Ah, newborns. You can’t ask them to pose or reason with them. They sleep when you don’t want them to, and wont sleep when you do want them to. Nevertheless, it’s magical when it all comes together. Here’s the stories behind two of my favourite newborn portraits.
I’m not a newborn portrait specialist, but we do occasionally get new mums and dads contact our studio for photography sessions. Mostly I prefer to pose newborns with one or both of their parents, to show how special the bond is. However, for this first image, Theo’s father had a particular shot in mind.
Baby on a basket
The image on the top left is of Theo. His dad was looking for a more graphical portrait, alongside the ones I captured of Theo in his parents’ arms. He specifically asked me to use the hamper basket in the shot, and – although it’s not something we normally do – I agreed.
The challenge was making sure Theo was completely safe. No portrait – no matter how beautiful – is worth risking a baby’s safety over. Babies come first, portraits second. So just out of the frame, Theo’s mum and dad were right there on either side, ready to step straight in if Theo began to stir. In the end, he stayed sound asleep and didn’t budge, but it’s never worth taking a risk with babies.
I wanted to create an orthogonal view (with lots of right angles) so I shot facing straight on to the basket. This draws attention to the gentle shape of the sleeping baby.
A kiss from mum
The image on the top right is Kyra. Her mum is a midwife, so she was more confident handling her baby at just four days old than most parents ever become!
For this image, I wanted to create a feeling of intimacy, so I used a close crop and a slight angle to make it feel like you (the viewer) are very close to the pair.
The studio is nice and warm – not hot, as it would need to be if these babies were undressed – but warm enough so that the baby was comfortable, which aids sleep.