by guest contributor Amber Scruggs of Little Moon Photography
Photographing newborns is not as easy as it looks! It takes years of practice and lots of newborns before you get it right. I’ve been photographing newborns for 3 years and specializing in them for 2 and I’m still learning. I shoot about 100 newborns a year in my natural light studio located in Leesburg, Virginia so I’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way!
1. Comfortable Baby
Keep the room nice and warm, my studio is usually close to 90 degrees and while it feels hot to us it’s the prefect temperature for a newborn. They spent 9 months in their Mom’s warm womb you want to mimic that environment once out.
Have the baby fed really, really well. I have Mom undress and top off the baby once they arrive so that their bellies are nice and full.
White noise is also very important, I usually have two different ones going at the same time and any time the baby startles or looks like it’s waking up a little bit I pat and SHHHHH really loud in their ears, puts them right back to sleep!
2. Tummy Poses
Babies love being on their tummies so if the baby is asleep I usually start off in a pose where they are on their tummy, I lay them on the beanbag with all of my blankets and fabrics layered on it and lay a small blanket on top of them. I then pat and get them nice and sleepy and pose them while they are under the blanket. If they are already asleep, I pose them in my arms and then lay them on the blanket. The tushie in the air is a great starter pose!
3. Switch it up!
While in the same pose I tweak it a little and shoot at all different angles to get totally different photos. You can take one pose and get 10 different images out of it if you just switch up the pose a little bit, move a hand, add a headband, etc. Stand up and shoot that angle, get on your knees and shoot that angle, get creative!
4. Changing up the pose
When changing a pose or blanket, I lift the baby myself keeping them in the same position they are in on the blanket in my hands. I then have the mom or dad throw back the blanket to reveal the next layer. I then switch up the pose while baby is in my arms and then lay them back down on the blanket.
5. Props and planning
I have an area in my studio that I do all of my prop and parent shots, I plan which pose I will do with each prop and how I will do it beforehand so once they are in the pose on the blanket I can keep them in that same pose and just move them over into the prop. I also plan ahead which blankets and poses I want to do. This helps me keep organized and keeps the session flowing well. I aim to get the session done in 2 hours but it depends on the baby, 3 hours is my average.
6. PATIENCE AND PERFECTION
This is the most important tip, you have to be very, very patient and take your time with every pose so that everything is perfect. Take the time to get the blanket smooth, the babies fingers nice and flat and make sure you are not shooting up the nose, always shoot square, straight on, with their faces.
Always have someone nearby to spot on any prop shots or hard poses, the babies comfort and safety is always your number one goal.
Enjoy them! Newborns are so beautiful and sweet, it’s really the best job in the world.
Amber Scruggs owns Little Moon Photography Studio located in Historic Leesburg, Virginia. She specializes in modern, artistic natural light newborn photography. Amber also offers her Little Posers Newborn Posing and Business Workshop a few times a year, email her for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org