Newborn photography takes a lot of patience. This is no surprise to the photographers who specialize in newborn photography. Sessions can last anywhere from a half an hour up to four hours. This is one photography specialty where the client is in complete control. For those of you just starting in this category, there are a few things to keep in mind when capturing those tiny clients. Here is our 5 tips on photographing newborns
Newborns are not able to regulate their body temperature. Keeping babies warm helps them stay healthy and comfortable. So with this in mind, you’ll be able to have a successful baby photo shoot. Typically, start with them all bundled up. You might also want to think about warming up your studio or bringing in a space heater to warm up the area. When doing photos of the baby without clothes, start by undressing them and laying them with their diaper on (but unhinged) and resting skin on skin on their mom or dad with a blanket over them. This way when you transfer them from their parent to the set up, you are also transferring that heat with the blanket over them. Let the baby get settled in before taking off the diaper or transferred blanket.
2. Know their Happy Times
Babies have happy times. Typically it’s usually right after they feed or they wake up. Identifying these times will typically lead to a better photo shoot. Newborns rarely have control over their muscles including smiles, so if you or the parent are waiting for the baby to smile, know that it’s rare to get these and in fact a lot of those smiles come in their sleep. The main objective is to make the baby comfortable.
3. Get a Close Up
Those eyelashes, those cheeks and those tiny fingers and toes are so important at this stage. Change your lens out from a portrait to a macro. Focus on all those little details, which will never be this small again. I personally, like the photos that show the scale of their tininess. These detail shots also make for a great addition when you are putting together a photo book for your client. Fill those pages with portraits and details and you’ll have an ecstatic client.
4. Lights, Sound and Action
Babies are very sensitive to noises and light. So with this in mind, you’ll want to be prepared. Try diffused light when photographing babies. In other words, try window light. If you must use strobe, then I would find the biggest softbox you can find to diffuse the light as much as possible. The main thing is to not keep flashing a strobe in a baby’s face. Choose your shots carefully. As far as noise, they love constant soothing noise. There are free apps out there that can provide you with white noise. Remember, it was very noisy in the womb for babies and they tend to like muffled white noise to comfort them.
5. Get the Siblings and Parents Involved
This is such a special time for the whole family. Now is the time to get them involved. Have a sibling kiss the baby’s forehead. Have the parents kiss the toes or fingers. It’s fun to see how proportional the baby is to the rest of the family. Remember, from this day on, this is the tiniest the baby will ever be again.
There is one other tip that was not included but it’s probably the most important, patience. Newborn photographers have the patience to wait for the baby. Babies have a way of not doing what you want them to do, so relax and be patient. This is the baby’s shoot and he or she is running it. You just need to know what the baby needs and make sure they are comforted at all times. This will ensure a happy baby, happy parents and a happy photographer.
Special thank you to Milwaukee newborn photographer, Christine Plamann of Christine Plamann Photography for supplying us with the adorable photos. You can check out more of her work on her website or blog.
A baby goes through so many physical and developmental changes during their first year. As a photographer, I work with clients who hire me to record these milestones with my “Baby’s First Year” package. I shoot on location not in a studio so what I capture at a client’s home are moments any parent with a camera can strive to capture too. Here are creative ideas on what to aim for during the baby’s first 365 days.
What shots do I have on my checklist for these major milestones?1. Newborn
For me a newborn session takes place within the first 10 days after the baby’s birth. During those first days, the baby is usually very sleepy and in a milk-drunken state. Take full advantage of this wistful time to capture a dreaming, sleepy portrait and consider using props such as cute hats, diaper coverings or au natural. I frequently use a feeding pillow and cover it with clean blankets that I supply. I never use a flash during this session because that can startle a sleepy baby. I look for a window with a lot of light streaming through. I love to capture details such as the baby’s sweet lips, their tiny hand gripping the mother and/or father’s finger to show comparison, eyelashes, the back of the head where their hair swirls and of course, their tiny toes. For sure I compose a lot of photos with the parents together and separately. It’s particularly important for me to capture the father holding the baby. And remember, at this stage a newborn does not have strong neck muscles so it is critical to always support it properly in all shots.2. Four to Six Months
By the time a baby is three or four months old, they have gained a lot of weight and have better neck and head strength, but not always. Be sure to determine how strong the baby is based on the parent’s input. At this age, the baby is often able to lift their head when placed on their tummy which makes for a great shot. They are able or nearly able to roll over. They love to play with their hands and toes and smile a whole lot more. This is the perfect time to capture bright open eyes, big smiles, crinkled noses and chubby cheeks. At three or four months they are not quite ready to sit up so I don’t attempt to photograph them in that full upright position unless they have proper support.3. Six to Eight Months
Now that they can sit upright for short periods of time you can place them in very fun poses. Their personality is really shining through and their first teeth (typically bottom two) are starting to poke through. They are gaining more control over their hands and feet and can start picking up small objects on their own. This is the perfect time to capture them propped in a basket that has good side support (always keeping an assistant or parent within range) or sitting on a blanket outside on the grass. As they get closer to 7 and 8 months old they are beginning to crawl. I love to crouch down and snap photos at eye level.4. Twelve Months
If the parents are planning a first birthday party my goal is to schedule our twelve-month session to coincide with that momentous event. My photo checklist includes group shots with extended family, details of the décor and gifts and any shot that shows the ethnic or traditional details of the family. Oftentimes there are great opportunities to capture messy faces as the baby tries to feed themselves and unwrap gifts. If the parents allow the baby to smash their birthday cake I definitely have to capture that. And of course, at this stage the baby is so close to taking their first steps. My first of three daughters started walking just before she turned 10 months. But my other two daughters didn’t walk until 13 and 14 months of age. So be prepared to capture those first steps and attempts, which make for some amazing shots. One of my favorite shots is when the baby hugs the parent’s leg – it’s such a fleeting, precious moment in time.
In addition to this checklist be sure to capture the full story during each stage from different angles and perspectives. For instance when the baby starts crawling try to angle your shots from above and eye level to freeze that moment from the baby’s and parents perspective.The baby’s first year will be filled with many firsts. Be prepared to capture them at regular intervals. A good reminder is to coincide these milestones with their regular first year check ups. Those doctor appointments can serve as your reminder to snap away and capture a year of amazing memories.
Tina Case is an Adoramapix Ambassador and a writer and photographer out of the San Francisco-San Jose Bay area. She co-writes for the photography blog Moms Who Click where she shares photographer tips, tricks and interviews. Tina shares her parenting stories and more on Yahoo! where she is a featured “Parenting Guru.” Check more of her photos at Tina Case Photography | Facebook | Instagram.
Being a photographer, urging clients to print their photos has become my mission. Even if you took the pictures with your iphone, they are still memories that you wanted to remember, or you wouldn’t have taken them. One of my favorite things to do is go to my mom’s house and look at our baby books. The memories are so neat to look back on. When you are 70 years old, sitting around your living room with your grand children, will you have anything to show from your past? Will you have to make up some excuse that, “back in your day”, it was only a digital age and no one did anything with their pictures? How sad would that be? It is up to us to take control of this digital world that we live in and print our memories now. If we don’t, we will regret it so much in the future! Make time to go through your pictures. Make time to order them. Make time to give them to relatives. One last thing, please, for the love of everything, do not go to 1 hour drug stores to print your beautiful images! If you are going to spend the money on professional images, take the time to order them from a professional lab. The color is better and the quality is better.
Photographers often rely on the internet and word of mouth for business. So what happens when your business is threatened with a bad review from someone you’ve never met? It’s a scam that is on the rise and it’s targeting photographers and their livelihood.
Guest Blogger and amazing newborn photographer, Eden Bao of Eden Bao Photography was the target of one of these scams. Here is how she recognized it and is currently dealing with it.
In December, I received a new client inquiry from Mark Schwarz ( email@example.com ). It was different from the normal inquiries in that this person pasted an image of his inquiry (instead of typing out in text) with bold red font. I ignored it and did not respond.
In January, I received another new client inquiry from Jennifer McMahon Lawyer ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) asking for my website address so I responded.
In early February, Jennifer replied introducing herself as a private investigator and forensic IT investigator offering her services in the event that I receive negative comments about my business.
One week later I got a complaint from Mohammed Abdullah (email@example.com). I found it humorous that this person did not bother to research what kind of photographer I am—I photograph newborns, babies and women who are pregnant! I do not photograph men (unless they happen to be the father holding the baby or the husband of my maternity client).
A neat feature of Gmail is that it groups all replies with the original message, creating a single conversation thread. Replies to emails are displayed in order making it easy to understand the context of the message, as if you are in a natural conversation. Even though I spoke with “three” different people with different email address, Gmail groups them together as if they are related to each other (maybe they are the same person or people using the same computer or sharing the same bcc: list perhaps?) I present the conversation thread as it appears in my Gmail below:
The great thing about being connected with many newborn photographers nationally and internationally is that information is shared quickly and you find out that you are not alone. In fact, a detailed description of how this scam works is described on “BAD REVIEWS” EXTORTION, THREATS, ETC. published on February 12 on realphotographers.com. In my case, it appears that the scammers either forgot to send me the email from the friendly and helpful geriatric nurse in Utah or skipped it and sent me my first complaining “client”.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
At this point, I will adopt a wait-and-see approach as to how this scam develops. I am waiting for an email that presents me my options and the price of the reputation management services, which would establish this scam as blackmail. Blackmail involves a threat to do something that would cause a person to suffer embarrassment (like write bad reviews) unless a person meets certain demands (like paying up so they won’t write bad reviews) and is considered a crime regardless whether the information (the bad reviews) is true or false. The central element of the crime is the blackmailer’s intent to obtain money (or property or services) from the victim with threats of revealing the information.
I will, of course, not pay so I expect that bad reviews will appear on sites like ripoffreport.com and iformative.com shortly.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A VICTIM
1) Report the scam to the appropriate authorities. For us Canadians, that is the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/english/reportit-howtoreportfraud.html . CAFC is Canada’s central repository for data, intelligence and resource material as it relates to fraud and is managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. For Americans, report the internet crime to the FBI at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx and the Federal Trade Center at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1 (or their hotline: 1-877-382-4357).
2) Reviews sites often allow the company who has been named in the review to respond. Respond to fake bad reviews as you would with real bad reviews. See links below for resources on how to handle fake reviews.
3) Get the review site to remove the fake bad reviews but know that this may not be possible or may take a long time.
RESOURCES FOR REPUTATION DAMAGE CONTROL
2) Check Social Mention regularly to monitor online reviews on social media.
3) Read these awesome pages on how to handle fake reviews:
If anyone has anything to add regarding to the development of this scam, I would love to hear from them!
This story first hit Eden Bao’s blog last week. You can find the full story HERE. Eden Bao is a newborn and maternity photographer from Vancouver, BC currently relocating to Seattle, WA., area. She is a member of the PPA and she is a Master Member of the Master Photographers National. You can see her beautiful work on her website EdenBaoPhotography.com or on her Facebook page.