Newborn photography can come with many surprises, especially if you aren’t a parent. I’ve compiled a list of newborn photography tips that have helped me tremendously and I am sure will be helpful for anyone interested in learning more about newborn photography. Of course, every photographer will have a different way or style of doing things but these are just some of the top things I’ve learned through the years as a newborn photographer.
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
DON'T be shy about directing your subjects. They want to be told how and where to stand, explains Dennis Kwan, a wedding and portrait specialist with studios in New York City and Los Angeles. Giving subjects direction projects a confidence that allows them to relax when being photographed. "It tells your subjects that you know what you're doing, even if maybe you don't," says Kwan.
Women don’t generally feel very sexy when they’re pregnant. Understandably so, and trust me I connect with this feeling as much as the next gal. But just because an expectant mother doesn’t feel sexy, that doesn’t mean she’s not totally knock out. Bring that out in her. Pull that beauty out of her. A good way to do this is by talking as you shoot. It’s perfectly appropriate to say things like: “That’s beautiful!” “Yes, perfect!” “Oh that’s just LOVELY.” “Pregnancy looks good on you girl!” Whatever works! If you’re a male photographer you’ll need to be careful about what you say in this crazy world of sexual harassment, but you’re even more capable of pulling the beauty out of her than a female photographer. It’s one thing when your girlfriend tells you you’re beautiful, but when your girlfriend’s brother tells you that you’re looking good, you actually believe it. Obviously be careful and be genuine. The success of this tip will depend on your personality, but you can help her help herself. If she feels pretty she’ll look a whole heck of a lot better. It’s that simple.
Sometimes this can be out of your control. However, you should aim to deliver photos to the standard to which you advertised when the couple booked. If you don’t display heart-shaped group shots on your portfolio the couple shouldn’t expect you to do this. What they should expect to receive is exactly what you have laid out in your contract unless otherwise discussed.
Sam helped us really figure out what we were wanting and how to achieve that feeling...and gave us the confidence to stick to our wishes, even if they were non-traditional! She honestly felt like working with a goofy friend. The pictures were more than we could have imagined...and for my husband who really is shy in front of the camera? You never would have known! Sam made it SO easy.
If you are photographing a couple from a different culture or religion to yourself don’t be afraid to ask. Or at least do a little bit of research on some of the traditions involved. For example, a Jewish ceremony is vastly different to a Christian wedding. Sometimes they are also in different languages so it’s a good idea to know what will be happening and when.
Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.
The night before the shoot I’m usually scouring Google for “family photo tips” or pulling the “How to Pose Children” books off my shelf. Preparation is essential. But photographing a family is a mixture of luck and skill, and when you’re in the thick of it and things aren’t going as planned, you’re going to have to improvise. Kids won’t sit still? Pop on a telephoto lens, back off and let them run around a bit. You might be surprised at the photos you get when you’re forced to do what wasn’t planned.
When I’m photographing kids I make a total idiot of myself. I make funny noises, I sing songs (I’m really bad but they don’t care), I make fish faces, I play peek-a-boo behind the camera. I run back and forth to the camera with the puppet. I lie on the ground, I stick my butt out. Kids are the ones that have life the right way around, it’s us adults that ruin it. Let them be kids, let them have fun. Then be ready to capture it when it happens.
We are so delighted that you are here. The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. To accomplish this mission, NAPCP provides the most comprehensive resources for its members, bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their skills, their artistry, and their businesses.
I really like how you said in your third point that the woman’s head shouldn’t be tilted at a weird angle. I think this is why it’s a great idea to hire a photographer with some expertise to come and do the photos for you. My younger sister is just starting to show and has been contemplating whether or not she should take maternity photos so I think I’ll share this tip with her and see what she thinks!
Great tips, I especially love the one about safety first, it’s scary the positions that some people put newborn babies in for the sake of photos! I also agree with your comment about the images looking the same at times. We have to remember that while it might be the same old thing for us, it’s the first time for this family portrait session, and this baby.
MOST PARENTS PHOTOGRAPHING THEIR DAUGHTER IN A SWIMMING COMPETITION WOULD BE HAPPY TO GET A SHOT LIKE THE ONE ON THE BOTTOM. BUT A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER REMOVES ALL OF THE ABERRATIONS OR CLUTTER OUT OF THE BACKGROUND. I SHOT THIS PICTURE IN A HOTEL POOL, SO I CREATED A BLACK BACKGROUND TO GET RID OF THE UNNECESSARY CLUTTER SO THAT ALL THE VIEWER'S ATTENTION WOULD BE PLACED ON THE ACTION.
That’s it! No expectations other than fun. Then prepare yourself. Bring along props, get mom to bring one of their favourite toys or books. I usually have a hand puppet and bubbles in my camera bag along with my gear. If the kids don’t want to sit and smile don’t force them. Then them run around and be kids for a while and shoot that. Play with them, make it fun. Then they may cooperate and sit for a bit a few minutes later.
Leah has always had an interest in photography and art but that interest increased when her dad, who has a great eye for photography, gave her her first digital camera. Leah currently uses a Canon 5d mark II and a variety of lenses. She shares a home in Dallas with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. Spending time playing in the yard, taking a long walk, watching a good game, or eating a yummy meal with her family is the recipe for a good day in Leah’s world.
There are recognizable markers that trigger the “fall feeling” in each of us. With the weather cooling down, the leaves changing, and a trip to the pumpkin patch in the near future, fall is full of inspiration you can use for your outfit choices. If you are taking your family photos during the fall season, incorporate seasonal earth tones, rich maroons or burnt oranges. Wear layers and have fun playing in the leaves. Use the following Fall styling tips to guide your clothing selections.
I use a Canon 50d, which is an older pre-pro model. If you’re starting out in photography, just about any dSLR (that allows you to change lenses) is going to work well. The lenses are actually more important than than the camera body, in my opinion. A 50mm 1.8 lens (about $100) is a great investment if you want to take great portraits of babies, kids, etc. HTH!
Annie, Thank you so much for this post. I found this delightful and amazingly informative post on Pinterest. I’d been on the for hours looking at how to style family portraits. I’m going insane, we have pictures tomorrow and I still don’t know what I’m wearing. I have my husband and the 4 kids (boys age 17, 16, & 11 and our girl age 10) clothes picked out but not myself. Deep breath….. I’m going to try again to find something conducive. Wish me luck