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 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 bundle of joy. 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. 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.
Have a backdrop, blankets and baby basket 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, here’s a vital tip: keep a waterproof pad under the first blanket in case the baby does exactly what babies are known for.
Many newborn shots 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 these themes and the props that can convey them. These will also be handy for any at-home shoots you’ll consider doing yourself.
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 keepsake of your child’s many moods. Just like anything with these squishy little bundles of happy, you and your photographer will need to be patient, be creative and have fun! With some planning, you’ll definitely create images that will be cherished mementos for the rest of your life.