10 TIPS FOR NEWBORN PORTRAIT SHOOTS
1 be prepared Preparation is key. Have a workflow planned so that you can easily transition the baby from one position to another. Make sure your camera and cards are ready, and that props, hats and blankets are easily accessible.
2 Relax! It’s important that you’re calm and relaxed throughout the shoot, so the baby feels safe and comfortable with you. Parents also need to feel that you’re confident.
3 keep the room warm Newborns have trouble regulating their temperature, so you need to keep the room warm – 22-24 degrees is ideal. Make sure your blankets and wraps are warm, as changes in temperature will startle and wake the baby.
4 safety first Always have a spotter to ensure the baby is safe at all times. Ask dad or mum to get involved if need be. Be gentle, and never force a baby into a position that they are clearly not comfortable in.
5 Turn up the volume Newborns haven’t come from a quiet place; it’s been noisy for them in the womb over the last few months. So put the radio on and don’t be afraid to chat! Don’t tiptoe about – noise actually helps settle the baby.
6 Fill them up A full tummy makes the baby more likely to be content. Some need feeding every 20 minutes, others can go for hours without feeding. I warn parents to expect to feed a little more than normal during a photoshoot.
7 Wide awake Don’t be afraid to capture wide-awake moments as well as sleeping ones. The yawns and baby pouts are cute, and newborns sleep a lot, so getting a shot with open eyes is important to the parents.
8 Take your time A newborn shoot takes time – two to four hours is common. Prepare the parents in advance and explain that the baby needs time to do what babies do. There will be lots of settling, feeding and changing nappies!
9 cleanliness Use antibacterial hand wash before and during the session, and make sure your blankets are washed after each one. Never photograph a baby if you are ill; even a common cold sore can have serious consequences.
10 know your camera and kit Newborn photography is very special, so make sure you know your Canon camera, lenses and lights inside-out. This way, you’ll be confident when you need to tweak settings on the fly, and can really enjoy the session!