I wanted to try my hand at newborn photography for a while now, for several reasons. First, I stumbled across some wonderful photography by Tracy Raver and Kelley Ryden I admired. I wanted to see what I could produce and learn from the new type of photography experience. Second, because I studied photography for a while (including newborn photography thanks to KelbyOne and on-line blogs), I know that what is mastered in one area can help in another. Third and finally, newborn photography is currently, along with Wedding photography, one of the few areas in which people still regularly seek out professional photographers. Adding newborn photography as a portrait skill might help generate new clients – assuming the first session went well.
With these things in mind, I began researching props, selecting favorites, and purchasing and collecting a few to have on-hand should I someday have an opportunity. You see, they don’t occur every day. Because the recommended age for photographing newborns is 0 to 2 weeks, timing matters. Newborns at this age are the most pliable and likely to sleep through the session. And connecting with about-to-be-moms is not easy either if you are not one and don’t know any. After asking around and offering to photograph a newborn for free, I finally had the opportunity. The timing wasn’t perfect. I was in the middle of working on a black and white long exposure to add to my portfolio. But when a door opens, …!
What a wonderful, sweet experience! The little dear slept most of the time and was so patient with her mom, great grandma and me working together to position her, adjust lighting, hold reflectors, fiddle with flashes, soft boxes, and backgrounds. It was definitely a three-person activity. In the end, we opted to let the little newborn girl dictate where the session took place (most not in the studio I had setup, but on the comfy couch), which props we would use (she much preferred the soft, hidden pillow her mom wisely brought), and what lighting style worked best (au naturale with a boost from reflectors and flash).
Scott Kelby’s on-line instructor Tamara Lackey had mentioned this. She, too, tends to leave the heavy lighting equipment and backdrops behind. This little newborn had so many funny, hysterical expressions to choose from, narrowing the selection was difficult. Even the snapshots are funny!