It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that photographing newborns is not a job to me it’s simply my passion. I never tire of these sessions even though they are quite a bit longer than your average session. I love to pose them, calm them into a deep slumber and watch from behind the camera lens as they make grunting noises, sweet open mouthed smiles (even though it often means they are letting loose at the other end) and all the little facial movements they make. I will admit parents are amazed by me. I don’t think I have had a session yet where the parents didn’t call me “The Baby Whisperer.” Truth is while I would like to believe I simply have a touch that no one else has I know that’s not exactly true.
Newborn photography is quite easy once you follow the rules. I had a well known photographer ask me the other day how I possibly keep my babies asleep through so many backdrop, clothing and with my headband changes! There are several tips I can give you as a photographer to ensure an easy, sleepy, successful session with your next newborn.
- Heat. There is nothing that will wake a newborn up faster than stripping them down in a cold room and laying them on a hard surface. I keep the heater on in my studio at 80 degrees and make sure it’s on for 30 minutes before arrival. But that’s simply not enough. Nothing will get a newborn to fall asleep faster than having a warm air blow across their naked bums so I keep a space heater on a table right next to my beanbag, basket, etc.
- White noise. Also on the table next to the space heater. Got to have it. No one likes to be awakened by random noises and remember that new baby just came out of a place that was constantly the same decimal as a freight train. I have two words that will change your newborn photography forever. HAIR DRYER. Make sure it has a cool cycle though so you aren’t burning it out running it for hours. It will keep them asleep.
- Feed. I let my newborns nurse whenever they start to wiggle. Don’t let them get mad or wake up. If they start moving just give them over to mom. I also always give them over for a quick nurse during each set/blanket change.
- Relax and relax the baby. When I first started I had several newborns I couldn’t get to sleep. Looking back I know it’s because they could sense my nervousness. Once I was totally confident in myself it seemed like miraculously all my babies slept through the whole session. I also have a secret weapon to relax them that I call “ the vibrate”. If they start to wiggle at all I quickly place one hand on the head and another on the babies bum and lightly vibrate their body. It may sound silly but it seriously rocks them to a deep slumber every time!
I hope these tips help you have peaceful and stress free newborn sessions. I honestly find nothing more stress relieving than my newborn sessions. Once you become comfortable with them it’s guaranteed they will also be comfortable with you and you will be able to get all the amazing shots you have dreamed of!