The Keys to Running a Successful Newborn Photography Business
Listening to our clients’ wants and needs is the key to exceeding their expectations, and when we do, it is the best possible way to advertise our business because they will in turn tell all their friends and family about the incredible experience you have created for them. And pregnant women know pregnant women, so it will be your best form of advertising.
With every session, I believe it’s equally important to not only create beautiful images, but to provide that exceptional experience. Instead of only trying to get the next great shot, we need to focus on the comfort and safety of the baby and creating the perfect environment. When the baby is comfortable and safe, the flow of your sessions will become easier.
Creating that perfect environment for your sessions
Understanding babies and being familiar with what makes them comfortable is paramount during a newborn photography session. By creating a baby-friendly environment in your studio, you’ll not only cut down on the amount of time it takes to shoot, but you’ll be able to pose and photograph the baby in his or her most calm state.
Keep in mind that newborn babies have spent the last nine months in the womb. The more you can do to recreate this environment, the happier your little subject will be. With that in mind, you can follow these simple steps to keeping newborn babies comfortable and at ease.
Regulate the Temperature in Your Studio
The womb is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so babies tend to be at their most relaxed in a warm room. I set my studio’s heater to about 80 degrees, which seems to be the most comfortable temperature for newborns. Plus, this temp will keep their skin nice and peachy, while they could get blotchy patches if they’re too cold.
Turn Up the Ambient Sound
Newborns are inundated with noise during their nine months in gestation. Not only do they hear their mother’s heartbeat, they tune into her blood flow, digestive system and her voice. While you don’t want to play loud music, you might try plugging in a white-noise machine (you can download white-noise apps on iTunes) or a heartbeat monitor to recreate the baby’s time in the womb.
Happy Parents Make for a Happy Baby
Chances are your clients are extremely tired from lack of sleep—not to mention the stress that can come with a new addition to the family. Newborns pick up on their parents’ stress levels, so the more relaxed and comfortable you keep mom and dad, the better. Make parents feel welcome, offer them some water and try to connect with them on a personal level. The calmer the parents are, the calmer the baby will be.
Every baby is different and will not go into every pose. They each have their own comfy spot, and at absolutely no point should they be forced into any position. When a baby becomes unsettled, her parents become unsettled, so make sure that the parents and family members are enjoying the session. Gain parents’ confidence by showing them that the safety of their baby is the most important aspect of your session. We must remember that it is a privilege to be asked to photograph these little bundles.
Photographing newborns doesn’t have to be complicated. The simplest of images are often the most beautiful and treasured.
Baby safety first
These are the safety rules I have in place for my studio.
- Never leave a baby unattended in a prop, on your posing bag or with a young sibling.
- Always have a spotter or parent next to your baby when using props.
- Use a support hand or finger when posing the baby, and clone it out later in Photoshop.
- Don’t force a baby into any pose. Instead, adjust her to where she is comfortable.
- Have your camera strap around your neck when shooting above the baby.
- Never stand on anything above the baby.
- Never put a baby inside or on an object that could break or fall.
- Never use glass props.
If a baby isn’t going into a position easily or is showing signs of discomfort by waking or wriggling, it’s time to move on or finish the session.
I’m a big believer in “prevention is always better then the cure.” Use common sense. If the baby is showing signs of discomfort, do not force her.
The more comfortable you make the baby, the more content she will be. If she is continually moved and disturbed during the shoot, she will become overstimulated and unsettled. Gentle, small movements that transition babies into different poses will keep your babies nice and calm and ensure a smoother session. We have to have patience.
The challenges of photographing newborns are what make it so rewarding. Working with these little wonders isn’t easy. You have to know how to take a technically good photograph but you also have to know how to handle babies with loving c