Photographs of precious, sleepy newborn babies in exceptional backdrops are all over Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. These capture the heartwarming beauty and innocence of a new life that words can barely describe. Such images do not only serve as documentation that allows families to look back on memories. Additionally, for your child, these may symbolize belongingness in a loving family that holds and treasures them from day one!
Newborn photography is among the most fulfilling types there. On the other hand, getting the perfect shot of a delicate little infant can be challenging. If you are thinking about having a DIY newborn photoshoot with your newest bundle of joy, familiarizing yourself with the most common mistakes parents and photographers make when taking shots of babies and ways to avoid them is crucial.
At Erin Elizabeth Photography, your little babe’s comfort and safety are imperative in every newborn session. Hence, let us walk you through its dos and don’ts!
1. Failing to practice basic newborn handling and posing techniques
Most infant photographs shown on social media are often the result of impressive photo editing. Have you ever seen a picture of an infant lounging on a hammock? Most viewers spot only the final product without knowing the whole process. That is why such a shot has become normalized and sensationalized without regard to the risks. In reality, no responsible professional newborn photographer would put a baby in a compromising situation. Additionally, the froggy pose is not encouraged as the baby’s head is not naturally supported. For these shots, experts photograph the infant with support, capture the props in a separate image, and edit these together into one composite picture.
Your bundle of joy is still growing and developing. They require the utmost care and gentleness. As mentioned, their safety is the ultimate priority in newborn photography. Hence, do not position them on their stomach, avoid poses that may block their airways or strain their joints, and ensure their whole body is always supported. Fortunately, with lots of practice and training, you will get comfortable handling and posing them safely and efficiently!
2. Utilising harsh lighting
Harsh lighting can cause discomfort in newborns. The sight can irritate their vision and cause them to squint their eyes. Regardless of whether they are sleeping or awake during the shoot, we recommend taking advantage of soft light.
If you opt for artificial light, soften it using a diffuser or a soft box. When using a camera flash, use a reflector so the light can bounce on the wall or ceiling instead of on little bub’s face.
On the other hand, if you are working with natural light, position your baby perpendicular to the source. The shadows it creates add depth to your photos. You can also use a translucent curtain or reflector to soften or diffuse the light.
3. Not allocating ample time
Newborns have special needs. These little ones have sleeping, feeding, and diaper change schedules. Getting them positioned and keeping them warm for the shoot takes time. Indeed, working with them can be time-intensive but very rewarding.
You would want to avoid rushing as doing so can potentially stress the infant and yourself. Hence, block out at least two hours of your day for a shoot to get as many images as you want without bothering your babe. Then, soothe them right after as a reward!
4. Not keeping your baby warm
Newborns’ bodies do not regulate temperature as well as ours do. When feeling cold, it requires them considerable amounts of energy to stay warm. Hence, keep the room at a temperature suitable for them.
Using a space heater is a good idea, but ensure it does not get too close to the baby by keeping it a couple of feet away. Heating pads, on the other hand, are not encouraged. A baby’s skin is sensitive and may get burnt with contact. If only a heating pad is available, heat the space and remove it before placing your little babe on the spot.
5. Not using white noise
The idea that newborns need a quiet place to sleep is a common misconception. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, white noise helps improve sleep quality in babies. Hence, when photographing a sleeping newborn, it is wise to keep white noise in the room by using a machine or smartphone app to help them relax.
6. Only taking images of a sleeping newborn
Indeed, sleeping infants make sessions a lot easier. However, there is still a possibility that they are not in dreamland the entire time. Nevertheless, this can make images a lot more interesting.
A baby who’s wide awake during the session can make the newborn photoshoot unique and interactive with parents alongside them. A big sister or brother joining the shoot can also produce priceless newborn sibling photos!
Holding your baby close and looking them into the eyes can make images more dynamic. Hence, do not hesitate to share the spotlight with your infant for more touching moments and priceless photographs!
If you’re thinking about joining your baby in front of the camera, consider hiring a professional newborn photographer. At Erin Elizabeth, we have photographed thousands of maternity, newborn, and family sessions and mastered the art of coupling skilful photography with expert posing, direction, and communication. You can trust us to create the images of your dreams your baby will thank you for in the future!