There’s no doubt that having a baby can be expensive. As well as having to buy things like a car seat, a pram, nappies and clothes you may also find yourself facing a temporary dip in your family’s income whilst one parent is on maternity or paternity leave.
This might lead you to look at ways to save money, and you might start thinking about taking your newborn photos yourself rather than booking a shoot. After all, a newborn photo shoot is not an essential ‘must have’ item – it is a special investment.
At first glance newborn photography might seem easy – babies spend a lot of time asleep, and they’re very cute! How difficult can it be to take some gorgeous photographs of them?
Some of the things to consider are:
- How newborn babies are posed and photographed safely
- The equipment needed to take posed newborn photographs
- Whether you want to be in the photographs too
In this article I’ll explore each of these considerations in more detail.
- You may also like: How to Find the Funds For a Newborn Photo Shoot
How are newborn babies are posed and photographed safely?
One of the most important skills of a photographer who specialises in posed newborn photography is knowing how to pose your baby safely. The wrong placement can hurt or make the baby very uncomfortable – for example, if too much weight is placed on a limb, if the blood supply to a leg or arm is blocked causing hands or feet to turn blue, or if their head and neck are not properly supported.
This knowledge and skill takes training and time to develop – and usually practising with several babies to perfect each pose.
Once a baby is safely posed, knowing how to compose a photograph that shows your baby beautifully, and how to use light it is also a learned skill; small changes to the photographer’s position as they take the photograph can be the difference between a baby’s bottom looking bigger than their head, or the viewer getting a full view up a baby’s nose. A professional newborn photographer will have the experience to know how to avoid these kinds of mistakes, and how to correctly light the photographs.
Some poses that you commonly see in newborn photography are also not what they seem. ‘Composite’ images, such as those where a baby is suspended in a hammock, or holding their head up with their hands are actually created by ‘stitching’ several photographs together in Photoshop.
- Related article: What are Composites in Newborn Photography?
If you’re not trained or experienced in this kind of posing, I don’t recommend that you try for the first time with your precious new baby. Instead, I recommend focussing on simple set ups where you baby is in a secure, safe position – for example in an adult’s arms, in their cot, or in another secure place such as a play mat or Sleepyhead. Such as the photograph below.
What equipment do you need for posed newborn photography?
There’s a lot more to posed newborn photography than having a camera. Most photographers will also use:
- Multiple lenses – one for the majority of photographs, and a macro lens for photographing details like fingers, toes and eyelashes
- Lighting equipment
- A large bean bag, or props to place your baby in
- Blankets to cover the bean bag, fabric to stuff the props and wraps or outfits for your baby
The total investment for all of this equipment can run to hundreds or thousands of pounds.
- Related Article: Why is Newborn Photography So Expensive?
Do You Want To Be In The Photographs With Your Baby?
One of the problems that most families I speak to have is that they “just want some nice photographs of us all together.” As parents our phones, laptops and camera memory cards are filled with photographs of our children. But when we’re the photographers we’re rarely in the photograph…unless of course it’s a selfie.
If you DIY your newborn photo shoot, one thing to consider is whether you want to be in the photographs with your new baby, and / or have photographs of the entire family together? If so, who will take these photographs for you?
Over To You
I hope that this article has been helpful as you consider whether to take your own newborn photographs or whether to book a professional photo shoot.
What other questions do you have about newborn photography? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you with an answer.