Does your baby have flakey skin? Cradle cap? Pimples?
Do you look at images of a little newborn baby in a frog pose and wonder how your baby can possibly hold that position? Do you wonder at how flawless (doll-like even) newborn babies look on Instagram?
Well, don’t think your baby is an exception! When I look at the majority of newborn baby images, I see a baby photoshopped to the extreme that he/she no longer looks natural. Their skin has been overly smoothed and all the little quirks have been eliminated. Is that what YOU expect or want? A posterised impression on how your newborn should look like?
Of course, I don’t mind a small amount of retouching, the odd pimple removed, smooth slightly over rough flakey skin and take out any snot!
Newborn babies are not frogs! Babies are not just heads with a swaddled body! They have hands and feet and torsos.
Have you ever heard from new parents that it took 4 and even 7 hours to get that one hero shot from their newborn photography session with a professional photographer! Firstly, who has the patience for such stamina and it is not even necessary, in my opinion. The reason for this excessive time is many photographers prefer to photograph newborn babies in his/her deepest sleep. When they are deep sleep, the photographer can then put them in unnatural positions. That is also why the baby is swaddled so tightly, so he/she doesn’t wake herself up with her arms! Most of the unnatural baby poses you see are not shot in one go, but are composites, so don’t feel bad when trying to reenact at home. No one really thinks a baby under 2 weeks old can hold their head up with their hands, surely.
Personally, I like my newborn babies to have character. I photograph them awake, asleep, yawning, screaming. (not too much screaming) I like the interaction he/she has with mum and dad. I get excited by a newborn laughing!
I love the little facial quirks that appear when baby is awake. I love the look of the baby being Alive and Kicking!
The images I take are natural. If the baby cries, we have a timeout for a feed to settle her/him. There may be many feeding breaks in a shoot but I am always confident that I have more than enough awesome images under one hour of studio time.
I will pose the baby with Mum and Dad. Then Dad gets alone time with bubs, then bub gets a bit of me-time, then it’s mums turn with the baby. We leave mum till last if she is breastfeeding as the smell of her milk can put the baby in another mindset!
I change the positions around and usually use the natural light that comes into my studio or if it is a dark day than the studio lights come into play. Either way, the lighting is just as important and beautiful, just like the poses. Natural, spontaneous and loving.
You also may want to know why most photographers have a 2 week old limit to newborn photography. Within the first 2 weeks of a baby’s life, the baby is the sleepiest, and as most want sleepy shots, this time is perfect. I, on the other hand, think 2 -3 weeks is perfect for 3 reasons: 1. They are the smallest they will ever be. 2. They will have fewer milk pimples and shouldn’t develop cradle cap yet and most importantly 3. If you do the photographs early, you will not forget to do it!
If you have any pregnant friends who are considering a newborn baby shoot and wants to keep it real, please pass this on. More images are found on my website. Or to look for other photographers click here.