Newborn photography requires a delicate hand beyond anything else. You have to be delicate even in your nerves.
You have to meet some qualities at first, like patience and delicacy, tenderness and extreme care. Planning a photo can include certain points that have to be considered before the shooting and some of this are:
- Soft light
- Color Palette
- Baby’s natural clock
- Lenses to use
Beside this, there must always be a meeting with the parents before the shooting, so you can plan all of this on time. Some photographers like to keep a track on maternity and then with the newborn, but this is just a beautiful way of doing things.
Once the shooting moment has arrived, and you have all your beautiful softly soft lights arranged and the backgrounds with delicate pastel and neutral colors blended in the setting, you have to start with the posing of the newborn. Posing the newborn is where the delicacy comes at its best, because paradoxically, you need a firm hand with a lot of gentleness to pose the baby. The baby is your subject, but you have to be extremely careful yet secure on doing this. Let’s say you happen to meet these both qualities and you have a certain level of experience in posing the baby.
Now we can go back to the photographic skills. I really advise you to don’t forget about composition when doing this, because after all, you are an arranger at the moment of the posing. You can also have a gentle assistant for you to guide her or him on the poses so you can focus on the delicate photographs.
Let’s talk a little bit about the composition techniques that apply to this gentle photographic niche.
Basic rule of thirds
Even though the rule of thirds is among the basic things you need to know besides aperture and shutter speed, it gets sometimes forgotten. With just this simple consideration, your photographs will keep the essence of that every photograph should always have, telling a story. Try to place your crop in a way that the gentle baby is always in the intersection points of the imaginary grid of the thirds. This will give a certain level of meaning to the photograph. We are not looking for strength since we are working with one of the most delicate subjects of all, but still, the shoot doesn’t have to be plain and boring. Remember, clients are choosing you because you are different and careful.
There are certain techniques that help form to get a greater presence in the composition. The simplest is by cropping since it helps us suggest the form by selecting a detail of the baby’s soft body. So detail shots fit in this area of composition techniques. You can get artsy, and suggest parts of the baby’s body by making beautiful emphasis on a little portion of the body.
Let’s not be afraid of negative space. Negative space is the presence of a larger portion of the image filled with the lack or the complete absence of elements. This can be a great balance in the composition if we want to go minimal. And it helps empathizing the innocence of the baby in contrast with the space left blank.
Remember the classical poses
- Baby’s full body
- Down on the tummy
- Facing the camera or just facing up
- Bare skin and/or wrapped
- Baby’s face close-up
- Baby’s fingers and toes
This is my very personal view on how to apply composition to the delicate world of newborn photography. Hope you have enjoyed it and remember to always plan ahead, especially with these lovely and delicate subjects.