NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY INFORMATION FOR PARENTS

 

Welcome to my newborn photography information page for parents. I hope you will find the content below useful. This is a new page, which I will be adding to as I go along. My aim is to try and put in one place lots of information and advice that I have learned over my 16 years in professional newborn photography. I hope that this will assist you in your own search for a newborn photographer and answer any concerns or questions you may have.

I will add to the list below over time, but in summary the pages below will give information about:

What is Newborn Photography?

What are the Different Styles of Newborn Photography?

How do I Choose a Newborn Photographer?

Is Newborn Photography Safe?

Is my Baby too Old for a Newborn Session?

What do I do? I want a Newborn Session but HATE being in photos!

My Baby has a Skin Rash! Should I Cancel our Photo Session?

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions I haven't covered or if you would like to make a booking with me.

Lorraine.

Lorraine Jardim LBIPP QGPP

-oOo-
What is Newborn Photography?

Newborn photography is a specialised genre focussed on capturing the very early days of your baby's life. Your newborn photography session will take place typically within the first two to three weeks of baby's birth (for full term babies) and the session aims to document all of those adorable newborn features and expressions that will disappear so quickly as baby grows.

As mentioned above, I have specialised in newborn photography for 16 years now and I have seen the genre explode in popularity over the past few years. Being the slight 'nerd' that I am, I have recently written a blog on the history of the newborn photography genre which can be found here if you are interested.

-oOo-

What are the different styles of Newborn Photography?

A baby photo is a baby photo, right? Not at all!

There are several different approaches to newborn photography; some photographers will specialise in just one, while others will incorporate many. It is up to you as the client to select a photographer who can provide you with the type of imagery you would like. Here are some examples from my own portfolio:

Posed Newborn Photography

This involves the photographer gently posing baby in different positions and using props, accessories and wraps. Baby will need to be asleep for a lot of these poses and the photographer should be trained in the safe posing of babies.

0101
_DSC5902_DSC5902

Lifestyle Newborn Photography

This is more a relaxed session, aiming to capture natural and candid moments. As long as he or she is settled, baby doesn't have to be fast asleep as very little posing is involved other than a little direction given, for example to mum and dad in family photos, to ensure the best image possible.

Fine Art Newborn photography

These are characterised by creative compositions. Photographers will incorpoate artistic elements and post processing techniques to create visually stunning images.

FelixbwFelixbw

_DSC9557 bw_DSC9557 bw

Organic/Natural Newborn Photography

Typically where very little in the way of bright colours or props are used. Baby is photographed as simply as possible using subtle colours and textures to enhance baby's innocence and beauty. 

Black and White Newborn Photography

Some photographers specialise in monochrome photography in order to focus on the purity of baby without the distraction of colour. There are photographers (myself included) who will include a complimentary black and white image alongside a purchased colour digital file. 

26bw26bw
1010

Themed Newborn Photography

This is where your photography session will include a seasonal or themed element in your session, such as (for example) baby posed in a Santa hat if their birth was around Christmas time. 

Close up/Macro Newborn Photography

Focuses on extreme close-up shots of baby's tiny little features such as hands, feet, eyelashes and lips - all those delicate details that are so gorgeous in your tiny newborn.

22bw22bw

-oOo-
How do I choose a Newborn Photographer? There are so many around!

The choice of newborn photographer for your baby is very important, as you will not only want to capture those precious early days in a set of gorgeous images, but also ensure that this is done in the safest way possible.

You will need to seek recommendations and do some research; ask about a photographer's experience and most importantly, what safety training they have had and what safe methods of work they use. Is the photographer a member of any professional photography associations? Furthermore, if they are a qualified member of such an association (for example, the British Institute of Professional Photography), then they are bound to adhere to that body's rules of conduct which will include (for example) things like a requirement to have the necessary insurances in place to run a professional photography business.

For more information on this have a look at a recent blog I have written on the subject.

If you are considering me as your newborn photographer thank you so much, My studio is conveniently based near the heart of England with easy access from the M42, M5, M1 and M6, and I regularly welcome visitors from Coventry, Solihull, Kenilworth, Warwick, Leamington Spa, Balsall Common and Meriden and beyond.


-oOo-
Is Newborn Photography safe?

While it is true (and slightly scary) that there is no specific regulatory body or licensing requirement for newborn photography in the UK, there are many reputable and experienced photographers who will always prioritise the health and wellbeing of their little clients, have received training in safe posing techniques and will know how to work with newborn babies in a way that ensures their safety and comfort.

When it comes to all those adorable newborn poses you will have seen, provided they are carried out by an experienced newborn photographer they are safe for the following reasons:

Newborn babies are able to bend into certain poses during photography sessions because of their natural flexibility and the fact that their bones and joints are still developing.  

An adult human typically has around 206 bones, whereas a newborn baby around 270 – 300 (technically speaking, this additional number aren’t really bones as such, rather separate components joined with flexible cartilage that will fuse together as baby grows to form the adult skeleton).
When you consider the tight space a baby occupies in utero and then what a baby has to go through during a normal birth, you can appreciate the high level of flexibility in their joints and muscles. This same flexibility, along with a newborn’s limited muscle tone, allows newborn photographers to pose babies safely into those wonderful tightly curled poses that the majority of older children and adults simply can’t achieve. This flexibility and lack of muscle tone is one of the main reasons why we photographers carry out newborn portrait sessions during baby’s first weeks of life. As they grow older, they begin to develop more muscle tone and this natural flexibility subsequently decreases. Another reason is that at this early age baby is more likely to sleep, making posing easier overall.
DSC_1622DSC_1622

It's important to remember that, while newborn babies do possess this natural flexibility, newborn photographers must always prioritise safety during the photoshoot. An experienced newborn photographer will have knowledge of safe posing techniques which will support baby's neck and spine, will use composite imagery for more complex poses and have a ‘spotter’ on hand (a parent or assistant who will assist with supporting baby as required).

You should also ensure your photographer knows of any health issues your baby might have so any necessary adjustments can be made. For example, if baby has any mobility issues or physical limitations your photographer will need to plan poses and setups to accommodate those needs.

Another question I have been asked in the past is whether the photographer’s flash will damage a baby’s eyes. The answer to this is no, and it is a subject I have blogged on in the past. To read my blog, please click here.

-oOo-
Is my Baby too Old for a Newborn Session?

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons we newborn photographers like to photograph babies before the first two to three weeks of age is that they are very flexible and sleepy during this time, making it easier for us to safely position them into those adorable, curly newborn poses. At this very young age, they also tend to have less in the way of skin issues.

However, every baby and every birth experience is different. What if you or little one has been poorly and you’ve spent longer in hospital than planned? What if you are taking time to adjust to sleepless nights and just not feeling up to having a session so early into your new parenthood? Have you missed the opportunity to have some lovely newborn images? 

The great news is no, of course you haven't!

1313

You may find that some newborn photographers will only work within the two to three week 'golden window' however, many others will have experience of working with older infants. If for whatever reason you miss an early newborn photography session, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have your photos, you may just have to adjust your expectations and accept that your finished images might include more candid moments and expressions rather than intricate poses.

Due to the Covid lockdowns, I photographed many newborns who were older at the time of their sessions than originally planned. My clients still received beautiful images of their new arrivals, I just worked with whatever my tiny models gave me on the day. If they were awake we took a more natural, lifestyle approach. If they fell asleep, I was able to include some gorgeous sleepy images. All of my post-Covid newborn clients received a full gallery of images, and I am pleased to say I was able to re-schedule every one of them to a later date. 

In summary, if you are interested in newborn photography but your baby is already a bit older, contact your chosen photographer and have a discussion about what you’re hoping for. They will be able to guide you based on their experience and hopefully reassure you that you will still get some beautiful, memorable photos of your baby.

-oOo-
What do I do? I want a Newborn Session but HATE being in photos!

If I had a pound for every time a parent told me they felt uneasy about having their photograph taken I would be driving a much nicer car!

It is completely normal to feel this way, especially for mums so soon after giving birth, or when you’re both trying to cope with sleepless nights. The choice of whether to have family photographs with your newborn is completely up to you however, I would always suggest new parents think about it first before deciding no.

If any of my clients are unsure about having a family photograph taken during a newborn session I will of course honour their wishes, but I will also suggest perhaps having just one or two while they are with me. If they really don’t like the finished images then they don’t have to buy them, but I will gently remind them that their baby will only be this small at this point in time. In a few short weeks that tiny baby they brought home from hospital will have stretched out those tightly curled limbs, lost the newborn downy hair and begun to grow. Newborn babies are tiny, perfect beings but their features soon change, and I hate to think of any parents regretting their decision not to take up the opportunity of having a professional family photo taken which will help them remember just how tiny and uniquely perfect their child was when first born.

If you are worried about having your photograph taken, share your concerns with your chosen photographer beforehand. Let them know of any specific insecurities you may have. A skilled photographer will know how to work with someone who is camera shy. They will be able to direct their client’s position and use light creatively to diminish any areas their client may be self-conscious about. Shadows under the eyes due to sleepless nights can be dealt with in post processing, as can any pregnancy induced skin imperfections.

During the session don’t be afraid to tell the photographer which ‘side’ you prefer to be photographed from. If you’d rather not be looking at the camera at all you could request more candid, informal shots for example, images of you looking down at baby. Your photographer could suggest a silhouetted image or, if you would really rather not have your face appear at all but still want a record of how tiny your baby is, there is always the option of baby being photographed gently cradled by mum and dad’s hands.

3333 21bw21bw DSC_1074abwDSC_1074abw

With regard to clothing choice, I would always say to wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable, but if you are a mum who is conscious about her body after childbirth (as I was), then darker tops and long sleeves can help.

Finally, if you feel a little overwhelmed during a session, please don’t hesitate to ask your photographer for a short break. As a mum of three I remember all too well what a crazy, emotional rollercoaster ride those first few weeks can be. A professional newborn photographer will understand this and work the session around both your needs and those of baby to ensure you have as relaxed and comfortable an experience as possible.

-oOo-
My Baby has a Skin Rash! Should I Cancel our Photo Session?

Newborns will often experience skin conditions shortly after birth such as baby acne, dry skin or those little white spots called Milia. All of these are generally harmless and will disappear on their own in time however, you may have concerns about your finished photographs if your little one’s skin is affected at the time of your newborn portrait session.

Please don’t worry! A professional newborn photographer can use Photoshop or a similar editing package to soften or remove any minor blemishes on your baby’s skin. There are various methods we employ to do this, I personally like to keep my editing as gentle and natural looking as possible to preserve as much details as possible and ensure baby doesn't end up looking a little, well, plastic or wax like.

If your baby has a touch of jaundice or is a little red, I will subtly adjust colours, which will also of course help minimise the appearance of redness associated with skin rashes or irritation. When it comes to dry skin which is very common especially with overdue babies, I use a mixture of removal and softening techniques again, always keeping baby’s skin looking as natural as possible. My before and after image below shows the subtle changes I have made to clear up this baby boy's complexion. You will see that his skin has been gently softened, any obvious flaws removed and then subtly colour corrected to remove overly red areas whilst still retaining a normal texture.

skinskin

There are various types of birthmarks such as stork bites and port-wine stains and babies with darker skin tones often have Mongolian Spots, which are grey/blue patches on the skin. In both instances, I will ask the parents if they want the marks removed completely or simply softened down. My personal preference is the latter, as I do believe a photograph is meant to record how a baby looks at that particular moment in time.

In conclusion, please don’t worry if your little one’s skin isn’t perfect on the day of their session. A professional newborn photographer will have a long list of processing techniques at their disposal which they can use to enhance your images without creating unrealistic results.

Finally, it is of course important to say that, should your baby develop a rash that you are worried about, you should always consult a medical professional.

 

 

All text and images on this page are copyrighted by Lorraine Jardim LBIPP QGPP

Ellie J Newborn Photography.