As a Derbyshire Newborn Photographer, I know just how difficult newborn photography can be, after all babies are unpredictable & unlike older children they can’t be bribed with chocolate. We have to use all the tricks we’ve learnt to get them fast asleep and keep them there.
Here are just a few tips to help your newborn sessions run smoothly:
How often have you heard new parents saying their new baby hates to be naked and will cry when undressed? This is due to room temperature in the house.
When babies are in the womb, the temperature is around 38 degrees, so just imaging what the temperature difference there is in the average family home.
As babies can not regulate their own body temperature it is very important to keep them nice & cosy during the session. Therefor you should keep the room around 26 degrees. This is a comfortable temperature for both baby & parents and should help when settling & posing baby. Have a little fan heater to hand incase the temperature drops, but never blow this directly onto baby as this could burn baby’s delicate skin. Also if baby gets too hot, open a window or door slightly.
2. Lighting & Set up
Flash, continuous, natural – light is light, it really doesn’t mater which type you use for newborn sessions. I love using flash as it give me the most consistent look throughout the session.
I use just 1 Bowens Gemini 500R with a soft box placed at 45 degrees to baby’s head, this give a lovely butterfly shadow under baby’s nose.
I always use a light meter (a Sekonic L-308S) to check the settings I need & grey cards to get the white balance right.
I put 3 blankets under my backdrop blanket, this will help hide any stuffers you use and help create a nice smooth backdrop. It also help draw any pee away from baby, keeping them nice & dry.
Peg you backdrop to the cross frame of your stand & page to the legs of the stand to help pull it tight.
Having your set up sorted means you can concentrate on taking photos and not constantly worrying if you have it right.
3. What to Wear.
Its gonna get really warm when your working with newborns, make sure your clothing is loose & cool. Also be very careful what colours you wear as they can throw a colour cast onto baby. I try to wear black, white & neutral colours.
Babies sense of smell is much more heightened than ours so for your sessions leave off the perfume or aftershave.
I often get asked if I let the parents settle or if I settle baby. The answer to this is, I ALWAYS settle baby.
There is a few reasons for this. If mum is breast feeding baby will smell milk and want to feed. Another one is passing baby over can often wake baby up.
When settling try turing baby towards a window, this will get them to shut their eyes to avoid the bright light.
I cradle baby and gently tap their bum, some babies like this, others like to have their head stroked. Running you finger gently down baby’s nose makes their eyelids heavy, its also very soothing.
White noise is amazing a helping babies to settle. You can download ones free onto your mobile phone. I then place this under all the blankets on the beanbag.
If baby is crying, lots of shushing helps. The louder baby crus, the louder you need to be with your shushing, when baby starts to calm down lower the shushing.
5. Guide for Parents.
I always Send out a guide to my parents. This tells them what to expect in their session, what clothing to bring baby in, to bring plenty of bottle for bottle fed babies, foods for mum to avoid if their baby is breast fed, what they should wear for the parent photos, when sidling should attend the session etc.
If parents follow these simple rules it will help enormously to help the session run smoothly.
If you would like to you can purchase my live 2 day Newborn Posing and business workshop from Engage live or email me Lyn@wingsphotography.co.uk to arrange a 1-2-1 Newborn training day.
I would love to hear if you have any tips or trick you sue in your sessions.