Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Easy Setup for Formal Newborn Photography

Captured using setup and blanket shown below

There are two main types of newborn photography: posed, formal portraits, often shot against a backdrop and informal or lifestyle photographs of the newborn and family, usually shot in their home using the home itself as the backdrop. This post will focus on the formal style of shots, and a later post will provide tips for lifestyle newborn photography.

Set-Up for Newborn Photography

The key to formal newborn photographs is using a backdrop. You can either buy a backdrop stand or make one yourself out of PVC. You want something that is portable and easy to assemble and disassemble as most newborn sessions are done in the family's home. (I use a backdrop stand made by Square Perfect that comes with a carrying case and that I can set up or take down in under 4 minutes. See the stand I use here.)

Where you set up for your shoot will depend on the house and especially on the windows and position of the sun. Newborn photography works best with natural light. You do not want to use your flash on an infant! Look for a room in the house with large windows and ample natural light. Bedrooms work especially well, as you can use the bed for posing.

For this particular shoot, we were using the main family room and the large, sturdy coffee table as our base. You can see a big, fuzzy blanket pinned to the backdrop stand and draped over the coffee table. Though it is hard to discern in this image, the backdrop is angled towards the windows, which wrap all the way behind where I am standing to take this picture.

The basket has a heavy cookbook in the bottom for stability and then blankets rolled up inside for comfort - the roll at one end makes a bit of a pillow to elevate the baby's head. Pillows and additional blankets were placed on top of the coffee table and underneath the backdrop when photographing the baby without the basket.

The image above was taken during this shoot using the backdrop exactly as shown. For the formal family shots, I switched to a black background, and the parents simply sat on the coffee table. Always make sure that you have a backdrop that is large enough for everyone.

Want to learn more about newborn photography? Click here to see the other posts in this series. What else do you want to know? Leave a question in the comments below, and it could be featured in a future post!

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