Newborn and baby photography is becoming increasingly popular as more parents look to document the precious early days of their baby’s life.
Helping parents create these beautiful memories with their child can certainly be rewarding, but photographing babies also brings new challenges and a lot of responsibility. So if you already understand the basics of working in the photography industry, but are interested in specializing in baby and newborn photography, here are five essential tips to get you off to a strong start.
1. Safety First
As a newborn and baby photographer, your subjects are very vulnerable and it’s your responsibility to keep them safe and ensure that the photo shoot will run smoothly.
The most important considerations are the types of poses and props you use. You’ve probably seen photos of babies seemingly balancing on surfaces or objects, but the reality is that professional photographers always have someone on hand during the shoot to support the baby and make sure each pose is safely executed. This person’s hands or body are later edited out using Photoshop.
So before tackling any photo shoots, spend some time learning about how to safely pose newborns and get beautiful and creative photos without putting the baby’s safety at risk.
2. Make Sure Everyone Is Comfortable
You’re going to get far more peaceful photographs of a baby that’s warm and comfortable, so take the time to think about your setup and make sure the studio is well-heated.
Using cozy props like soft wraps and blankets, bean bags and stuffed toys can go a long way towards keeping the baby comfortable. White noise machines can also be used to help the baby sleep or at least stay calm during the photo shoot.
When it comes to posing the baby, never try to force any particular pose that doesn’t seem natural or the baby doesn’t seem comfortable with. Sessions won’t always go as you expect, so you’ll need to be flexible and willing to adjust your plans as you go along. Providing refreshments and comfortable seating will also make the whole process more enjoyable for everyone involved.
3. Go For Pastels and Neutral Colors
Harsh and garish colors like red or bright green, yellow and purple may detract from your adorable subject. So when planning your background and choosing props, aim for neutral or soft pastel colors like eggshell yellow, soft pink, baby blue and cream. It’s also a good idea to avoid overly busy patterns which might clash with other elements in the photo.
If you’re shooting family portraits, communicate with the parents in advance to discuss possible wardrobe choices and see what styles or colors might work best for the setting of your photo shoot.
4. Communicate With Parents Before and During the Shoot
A big part of newborn and baby photography is communicating with and managing the parents’ expectations. So once you’ve scheduled a photoshoot, it’s important to touch base and let them know what they can expect from the session.
It can be helpful to put all the essential information, such as the time and place as well as anything you’d like them to bring or do beforehand, in an email so they have something to refer to. For instance, if you’re doing the photoshoot at their home, you’ll want to ask them to turn up the heating before you arrive, and babies will generally be calmer and easier to work with after being fed.
During the photoshoot, try to put the parents at ease by staying calm and having fun with it. Just be sure to give clear directions and keep the positive feedback flowing while you work so they’ll feel more confident and relaxed in front of the camera.
5. Learn How to Market Yourself
In addition to great photos, your clients will want the reassurance that their child will be safe with you, so your reputation as a trustworthy photographer is extremely important, and this is where the marketing aspect comes in.
If you’re serious about working as a baby and newborn photographer, you’ll need to focus on building a strong portfolio, developing an online presence and building a relationship with your clients. Creating your own website is usually the first step, but you’ll also need to focus on social media as well as word of mouth marketing.
Not sure how to get started with your marketing? Check out this post for some advice on how to market your photography services to local clients.
Special thanks to Marianne Stenger for this informative article! Marianne is a photography enthusiast as well as writer and journalist with Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. You can follow her on Twitter @MarianneStenger.