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Baby Steps to Newborn Photography

Author: Libby - Printique by Adorama

Photographers looking to work with newborns would benefit from taking baby steps into this type of photography. There is a lot to learn and education is key. We spend some time with Terry Geerdts of A Pretty Pixel who gives us three tips to keeping  those precious little human beings safe during a photo shoot.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
 I’m a photographer from Metuchen, New Jersey who specializes in newborn and baby photography. I’ve been photographing professionally for about 13 years now and my company is called A Pretty Pixel. I also photograph weddings, events and families 

2. What are a few tips to keep in mind when photographing newborns?
There are three key points to keep in mind when photographing newborns. Babies are so unpredictable so the main attribute a photographer should have is patience. Most of my sessions take three hours and most of that time is spent waiting for the baby to fall into a nice, deep sleep.
Second important thing is safety. You must know the best ways to handle a baby and keep them safe when photographing them and using props. Most hard shots are composites and every new photographer needs to understand that when they see shots such as the head in hands shot (see below) that it’s actually two images photoshopped together. I always have a parent spotting the baby  both during composites and when using props as babies tend to jerk their bodies when sleeping.  You need to make sure they are 100% safe in whatever prop you put them in.
The third thing is warmth. Babies sleep so much better when the studio is kept at around 80 degrees. Everyone else will be sweating for sure but the baby will sleep better.
3. What is your lighting set up like in studio for newborns?
I use several types of lighting set ups in my studio. I have one side of the studio that gets a little north facing light and I use that as fill light with a Wescott Spiderlite TD6 light constant light in a soft box as my main light. On the other side of the studio,  I use studio strobes (Alien Bees 800) and a 3×5 softbox. I use just one light and a big reflector opposite it. I don’t do as many of my shots for newborns on that side but do use it for floor shots and family shots.
4. What lens do you like to use on your newborn portraits?
I use a 24-70 2.8 II canon lens. I used to use my 50mm 1.4 for some of the shots but this version 2 lens is super sharp and I love it.
5.  What advice do you have for those just starting out with newborn photography in the studio?
For those just starting out,   get some education before handling newborns, learn the right way vs. just copying shots you saw without knowing how they are done. Take classes and workshops and online classe then start out by doing portfolio building with newborn models. This way you can take your time and work on perfecting your poses. To this day, I still bring in baby models when I want to try something new or have new props to try out.
Thank you Terry for your expertise and advice. For this session, Terry chose a pink fabric 10×10 photo book from Printique with silver debossing on it. It was the perfect fit for her studio and her client.  You can see the sample below. If you would like to see more of Terry’s work, you can check out her website HERE.