Learning newborn photography techniques can come in handy for both amateur and professional photographers. Even if you’re not planning on doing it professionally, you have an opportunity to create lasting, well-appreciated, and meaningful imagery of your own children and the children of your loved ones.
Chances are, if you’re already passionate about photography, you have most of the necessary tools and knowledge to capture great newborn images. However, there are still a few important newborn-specific things to learn prior to diving into your first shoot.
Here are a few tips for DIY Newborn Photography using the tools you probably already own.
Newborn Photography Information
The following info is part of the SLR Lounge Newborn Photography Workshop. This comprehensive educational DVD teaches planning, safety, shooting, lighting, and post production and everything there is to know about Newborn and Baby Photography.
1) Equipment for Newborn Photography
One of the great things about newborn photography is that there is not a need for expensive camera equipment. Unlike Wedding Photography, you don’t need low light performance, since you’re typically shooting in controlled, well-lit situations. Unlike Fashion Photography, you also don’t need a ton of megapixels, since you’re not likely blowing these pictures up for billboards or print advertisements. And though the bokeh created with low apertures can create a unique, unmistakable look to an image, with the right lighting, backgrounds, and separation from those backgrounds, you can get away with F/4.0 even F/5.6.
So we recommend whatever you can afford. From advanced point and shoot cameras like the Sony NEX to full-frame beauties like the Nikon D800, most cameras will be capable of capturing great images with the right techniques.
2) Props and Wardrobe for Newborn Photography
When selecting your newborn props, you can either spend a lot or spend a little. The great thing is that you can still get great photos with a small budget. One of our SLR Lounge Writers, Anthony Thurston, created the image below (on the right) with the simple materials on the left.
The pillow is for posing, the blanket is used as the backdrop, and the tin foil is used instead of a reflector.
3) Other Accessories for Newborn Photography
Here’s a list of things that you might want to consider for your newborn photography shoot.
- Puppy Pads – These will help you keep your newborn’s accidents manageable and protect your layers of props and blankets.
- Space Heater – Make sure to keep your newborn nice and comfy during your shoots. A space heater will help you warm up the shooting area.
- Baby Wipes – Having these handy will help you clean up any messes and sanitize your shooting area.
- Hand Sanitizer – If you’re like me, you take your camera everywhere, from the desert to the forest to the beach. Making sure you keep your shooting area nice and sanitized is a must.
- Heating Pads – Heating Pads, like space heaters, will help keep your newborn nice and warm.
- Gloves – These will be necessary for your baby’s comfort if you have cold or clammy hands.
4) Newborn Photography Lighting
Your main light should be simple, direct window light. This will help you create the soft light you see in the images below. You can consider using flash, but in almost all cases, window light will suffice.
5) Newborn Photography Poses
When it comes to poses, be sure to work with your baby and make sure to avoid forcing him or her into positions.
Start with a few basic poses, the back pose (bottom right), the side pose (top right), the stomach pose (bottom left), and the details (top left).
6) Important Safety Considerations
Be sure to put safety first. Do not put any hard or sharp objects around your baby. Do not hang your baby and be sure to support your baby’s head if you’re resting it on his or her hands. Realize that many of these “cute” or “cool” shots are actually composites using multiple images, combined after the shoot in Photoshop.
Newborn Photography Information
For more info on newborn photography, including planning, safety, shooting, lighting, and post production and everything there is to know about Newborn and Baby Photography, please see the SLR Lounge Newborn Photography Workshop. Also, be sure to check out SLR Lounge for more Newborn Photography Tips.