Recently on Beyond Here we had guest contributor Renate Hechter of Pure Dynamics Photography in Sydney, Australia contribute a post titled Newborn Photography Some Easy But Essential Tips. Coinciding with that, I had the opportunity to photograph a 6 week old baby. Photographing babies is always special, but this was more special as I had photographed the parents wedding in 2012. Here is an outline of how the shoot went, and some insights and tips for photographing babies.
Preparation. We organised the shoot to be in the morning to fit in with baby’s normal routine. We discussed clothing before the shoot, and the parents brought several changes of clothes for baby and for themselves. We concentrated on solid colours which would look good in colour or black and white. We avoided patterns.
The session was held in my studio and in preparation I made sure we had:
- the heater on, so the room was nice and warm
- a place where the parents could put their bag
- a chair where mum could feed baby
- back drops in place and ready to go
- lighting in place and ready to go
- a bean bag handy which we could position baby on
- 2 camera bodies with lenses on, to save on time changing lenses
On the Day. When the clients arrived the baby was wide awake and looking very alert for a 6 week old! It must have been all the new sights and sounds and smells. However, despite all our best preparations baby was reasonably unsettled throughout the shoot. While he was fed several times and kept nice and warm, it was just one of those days where he had other things on his mind apart from being the ‘perfect model’. Not to worry! This is quite normal for really little babies and so it important to remain relaxed – and to keep mum and dad relaxed. In this case, mum and dad were well prepared and not in a hurry so we did have time, and enough cooperation from the model, to get them some ‘A’ grade images.
Shot Plan. I plan my shots and poses before the client arrives and make sure I have any equipment on hand. That is helpful for making the most of the time, but it is more important to remain flexible. If baby wants to stay in mum’s arms – let him or her. There will be time to do all the shots planned, they will just need to be done in an order and a time which baby is happy with.
The Results. Don’t worry – this story has a good end. Firstly, we all had a relaxed and enjoyable time. Baby wasn’t the perfect model, but we all had fun and we have finished with a number of ‘A’ grade images for the family. This was a good reminder to not get stressed if baby is not perfect. You will have a short window of opportunity when baby is settled to get those images you need. Be patient and be ready.
Insights. There were several things which went really well from this shoot that are worth taking as insights or tips. They were:
- ask parents to bring several changes of clothes for baby and themselves. At this shoot, baby had a “call of nature” on his dad. Dad had a change of clothes, so we had no problems and a funny story to tell!
- include several hats or beanies for baby. A baby’s head can look disproportionately large compared to its body. A hat will make it look in proportion
- be flexible. This was essential in this session. We worked to baby’s routine and got a good outcome
- relax. It helps the parents relax too. They need to have an enjoyable time as well as having nice images
- it’s not about volume. You don’t need hundreds of great shots for very little ones. This shoot is capturing a moment in time, and a handful of good images will do that
- convert images to black and white. Black and white is very effective in newborn photography. It helps to focus on the beautiful little parcel, and not on skin imperfections or colouring
Do you have a story to tell from photographing babies? Key lessons learnt? Tips for good outcomes?