by Beth Orey
A warm, quiet room, the soft lullaby of a white noise machine, a beautiful baby that curls up into any position and sleeps soundly, and the stunning photographer who’s making this all happen. It’s every newborn photographers dream! But it doesn’t always happen, unfortunately. Sometimes we get those dream babies but (at least for me), more often than not, we have to work for it. And even if you do get the awesome sleeper, do you really want to spend more time than necessary on the session? Nope. No one wants to waste a new parents time; we want to get in and out of there and get the shots, too!
So, how do you make this happen? How do you get a beautiful array of unique images for Mom and Dad to cherish? You make the situation work for you. I always start with my favorite pose for a newborn with baby laying stretched out on her side. It may not be the easiest because baby isn’t laying on her stomach like most babies settle into easily, but I love this pose because you can see fingers, toes, face, tummy, legs, all the good stuff that we want to capture for our clients. I don’t want to miss out on getting all these details. So I start with this pose and easily enough, with a few easy moves of hands or feet, get some really adorable shots. I can also get all of my macro shots done, too. Don’t forget to flip the orientation of a few pictures in post processing for all of your different poses and angles – this makes for a wider array of looks for your images.
Of course, the easiest way to really get the variety you want is just to move around – don’t take all your shots straight at baby. Get up over him, get in front of him, shoot down from his head. I always end up sore for a couple days after a newborn session because I just don’t sit still! I’m constantly moving around to get the different shots I want and I love seeing what new angles I can use to make it interesting. Even if you have baby in a prop, you can sure get more than just one full body shot.
Another great trick is just to add a prop. What could be easier? Once baby is all settled into a good pose, get your simple shots and then add a hat or headband or wrap and keep moving around and using different angles. It’s easy enough and you’re getting some added interest in your pictures. This is also a spectacular time to add in some of the parents special items if they want them in pictures. A little family blanket to wrap baby in, a new hat Mom just had to buy for her new bundle of joy, or even that little stuffed animal that Dad had when he was a baby and wants to pass down to his new child.
Photographing newborns can be lots of fun as long as you remember not to work harder than you need. Don’t wake that baby up unless you have to because who knows when it’ll be the time that baby doesn’t go back to sleep! Just take your time, be patient, and stay calm. It’ll all work out and you’ll have those gorgeous images for the proud new parents to love.
Beth Orey, Texas
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Beth is a child and family photographer in San Antonio, Texas. She’s a die-hard Starbucks lover, always has her nose stuck in a new book, and loves spending time with her two adorable children and amazing husband. After her daughter was born in 2007, she started spending time learning how to capture those fleeting moments of a baby’s life and after two and a half years of working on bettering herself as a photographer, she opened her business in 2009. On her days off, Beth likes to cuddle up with her kiddos and a big cup of coffee or spend time outside as a family enjoying the weather in the San Antonio “winter.” She’s never too far away from her Canon MKIII and 35 1.4L lens so that those precious moments don’t go too quickly without being documented. She loves using natural light and clean processing for her images and adores backlighting as much as possible. As a trained pastry chef, Beth loves to live by the motto that life is short, eat dessert first, and don’t forget to take snaps of it first.