Undoubtedly babies make the best subjects for photographs. With their cute expressions and pure innocence, they are sure to melt anyone’s heart no matter how stoic they seem to be. And so in the last few years, newborn portraiture or baby portraits have taken over the world by storm.
A simple search of ‘newborn baby portrait ideas’ on Google or Pinterest will bring up thousands if not more photographs of cute babies sitting or lying in cute poses.
5 Tips for Newborn Baby Portraiture
This has been so impactful in the field of photography that it has carved a niche in the market as an individual genre. And lots of photographers today can be found who specialize in the genre of Baby portrait photography. So if you’re a photographer looking to make a name for yourself as a specialist in newborn portraiture, this article will be like a guide to you. Read on as we will be discussing several ideas, what gears and settings to use, etc for this genre. And if you’re a parent of a newborn, you don’t need to close this tab, if not anything, you might end up knowing about a few ways you can hold these memories of your baby for the future.
But before we begin discussing some ideas or themes that go hand in hand with the aesthetics of newborn baby portraits ideas, let us give you 5 tips and tricks to get the best possible photographs from the portrait session. These tips and tricks come from professionals with prior experience in this field based on the problems they have faced during the sessions and how they found a way around them.
Tip 1: Slow yourself down and be very gentle.
Always remember babies especially newborns are not at all like older subjects. Even if you’ve tons of experience shooting teenagers or adults, working with babies is a different ball game. As babies have no sense of control of their own, you need to be very delicate while moving and posing them. It is always a good idea to include the parents in doing so. Not only that, try not to go overboard with crazy poses a baby’s body isn’t suitable for. Even for the simple poses, if you need to balance the baby, ask one of the parents to act as a support. You can always mask them out of the frame later using Photoshop.
Tip 2: Light it up like a dream.
Baby portrait photography like Glamour Fashion photography has an air of dreaminess. The photographs should give a surreal feeling instead of a saturated, contrasted look like movies or black and white noir shots. And lighting plays a major role in creating this ambiance. Always try to conduct the session outdoors in daylight. It adds a soft touch to the delicate skin of the baby. Just make sure you aren’t shooting in the afternoons as the light tends to be the harshest at that time and creates a strong contrast. And in case shooting in daylight is not possible and you’ve to do the shoot indoors, try to use large modifiers for diffusing and shaping the light to lessen the hard contrast between the highlights and shadows. If you have a big window at your expense, you can also use it as a diffuser to soften the daylight coming from outside.
Tip 3: Dress according to the theme.
This tip is equally important for both the photographers as well as the parents. Newborn portraits sessions are no less than creating a story. And every good story needs good costumes for the characters to look their best. So plan and get different types of clothing for the baby. This will add a variety to the photographs and also give you themes and ideas to play with during the shoot.
Tip 4: It’s all about Candids.
Sure you can try to recreate several cute poses with the baby. To be honest, Pinterest is filled with newborn baby portraits ideas with a variety of poses. But remember, innocence is the essence of childhood especially infancy. And if you want to capture that true innocence, you need to be on a constant lookout for candid moments. It can be anything from the baby gurgling, laughing at the parents, or simply rolling around. Make sure to capture these moments and your work will be half done without needing to focus on perfectly recreating an idea.
Tip 5: It’s always the eyes.
It is a common opinion that the eyes speak more than the mouth. The same goes for newborns, if not more. Even if the baby is not doing anything fancy, focus on the baby’s eyes and you’re sure to end up with some lovely shots. This is because babies have large eyes that glow up even in dark places. So keep shooting with the focus mainly on the eyes. If they end up sleeping in the middle of the session, don’t worry and click some shots of them sleeping peacefully. Even those photos are sure to come out looking great with natural innocence. Just make sure to keep the background sober and simple, it shouldn’t be too vibrant or chaotic. That would end up distracting the vision of the viewers from the subject in the front.
Newborn Baby Portraits Ideas
Now that you’ve some tips and tricks to keep in mind during your next newborn portraits session, let us look at some of the most popular newborn portrait ideas for you to get inspired.
One of the most common and popular baby portraits ideas is to dress up the baby as characters from storybooks. Be it Snow White, Cinderella, Harry Potter, or Mickey Mouse, the choices are abundant for you and the parents to choose from.
If the parents want to go for a more contemporary approach, they can always opt for comic book characters like Batman, Superman, Wonderwoman, or even the infamous Harley Quinn depending upon the level of comic freaks they are. In fact, Superheroes and their sidekicks are a pretty good idea to try out with the dad and the son, e.g Batman, and Robin.
Another cute infant portraits idea is to wrap a blanket or towel around the baby like a cocoon with his or her head uncovered. If done properly, this is sure to bring out some aww-worthy reactions from the photos.
Babies are small by default so placing them with something huge like giant teddy bears, etc can also add some funny contrast to the photos.
Bring out the macro lens and shoot the details of the body like hands, feet, or even baby face portraits with an emphasis on the eyes, mouth, etc. These tiny body parts of the baby give a surreal look to the photographs.
Get hold of some carpet, toys, maybe a pillow or two, and lay down the baby in the middle. Take flat lay photos from the top of the baby lying on the back amidst the beautiful setup.
Another cute baby portrait idea is to show the age of the baby using props. For example, if the baby is 1 year old, you can create a 1 with nappies or even use the number of props available in the market.
To add variety to the shoot, you can recreate scenes from daily life with a comic twist. For example, make a cloth hanging line on the floor with few clothes hanging from it like they’re kept for drying outside. Now in the middle lay down the baby in the same manner. When you take the shot from the top, it would come off as the baby hanging with his/her clothes. You can create several scenes like this based on how far your imagination goes.
If the baby is slightly older and can sit or balance on own, make him or her sit on a mirror kept on the floor. You’ll surely get some funny yet cute reactions from the baby seeing his or her reflection.
Bring out all the soft toys and place them in a line. Now make the baby sit in the middle naked resembling the toys. You can take photographs from both the front and the back for this idea. And if everything goes right, the baby might even start interacting with the toys leading to some wonderful candids.
What lens to use for baby portrait photography?
The best lens for Baby Portrait sessions is a prime lens like 50mm, 85mm, or even the wide-angle prime 35mm because Babies are one of the most difficult human subjects to shoot.
This is not because of their tiny body structure but also the fact that they can’t be guided accordingly by the photographer. And to top it off, the photos need to have a soft, dreamy look A high aperture like 1.8 or 1.4 will add dreamy bokeh to the images. Just make sure to keep your focus intact other you’d end up with unfocused images.
Best settings for infant portraits?
As you’ll be shooting with a wide aperture for the dreamy look, you need to remove as much camera shake as possible. When the lens is at its widest aperture, even the tiniest shake can hamper the focus. So keep the shutter speed at 1/160th of a second or more to remove the camera shake due to your hands. Do not go below 1/125th of a second in any case or the photos will come out blurry. You can also use a tripod to keep the camera steady.
Optimal Settings for Newborn and Infant Portraits
- Shutter Speed = 1/ Focal Length at which we are shooting for reducing the blur.
- Aperture = f 2.8 to f 1.8 for the Dreamy Blurring of the Background.
- ISO = Less than 400 for Excellent Picture Quality
Taking newborn baby portraits may seem to be daunting in the beginning. But with constant practice and proper technique, you’ll not only keep getting better at it but also start having fun during the sessions.