The most important part of any newborn session is making sure your baby is safe and comfortable, especially when using props. This is a very serious issue for me, and something photographers just starting out in newborn photography need to be aware of, so I thought I would write a short post about how to photograph these precious bundles safely.
Newborns have a very strong startle reflex, can’t regulate their body temperature and have different levels of flexibility and neck control depending on bub, just to name a few of the things I need to be aware of during a session. Some of the safety precautions I implement in my studio are:
*Keeping the studio at a comfortable 29 degrees throughout the session (comfortable for a naked newborn anyway!)
*Never pose a baby in a prop without a spotter.
*Never use any props made of glass. These can easily shatter and is very dangerous.
*If a baby is uncomfortable in any way I won’t force a pose or particular set up. It is important to take cues from the baby and adjust accordingly.
*Use a camera strap around my neck when shooting above a baby.
In addition to the above precautions, in order to achieve some of the poses you see on my Facebook page or website, I actually put multiple photos together to create what’s called a composite image. I’ve put some photos up here to show you what I mean. The before photos are straight out of camera (SOOC) before editing and I’ve put up the final image for comparison.
First up is my award winning image of the triplets.
The girls are supported here by cloth nappies behind and under them. There is also a nappy under the lace layer so they’re not resting on a hard surface. It took a lot of careful maneuvering to get the girls in place, and my assistant Jennifer Horner of Jennifer Horner Photography (www.jenniferhorner.com.au) had her hands on them at all times. Note: You may notice the girl’s head shapes are slightly different in the edited photo. This is due to correcting lens distortion, not changing their appearance.
Here we have little Willow and her two big brothers, Nate and Hunter!
In this case I actually put 3 photos together to achieve the final image. Hunter had a little trouble balancing on the crate by himself so we had his Dad hold it steady. In the bottom photo we have Mum acting as spotter, holding the crate steady and being nice and close in case Willow startled.
Next up is the same pose with two different babies to show you that one rule doesn’t necessary suit all, which is why it is important to take cues from bub. First is Frank who was very typical of babies in this pose. If required I will have mum or dad support bub’s head with one finger, while sometimes they’re comfortable and steady enough for a few seconds that I have the parent lift their hand while I quickly shoot and then place it straight back down.
This is baby Holly in a similar pose. She required a little more than one finger supporting her head, so I had her dad hold her forehead and then her chin so I could put both together during editing.
Knowing when a composite is required and what safety measures need to be taken is the most important part of being a newborn photographer. When hiring a photographer, look for someone experienced in newborn safety, or, if you are a photographer wanting to branch out into newborn photography, it is important that you learn the safety precautions required before your first session, and don’t attempt any pose until you are 100% confident that you can do it safely. I hope this helps shed some light on what is involved during a session!
If you have any questions, or would like to book a session I’d love to hear from you!
*Professional photographers – Feel free to share, but please be sure to credit me as the author. Thank you!*
Maternity. Newborn. Baby