Photo by Nicole McDaniel Photography
When it comes to photography subjects, I'm not sure there's anything better than a newborn.
Now, I'm saying that as a proud father - not as a photographer!
Just like wedding photography requires a certain kind of person to be successful, newborn photography necessitates that photographers have a certain skill set to make a go of a business that revolves around photographing tiny, sometimes temperamental people.
Add to that the delicate care that's needed to ensure the safety of newborns and the utter exhaustion of the baby's parents, and you've got a recipe for a high-stress job that not everyone can master.
Having said that, fortunately, there are many photographers out there that are perfectly suited to this kind of work, and their images not only show off their talents but also melt your heart with cuteness. I mean, just look at the featured image above and tell me that's not the most adorable thing you've seen today...
If you're interested in becoming a newborn photographer, just have a look at these examples, take these tips to heart, and see what kind of photos you can create.
One of the simplest poses for newborn photography is to have the baby on its stomach. It's a natural sleeping position, so you might find that when put on its stomach, the baby will fall asleep.
Once asleep, it's easier for you and the parents to gently manipulate the baby's positioning such that you can get a better pose for the photo.
In the example above, a top-down view gives us a prime viewing position of the baby's face. Note how the baby's head is supported by its arms. Also note how the surface upon which it is laying is contoured to give the baby additional support.
Photo by Axsys Design
Another option for a baby on its stomach is to take a side view, as seen in the image above.
When photographing a baby from the side, you give viewers a better understanding of the baby's size and weight - something that rapidly changes in the first few months of its life. That means that this side view shot can become a precious reminder of how tiny the baby was after he or she was born.
It's also a good view for incorporating props, like the headband and angel wings shown above.
Tasteful, elegant props like these add character, charm, and whimsy to the shot without taking away the visual impact of the baby.
Photo by Loni Smith Photography
You can also take a shooting position in front of the baby, and if it's old enough, capture an image with a little movement, as seen above.
In this case, the top-down view is similar to the one discussed earlier. However, the image has a completely different feel because, in this case, the baby is awake and pushing himself up.
With the additional interest of the baby's eyes being wide open and the indicated movement that's a result of his outstretched arms, we see the value of taking photos of newborns when they are awake.
Though it will be much easier for you to get the shots that are needed if the baby is asleep, reserve some time to get some shots of the baby awake. I think you'll agree, the results can be fantastic!
Photo by Ella Rose Photography
Another highly suitable pose for newborns is to have them on their back.
Like the stomach pose, this is a natural position that's comfortable and safe for the baby and provides them with plenty of support for their delicate heads and necks.
In the example above, the close-up framing gives us a more intimate look at the baby, which is beneficial given that she's awake and her beautiful eyes are wide open.
Note as well how the close-up look benefits from all the texture in the scene.
Whereas earlier examples had a very plain background underneath the baby, this one has all kinds of shapes and textures that add interest to the shot. Don't be afraid to add visual elements like blankets or props like bonnets and crowns. They will help give the shot more depth and give viewers all the more reason to stay engaged with viewing the photo.
Photo by Belly Beautiful Portraits
With the baby on its back, you can also pull back for a fuller view to give the viewer a better look at the baby's little arms and legs.
In this case, you can see how this baby's arms and legs have been delicately positioned to create added interest in the shot.
Note as well how the basket and blanket beneath her aren't just things that look good - they offer the baby plenty of support to keep her in a safe, comfortable position.
When photographing babies, be sure that the parents have cleaned its face (especially the eyes, nose, and mouth) as well as the baby's hands, fingers, toes, and feet. You don't want any dirty, food, or other substances to show up in your photos!
Photo by Sheenagal Photography
If you have multiple babies to photograph in a single frame, posing them on their back is an ideal position because it's safe and comfortable and because you might end up with an interaction as seen in the image above.
Here the photo becomes less about the individual babies and more about the relationship between them.
By placing both babies in the basket, the photographer helps the viewer zero in on that relationship - the basket serves almost like a frame within a frame to keep our eyes front and center on the two tiny subjects.
Plenty of soft blankets make the basket comfortable for the babies, while also adding just enough color and texture to give the photo a little more visual appeal.
Photo by J. Marie Photography
A more complicated pose is to have the baby on its side.
Since this isn't a natural position for a newborn, it's imperative that you give the baby the support it needs to safely stay in this position.
Have plenty of foam bumpers and shims that you can put behind the baby to ensure it doesn't roll backwards.
Likewise, by placing the baby's hands under its head, as seen above, and shifting its top leg forward of the bottom leg, you'll be able to balance the baby such that it doesn't roll forward either.
As is the case in the image above, simply cover the baby's body with a blanket to hide the bumpers, and you'll have a sweet photo as a result.
Photo by Axsys Design
A wider view of a baby positioned on its side can also reap many visual rewards.
As seen in the image above, the addition of the crib gives this photo a sweet vibe that's accentuated by the simple, yet elegant headband.
Note as well that the fabric covering the ground has enough color and pattern that it gives a bit of depth to the shot without overwhelming your eye.
Again, we see how positioning the baby's hands under its head and having the top leg forward of the bottom leg helps balance the baby against the bumpers and blankets that protect her from behind.
Photo by Julie Newell Photography
You can also combine a stomach pose with a side view by placing the baby on its stomach and gently positioning its head toward the camera, as seen above.
With a wider view like this, not only do you provide the viewer with a view of the baby's face, but you can also provide a glimpse of their tiny body, especially when they go without a covering.
But, when photographing babies in this manner, it's not just important to be incredibly gentle as you position them, but it's also necessary to ensure that the studio space is nice and warm as part of your preparations for the shoot, such that the baby doesn't get chilled without having any clothing on or a blanket covering them.
These types of photos take a few minutes to setup, but once the baby is in position, work quickly so the parents can cover their child before they get cold.
Photo by Julie Newell Photography
A seated pose is a great choice for older babies that can sit up on their own.
As you can see in the image above, a seated pose is an ideal position to show off the baby's eyes, hands, and feet, as each will be in full view.
What's more, a seated position affords you the opportunity to add some visual punch with wardrobe choices like the sitter gown seen in this image.
When choosing baby accessories like gowns, crowns, headbands, and angel wings, ensure that they don't overpower the shot. Remember - the star of the show is the baby, and these items are intended to enhance the baby's look, not distract the viewer's eye from engaging with the baby.
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