In this article, I am going to give you some practical ideas to help with one-month babies photography. I will also try to guide you in newborn baby photography in general and give some pointers I have learned over the years. There is no need to be afraid of newborn photography and the results can be very rewarding.
If you have ever looked at one-month babies photography, props are essential. You probably have a lot of the things you might need just laying around the house. For instance, a soft blanket, a basket, and a bean bag chair are all invaluable when doing newborn photography. You can set up a blanket to act as a background as well as something for the baby to lay on. You can put the baby in the basket to create a really cute image. Bean bag chairs are incredible because they can both make the baby feel safe and serve as a great prop for the baby to be laying on. You will also find some sort of heating device and a simple reflector will come in handy, I will discuss these in the next paragraphs.
Incorporate the Right Props
For newborn photography shoots, it’s either the baby will wear a bit of clothing or be naked with a blanket draped at sensitive parts. This may look plain for the clients, which is why it’s okay to add a prop or two.
During your first few shots, you can go for a props-free shoot. Afterward, incorporate small items to make the shot more interesting. Using textured blankets with neutral colors is a common yet effective way to add elements in the frame.
Moreover, some parents like to use items that have sentimental values to them. Make sure that the props are in a similar tone with the current setup, so that the focus would remain on the newborn.
Consider the Baby’s Safety and Comfort
One of the essential newborn photography tips to remember is to consider the safety and comfort of the newborn. If the baby is uncomfortable, you’ll end up with shots showing a fussy, crying newborn.
It’s not advisable to place a baby on unsteady or high surfaces without support. Hence, it’s best if your setup is on the ground to ensure that the newborn won’t roll off anything.
Using some sort of heating device is the single most important tip I have when doing one-month babies photography. For the past 9 months, a baby spends all of its time in a nice warm climate. If you keep the baby warm, it will want to sleep making your job a lot easier. The key to newborn photography at this age is to keep the baby asleep so you can position them just how you want. By placing an electric blanket under the baby or pointing a heater at them, it will make them drowsy. It feels like they are back in the womb and they feel safe and secure. Just buy a heater or blanket with plenty of adjustments. You don’t want to baby getting too hot as they cant control their temperature as well as us.
Another trick that I employ when doing one-month baby photography is womb sounds. You can simply look up womb sounds on youtube and play them through your phone. What I usually do is turn on a womb sounds video and place it under the babies blanket. This is just another way to make the newborn feel secure and comfortable. It makes the environment feel just like the womb and they will fall fast asleep.
If you do not own a reflector already I highly recommend that you pick one up. They are very inexpensive on Amazon and the uses are endless. In the case of newborn photography, you are most likely going to be shooting indoors. If you are just using natural light to light the shot, a reflector will come in handy. When I am doing newborn photography I usually set up near a window. I then use primarily the white side of the reflector to bring in the light. If you use the silver or gold side it usually ends up being pretty harsh and with newborn photography, the aim is a more soft light. By using a reflector though, it will give a more polished, professional look that will set you apart from the competition.
After you have set up your photo shoot with your client, you will need a location to photograph the baby. One of the best things about newborn photography is that you can do it virtually anywhere. It’s really easy to create a pop-up studio in anyone’s house. If you do end up using someone else’s house ensure you can set up near a window with nice light. Window light is going to be your friend when shooting a baby. Another great aspect of newborn photography is that you don’t need a lot of space. So if you do have an extra room in your house, it’s easy to convert it into a studio. You can have it all set up for when your client arrives and it save all the time of setting up at another house.
Choose the Right Time
Babies usually sleep most of the day, and it’s easier to take photos of newborns when they are asleep. Thus, ask the family if you can schedule the shoot after the baby’s meal or around nap time.
If you are only using natural light to illuminate your one-month baby portraits, windows are key. A nice big window is an amazing tool for photographers. When you think about it, a window is really just a nice big softbox. It acts as a large light source that is naturally diffused and works great for portrait lighting. This is great news because they are free and almost everywhere.
Once you have found a room with some nice window light, you can finish setting up for your shot. You want to set up your blanket or beanbag chair so that the window light will be either directly hitting your subject or hitting from the side. You can control your light by then moving the subject closer or further from the window. One of the best parts of these newborn photography tips is that you really don’t need a lot of space. I have found that bedrooms work really well for these portraits because you can place the baby on the bed. If you want to get a really polished look you can hang up a blanket to act as the backdrop. By setting it up at least 5-8 feet from the subject it will become blurry in the photos and look very professional.
For an aesthetically pleasing shot, you can pick matching colors for the props, accessories, and background, letting the newborn shine.
If you opt for monochromatic colors, this means using the same color in varying shades to pop out more tones without overshadowing the baby.
Finally, you can also pick complementary colors or colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, yellow and purple or red and green.
Pick a location or an area at the client’s home with a lot of natural light to guarantee the best newborn photos. If there’s little or no available window light, use an external flash with a diffuser to fill any dark spots.
Recommended Camera Settings
Being a newborn photographer means moving quickly because babies can be asleep for a moment and then crying the next second. With that said, you must choose fast shutter speeds or at least 1/500.
Getting the Shot
I recommend feeding the baby right before you are going to start the session. You can schedule the shoot around the babies feeding schedule to ensure that this happens. When newborn babies eat they get drowsy, this is good news for you! Grab your electric blanket, heat pad, or space heater and put it near or under where the baby will be laying. Place the newborn into position and make sure they are nice and comfortable. Don’t forget to also place the white noise maker under the blanket so they feel right at home. I would love to recommend that you do all of the clothed shots first and save any naked photos til the very end. A baby can get cold really easily, especially when they are naked.
Depending on how your light looks, you can use your reflector with these photography tips. Reflectors are especially helpful when you are backlighting or side lighting the baby. By using the white side of the reflector you can achieve a really nice even light. If you are having trouble holding the reflector while shooting, moms are usually more than happy to help. Shoot using a large aperture to get that nice blurry background. When using a large aperture don’t forget to ensure your focus is always sharp in the eyes of your subject. Also show mom an image every so often. It will put them at ease and make them happy to see how good the photos are turning out!
Simple backgrounds are the best for newborn photography because it keeps the focus on the baby instead of other elements. Prepare a white, beige, or gray cloth and lay it over a couch or on the floor.
Angles and Perspectives
You’ll encounter challenging times when taking your preferred shot because of the baby’s position. Of course, you can always try to change the setup and reposition the newborn.
However, try to exhaust various perspectives before moving on to a new background or pose. Walk around and shoot from different angles to make the most out of the current setup. Using the same pose, take a nice shot from above while another is on eye level. In this way, it will be easy for you to get a variety of shots in a single pose.
Parents love the tiny details, especially since your shots will serve as a reminder of how their little one looked like as a newborn.
If you have a macro lens, now’s the perfect time to put it to good use. Use your lens to take photos of hair, eyelashes, noses, ears, and belly buttons. Look for significant features like tiny fingers and toes, as well as rosebud lips and crinkly little chins.
One month newborn baby photography is nothing to be scared of. Start off by doing some free shots for your friends or neighbors. Nobody will turn down a free photoshoot and it allows you to get comfortable with the setup. Once you have done a few shoots and get used to the lighting the rest is a breeze. You will start to achieve your own style and everything will become second nature. As long as you follow these tips, photographing babies is a breeze!