By Guest Contributor Jennie Pyfferoen
When it comes to newborn photography, there are so many aspects that make the photos stand out. Of major importance is composition. It can make all the difference in how a photo looks. I took some poorly composited images to show the difference.
For this pose, known as the “butt in the air” shot, you can do it many ways, but I always find it best to be looking down on the baby, rather than at their level. Here is my preferred composite. I’m looking down on him and I’m to the left of him, showing an indirection of his face and getting the behind blurry 🙂
Here is a composite that is not my favorite. I’m at his level, he is centered and high in the frame. The angle just doesn’t show his features as well.
Same pose, but take a vertical shot and turn it horizontal for a lovely negative space composition.
I love negative space. It really draws the eye towards the best features and makes photos so much more aesthetically pleasing. Here is one where you see different features than if I had been straight on. I’m slightly to the left of him and looking down, yet again.
Now for the head in hands shot. This one is the one that I find to be VERY important. Now, this one tends to be more centered, but I still look down on baby. As you see in the first shot, I was not looking down and you can see UP his nose. Always try to not shoot up the nose 🙂 In the 2nd image is the better composition, shooting down and centered for this pose.
Here are more images where cradling the corner to get an angled shot can be much more appealing. Angles take practice but can really make for some cool creations!
About the author: I was raised in Indiana. I have a background in Early Childhood Education and a B.S. in psychology. My plan was to own a child care with all newborns. I guess I did something close. I never knew I would become a newborn photographer. I describe my process into this career like this: I was walking along one day, and out of nowhere, I tripped and fell into a giant, glorious hole that I call newborn photography. I knew what I wanted to do when I saw Kelley Ryden and Tracy Raver on the Today show in January 2010. I haven’t looked back since.
2013 is going to be huge for my business, I have some big plans and I cannot wait to unveil them!
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Christina S says
What a great article. I love learning all the different perspectives. A little change in composition can make such a big difference. Thanks for sharing your knowledge 🙂
Off topic a little bit… but I have used many different ‘things’ to use under the blankets when posing newborns. I’m just not finding what’s best. What system are you using? So many things make the baby look like he’s sinking.
Jennie Pyfferoen says
Andrea, I use receiving blankets, but usually the “sinking” is because the bean bag is not filled enough. I recently saw someone’s Newborn Bean Bag for newborn photographers that was made in a way that didnt allow it to be filled right. I bought mine from Shoot Baby and it gives me a big enough hole to fill it VERY Firm!
What is your “go-to” lens for newborn photography? Do you stick with a 50mm or do you prefer a macro lens?
What type of lighting do you shoot with? I am assuming studio. Do you use 1 or two lights? And what kind of soft box? Or do you use natural?
Hi Jeannie! Could you give me some pointers on how you position these babies with their hands holding up their heads? Is this one shot, or a composite? Thanks!
Jennie Pyfferoen says
Angela, I use a 50mm lens for all shots except macro, for which I use a 100 2.8 lens. Tammy, I use natural lighting only. I have a huge window in my studio. Erin, The head in hands can be done without a composite, but you need to be taught how to achieve it safely. I recommend doing a composite. Hope this helps!
Neil Bowler says
Great post, sometimes people think they can just point and shoot.
For me natural light all the way, it just looks so much better for babies.
So happy to see a photographer that responds to questions! Anyway, super random – but may I ask what kind of camera you shoot with? I’m looking to switch from Nikon to Canon, so I’m asking everybody I can!
The Best Newborn Photography in Toronto says
It is true that a composition can change the whole look of the picture and when it comes to newborn photography, then it must be properly and safe captured.