My Best Tips for New Newborn Photographers - Brenna Heater

My Best Tips for New Newborn Photographers

Newborns, Photography, Resources

Today on the blog, I am sharing my best tips for new (and aspiring) newborn photographers! Before taking the leap into newborn photography, it’s important that you make sure that it’s an area of photography that you actually want to do. Do you love babies and kids? Do you enjoy serving new mothers? Are you patient and kind with the littlest family members?

If you find yourself saying, “no way!” to any of the above questions, you may want to rethink photographing newborns…and that’s okay!! Just like wedding photography isn’t for everyone (hi, that’s me!), newborn photography isn’t for everyone either. There are so many niches of photography to specialize in!

But if you nodded your head, “YES!” to the questions above, then newborn photography may just be your perfect fit! I’d love to help you along your journey. Check out the most frequently asked questions from aspiring newborn photographers below, and maybe it’s your question too!

Do I need a flash?

No, not at all! If you’re familiar and comfortable with using a flash indoors then you can certainly bring yours with you. I only shoot with natural light. If you do decide to use a flash, you’ll want to use either an off-camera setup or, if your flash is mounted to your camera body, then bounce the flash off of another surface. The important thing with flash is to never point or direct your flash at the baby’s face.

How do I know how to wrap the baby safely?

The number one thing you need to become a newborn photographer is safety training. If you haven’t yet taken a course on newborn photographer safety then you shouldn’t be handling the baby until you’re educated and feel confident with that part of the job. You’ll just let the parents dress and hold the baby–easy peasy!

What kind of props should I bring?

You really don’t need to bring any! You can bring headbands for girls or bonnets for boys if you’d like, but it’s not a necessity. I’m a fan of minimal to no props or accessories. For headbands, I like the style of nude nylon headbands with a tiny bow in a neutral color as opposed to a huge, thick headband in a bright or neon color. We want to keep the focus on the stay of the show–the baby–instead of the accessories. If you haven’t had specialty training and practice in regards to using props like baskets, boxes, buckets, etc., then you shouldn’t attempt those poses at all. The baby’s safety is always the priority! Having the baby lying on a bed or blanket on the floor is adorable.

How do I shoot and pose the baby?

Here are two pointers to get you started with photographing newborns. Whether you use natural or artificial light, you always want the light source coming from the top of the baby’s head, down the face, and to the toes. In other words, the top of the head should be closest to the light source and not the toes. When the toes are closer to the light than the head, it gives the effect of shining a flashlight under the chin. The light will travel up the baby’s face, which is not a flattering look for anyone. The other helpful tip is to shoot “down the baby’s nose.” This means you’re not shooting up the nostrils. Again, not a flattering angle for anyone 😉

What time of day is best?
I prefer to photograph newborns at mid-morning when they’re happy and sleepy. Timing is everything and will help a TON with having a successful newborn session. Even if the natural light in the afternoon is better, babies are typically fussier in the afternoon than the morning. (Ever heard of “witching hour?” It’s a real thing and it usually occurs in the late afternoon.)

What age is best?
In my experience, days 7-10 are ideal for newborn sessions. This is when Mom’s milk has time to come in, the baby’s stomach is much larger than it was at birth, and thus can hold more milk for a longer stretch of time. Younger than 7 days old you run the risk of baby waking too often to eat and Mom may still be feeling sore from childbirth or surgery. After day 10, the baby may start to develop baby acne and is less “moldable” for those posed images.

I hope you found these tips for new newborn photographers helpful and learned something new! Want to further your newborn education and become a true “baby whisperer?” Check out the Newborn Photographer Mini-Course!

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