible, lifestyle session usually happen any time within the first six weeks of the child’s birth. Given a few toys, and ample of space, these shoots capture either just the child, or the child resting/playing with their parents.
2. Lighting and Temperature for Newborn Photography
Since infants are sensitive to lighting and temperature, it’s key to keep these at a level where they would be comfortable for your child.
In Singapore, the ideal temperature for a newborn is from 23-25 degrees celcius. Such a temperature would be optimum to lull them into a sleep and keep them comfortable. Use a well-ventilated room and keep the air fresh and circulated. Babies’ noses are keen to smells, so try not to use any fragrances, or use mild, soothing, cotton- scented fragrances that won’t tickle your child’s nose.
Keep testing the temperature and observing your newborn as well. Anything that feels too hot or too cold would require a check on the infant. To keep them comfortable and sleepy, consistently feed and burp your newborn as well.
Due to their sensitivity, as well as the heat that is emitted by studio lights, it would be highly recommended to use natural light when shooting your child. Use a venue with ample of windows, and shoot at a time when the Sun’s rays aren’t too strong (early morning, late afternoon). If need be, use reflectors to fill in the shadows. If a situation really calls for additional studio lighting, go ahead and use one or two, but be sure to soften them out before switching them on. A really cost-effective and easy trick I use is to tie a plastic bag over the light. This instantly diffuses the hard light into a soft one. Moreover, you can have different-coloured lights based on the colour of your plastic bag.
Once again, keep checking on the temperature and on your child to ensure that they’re not feeling uncomfortable.
3. Angles and Props for Newborn Photography
The right angles and props can really help in bringing your newborn shoot to the next level. Many may think that these aren’t required: that they’ll shoot the baby in whichever position seems best at the time, or that props aren’t really needed, especially if it’s a home shoot.
While it’s good to be flexible, having a few specific shots that you definitely want helps in giving you clear direction, and prevents you from taking too many shots that you wouldn’t eventually want.
Some of the common ones are: 1) the tummy pose, where the baby is laid down on their stomach, with their hands and legs either by their side or tucked in, and their head facing one side. 2) the back pose, where the baby is laid on their back. 3) the side pose, where the baby is laid on their back, but is made to look at the side. 4) close up shots, which may include close-ups of various parts of the body, such as fingers, toes, the nose, or the ears.
Props really do help you bring your photoshoot to another level! Personally, I would recommend colourful ones, such as blankets, throws, toys, cushions, amongst the many other possible. This gives off a vibrant and happy tone from the photoshoot. We’re also conditioned to pay more attention to colour, so the photoshoot would be extra memorable for the parents, and eventually for the child once they grow up.
It’s understandable that newborn photography may seem to be out of your ballpark, but with the right tips, and along with patience and help, it’s completely possible! I hope that these tips provided you with some help and that you have smooth journey in photographing your newborn!