One of the most common questions I am asked as a newborn photographer is how I make all the images look so perfect. These are squirmy, fussy (absolutely adorable) infants I’m photographing, after all, and the goal is to create a serene, sometimes almost other-worldly, scene.
The truth is that I work a lot of magic during and after the shoot, primarily with a little trick referred to as composite imagery. In short, I 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, I’m 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 I rely on a composite. When a client would like a portrait of their pup with their new baby, a lot of times this would be done as a composite. Dogs can be unpredictable, especially with a new addition and other people.
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 me, it’s worth hiring a seasoned pro for newborn photography 100% of the time.