6 Easy Tips for Newborn Pictures
#1 Use The Correct Gear
Like with any job or task having and using the correct tools is extremely important. Can you imagine trying to hang a picture without a nail, or digging a hole with our a shovel? When taking newborn pictures you need to make sure you have the proper tools available.
I know what you are thinking…you can’t take pictures without a camera body and well you are correct. I would recommend using a DSLR with the ability to shoot in RAW. This may not be the time now but if you would like to read the differences between JPEG and RAW please visit here. Long story short you are going to want to shoot in RAW to give your self the best flexibility when editing the images later. If you are taking newborn picture outside of a studio you may find yourself in a dark environment so I would recommend shooting with a camera body that is full sensor with the ability to shoot on a high ISO with out too much noise. Everybody has a different budget but here are a few Cameras I would recommend looking into.
#1[easyazon-link asin=”B007FGYZFI” locale=”us”]Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS[/easyazon-link]
#2[easyazon-link asin=”B001BTCSI6″ locale=”us”]Nikon D700 12.1MP FX-Format CMOS[/easyazon-link]
#3[easyazon-link asin=”B00AXTQQDS” locale=”us”]Nikon D5200 24.1 MP CMOS[/easyazon-link]
#4[easyazon-link asin=”B002NEGTTW” locale=”us”]Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS[/easyazon-link]
Lens selection is important like always. I personally Love shooting newborn pictures with a [easyazon-link asin=”B00004XOM3″ locale=”us”]Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro[/easyazon-link]
This lens is my go to for a few different reasons. The 2.8 is nice if I’m trying to have shallow depth of field, and not to mention the Macro is amazing! Often when I am taking newborn pictures I like to take detail/close up pictures of their hands and feet. The Macro gives me the ability to get close and still get a crisp focus. The other reason I like this lens is its 100mm focal length! When taking any kind of portraits I like to stay above 100mm to get a nice compression on the image. When shooting above 100mm the lens starts to compress you image which makes body features more flattering. For example your subjects nose will become smaller as well as large goofy ears, after all we are trying to make people look as good as possible. Just for example sakes if you were to use a wide angle lens and stand close to your subject their features are actually distorted or amplified like in the example below.
I am not saying you have to use the [easyazon-link asin=”B00004XOM3″ locale=”us”]Canon EF 100mm[/easyazon-link]
but I would try and use a lens that has a longer focal length for good image compression and just having the Macro ability is just an added bonus.
Lighting with any picture is make or break for a few reasons. Good lighting can take any average portrait and take it to the next level. With lighting you can control what people look at in the picture, as well as add direction to your portrait. I Try to use lighting in every picture so I have full control, I also light most portraits because you want to create an image the customer could not do on their own. Lighting is usually the difference between an armature and pro photographer.
With most pictures the photographer is using strobes or flash photography since the picture is just a fraction of a second. With newborn photography I never use strobes. You can take Newborn pictures with flash but I believe its hard on the baby’s new eyes. I am no doctor but I think I remember my doctor saying that when we had our baby….in my experience trying to be cautious or respectful for the newborn is always a good thing for mom and day. Remember mom and dad are the ones wanting the pictures so I always make them happy.
Continuous lights are small and cheap now that everything is LED. You can pick up some LED lights for $29 but I would look into getting some lights that you can manually dim this way you have control over your key or kicker lights. I am currently using Yongnuo Pro LED Video / Studio Light YN-160s, LED Panel and I have been loving it.
#2 Be on the same level as the Newborn
Now that you are rocking the newborn photography gear its time to take some pictures! I think one of the best and easiest tips for taking newborn pictures is to get down onto their level. You can take some pictures looking down on them, as that is no problem, but spend some time going down to their level. If you are lazy like me you can build a set on a table or counter this way you don’t have to bend over or lay on the ground.
I say this with any kid photography or pet photography but being on the level of your subjects makes for a more personable/friendly picture, not to mention they will look better. let me give you an example on why you want to take picture on the level of your subject. If you were to look down onto your subjects it will make them look as if they have no power or they are in trouble. If you were to look up at your subject it will put them in stance of power and dominance. Look at official pictures of presidents as long as it’s not a head shot it will by slight at an upward angle, giving them a sense of power. Now think of the commercials on TV where they are trying to get sponsors for abused animals or kids, they will always be looking down on the subject to make things look sadder.
Now rules are meant to be broken but these are just a few things to think about when taking pictures of newborns or any body much shorter than you.
#3 Use Props & Colors
The use of props and colors will help enhance any photograph, especially newborn pictures. I am sure there will be some different point of views her but I am personally over the black and white baby pictures. Most Newborn photographers in my area just turn all of their pictures black n white or sepia, which is fine but I always try to find ways to make my pictures stand out from the crowd. I Like to use bright colors and props in newborn pictures. I like to find colors that help make our baby pop out. For example if we have blue eyes (which all babies have blue eyes when they are born…some just turn brown or another color later) I like to use a blue shirt or a blue head band for the girls. I try not to introduce 30 colors into the photograph but it’s nice to have one key color just to make things pop.
Props are also a fun thing to play with. Props can be as simple as using a head band or pair of fun socks. You can also use old vintage furniture to add some personality or style to your image. The picture is about the newborn but if you can add something to your image to make it more visually interesting I say go for it!
#4 Depth of Field
Using shallow depth of field is a great way to make your pictures stand out and above most pictures. Most people out there taking pictures are using point n shoot cameras and they don’t have the ability to shoot with a real low depth of field, so if you take a few pictures at 1.8 it will make you look like a rock star. Shooting at 2.8 or 1.8 is not super easy you need to be careful that the correct part of the image is sharp, otherwise it will look like a fail.
In the picture above the focus is on the eye which is stunning. If the photographer was to focus on the nose or eye brow at this low depth of field everything would look funny. If we focused on nose they eye would be soft or out of focus. Shooting with this low depth of field is tricky if your subject is moving around. If I have a newborn moving and kicking around I will not shoot at 2.8 because most likely between me focusing and actually taking the picture the subject would of moved, causing the photo to be out of focus or focused on the wrong part.
5 Be patience
This one is not easy for me but patience is key with newborn photography or even children pictures. I often will tell people taking pictures of newborns or children is like fishing, you are going to take a lot of pictures to just get a few good ones. If you only take one or two shots expecting it to be a winner you may run into problem. You should also set aside more time to take newborn pictures because you never know what mood they will be in.
#6 Make Mom and Dad Happy
Now if you are taking pictures for somebody else take the time to find out what style or pictures they want. at the end of the day you are taking the pictures for them so you want to try and make them happy. Also find a way to make the portrait session fun and excited for them, try and find a way to get them involved. If they are having a great time they will most likely call you back.
I hope you find this helpful and if you have any helpful ideas we would love to hear them.