Since the beginning of this year, Outdoorphoto has been blessed with not one, not two… but THREE new babies. For this reason, we decided to approach Maryna Cotton from Photowise, a photographer known for her enthusiasm, talent and love of little ones, to give us some insight on the subject of New Born Photography.
Keep Calm and Pose a New Born
New Born Photography PART 2
Posing a newborn is a delicate art, which requires some skill, but mostly patience, patience and some more practice. Before discussing specific poses, or a posing flow, I will start with a few general posing and baby handling tips, which might not be quite as obvious as “safety first”, “stay calm and relaxed”, “your hands must be nice and warm” or “please don’t handle a newborn when you have the sniffles”. Most of these you will know or do instinctively if you have had a little one of your own, but don’t worry if you are not a mom, you will soon acquire the necessary skills with some practice.
- Newborns have a strong moro (startle) reflex, sometimes for no apparent reason and other times when the baby experiences a sense of sudden loss of support or falling. This usually involves spreading of their little arms and crying, neither of which is helpful to sleeping or easy posing. To avoid the little one from waking themselves up, keep his/her arms close to their body. I always keep a hand on them, with just enough weight for them to feel supported, while I put the finishing touches on a pose using my other hand. Avoid sudden movements and lift your hands slowly off the baby to avoid her getting startled. If you were holding her against your body, bend down when you put her down, keep her against your body for as long as possible.
- Perfect your shushing sounds and pat or rock that little body to settle them down.
- A snug baby is a sleepy baby – keep the little ones covered while posing or settling them down.
- Half open eyes can be closed by gently stroking the bridge of her nose.
- Open up clenched fists, by gently rolling open the little fingers or stroking the back of their hands.
- Once you have the baby settled in a pose, photograph from various angles. Start with wider shots and move in closer for detail shots.
Basic Posing Flow:
- Start with the easy poses first.
- By merely changing a hand position, or a hat or headband, you achieve more than one look from a pose without disturbing the little one.
- Start with the easier side poses (fetal position) then progress to the on-the-tummy poses. From there the more difficult chin-up poses and then on the back.
Most babies settle easily on their sides.
Once he/she is fast asleep you can add various headbands or hats for variation. An extra small blanket was shoved in under this little one, between the blanket she is lying on and the mattress or beanbag, to support her head and to create a sense of depth in the image.
Side poses are also easy in baskets and buckets etc. Progress from a side pose into the tummy or back by gently rolling the baby over. Again making small changes to hand positions, adding props, extra support under the baby and photographing from different angles to create the variations you need, without disturbing the sleeping baby.
Chin-up poses are a little more tricky and often require an extra pair of hands to help support the baby’s head. This hand is later removed during post-production.
Most babies don’t mind being propped in buckets or baskets providing you support their little bodies well. Babies are top-heavy, so please take extra precaution to prevent everything toppling over – a hand can always be edited out of the final image.
All babies are unique little individuals and if you feel any resistance getting baby into a certain pose, stop and move on.