Photographer Anne Geddes revolutionized newborn photography by dressing babies as beautiful sunflowers, fairy tale creatures and adorable zoo animals. While these images have been the staple of newborn photography for years, Photographer Central Pro Hari Simons has some new, inventive and heartwarming approaches to capturing special moments with your little bundle of joy.
Safety Comes First
Safety is obvious to all, but worth emphasizing. After all we are dealing with tiny and squishy little people, so regardless of what props or posing techniques are involved, safety must be the first priority.
Never put a newborn in an uncomfortable or potentially unsafe position, keep a parent or spotter close at all times, and keep in mind that not all babies can do all poses—don’t ever force a pose that the newborn seems to be resisting.
This is the main reason it’s important to find a professional. Someone who photographs newborns for a living will know all the tips and tricks to achieve wonderful photos without endangering your baby. Finding a local professional can be as easy as visiting Photographer Central.
Studio Shoot—the Basics
Lights, camera, action—well, not much action. More like warm temps, smooth textures, and soft lights. Newborns like to stay warm and cozy, so most studios will have the temperature set at 85-90 degrees for them. Some studios might also use localized heaters for extra warmth.
When babies are in the womb it’s pretty loud, so they often find comfort in loud white noise. It might be beneficial to find an app on your phone that can create white noise to soothe your newborn during the shoot.
Backdrop, blankets and baby basket should be at the ready. Your photographer will most likely have a few of each prepared so that transitioning between them is smooth and easy. I like to stack up all my blankets so the top one can simply be removed after a pose and the next one is ready to go. For diaper-free poses, one vital tip: keep a waterproof pad under the first blanket in case the baby does… exactly what babies are known for.
Many newborn pictures are actually a composite of two images, with a spotter’s hand propping the baby up in a different place in each shot, and the hand removed from the final image. This goes back to the first point, safety. In order to achieve those adorable poses without endangering your baby, oftentimes cloning or compositing of the image is required.
Most photographers will want to use props in order to paint a picture. These newborn shots are supposed to hint at a specific location or setting. For example, twigs and greenery. Library books and a reading lamp. A basket and picnic blanket. A duvet and pillows. Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for themes and the props that can convey them. These will also be handy for any at-home shoots you’ll consider doing yourself.
Having a photographic record of your baby growing is something that parents treasure forever. So why not take a similar photo at a regular interval to have adorable documentation of your child’s development? Here are some simple ideas to make a consistent sequence:
- Have a common toy in each photo as a point of reference to compare size
- Bring in a chalkboard to write their age; you can get creative with different ways of writing their age to visually change it up each month
- As your child grows include a different item from each milestone. This could be something that shows off the fact that your baby started crawling, or said their first word. Or this could simply be the representation of their interest that month
There are different ways of doing this, from daily photos to recording each growing stage. This would make a lovely montage to share with your child and all their friends when they grow up.
Themes and Characters
Costumes aren’t just for Halloween. Bringing your favorite storybook characters to life with photos of your baby will make for fun and creative keepsakes. There are many detailed costumes and iconic accessories, or you can use a collection of references to the story. Just make sure there are enough hints in the photo for a viewer to get the character reference. For example, Harry Potter would have big, round, black glasses, a red and gold scarf, a wand, and possibly some leather bound books.
With an expressive child and a bit of patience (OK, maybe a mountain of patience), you can collect images of the child in the same spot but with different expressions representing different emotions.
Then, create a nine-image grid with photos that correspond with a particular emotion, i.e., happy, sad, angry, excited, tired, fussy, etc. Add the name of the emotion over the image in a font that relates to the emotion and you have a fun memento of your child’s many moods.
You and your photographer will need to be patient, creative and have fun during your newborn’s shoot! With some planning, you’ll definitely create images that will be cherished for the rest of your life.