By Harshita Malhotra on | No Comments
There's a particular joy in newborn photography that is unlike any other. It's the baby's first professional photos, the expressions are uncontrolled, and the bliss of the photograph comes purely from capturing their innocence and cuteness. And they are adorable, aren't they?
However, it's not easy photographing a newborn. After conducting hundreds of newborn sessions, my personal perspective is that there are two primary reasons why this is the case:
The goal of photographing a newborn should be to capture the innocence and beauty of the child. That means capturing those cute, pouty lips or little hands under the chin, the flexibility (some call it squishiness to make it sound cuter) when wrapped, the wrinkles or baby fat that is normal and healthy for a baby, and finally, extending the personality of the baby by incorporating props.
Today's post will focus exclusively on EIGHT KEY NEWBORN POSES while keeping the baby's safety in mind.
Ensuring the baby's comfort means having the right room temperature. NOT a temperature that feels good to you and the parent(s) but one that helps the little newborn feel the most comfortable. Remember, the baby is in their birthday suit, and we aren't (and thank goodness for that)!
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Now let's look at our first newborn pose:
The Frog Pose is the classic, the evergreen, THE MOST POPULAR NEWBORN POSE. It should probably be re-named the "You-Have-To-Do-It-Newborn-Pose." Legs by the side and hands placed under and cupping the chin, the Frog Pose is a great way to highlight the baby's facial features and flexibility.
This pose is definitely not for an untrained photographer. A baby's safety is always paramount, and most photographers (I hope) do this as a composite, as shown in my images below. Get this pose right, and you will be well on your way to impressing your clients.
I like to call this the "How-Kim-Kardashian-sleeps-comfortably" pose. The Tushy Up Pose helps newborn photographers capture three adorable traits in a single photo: the newborn's facial features, the cuteness of baby wrinkles/baby fat, and the natural curvature of the baby's bottom.
Keep in mind that even though this is an adorable and innocent pose, some parents may not be comfortable with it, especially for little girls. I usually gently suggest it and then wait for the parent's reaction and approval before moving forward with this pose.
There's a reason babies are called "Bundles of Joy," and the Wrapped Pose proves the name. With this pose, wrap the baby snugly yet carefully in a wrap and then place them on a blanket, flokati rug, or both. Each wrap and blanket provides a different texture and feel to the photograph. Baby's hands can be in or out, although hands out is a bit more tricky.
Go with what feels natural but more importantly, go with what's safer for the baby. This is very much like swaddling. So if you are a parent, it might bring back memories of that time in your baby's life and all those sleepless nights. Don't say you weren't warned!
I'm a sucker for newborn props. A quick review of the photos displayed in my studio, my blog posts, or my shopping bill will quickly back this up. My personal belief is that each newborn has a different personality - yes, even at that age - and parents have desires and dreams for their newborn too.
Props are an excellent way to capture a baby's spirit and incorporate the parents' desires into the newborn photoshoot at the same time. Who doesn't love a cute newborn cowboy, a little princess in her carriage, or a newborn flying in the clouds?
So, ignore those who act like purists, take names, and never apologize for using props.
The Taco Pose, also called the "Womb Pose," should be comfortable for the baby. It's one of the few poses that showcase both the newborn's facial expressions as well as their cute little hands and feet.
While the Frog Pose and the Tushy Up Pose also allow us to capture the same combination (face, hands, and feet), as I mentioned earlier, the Frog Pose requires significant expertise to perform safely, and some parents may not be keen on the Tushy Up Pose.
As such, the Taco Pose (which is much easier and safer) should definitely make it into the portfolio for every parent. Remember that you still need to be careful with all poses, including this one.
As the Side Pose name indicates, the baby is posed on their side, most often the right side. The baby's hands are under the chin and may be joined together. The difference between the two is the depth of the pose (see examples below).
It may seem that this pose is relatively "boring" compared to the poses above. However, this could not be further from the truth. Side poses offer considerable opportunities to customize: like matching the color of the blanket to the baby's skin tone, dressing the baby in a wrap to contrast with the blanket, and using caps/hats/crowns/pants/skirts to make the little one look as unique as they truly are.
By the way, in addition to my "shopaholic" attitude towards props, I also have an extensive collection of hats, pants, caps, tutu skirts, and headbands for use in my studio as well.
From the family of “Chin on… Poses,” like the hands on cheeks in the “Side Poses” or the “Tushy Up Pose,” the Chin on Hands Pose has led to some of the cutest moments in my studio!
For best results, combine it with a “Prop,” like a baby in a wooden bucket. Now, I may sound like a broken record, but that won’t stop me from repeating this - when you pose a baby in a prop, make absolutely sure the prop is stable and won’t tilt over AND always have an adult sitting close by to take action quickly, in case it does.
Last but certainly not the least is the "We Are Family" shot. To be 100% accurate, this isn't really a pose but rather a setup. For mom and siblings, I like to photograph them holding the newborn in their arms or lying down next to them, with their heads touching. For dad, it's holding the baby in his arms, and if he has really lovely tattoos, I like to incorporate those into the photos too. After all, it's all those unique things that make up a good memory.
Taking great newborn photos is only half the battle. Once you have successfully captured your images, it's time to edit them. And boy oh boy, does newborn editing come with its own distinctive set of challenges, like removing blemishes, reducing redness, smoothing skin, blanket fades, etc.
Luckily Pretty Presets & Actions has a fantastic collection of Newborn Presets for Lightroom users. Their Bella Baby Newborn Workflow Preset Collection includes gorgeous soft and clean presets and some can't-live-without retouch and color correction brushes - everything you need to edit newborns in Lightroom!
And if you edit in Photoshop (I use both), don't miss out on the LUXE Newborn Complete Workflow Photoshop Action Collection - MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE EDITING TOOLS FOR NEWBORN PHOTOS. In addition to the lovely color-enhancing actions, it also includes many incredibly handy skin soothing and retouch actions, and several indispensable blanket brushes too!
Either option (for Lightroom or Photoshop) will SAVE YOU SO MUCH TIME with beautiful results!
Please share this post using the social share buttons and comment below - I would LOVE to hear what you think and if there is any category of newborn poses YOU know that are drastically different from those mentioned here. And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we appreciate it)!
Hi, I am Harshita of Avnida Photography. After earning two Masters of Science in Computer Science and spending 5 years writing code, I gave in to my real passion; photography, especially of newborn and kids. Trained by the top 10 photographers in the country, I love capturing the experiences of life, and the love in everyday moments through my lens. Visit me at WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST