Though newborn photography may seem daunting at first, it’s like any other form of photography in that the more you practice the better you become. Take your time, be patient, and don’t second guess yourself. With the proper planning and research, some creative and personalized props, in addition to careful and safety-first execution, you should come away with at least a few good images on which to build your foundation. For more newborn photography tips and tutorials, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop, a full guide to baby and newborn photography, teaching posing, lighting, planning, and post production for newborn photography.
Newborns aren't the only subject we love to photograph... we love to capture all of the milestones of family life. Using a photojournalistic style approach to photography, we capture your baby learning to stand, your 5-year old riding his bike with no training wheels, and your teenager's last photograph before she becomes an adult. Go to our Bella Life section to view samples of these important family moments.
The worst thing a parent can do to their child at their portrait session is to grit through their teeth “You better smile or else…” Really, they will listen to me MUCH better than they will listen to you (don’t take that personally). Plan on letting me take over and teasing them into smiling. Trust me–I have been there with my kids gritting my teeth and it DOESN’T work! And please don’t be embarrassed with less than 100% cooperation, I’m sorta used to it…I do this a lot and I don’t think anything about your parenting methods–most kids don’t want to be told what to do. I try to make it fun for them.
I’m no lighting expert but have found that my best results have been when I’ve used my flash in a ‘bounce flash’ way – shooting it up into a ceiling so that it’s indirect. This diffuses the light a lot which leaves Xavier less washed out in the shots, and more importantly means he’s not blinded by the light from it (we don’t want to blind our little ones by our photographic obsession – I actually asked a pediatrician about camera flashes and his advice was that it wouldn’t do damage but that for a babies comfort that indirect flash (ie bounced and/or diffused flash) would be advisable. I’m sure different doctors would advise different things but I play it safe with my bounce flash – and avoid flash altogether where possible). It also gives a fairly natural looking shot.
Lifestyle newborn sessions – Are a bit more casual approach to newborn photography. There may be some posing but the intention is to capture more natural images of the baby and their home. These sessions can be done up to 6 weeks old and usually last 1-2 hours max. My favorite thing about lifestyle newborn photography is capturing the wonder and amazement between the family members. Newborns are incredible but so is the love in the air. Memories of this time-frame often become fuzzy for new parents and that is precisely why I feel these types of shoots are so important.
Kevin Cook is a newborn, child, family, senior and wedding photographer whose work is based in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is also the owner of KCC Photography and is fond of capturing photographs of different things in life such as people and places. Capturing photographs for Kevin Cook is like writing a book to document history but without using words. It is more interesting and makes his life exciting which motivates him to capture fabulous photographs that record those special moments in life. 6 Sandra Bianco – United States
At the other end of the spectrum is Eversnap, a full-service app that does it all. Dish out $99 to $399 and you'll get 200 instruction cards to either include in your invite envelopes or toss into those fun guest bags. Then, wedding-goers can snap pics through the app and use special photo filters or upload from their fast-growing galleries during the big day. It'll even work if you're in an area with bad service and there's no connection. Digital-camera mavens can add photos through the website while Windows or Blackberry phone users can email them to a unique address that will automatically add them to the main folder, which you can then share with your guests if you wish. You can also set up a live moderated slideshow during the reception so everyone can view a livestream via projector or screen as the fun unfolds for up to six hours. Plus, the folder will pull and add all photos from social-media channels with your personalized hashtag.
Let the photographer connect with the baby. In order for your baby to feel comfortable, you should avoid crowding your little one. It’ll be tempting to run over whenever your baby becomes restless or cries, but you should do your best to let the photographer comfort the baby so the baby doesn’t feel startled by too many changes. Always remain in the room though during your baby’s shoot.
LIFESTYLE PHOTOS: this category may have other names, such as candid, natural, etc. They can be done in almost any environment and can be more or less directed (sometimes it is difficult to say if the situation was real or not). They seem unposed, unplanned, and often focusing on true connections and feelings. It is in the middle between the portrait photos and the documentary photos (next category).
Really this is the go-to shooting mode for wedding photographers. Moments happen so quickly on a wedding day and Continuous Shooting Mode helps you capture them. Take the speeches as an example. This is a great time to capture laughter, tears and overall joy on the faces of the couple, their families and their friends. If you use One Shot you might capture a fantastic laugh but the person is mid-blink. Or the person sitting next to them is picking their nose. However in Continuous Shooting Mode if you hold that shutter down and burst 5-10 images you can capture various different expressions of the same situation.
Paige Walker Photography is a photo studio based in Fort Worth that specializes in newborn and twin newborn portraits. The business also shoots child, maternity, family, and senior portraits. The photo studio has a large variety of props and backgrounds to choose from, and Paige Walker's easy going personality keeps newborns calm. Clients have praised the photographer for her ability to make subjects feel comfortable and her beautiful photos.
“My favorite part of the session was how my son connected with Kate…she just has a way to make him laugh and smile. Usually when I ask him to smile for a picture he gives me this hard smile where he pushes his chin forward. It drives me nuts… It doesn’t look like him. But then Kate comes around, works her magic, and he smiles a smile that lightens up the world. Squinty eyes, dimples, and all… and my heart melts.”
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.
#2 – it allows you to get your eye away from the camera so you can actually make eye contact with your subjects. They are very real people and they feel even more uncomfortable staring straight into your lens than they do looking at you. You can make gestures to get kids attention, or make faces. But you’ll get way better expressions by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder. Try it!
Think about how personable the photographer is. You will use the interview in part to determine the technical skills and style of the photographer, but it is also an invaluable opportunity to assess her soft skills. Think about how personable the photographer is. If you take a disliking to her for whatever reason, this could create a negative dynamic or atmosphere on your big day. Keep in mind some basic questions, and discuss your response with your partner after the interview.
Autumn Reynolds Photography is a portrait photographer Lewisville, specializing in naturally lit photographs that evoke simplicity and timelessness. Owner Autumn Reynolds offers services ranging from newborn and birth to maternity sessions, and is also well-versed in family, children, and seniors photography. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Texas and is a member of the Professional Photographers of America.
Perhaps now you’re wondering why I even bother posing newborns at all if I want them to look natural. A couple of reasons: 1) Newborns have very little control over their limbs, so they tend to flail about. Left to their own devices, their arms and hands can look very contorted. 2) Most newborns burrow their heads into whatever is nearest them, meaning they will generally hide their faces in any blanket or pillow you lay them down on. 3) Newborn’s legs are long and skinny, and they just don’t look good in photographs when they are sticking straight out. Tucking their legs up underneath them makes for a much tidier looker photo.
A lot of photographers like the warmth of film. Film has a texture and a quality that just can’t be reproduced in digital format (no matter how hard we try). Also, if someone says they use film, it means they were probably trained in a darkroom and have an understanding of cameras that goes beyond digital, so not only will your photos look different, but the experience of being shot on film will be different than working with a strictly digital shooter.
I really like your site and the tips you give on photographing toddlers, children, and newborns! They are so very helpful. I think your photos look 100% professional! I was wondering if you had any articles on photographing babies (older than newborns)? My son is 6 months old and I want to photograph him. If not, these tips are still super helpful! Especially the other article that includes the links on how to make different backdrops! Thanks!
Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:
Do you have any advice for when the kids are dogs? It’s really hard to get one, and especially both, dogs looking at the camera at the same time for our family portraits. They are a busy breed (Australian Shepherds) and still young. I’ve been wanting to do self portraits of just me and our dogs as well, however that’s hard to get too since they won’t “sit, stay” while I focus and get back into the picture. My husband isn’t too thrilled about getting into the picture unless we’re on vacation so most of the self portraits are done on my own.
I’ve been a professional photographer for 15 years and if I’ve learned anything about the business in that time it is that as a client you have to be a thoughtful consumer. People don’t always realize how unregulated the industry is. There are a LOT of ways that photographers differ from each other. The advice I always give when you’re looking to hire a photographer is this:
Once you’ve taken 10-15 shots of the scene, figure out how you can change the setting without disturbing the baby. This picture below is from the same pose as the first photo in this post, but it looks very different. I unclamped the blanket the baby is laying on from the backdrop board, letting it fall behind her. Then I clamped pretty pink fabric to the backdrop board. Finally, I pull the edge of the blanket the baby is lying on up over her back to make it look like she’s tucked in bed. While I was making these changes the baby was snoozing away, staying perfectly posed. I got two very different looking sets of photos from one pose. This is a great way to maximize the baby pictures you get from your DIY photoshoot.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session. I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared. In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session. Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup. I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them. I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
Bring the Fun, Dads: There is nothing more attractive than an amazing father/husband. I KNOW that your wife probably had to talk you into photos. And, I want you to know, I'm thrilled that you're participating. And, if you're at all affectionate with your loved ones, you've probably already melted my photographer heart. Today isn't about smiling and posing, it's about having a blast. And, I have yet to meet a dad who doesn't know how to break a house rule or two in the name of family fun. At the risk of minimizing your outfit choice, Dads, the most important thing you can wear to picture day is a good attitude. If you've got a signature hat, belt buckle, or something that you really love - let's find a way to include it.
Also look for consistency in their work. This is a way to differentiate an amateur from a professional. An amateur photographer’s portfolio may show nice images, but those images are a compilation of one or two accidentally good images from many sessions. The professional will show quality images consistently in both their portfolio AND recent work on their blog. If you hire an amateur to shoot your session, you accept the risk that there may only be one or two good images from your session vs. the 20-30 great images that a professional will provide in your gallery. When you hire with quality in mind, you buy the assurance and the peace of mind that your special moment is captured perfectly before it is lost in time.
Next, gently lift her head and position her hands and arms underneath it, then lay her head back down, turning it so she’s look out at you instead of down into the pillow. The photos below show why it’s important to tuck the hands under her head – if you don’t, they’ll likely end up right in front of her face, as in the first photo. In the second photo you can still see her hand, but it doesn’t block your view of her face.
Nursed Shots – some of the bests shots I’ve taken over the last month have been taken when people have been nursing Xavier. This puts him into a more upright position which makes him look a little more ‘human-like’ and opens up the angles for your photos. Try a number of positions (over the shoulder, sitting him up, laying him back in arms, lying him on his tummy etc) as each one opens up different possibilities. Also remember that your baby is not the only potential subject – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends etc all can add context to the shot and you’ll appreciate having more than just baby by themselves shots later!
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
We love photographing newborn babies, so when a twin photo session happens, it is twice as nice! Twice the snuggles, twice the piggies, and twice the love. It’s absolutely amazing to witness how a child’s personality develops right after birth and in the early days of life. Newborn twins are gifted with such distinctive personalities right away, and we love to capture those little differences. With newborn twins, we also make sure to take individual shots so that Mom and Dad can see all the tiny special details inherent in each baby.
This is so helpful. Thank you. I am going to open a studio soon and I was wondering which type of camera to buy but now you have me thinking. I have a D90 now but I need a full frame I can tell the difference when i am framing. I also hate how whenever I take the pictures it looks right in my viewfinder but there is more background then I saw in the view finder then when I view the image. Does having a full frame help with this?
Kids are naturally photogenic. Instead of bending over backwards to create posed photos that look natural, try capturing the essence of special moments in your daily life. Take photos of your kids swinging from the monkey bars, splashing along the shoreline or tromping down the side of a large hill. Thanks to digital photography, you don’t have to worry about wasting film. You can take as many shots as you like until you find the ones that have the fresh, yet timeless feel you are looking for.