How to start newborn photography
There are a few steps you should take before starting any "legal" business. You know, paying taxes, having insurance, etc. HERE is an article featuring some of my tips regarding how to start newborn photography. You will also learn a bit about me! If you'd like to read more on starting a newborn photography business, grab a coffee and read on. 😉
Learning Manual Mode
Knowing how to adjust your camera settings while in manual mode is crucial. It, in fact, is the number one key to how to start newborn photography. While auto technology is incredible these days, it can not help you tell your story like manual mode can. What do I mean? Think of an image in which one item is tack sharp and everything else has a soft blur to it. The goal in an image like this is to direct the viewer's eye right were you want it! Auto focus and auto modes can not be relied upon in situations like these, and so many more. There is an endless variety of online education platforms teaching aspiring photographers how to use manual mode. A great example is this article, "Learning to Shoot in Manual Mode" . Practice daily. Never put your camera away. Keep it handy and practice manual mode in different spots throughout your home and outside. This is key!
Next step BEFORE you work with a newborn baby is to make sure you understand newborn safety. There are many courses marketed to newborn photographers, but many are no better than doing a google search. Dig deep and ask all the right questions before paying someone to teach you newborn safety. Best practice is to talk with a pediatrician or nurse about how to keep a newborn safe while posing. It is imperative you understand the newborn airway, circulation risks, and protecting newborn joints. A highly respected newborn photographer offers free online education regarding newborn photography and newborn safety. You can find Kelly Brown newborn safety tips here.
Essentials for newborn photographers
When it comes to a posed newborn photoshoot, there are certain things a newborn photographer simply can not do without. But don't be fooled by the endless prop marketing - you don't NEED much! First and foremost, you need a reliable camera and quality lens. Again, learn manual mode and how to handle different levels and qualities of light! Next you will need items to help you position baby. In thirteen years of business, I've used everything from new tube socks and receiving blankets to the latest newborn photography posers on the market. They all work. (What *really* makes a difference is practicing your posing over and over and over.). Another important items to have is heat. If you are traveling to a session or have a studio, a portable space heater is ideal. Make sure to inspect the wiring and DO NOT keep it too close to baby! Finally, a swaddle is a great tool to have on hand. That's it! Of course there are beautiful props and accessories to acquire over the years, but you do not NEED them to start practicing and building your portfolio!
White noise tools can help calm baby. However, you can "shush" a baby just as easily. There are also free white noise apps on your phone! Don't spend where you don't have to. Save your dollars for things you really want!
Understanding newborns makes all the difference in how smoothly a session progresses, but it's not an easy skill to come by. Thinking back to the time we had our three daughters, I realize how little I knew about calming a baby. And yet, they all turned out just fine! Newborn sessions, however, are a whole different ball game! If your goal is to pose newborns, you need to understand their cues, and how to quickly soothe them. Watch videos. Read books. My favorite it "The Happiest Baby on the Block". I highly recommend watching his video if possible. It is key to understanding the technique. Here iss a link to a 20th anniversary clip of The Happiest Baby on the Block and the Dr's five S's, which imitate the womb sensations. The author is a pediatrician who works wonders, and his tips never fail!
Newborn Posing Education and Inspiration
Now it's time to find a great life-like doll or newborn model and practice poses you have learned through education or inspiration. As mentioned before, there is a plethora of online newborn education sources. There are also tons of newborn photographers who offer in-person mentoring. Here is a link to in-person newborn photography mentoring information for your convenience. 😉