When I first started taking on newborn clients I knew I wanted to take the lifestyle approach. Although I absolutely love posed newborn sessions, they need to be done by photographers that have taken safety classes and are comfortable posing babies. Here are some tips and tricks I learned along the way!
SAFETY ALWAYS COMES FIRST:
Please don’t ever experiment with newborns! Don’t try to pose a baby without taking safety classes first and working with dolls. And when it comes to lifestyle photography, there are still risks so be aware that some new parents are not exactly sure how to safely hold their baby. Guide them to help make sure they are comfortable.
Light is essential! Without enough natural light you might end up with very grainy images (in some cases that is totally fine, as long as you are going for dark and moody edits). It’s usually best to photograph a newborn session at the family’s home (or if weather permits, outside) but you will need to be prepared as it’s not always possible. When I consult with my clients, I always ask them to send me pictures of the brightest rooms in their home. Normally this is the living room, bedroom, and nursery. If their home is dark and there isn’t enough light coming in I ask them to find a different location such as a relative or a friend’s home. If you do decide that their home has enough light during the day, give mom and dad a little homework. Ask them to watch all rooms in their home during the day and see at what time they are the brightest. Then schedule the session for that time of the day.
Allow yourself enough time for a newborn session because as we all know babies get hungry, might need diaper change, and sometimes they are just cranky. I always ask the mom if she wants me to take pictures while she is breastfeeding. I haven’t had a mom refuse and they all end up loving those images as well! Sometimes the most precious moments captured are the ones that are unexpected. Don’t put the camera down, just keep shooting so you never miss a great shot!
TAKE SEPARATE PICTURES OF MOM AND DAD WITH BABY:
In my book this is a must! I need to have at least one picture of mom and the baby and one of dad and the baby. They can be candid or posed, but the ultimate goal is to show the bond they each share with their little one. Normally I pose mom sideway holding baby in a way that is facing me. I then prompt her to give the baby a soft kiss on the head.
And I love posing dads by making them sit down and hold their baby in front of them. Sometimes I capture them looking at each other and other times baby yawns, smirks or even sleeps.
Babies grow so fast in the first year of their life that we often forget how tiny they were once. Always make sure to take detail shots of the baby’s feet/toes, hands and fingers. Bonus points if mom and dad’s hands are in the picture for comparison.
BLACK AND WHITE:
Some lifestyle images look amazing in color but others really pop when you turn them black and white. I try to give my clients both because I want them to have a choice when ordering wall art. It’s always a good idea to give your clients options as it will sometimes lead to more sales & even happier customers.
I love my Canon 6D mark II. It performs really well in low light situations. The live view screen allows me to take pictures without looking through the viewfinder and its focus points are amazing. For indoor lifestyle photography I love using my Canon 35mm f2. For outdoor sessions I use my Canon 70-200mm f2.8 and I get amazing results.
Do you have any tips and tricks that are a must for you when shooting your newborn lifestyle sessions? Tell us in the comments!
This article was featured in Summerana’s Magazine – February 2019 | The Red Issue. See the full issue here.