What you need to get started in newborn photography consists of a newborn photography business plan, a few newborn photography essentials, props and learn as many newborn photography tips for beginners that you can!
What you need to get started in newborn photography
Everyone starts somewhere. Mine happened to be my sons first few days with my iphone, a goodwill basket and a white comforter. Looking back do I cringe? YES. Do I still love them? Absolutely. The photographer in me cringes while looking at them, The mom in me is so happy I have photos of him in the first few days while they change ever so quickly.
Tristan February 2013
Cora June 2014 ( 3 months) for comparison with the basket.
This is Cora’s actual newborn photo, 5 days this was our announcement.
I took all of these photos with natural light in my sunroom at my house. We just recently switched to studio lights in our new studio. Natural light is what studio light users try to achieve. So if you have it, use it! I am not a technical shooter, My best friend and business partner, Jennifer is. She goes over all the angles and technical stuff of a shoot, while I tend to be a more creative mind and see things in a whole other aspect. Which has its pros and cons.
Newborn Photography Tips for Beginners
1. First and most importantly, you need to know how to pose, and pose safely.
Safety is a newborn photographers top priority. If its not, stop working with newborns, period. These babies are very fragile and need a great deal of care. I did not attempt certain poses until I had many sessions and much practice doing so.
So master the easy poses first.
See how awful Tristans picture is with the basket? It was up the nose, the composition is all off, the post processing, YUCK. And I had to have him in the basket right? I mean seriously look how uncomfortable he looks. Good thing he had the gas smile to help hide that! How easy would it have been to do this on just a blanket? I can say from expierence that most people start out with way too much! Stop focusing on all the cute props and focus on baby! The parents are wanting to remember their cute new baby, not your prop you are over the moon about.
Start with a simple wrap pose. I get my wraps from Dolly priss. They are amazing. The one below is a merino wrap that i bought from another photographer.
You need stretch and enough length and not too much width to hold them in tight but not too much to make them look like too much wrap, not enough baby. This will keep babies arms in nice and tight and also helps put that baby that isn’t quite sleepy yet right to sleep! And if they aren’t sleeping it lets you get some amazing awake shots, especially if they are 4 weeks or older. Those shots sell 100% of the time. So don’t stress to much if they aren’t sleepy. Remember time is money, So i take what I got and make it work. Also with wrapping remember every baby is different, and likes different things! There are so many variations on wraps! Here is the same wrap with three different poses.
2 My second tip would be to compare your work to others. Say what? Ha, YES! look at several photographers, follow a bunch you admire on Facebook, and study their images. Look at their bum up, compare it to yours, see where you made your mistakes, where you can improve on, and you will. I didn’t get to where I am with just luck and natural talent. It took a lot of studying poses and lighting to be where I am. I am 100% self taught. All my posing came from studying my photog admirations online and comparing it to mine. I still look at my own images when culling and say “man I wish I would have moved that finger,” or “I needed to have the nose down more.” And next session I remember that and don’t make the same mistakes!
Newborn Photography Business Plan
3 My 3rd and final tip, which applies to everyone- workflow. Again, time is money, with a proper work flow you will eliminate unnecessary unsettling, reposing etc.
- Here is an average session assuming baby was just feed following my prep guide.
- Wrap pose on a flokati, diaper on, as a well fed baby is going to pee and poop.
- Sibling shot
- Take baby wrapped and transition to another pose, same wrap, to the sitting pose, or laying again but in a prop, in an over head shot.
- Unwrap or keep wrapped and do parent shots, mom, dad and than family.
- Props 2-3
- Then beanbag 2-3 poses
I try to get all poses in, but again every baby is different. This session, baby did not like to be naked and therefore we were limited on beanbag poses.
Newborn Photography Props
2-3 drops or blankets
1-2 props for once you are comfortable
a few hats/bonnets (neutral colors are best for a small stash)
a few headbands for girls
wraps for baby
Thats really all you need! (more extensive list can be found here) My go to for every session is a flokati, usually cream, the enamel bowl or the bucket are a favorite of clients, (mine too) and a nuetral colored drop on the beanbag. We also have three wood drops, dark wood drop, white and barn wood. When I started out I had four pieces of wood that I took to clients homes when I traveled and a cream blanket to hold in the background to help fade. I obviously had a lot of cloning and extending in photoshop with only 4 boards, but it was a simple enough fix for what I wanted when I had nothing.
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I hope this helped!
Bailey from Jennley Studio