Deal 6: 365 days of training from the world’s best photographers
Today Natalie Norton shares with us a series of 6 tips for photographing babies.
*Image Credit Nicole Hill.
Babies, babies everywhere! It seems like everyone around me is either pregnant or has a new born! I’m a total sucker for tiny people. I love the way they look, all pink and wrinkled. I love the way they smell, like baby powder, and well, let’s just face it, slightly like sour milk. I even love the way they sound, fire engine siren screams and all.
However sweet they may be, they are NOT the easiest of photographic subjects! Here are 6 tips to nailing your next newborn session with flying colors.
Here are some things you’ll want to discuss with Mom and Dad about a day or 2 prior to your scheduled shoot.
Make sure that you have EVERYTHING you need VERY well organized and easily accessible. Babies are fidgety, fussy and very impatient, and you’ve got to take the initiative to plan accordingly.
Don’t be afraid to get in close and focus on the details. Most images I shoot of babies are shot with very low apertures (wide open) to encourage very shallow depth of field. I’m not by ANY means saying that this is right for everyone, but this is my particular style, and I do this for many reasons.
My friend and fellow photographer/mentor, Nicole Hill, of Nicole Photo (nicolephoto.com) and A Little Sussy (nicolehill.blogspot.com), recently informed me that a little stocking cap (beanie) can be a solve all for the . . . (cough cough) alien looking infant! Well, she didn’t say the alien part. That’s all me, but we have to just be honest and admit that often tiny babies look a little like E.T. My 3 boys included. Yup, I said it. If you saw their baby pictures, you couldn’t deny it either! Nicole is right, a beanie can cover a misshapen head or just soften a face that hasn’t quite grown into it’s features. Enough said.
Establishing shots are images that establish the feeling, location, etc of the time during which an event took place. In this case you’re trying to tell a story about the feelings surrounding the birth of a new child. The welcome of another little person into an already established family unit. Each family unit will be different than the next, but each is special and should be documented as such. For example:
You’ve got to be flexible. There are so many variables when shooting a tiny baby. They can be SO unpredictable. Remember to:
There are SO MANY more things to remember when you’re running an infant shoot. Hopefully the few I’ve shared will be helpful. Feel free to add others in the comment section below! I also encourage you to make a checklist out of the information above to be sure you’re prepared in the future!!
Natalie Norton lives and shoots on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii with her wonderful husband and her 3 crazy sons! Raleigh (5), Cardon (3) and Lincoln (22 months).
PS from Darren: Coincidentally – I also had another baby photography tutorial submitted yesterday – so as we’re in a baby mood here at DPS this week I’ll post that one tomorrow – I think they compliment each other nicely. Stay tuned!
May 17, 2012 10:43 pm
Thank you for the tips! I love photography and with 5 kids ages 12 down to 7 months - it is always nice to hear other people's tips.
A picture of our 5 children below - I took just the other day:
May 16, 2012 12:09 am
Nice and useful tips. Thanks for sharing.
May 15, 2012 09:49 am
First off, I love the title for this post! And the comment about sour milk ;) It's funny, just today a friend and I were discussing the newborn/alien look-a-like and joking about our reactions to our own babies, seems to be a pretty common observation! When photographing newborns, I also like to use cheesecloth and safely swaddle them in it having it come around their head and I find it helps minimize that look a bit. To see what I mean, check out the 6th image in my gallery http://www.natashavaughnphotography.ca/beginnings-gallery.html to see the cheesecloth in action. Great post!
October 4, 2011 02:34 pm
Thanks a lot. I have my first newborn shoot tomorrow and God has been good and everyone of my shoots have gone ok but your article relaxed me a whole lot.
Sacha Sunanon of Alice Deen Photography
June 28, 2011 11:59 pm
I had the chance recently to photograph my daughter at 2 weeks, and it was a great learning experience and I had a lot of help from my sister in law, who came prepared.
one thing that was also important remember to make sure the temperature is just right, if baby is going to be do a nude session, we want baby warm and comfortable.
http://dsdphotography.co.za/kia-home/ - here are some of the photos I decided were worthy of display, although there are a ton to go through still, and I have terribly critical of my own work, especially when the photos are so special.
February 20, 2011 10:17 am
Thank you so much for the tips...I just recently done a photo session of an 8 day old baby & about everything that you described I came across. You really do have to be patient with the baby & allow him/her to feed & be diapered & of course consoled by mommy! [img]http://www.facebook.com
November 20, 2010 08:52 am
Doing my first studio shoot with a couple with a four year old and a four month old. Going to be hard to balance the shots but have got some ideas.
August 23, 2010 05:00 pm
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on durable, water-resistant card stock within personalized front and back covers.
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August 2, 2010 05:20 pm
Thanks for all the hints and tips... very useful!! I really enjoy doing baby shoots... it's the amazing look on the parents faces when you finally supply the edited images! It's a joy of life.
Andy : )[eimg url='http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3316277&id=246922333499&ref=album' title='photo.php?pid=3316277&id=246922333499&ref=album']
August 2, 2010 03:58 pm
New photography student here. Bought my first DSLR last January when my first-born was 6 months old. Just want to share that I learned a majority of photography techniques with my baby as the subject. For all expecting to have babies, I can say that they are the best subject possible!
A few months ago, i noticed that my baby was very used to having his photo taken that whenever i bring out my camera, we will automatically pose and smile at me. Likewise, whenever he sees anything bright (like a reading lamp), he thinks that someone is taking a photo of him! It just makes my week worthwhile.
The best thing however is the fact that you can record practically the growing period of your child. From having no hair to having long locks!
Good luck to everyone!
July 31, 2010 07:11 am
Great article! Great tips!
July 31, 2010 02:41 am
It's actually hard to capture a moment with newborns. You really have to be very patient and alert. I'd like to share a few tips I've learned when my son was still a baby:
- Get a nice compact digital camera that you can bring with you at all times. You'll never know if it's the right moment, so it's good to have it within arms-reach.
- Use the multi-shot settings. It's nice to capture every movement of you baby especially if that trick is his first. (A good snapshot stops a moment from running away. ~Eudora Welty)
- Download all files from your memory card at the end of the day so you'll have enough space every time.
- And lastly, have fun!!! =)
July 30, 2010 07:55 pm
My sister had a baby recently, and I took DPS advice really seriously...
July 30, 2010 07:53 pm
My sister had a baby and I was there taking DPS advice very seriously ;)
[eimg url='http://giovannidcunha.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/baby-toes.jpg' title='baby-toes.jpg']
And here are some more:
July 30, 2010 01:53 pm
Thanks DPS.... that's a good tips
July 30, 2010 12:38 pm
For the past 3 weeks I have had my 6 month old grandaughter (& her mommy) visiting us from out of state. She leaves in another week to go home. I have turned my livingroom into a home studio. We've had "photo sessions" nearly every 3rd or 4th day or so. You know how many are "keepers"? Not enough, unfortunately. Here's what I have learned:
1. Use a fast shutter speed. These little whipper-snappers are quick.
2. Keep the smiles & laughter coming. Babies love it.
3. Be prepared.
4. Be patient.
5. Relax - little one knows what you're feeling & will feed off it.
6. Breathe & HAVE FUN WITH IT!
July 30, 2010 10:51 am
I'm so surprised today! We'll be shooting our friends new born baby next week, and your tips are just right on time.
I am having happy feet! Many thanks to DPS!
July 30, 2010 10:00 am
Love your timing! I'm expecting mid September, and am spending these last few weeks working my way around my new 7D :). Can't wait to take some pics!!
July 30, 2010 08:36 am
Oh, good advice on the little hat or beanie. My son had a cephalohematoma, so a giant lump on his head. Hard to fix that up in photoshop. And yes on the asking about naked baby photos - some people are not comfortable with that sort of thing!
July 30, 2010 07:39 am
Let me add my thanks, Nicole and others, for this timely post. Our first grandchild will arrive in early October and my son and daughter-in-law have requested that I take photos to celebrate the event.
July 30, 2010 06:54 am
Use a fast shutter speed. Babies are fidgety things and always moving around. A fast shutter will eliminate the baby blurs.
July 30, 2010 06:31 am
Took some pic's yesterday and all was happy! Thanks anyway for all the inspirational articles.
July 30, 2010 06:06 am
Thanks Natalie, I'm due to shoot a newborn babe in November and a baby only a few months old in a short while. Some of these tips will prove handy on the day(s) I'm sure.
July 30, 2010 04:43 am
[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/edster951/4804357048/' title='Grace' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4079/4804357048_37e83c6fd4_b.jpg']
July 30, 2010 04:42 am
Take your time.....have a third sense...pick up on when babe is getting upset. I did just that and called a stop for a few minutes, then got this on the changing table....
Patience is a virtue, I had thier three year wanting to try out the gear too, and I had to let him take one picture for every 2-3 of mine. Nerve wrecking but it kept the calm.
July 30, 2010 03:33 am
I found these on Etsy (Camera pets) that go around the lens of your camera to draw the child or baby's attention to the camera and help keep them from being distracted. I find them brilliant - and invaluable when making children's photos. Maybe you'll enjoy them too!
July 30, 2010 03:17 am
Thanks for the great post. What have you found to be the best lens when shooting infants? Do you use a macro lens for the up close shots of feet etc? Thanks for any advice you can give!
July 30, 2010 03:08 am
Great article, very clear and good tips. Thank you.
Here is one more advice that I picked up somewhere on the internet - to get baby interested in you, try to camouflage your camera into something interesting - put a toy on the lens or something that would draw baby's attention towards you.
July 30, 2010 03:03 am
Great article and advice. Just need to find a baby to photograph since I nor my friends have one now.. got to stick with older kids for now.
July 30, 2010 02:48 am
I would also recommend a heating pad placed where the baby is to be placed. Also, the warmer the enviroment, the better. Babies can get all splotchy if they are cold. Great article!
July 30, 2010 02:44 am
Great advice, this is the reason why I love DPS. One thing to add, and perhaps it will be covered in tomorrow's post, but I see you are in Hawaii. For those of us not in a tropical paradise, if you are going to photograph a naked baby, make sure that the heat is turned up.
Babies cannot regulate their temperature, and, as I learned from my own kids, don't appreciate being cold. They also turn several different shades of splotchy purple when they are not warm. Warm babies have a nice pink look to them.
You almost want to have the room where you are working a little warmer than is comfortable for you, just to keep the baby comfortable, should you and the parents choose "Baby in the Buff" images.
Thanks again for your advice.
July 30, 2010 02:33 am
Love the article, excellent tips! I have a granddaughter due in October and hope to get some fun pictures!!
July 30, 2010 01:48 am
Natty, I wish I'd had this plan down before Sebby came along!!... I have a shoot planned with him on the weekend :-)
Hope you're doin' great!
July 30, 2010 01:47 am
Thanks! I'm expecting my 2nd in about 4 months and am trying to prepare now for lots of little newborn photo sessions with him so it's very helpful to read articles like these to help remember important tips.
July 30, 2010 12:16 am
Excellent points! Thanks!!
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