One of the most common questions I get asked as a newborn photographer is how I make all the images look so perfect. These are squirmy, fussy (absolutely adorable) infants we’re photographing, after all, and the goal is to create a serene, sometimes almost other-worldly,
The truth is that newborn photographers work a lot of magic during and after the shoot, primarily with a little trick referred to as composite imagery. In short, we combine multiple photos into one—in post processing—in order to create the finished result. Sometimes it’s a matter of capturing a better expression in one image and then combining it with another photo where the positioning is better. In other cases, we’re combining a backdrop scene with the image of your baby. This is done both for aesthetic effect, and also to ensure your child’s safety. For example, sometimes it looks like a newborn is hanging out on a motorcycle or nestled in a swing. These would be dangerous poses to actually attempt, so we rely on composite.
Another way newborn photographers use composite imagery for newborn safety, is many times, a pose will need an assistants hand in the frame to help support baby. This is because these certain poses should only be done when there is a hand or finger support baby is a safe position. Some of the poses include when a baby is in a bucket or basket, the froggy pose and I like to keep a parents hand in the photo for safety when baby in my moon prop. After the photo is worked in photoshop, I remove the hands supporting baby and it is seamless look, and noone can tell that a helping hand was involved.
Speaking of newborn safety, it’s my absolute number one priority in any newborn photo session and I won’t do anything the parent isn’t comfortable with. On that note, when hiring a newborn photographer, it’s imperative that your preferred photographer is trained not just in how to wield a camera, but in how to ensure baby is kept happy, comfortable, and safe throughout the session. The means relying on natural light or soft flashes when photographing a baby, posing babies in a way that’s safe and comfortable while also beautiful, and utilizing post-processing techniques—such as composite imagery, eliminating jaundice, and even smoothing out things like scratches and blotchy skin that are very common with newborns.
The bottom line is that there are things that a seasoned newborn photographer will know how to do well that novice shooters simply don’t know about. You’ll often find that newborn images are more expensive than other types, but that cost is a reflection of this key knowledge and attention to detail. If you ask us, it’s worth hiring a seasoned pro for newborn photography 100% of the time.