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What is Newborn Photography?

Newborn photography takes considerable skill and experience. Babies are unpredictable. Even if a photographer possesses excellent camera equipment, understands lighting, and has shot ideas, without organizational skills and the ability to work with the baby to get relaxed poses, your pictures will be disappointing.

There are two types of newborn photography:

1. Posed or studio sessions – Typically done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able,” this type of session focuses on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, and with adorable props. This type of session can last up to 4 hours including feeding and potty breaks in addition to posing.

2. Lifestyle newborn sessions – With this more casual approach to newborn photography, there may be some posing, but the intention is to capture more natural images of the baby. These sessions typically take place in the family’s home. Also, they can be done up to the age of 6 weeks and usually last 2 hours maximum. These pictures frequently include family members.

The photographer should communicate ideas prior to the photo session. Some parents want their babies dressed in cute outfits, while other prefer nude or partially clothed portraits. The photographer and the parents should agree ahead of time on what clothing should be worn and props will be used. Pictures should be simple, with props and clothing enhancing the composition. Natural light should be used whenever possible.

Baby photography is basically portrait photography, the goal of which is to capture the personality of the subject. Smiles, giggles, the delight of a beloved toy, and the peace of sleep all make excellent images. The best way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure you know what to expect and are prepared for the session. Ask your photographer for preparation tips a few days before the session. Some information you will want is the approximate length of the sessions, and what temperature the photographer wants the house to be. Also, find out what you can do to make the session run smoothly. It is a great idea to have some poses in mind before the session. However, some of the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of your baby.

by Ava Mauriello
Ashley Magitz

Tips for Newborn Photography

1

Decide who you want in the pictures

Consider including the baby’s father, siblings, and yourself. Photos including family members will mean a great deal to your baby when they become adults.

2

Pick your baby's outfit

If you have a special outfit that has special meaning, bring it to the photo shoot. Newborn photos frequently feature partially dressed or a blanket wrapped baby. Bring a colorful blanket you like; textured blankets work well in photos.

3

Choose accessories and props

Ask the photographer if they have props of if you should bring them yourself. A special blanket, toy, or family heirloom such as a silver rattle or cup all work well.

4

Choose what you will wear

If you are going to be in the pictures, choose a simple outfit – a white shirt and jeans looks good. Add simple jewelry such as a necklace and small earrings.

5

Pack any make-up and hair products you might need

Go for a natural look. Wear your hair the way you do most of the time and keep makeup minimum.

6

Choose outfits for other family members

If other family members will be in the photos, make sure they dress comfortably and in clothing that matches or coordinates.

7

Prepare your baby for the photo shoot

Prepare to relax the feeding schedule a bit and bring extra bottles or plan to nurse a bit more to "top off" a restless baby. The goal is to keep your baby satisfied and relaxed. Also, keep in mind that if pictures are going to be taken in your home, you need extra heat to keep your baby warm.

by SmartShoot

How much does Newborn Photography cost?

Before the photo shoot, think about what you want and set aside a budget. Consider the following:

  • Birth announcements
  • Framed prints
  • Wallet-sized prints to tuck into thank you cards
  • Pictures of baby alone, with mom, with mom and dad, with siblings, etc.

Make sure you clearly understand the photographer’s pricing and what is included. Professional newborn photographers frequently charge a session fee, which can run from $100 up. Also, ask if editing is included in the price. Keep your budget in mind and read pricing carefully. It is also best to sign a contract with pricing laid out. If you purchase digital files, you will be able to order your own prints and products from those images.

Hiring a Newborn Photographer

Make sure you do not wait until the last minute to book a photographer. It is best to book the photographer before your baby arrives. You want your baby to be no more than 2 weeks of age for the photo shooting, because your newborn will still be sleeping deeply and be flexible, so that they can assume poses relatively easily. In addition, peeling skin and baby acne should not be a problem yet.

Most photographers have an online gallery – a good place to start. However, remember that some photographers use images they have taken at workshops with a mentor doing all of the setting up and posing. You can ask a reputable photographer to view a recent full session to get an idea of what a typical session will look like. Additionally, you can ask around and get referrals from your friends and family. Photographers have different styles and it is important to make sure you hire someone whose style matches your own, so that you are pleased with the photographs.

Make sure you find a photographer who has worked with newborns. Newborn posing takes special talent and care for safety. Also, your photographer should be able to sooth a fussy baby and know when they need to be fed, changed, or simply take a break. Successful transitioning from one pose to the other provides a relaxed session with excellent pictures. Experience is the difference between a pleasant afternoon of picture taking and disappointing pictures.

Find a Newborn Creative near you!

SmartShoot brings the power of professional photos and videos.

We help businesses and individuals find and collaborate with professional freelance photographers and videographers. Our creatives have delivered over 80,000 projects around the globe.

An example project

20 Newborn Photos needed

An affordable newborn shoot will include 10 - 20 retouched images. Be sure to request some options for delivery and be amenable to packages. Discuss if a studio, or home shoot is preferred or possible and what props or outfits you should bring and what the photographer can provide. Generally with newborn photography, it is imperative that you retain all rights to the images, but request what their rights policy is.

Suggested Price: $400

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