Common Pitfalls of Newborn Photography and How to Avoid Them
From crying newborns, to fidgety toddlers, to camera-shy preschoolers, photographing children at different ages comes with its own challenges and requires different strategies to overcome them. Read on to learn what pitfalls to avoid when trying to capture those sweet sleepy newborn photos.
Ah, newborns. Those swaddled little bundles of joy peacefully snoozing away, letting you pose them in every cute way possible. Photographing one cannot be that hard – or can it? Well, actually it can. Though you’d never guess from all the seemingly effortless shots, capturing the most adorable poses while keeping the baby sound asleep (and clean) can be pretty daunting.
1. Posing a newborn
Newborns have very little control over their bodies, so when they’re not asleep, they tend to wriggle, thrash and twitch pretty much all the time. Besides, their limbs are usually long and skinny, and don’t look particularly flattering when photographed. It’s therefore important to arrange their tiny bodies as compactly as possible, or at least to try to keep them from flailing their arms and legs about. One of the easiest poses to start with is the tummy pose. Simply lay the baby on their front on a blanket or towel, turn their head towards the camera and slide their hands under the cheek. Don’t forget to tuck their legs up under their body for that extra neat look. You can also ask a family member to hold the baby in different positions, then take them out of the snapshot when editing the picture.
Remember, newborns are very fragile, so be gentle and careful while molding them into all sorts of curly poses.
2. Handling a meltdown situation
Since babies have a hard time stopping crying once they begin, it’s always best to nip any discomfort in the bud. To that end, make sure the newborn is well-fed, dry and worn out a little before the photo shoot starts. You may also want to have a space heater and a white noise machine nearby to help keep them comfy and sound asleep. Regardless of all the prepping and planning, your tiny model can still turn into an inconsolable ball of tears at any moment. If that’s the case, you need to realize that crying is their main way of telling you what they need. Your role is to figure out what – if anything – you can do about it. Maybe the baby is hungry or needs a change. Or maybe it’s enough to give them a quick cuddle to calm them back down.
Remember, all the shushing and rocking and singing can take a while, but it’s worth its time in gold – the more comfortable the newborn feels, the easier they are to shoot.
3. Coming to terms with the mess
We don’t suppose a diaper disaster ever crossed your mind as a major work hazard, did it? Well, those adorable naked baby shoots may turn into quite a messy affair, so be prepared that your blankets and wraps will get dirty at some point during the process. Make sure that you have some cotton towels, wipes and extra props handy. Also, always bring a spare change of clothes for yourself and use only washable props.
Remember, while newborns photograph best in the nude, you don’t have to take their diaper off to get some great pics. If you decide you feel more comfortable keeping the baby’s nappy on, simply use a diaper cover and shoot away!
What to do with your newborn photographs
From sleepy yawns to first smiles, newborn photos are absolutely heart-melting and a family keepsake for generations. Here are three ways to display newborn images that never go out of fashion.
- Create a canvas print. You can start with one or a gallery (3-4 smaller images from a scene). It is sure to become a timeless family heirloom and a talking point on any wall.
- Make a photo book. Put together a custom baby book that showcases their first days in photos. Easy to make and fun to look through, a photo book is a perfect gift for proud parents, grandparents and other family members.
- Have your images printed. Sometimes the easiest way to get those photos off your computer is to print them out and compile in a good old-fashioned photo album.
Newborn photography isn’t a piece of cake, but it’s not impossible, either. If you’ve encountered any other challenges when photographing newborns, let us know in the comments!