People often ask me how I became interested in baby photography and how I started photographing newborns.
As most people know, photographing newborn babies is a specialist skill. It takes years of practise, experience and training to really master the art of it.
When I refer to mastering it, I am not just talking about the technical side of things. Many people don’t realise just how much of a newborn photography session has very little to do with photography.
Being a good baby photographer is just as much about your skills in settling a baby, keeping baby and parents comfortable and happy, understanding a baby’s needs, knowing how to read a baby’s cues and finding that uniqueness in each child. It is for good reason that many people call us newborn photographers ‘baby whisperers’. When you work with babies for a while, you just start to learn these things.
I have always had a way with babies and felt comfortable around them. I feel that I can understand them and I guess I wouldn’t have gotten into newborn photography if this weren’t true. I have also had my own babies so I know exactly how it feels to be entirely responsible for this new little being. It is so daunting. Being an experienced parent gives me a lot of insight. But I have learnt a great deal more about babies since photographing them day in and day out.
When I first started photographing newborn babies, I knew right away this was going to be my niche. Some people find it hard to believe that I enjoy settling babies. I find it relaxing. It is very different when you are settling a baby that isn’t your own, however.
I can’t say that the first few times I photographed a baby it was anything that amazing in terms of the actual photographs. I remember practising on some of my friend’s newborns and realising pretty quickly that it was certainly a very specific skill set and one that I was truly going to need to get my head around before I started getting the types of shots I really wanted. I cringe when I now think back about the initial photographs I took of babies! I would look at photographs on the internet and wonder how on earth photographers took such amazing photographs of perfectly “posed” and settled babies.
I soon discovered a wonderful newborn photography course and I would highly recommend it to any Photographer out there who is interested in photographing newborns. I learnt through Kelly Brown who is herself based in QLD. Kelly is one of the world’s most well known Photographers. Multi-award winning, she takes stunning images and has been involved in newborn photography and the Australian photography industry for many years. While the course that I did many years ago has probably now been superseded by Kelly for something even better, it gave me an excellent grounding in newborn photography. You can find information about her courses here.
After doing Kelly’s course, my newborn photography obviously improved dramatically. Over the years I continue to keep my skills up to date and undertake a number of professional development activities each year.
The part that I love the most about photographing babies is that it is like having a preview, or an advanced screening if you like – into a brand new personality. Each child is truly an individual and babies are already asserting themselves and expressing their personalities when they are only days old. This is also something you learn after photographing newborns for a period of time. No two are the same. My own two children are a perfect example of this.
I don’t think I could ever tire of photographing newborns. To me it is an honour and I don’t say that lightly. It truly is a privilege that you have chosen me to document your journey into parenthood. I am always in awe of a new baby and always in awe of you as parents. It is such a mammoth task to raise a new human, a big undertaking and the biggest love affair of your life, too.
And then – just maybe, if you are lucky along comes number two child, number three and so on. Baby photography sessions when siblings are involved is a whole new ball game and a fun one at that! All of a sudden you are dealing with two personalities instead of one.
And as for you, the parents, I know how you feel. Sometimes you are a bit tired and sometimes you are more exhausted than you felt possible. Sometimes you are feeling like maybe you have it under control and sometimes you feel completely out of control, confused, worried and anxious. Sometimes you are so filled with love and sometimes you wish you could put everyone in some kind of cryo-freeze machine so you can sit down with a quiet cup of tea. For two weeks. This is all pretty normal. It’s your new normal. For, what has happened to you is monumental and it has changed your world.
And so this is why I got into baby photography. I love photographing babies and the families that they belong to. When all is said and done, it is the photographs you have from during this time that will help you remember this life changing moment. I do the best job that I can to capture how you all were with some images that you will love. I hope your babies look back on them too with great fondness and appreciation that you took the time to do this for them.
The photography session I am sharing here was a lot of fun and I loved creating some images for this family of four. Mum decided to take our option to have our hair and make-up artist join us so she felt pampered and amazing on the day. These two sisters looked so cute together, too.
The best time to take newborn photos is within the first two to three weeks after the birth of your baby.