Shooting newborns can be a daunting task, especially when it’s your first time. We have 5 pre-shoot newborn photography tips designed to help you have a happy and productive shoot, and also save you time during your post processing.
5 PRE-SHOOT NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
TIP 1. HAVE THE NEWBORN CLEANED WITH SPONGE BATH PRIOR TO SHOOT
If you’re planning to shoot nude newborn photos, then you’ll want to make sure the newborn has a sponge or cloth bath to clean up the baby’s dry and loose skin. Remember, newborns cannot be submerged under water before their umbilical cord has fallen off, which is why we recommend the simple sponge or cloth bath. Whatever flakey skin can be cleaned up by a simple sponge or wash cloth will save a tremendous amount of time in Photoshop later on.
TIP 2. REMOVE THE NEWBORN’S CLOTHING AND LOOSEN DIAPER 1 HOUR PRIOR TO SHOOT
You want to have mom or dad remove the newborn’s clothing and loosen the diaper at least 1 hour prior to the shoot. Clothing and a tightly worn diaper are going to cause lines to appear on the newborn’s skin. Of course, these lines are removable in Photoshop, but it will save you a lot of time and effort if you can capture the newborn without them. So have mom or dad remove the clothing, loosen the diaper, and swaddle the baby to keep the newborn warm 1 hour prior to shooting.
TIP 3. KEEP THE AREA WARM FOR THE NEWBORN
One of the tricks to keep babies in such cute poses is to keep them comfortable. Temperature is essential to a newborn’s comfort and you want to make sure that the area you’re posing them in is warm, but not too warm because babies can overheat easily. We recommend having a space heater on your shoot because it’s much easier to warm up the area the baby is being posed in than it is raising the temperature of an entire room. When setting up the space heater make sure you test out the temperature to make sure the baby isn’t going to be too warm. Newborns can quickly develop a fever if they get too hot.
How warm should the baby posing area be? As a rule we have the temperature set so that the baby’s body temperature won’t drop at all when all the clothes are removed (around 98 degrees Fahrenheit). Keeping the newborn warm is one of the greatest keys to keeping the newborn happy and sleeping.
TIP 4. FEED AND BURP THE BABY
Another way to keep the newborn comfortable and sleeping is to make sure they’re nice and full, and happily burped. If you or the mother are getting a sense that the baby is getting hungry, then pause the shoot and have mom feed the baby. There’s really no point in continuing the shoot if the baby is hungry or unhappy, because the baby won’t hold a pose and you won’t get any good shots.
If you pause to feed, make sure you give mom enough time to feed and burp the baby. We recommend allowing a 10-15 minute burping break, otherwise there’s a good chance the newborn will spit up the milk.
TIP 5. DO THE “NOODLE ARM” TEST TO CHECK IF THE NEWBORN IS FAST ASLEEP
One way we check to make sure the newborn is fast asleep is by using “Noodle Arm” test. To do this you simply lift the arm and if no muscles are pushing or pulling, and the arm acts sort of like a wet noodle, then the baby is fast asleep. The noodle test also works incredibly well with spaghetti, simply throw the noodle against the wall, and if it sticks, your spaghetti is done!! Sorry, that was just a side note as I am quite hungry… please don’t throw your newborns people.
Keeping your newborn warm, fed, and burped are the three biggest tricks to having a happy and productive shoot.