Newborn photography in London is a rapidly growing industry that can bring in a lot of business, so it is definitely worth considering if you are stepping into a career in photography. Even if you wish to simply change paths within the realm of studio photography, picking a niche that is consistent and growing is crucial.
There are more than five billion newborns being born each year- that’s a huge market!
For parents, newborn photography is a beautiful and personal experience after the miracle of birth. For photographers, it can be hard to navigate the ins and outs of such a delicate shoot. What kind of gear will you need? What are the baby preparation tips? How do you deal with a crying infant?
Across the years at Vanity Studios, we have photographed every type of newborn from fussy and loud to calm and sleepy, and learned a lot about what makes a photographer’s job easy, quick and efficient when photographing little ones. If you are looking to break into the world of newborn photography in London, this guide is for you!
Why Newborn Photography in London?
Figuring out the right niche is the most important element for any budding photographer. As mentioned earlier, there are few niches more abundant than the baby industry. Let’s take a look at what makes newborn photography in London so lucrative:
The industry is only growing, especially alongside social media. In 2015, Vogue published an article on the rise of newborn photography stating, “As with pretty much every trend spiking today, social media has played a massive role in fuelling the popularity of newborn photography.”
Take a moment to think about how popular social media is, and how massive the baby industry has grown amongst Millennials in the last decade. As a photographer looking to drive in new clients, this niche is an excellent source of a stable income.
In addition, if you do a great job and the parents are comfortable with you, you can establish a lasting relationship that can span over years, even decades! First day of school, birthdays, graduations…the list is endless.
Every photographer knows how important it is to maintain long-term relationships with potential clients. Newborn photography in London will allow you to start at the bud, literally!
How to Get Started
At its core, newborn photography is simple. Take a look through any photo gallery and you’ll see posed shots of little ones wrapped in swaddling cloths and a few more natural shots of a baby snuggling up with mum or dad. That’s about it. And that simplicity is one of the reasons why people love it so much: there’s absolutely no pressure to pose a baby in ways they’re uncomfortable with or force them to look smiley for the camera when they would rather have a nap.
When it comes to cameras, mirrorless systems are preferred over standard DSLRs as they are quiet and will not wake up or overwhelm a sleeping infant. Otherwise, any professional photographer will be equipped enough to handle newborn photography as specialised camera equipment, other than a variety of lenses for a wide range of light/aperture settings, is not necessarily required.
Other than your own professional equipment and a studio space that can cater to small cots or beds, you do not really need to change much to start working with newborn photography in London.
What about props and accessories?
The best part about newborn photography is that the parents will typically come with most of the gear required to set up a newborn photoshoot. Parents typically do not want to use shared items, especially in today’s more health- and germ-conscious environment, so they will most likely bring everything you need with them, from cots to props.
This is one less expense for you as a photographer as you will need to make only minimal purchases. In fact, it would be smart to make it a policy so that you are not required to worry about sanitising toys and the like, and therefore ease yourself of a big responsibility.
Of course the more you can provide the happier parents will be, so making sure you have various backgrounds and themes organised can give you a benefit over other studios. Carpets, blankets and stage elements such as a “bird nest” cot or Easter basket beds, for example, make for an all-around better shoot. This aspect is entirely up to your creativity and what you want to offer to clients.
Best poses and techniques
The key here is to plan, plan, and plan! Learning more about your mini-client is important to organising your photoshoot. How old they are, how easy-going they are and picking the right time of the day are all important elements to preparing for an efficient and seamless shoot.
For example, parents will know that their two-week old infant is a big sleeper between noon and 3pm and most likely will not be crying for two out of three hours, or if you should avoid an afternoon shoot with a month-old that spends most afternoons fussing and hyper. This is important information and will prevent wasting time during a photoshoot.
Once you know how your subject will behave, planning out a few poses is essential. For younger infants, the swaddling technique is the perfect way to help them feel safe and comfortable enough to stay asleep during a shoot. Swaddling is when you wrap a baby tightly but safely in a comfortable blanket, almost like a burrito. As a newborn photographer, you should pop over to Youtube and watch videos of how to swaddle an infant as it will make for the best way to manage fussy babies during a shoot.
Swaddling has many benefits: it is the ideal way to approach family shoots, especially those with young siblings as the majority of the time it helps keep the baby asleep throughout various positions or if they change hands from person to person. It also helps avoid any accidents compared to photos in diapers or nude.
Close-up photos are also a great way to capture more unique images for the family and does not require a change of scenery or outfits. Photos of the baby’s hands, feet and select angles make for great collage gallery material and are particularly low-effort.
Blanket poses are perfect when the baby is sleeping or old enough to lay on their tummy and look at the camera. The blanket pose also is better done in the nude and saves you the effort of changing outfits. In fact, you really only need to change a hat or cute hair accessory for each particular scene.
There are three main blanket poses: side-lying, bottoms-up, and on the belly. For side-lying, the goal is to photograph the baby asleep and with their hands in an almost prayer-like position beneath their chin. This is similar to the bottoms-up pose where the infant lies on their stomach with their legs folded under their bum and their hands beneath their head.
For older infants that can lift their heads, the on the belly post is pretty self-explanatory. You can put the child on their belly with their legs out and have them look at the camera (or whatever shiny object you and the parents can muster).