Some of the most meaningful photographers most of us will ever take are of families and babies, both our own and those around us. But it’s far from an easy niche, so here is a behind-the-scenes demonstration and tutorial.
If you’re a veteran photographer, you have likely tried most genres of photography. In the first 5 years of owning a camera, I certainly did the rounds of every genre to see which I liked, but interestingly, I avoided newborn photography. I had no experience around babies — I’d never even held one — and there felt like a lot of considerations outside of the camera that I wasn’t going to know. But, eventually, as these things usually do, I found myself with the opportunity.
The first shoot with a newborn wasn’t paid and was of my nephew. To say it was a learning experience would be an understatement. While I got some images I was happy with (and still am pleased with, to be fair) and so were the parents, it was difficult. In fact, if you have no experience with babies, it’s a jarring and steep learning curve.
Since then, I have sold lots of shoots of young children (from toddlers to about 10-years-old) and I thoroughly enjoy them. It’s a rewarding genre because it’s difficult and requires far more than just a mastery of your camera. To get the most out of photographing children, you need to be good with kids and extremely patient. This video is a good introduction to that, particularly when a newborn is involved.
Have you ever tried portraiture of babies or families? What did you find to be the hardest?