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Through the Lens: Expert Tips From Newborn Photographers

by Jenn Pereira April 25,2020 743 Views

Newborn photographers are one of a kind. They devote themselves to capturing adorable moments of babies in their early weeks for parents to have something to remember by. This photography genre is enjoyable but also extremely challenging given the fragile state of the subject.

Since babies are delicate and surprisingly unpredictable, a lot of preparations, safety precautions, and even waiting times are rendered during the shoot. That is why newborn photographers have many qualities in common: they have loads of patience, creativity, and resourcefulness. Though it might be a difficult task, these qualities of newborn photographers produce a work of art that give parents something far more valuable than any material possession.

Newborn Photography Tips

The newborn photography industry has blown up in recent years, it became more popular all thanks to the celebrity-driven glamorization of pregnancies and babies. Many were inspired with Demi Moore’s pregnancy photoshoot with Vanity Fair in 1991, where she was photographed while lovingly clutching her belly. The power couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie also had a cover on People Magazine in 2006 with their lovely daughter Shiloh.

From then on, more newborn photoshoots were booked and not only among these famous celebrities. Indeed, newborn photography has gone mainstream. Baby photography has bloomed everywhere and it became such a hit opportunity for photographers with specialization to pregnancy, newborn, and family photography. Such a trend became a good opportunity for photographers to expand their expertise and services.

If you are a passionate photographer who has taken interest in this field, then a financially and emotionally rewarding photography business may be upon your reach. Read along to gear you up as you begin your journey as one of the top newborn photographers in town.

Take it from the Experts….

How else do we learn newborn photography if not from the experts? From hereon, you will learn valuable knowledge and key points from our featured photographers that will help you grow in your newborn photography career. You will also get more ideas on how to handle babies during newborn shoots and be inspired by their experiences and passion for their craft.

Verónica Alvarez

Location: México
Vero  Alvarez Pequeñ
Photographer Since: 2010
Photography Niche: Newborn, Baby, and Family
Website/Online Portfolio: www.veroalvarez.com    
Facebook: @veroalvarez.photography 
Instagram: @veroalvarezphotography

Short Bio:
Verónica Alvarez lives in Mexico City. Being married and having 3 children, she studied Graphic Design and started her career as a newborn photographer in 2010.

At a very young age, Vero believes that babies have ALWAYS liked her and she loves to take care of them. For Veronica, this profession brings together her love for babies, various aspects of graphic design, and the art of photography. She thinks that there is no profession in the world that can make her happier.
Read more…

THE STORY BEHIND HER SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

Q1: How did you start your newborn photography career?

“When I had my children I wanted someone to take beautiful photos of them and I didn’t find anyone in Mexico, so from there, a seed was sown in me that years later with my last daughter would germinate. She was my first model and my inspiration.

Then I started taking photos of my friends’ babies and then I took photos of my friends’ friends’ babies. And so they began to recommend my work. In a second, I fell in love with this profession.

At first, it was difficult because it is not easy to work with babies. It gets nerve-wracking when time passes and you cannot put them to sleep or pose them! It is a great responsibility to do a job like this because it is an extraordinary moment in the life of the baby. If you do not do it well, there is no second chance so you must give your best effort.”

Q2: What makes Newborn Photography interesting?

“Everything in newborn photography is interesting. First, because you must have extensive knowledge about the handling and safety of the newborn. There are many poses that cannot be achieved by posing the baby alone. They are made by putting together two photos or with creative tricks such as making the baby visually appear in a position that they cannot usually do in reality. The baby should never be put at risk. This is why your creativity and imagination must flow to be able to take the photo you want without doing any risk to the baby.

In addition to this, a careful study of each pose is required. There is a whole technique to look into when doing baby poses. You have to have the sensitivity and know your model. Try to see what poses at the moment you can work with.

The art that will be used in each photo is also something to think about. Proper selection of colors, textures and elements that help make your model look even more beautiful and cute should be in consideration.

And finally, we get to the editing work where each artist gives his personal touch to each photo. This is where I feel that you can take your photography to another level and make it unique.”

Q3: What tips and techniques would you like to share?

“Training is very important in this type of photography since there are many aspects of the newborn that must be taken into account. Try to train with a reliable person and ask people who have taken a course with them. Make sure they really share their knowledge, since there are many people who teach courses with the desire to only earn money. Not sharing their knowledge is very demotivating for the student.

Once you have taken these workshops into practice, as soon as possible with everything you have seen, practice is what will actually make you a newborn photographer. At first, it is a challenge but do not get discouraged, in each session you will learn something new that you can apply the next time. Do not limit the time of your sessions, babies are not dolls. They are delicate human beings and each one is different and it is important to keep up with their needs. You must be patient and persistent. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

Q4: What advice can you give to newbie photographers?

“Something that has worked very well for me is knowing what is going on and what needed to be done in the session. Have everything ready so you do not have to spend much time in the session. Discuss and work together with the parents and decide what you will do during the shoot. Talk to the dad and the baby’s mom before the session to save time and make sure everything is calm. This way, you can also make a workflow that will make your session run smoothly.

Send parents a baby preparation guide with some tips. Do this before the session to help keep the baby relaxed as possible before starting the shoot. One of the points that is most important for me is that they bathe the baby just before coming to the session. The bath helps the baby to relax so that when they arrive at the photography studio, the baby will be very much asleep. Playing classical music and some white noise goes a long way toward making the session atmosphere calm and relaxed.”

Vero Newborn Photography
One of Vero’s Favourite Shot from Her Past Work
“This is a photo that I really like but I would like to explain how I took it. My assistant was the mother of the baby she was holding the baby’s tummy while sitting. I took my first photo with the mom holding the baby, on the count of three the mother slowly raised her hand only 20 cms above the baby and I took the second photo and the mother holding the baby again.

NEVER leave the baby in a risky position, they have reflexes and even when they are asleep. There are times when they twitch or jump in their sleep without explanation. Also, we should ALWAYS be on the lookout for them and never leave them alone.”

Q5: Do you have any resources that you can share to other Newborn Photographers?

“There is an app called Baby Shusher that I really like to use during my sessions. The app will help you soothe babies. You can download it on your cell phone for a very low cost.”

Q6: How do you retouch your newborn photographs?

“I photograph in raw format and use two platforms to edit. First, I do a general edition in Lightroom, where I adjust the exposure. I lower the highlights a little and raise the whites a little, this gives me a bit of contrast without overexposing the parts where there is more light. If required, I adjust the sharpness parameters of the photo and export it to .tiff format to continue editing in Photoshop.

Photoshop is where I do the most editing. First, I edit any element of the set that needs to be removed, such as my assistant’s hands or my own feet. And then, I touch up the skin with the cloning tool. I apply actions that allow me to make the skin of the baby a little bit pinker. I also remove bluish or yellow tones from the baby’s skin and in the end, I apply a little dodge & burn.”

Vero Photography Newborn
Get Inspired By Vero’s Work – Some of Our Favourite Pics From Her Website
Vero Newborn Photography

Q7: What are the best ways to handle the babies during the shoot?

“The baby’s physiology must always be taken into account. Poses should never be forced. We must be very delicate and be aware of all his vital signs, breathing, temperature, and color. At all times hold the baby’s head when carrying it and be very careful in each position. You should ALWAYS have someone close to the baby to observe it and, if necessary, hold it. They are very small and fragile, we must take good care of them. I recommend taking a newborn safety course so that you know all the aspects that you should consider to work with these beautiful and small humans.”

Nada Bader

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Nada Bader
Photographer Since: 2017
Photography Niche: Newborn, Baby, Maternity, Smash Cake and Family
Website/Online Portfolio: www.nadabader.com
Facebook: @nada_bader_photography
Instagram: @nada_bader_photography

Short Bio:
Nada is married with a Syrian national and blessed with two kids. She has been living in Dubai since 2009. She holds a bachelor degree in Biology and her core interests besides photography are fine arts, fashion and home decoration.

She had participated in professional workshops and trainings with globally distinguished photographers for newborn & maternity, lights in locations, and Photoshop.
Read more…

THE STORY BEHIND HER SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

Q1. How did you start your newborn photography career?  

“My first baby photographing attempt came with the birth of my second baby boy, Tameem. Soon after publishing his milestone photo works on my social media accounts, friends started asking me to take photos for them and their newborn babies. People kept talking about their lovely experiences and recommended me to others. I loved in particular the way they described my patience, creativity and how they learnt new ideas to calm their babies. People encouraged me a lot to take my work further to a higher level. And found myself doing a freelance photographer for newborn babies, pregnant women and families. The flow of ideas and passion to excel moved me to research and learn the skills needed to seek perfection in this domain.”

Q2. What makes Newborn Photography interesting?

“Perhaps welcoming a new baby is by far one of the greatest moments that worth to be kept for lifetime! I get to observe the first look, the first connection between the baby and his parents! I get to experience the first touches and the tremendous vibe of energy that these little lovely creatures bring into life. My care to absorb these scenes in front of my camera always surprises me with something new!”

Nada Bade Newborn Photography
One of Nada’s Favourite Shot from Her Past Work

Q3. What tips and techniques would you like to share?

  • Be responsible and careful about the safety of the baby.
  • Understand baby status, babies should be fed right before the session, ask parents to bring extra milk bottles in case they use formula.
  • Create comfortable environment for the baby, comfort is important.
  • If you don’t know how to calm babies, start learning baby calming techniques. I use white noise machine and soft tapping to get the baby to sleep.
  • Take time carrying and holding the baby. Get properly connected.
  • Patience, patience and patience. You do not want to wrap a crying baby! Take all the time needed to calm the baby before you start.
  • Start your session with a baby wrap. It keeps the baby warm and puts it into a deep sleep state.
  • It is OK to use natural light. You can still get pretty pictures.
  • Prepare your themes and organize your ideas before the session takes place.
  • Parents make you good assistance always. They enjoy taking part everytime.

Q4. What advice can you give to newbie photographers?

  • Technicality can be taught and learnt! Every learner can pursue his learning satisfaction, however the most important part of this job is Passion. It is what I believe is the key to continue and to excel.
  • Be creative, learn from professional work but add your personal touch.
  • Develop your editing skills and final retouching.
  • Use professional cameras and high end lenses. Take advantage of technology advancement available nowadays.

Nada Bade Newborn Photography
Get Inspired By Nada’s Work – Some of Our Favourite Pics From Her Website
Nada Bade Newborn Photography

Q5. What do you think are the common mistakes that newborn photographers make?

  • Babies do not make poses by themselves. Parents or your assistant should always keep a hand on the baby’s head. You can always adjust the final picture using photoshop.
  • Do not work unprepared!  Prepare your themes, toolkit and organise your ideas before the session.
  • Watching baby wrapping technique on youtube is not enough! You need to practice in professional workshops first, such workshops I intend to organize for new learners.
  • Even if you master it all! Mismatching colors can be a killer!
  • Do not crop hands or legs on your pictures!

Q6: How do you retouch your newborn photographs?

  • I always take photos in raw format.
  • I use lightroom and photoshop programs for editing.
  • I gently touch the color tones. No need to over-edit
  • I retouch baby skin to make it look uniform and pure.

Anamaria Brandt

Location: Tustin, California
Anamaria Brandt
Photographer Since: 1999
Photography Niche: Newborn, Maternity and Family
Website/Online Portfolio: www.anabrandt.com
Facebook: @Ana_Brandt_Photography
Instagram: @anabrandt

Short Bio:
Anamaria Brandt is a mother of 3 and a professional photographer specializing in maternity and newborn. She loves to photograph children and family as well. She coaches and teaches internationally and domestically, in the study of maternity and newborn. She also owns a maternity and newborn clothing line.

As a Professional Photographer for over 19 years, she has trained in 25 countries and her student reach is well over 10,000 in-person training and online training over 20,000.
Read more…

THE STORY BEHIND HER SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS A NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

Q1: How did you start your newborn photography career?

“One baby at a time! I was a web designer and project manager and one day I just quit my job. I turned Pro and never looked back.”

Q2: What makes Newborn Photography interesting?

“Every single baby is unique – every one. It doesn’t matter how long you have been photographing them, each one is so brand new it’s like starting again every session.”

Anamaria Brandt Newborn Photography
One of Ana’s Favourite Shot from Her Past Work

Q3: What tips and techniques would you like to share?

“For soothing the baby – I use a yoga ball and white noise – I simply can not work without either.”

Q4: What advice can you give to newbie photographers?

“Know your camera! Learn how to shoot in manual and be able to change your settings with your eyes closed.”

Q5: What is your most unforgettable experience during your career?

“I ran a conference for 3 years. Anne Geddess was my keynote speaker on my 3rd conference last year – it marked almost 20 years of being in the business and I studied her as an amateur. Having her be my keynote speaker was amazing. A few months later she invited me to dinner at her home and it was beyond amazing.”

Q6: What do you think are the common mistakes that newborn photographers make? 

Rushing – not taking their time to perfect the image and taking too many shots of the same sleeping baby.”

Q7: What are the best ways to handle the babies during the shoot?

With care! Wrap them – and wrap them well. Keep them safe and handle them very very well.”

Newborn Photography by Anamaria Brandt

Get Inspired By Ana’s Work – Some of Our Favourite Pics From Her Website

Newborn Photography - Pregnant Mother

SOME PERSONAL RESOURCES ANA WOULD LIKE TO SHARE:


With the current market for newborn photographers, it is fairly safe to say that it is possible to earn more in this field compared to other types of photography. Most newborn photographers charge around $100 to $300 per hour and this can go up depending on the theme and other factors. Some newborn photographers offer their services in packages too, particularly if the photoshoot will include other family members.

The key to knowing how much to charge as a newborn photographer is to never go significantly higher or lower than what the competitors charge in your area. Set fair rates and always draft contract templates for a smoother transaction with clients.

Starting a Newborn Photography Business

Working with a newborn requires very special care. It would be a lot of help for you to be aware of the following before embarking on this challenging photography business:

    1. Hygiene is everything. Newborns have extremely compromised immune systems thus the need to keep every item around them clean and sanitized at all times. They also have very delicate skins so to handle them untrimmed fingernails means unacceptable.

    2. A heater and a white noise machine is one of the best investments in this business since babies cooperate better if they are kept sufficiently warm and comfortably soothed.

    3. An extra set of eyes and arms is always a great idea. You must never shoot alone with newborns. An assistant, especially the parents help secure the baby and keep it safe throughout the shoot.

    4. The family is always involved. A session with a newborn is also a momentous occasion for the whole family. Whether it is the first child or otherwise, it is nice to make it an opportunity for a family photoshoot. It would help if you would consider studying about taking family portraits as well so you can expand the business.

    5. Be prepared, have a program ready. One of the simplest yet effective newborn photography tips that you must know is to prepare a referral program in place. If you are just starting out, it might not be enough to rely on your marketing strategies alone. Offer incentives to the current clientele in exchange of passing along your company to other parents who are looking for newborn photographers.

Important Tips for Newborn Photographers

Becoming a newborn photographer does not just happen overnight. There are essential things that you need to learn about as you take your baby steps (pun intended) in the business.

    1. Get to Know the Model. Unlike shooting with adults, newborn babies cannot be directed. Understanding babies and how they become comfortable in the new environment is the most essential factor in succeeding in this field of photography. Creating beautiful images is only the secondary goal because the focus is always on maintaining the safety and comfort of the baby. After all, newborns are naturally adorable and the best way to make the sessions flow with ease is by creating the perfect environment for them.

    2. Study the Business. Even if you have the talent and skills needed to succeed as a photographer, a few additional proficiencies and knowledge will definitely help in this highly competitive niche. First off, you must be prepared to run the business from the ground up. Be a smart entrepreneur by studying your market and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. Learn to be the customer service representative, be your own PR team, create a website, be both the CEO and the administrative assistant, and all other works that encompass the business.  It pays to learn the ins and outs of the industry, especially if you are going to run it on your own or is going to start with only a few key persons on the team.

    3. Gear Up Properly. It is a must that you have the right photography gear, props, editing software, and other stuff for photoshoots. Talent covers only half of the journey of a photographer. You must be armed with the right equipment to get those prized shots that successful newborn photographers got. It is business after all and you must be prepared to shell out money for the unavoidable expenses. You must consider investing in a professional camera and basic props such as space heaters, beanbags, blankets, hats, headbands, baubles, and accessories. Remember to buy items that are safe for babies. Always take into consideration the fact that newborns have extra-sensitive skin and are more fragile than older babies.

    4. Research About Posing Basics. While you cannot force a newborn to strike a pose, you can always learn how to handle their delicate bodies properly and move them in specific poses. It would help to discuss with the parents about the inspiration behind the photoshoot. Ask questions and plan out how the creative shots are to be executed. Never forget the general rule which is safety first, as always.

    5. Consider Outsourcing Post-Processing. What makes photographing newborns more challenging is how photos seem to need a lot more attention during post-processing. Since they cannot pose on their own and they need to be held most of the time, more advanced photo editing and retouching are needed. Only a skillful photo editor will be able to make creative composites out of raw newborn photos. There are also more difficult Photoshop techniques that must be used to remove objects that serve as supports, such as hands.

Instead of piling up editing tasks and giving up potential customers, a smarter way to keep on top of the business is by delegating the post-processing to a reliable photo editing company. Not only will it relieve you from the tedious photo editing and retouching tasks, it is also a cost-efficient method rather than hiring a full-time photo editor who can be overburdened by the sheer amount of work to be done. Check this out for more about outsourcing newborn photo retouching.

For Parents: Choosing a Photographer for Your Baby

Knowing who to hire to take newborn photos is as crucial as the photo shoot itself. Keep in mind that the photographer will not only take photos but will also care for your baby the entire time. Here are the top things to consider before making the final decision for a newborn photographer:

    1. Safety. Choose a photographer who prioritizes safety above all else. It is okay to ask about what preparations the photographer does before a newborn session. You have to make sure that the photographer is qualified to handle your baby. Some photographers even go at lengths to get certifications and in-depth training in newborn safety, have immunization shots, and are very particular with studio cleanliness.

    2. Experience. Although there are promising photographers who are new in the industry, it is perfectly fine to look for someone who has enough experience to be called an expert in this field. Having inexperienced photographers can result in drastic results not only with the photos but more on the way babies are handled during the shoot. As parents, taking into consideration the photographer’s level of experience is smart and appropriate.

    3. Style. Find a photographer who is on the same range as you, style-wise. It is essential that you both agree about the theme, poses, and even the props that are to be used with your baby. It will be less stressful on your part if you do not need to worry about how the photos will turn out just because you have opposing ideas with the photographer.

    4. Budget. The cost of photographing newborns can vary according to a lot of factors. It would be helpful to scout around to see the range of the rates and see which one works with your budget and the earlier mentioned considerations.

Leverage Your Newborn Photography Career to the Next Level

Aspiring newborn photographers must always bear in mind that handling a newborn is a delicate job. It is both a fun and challenging niche and one needs to be very well-prepared to take upon this one-of-a kind journey. Make the experience worthwhile by being acquainted about how the industry works. It is always good to be extra curious and try to learn as much as you can before starting off in the newborn photography business.

We have curated the largest collection of resources about newborn photography tips and ideas that will be of great help as you go on board this exciting industry.

Newborn Photography: A Complete Guide for Newborn Photographers

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