MY TOP 10 TIPS TO PHOTOGRAPH BABIES AT 6 WEEKS.
As it happened with the first lockdown, many families will have to postpone their newborn photography session to a later stage.
Newborn photography is normally recommended within the first 15 days of the baby’s life, where the babies tend to sleep for longer and they curl up perfectly.
However, missing that stage, doesn’t mean that babies can’t still be beautifully photographed.
Today I am going to talk to you about 6 weeks old babies photography sessions (which I call “oldborn” photography sessions) and I will be sharing with you my TOP 10 SUGGESTIONS to create stunning images for parents.
What does “oldborn” mean?
Oldborn means that the session is not longer classified as a newborn session (this is until 30 days) but it can’t be classified as a baby session either (from 3 months).
Therefore I label “oldborn session‘ any baby photography session happening from 30 days until 3 months of age.
After the first lockdown, I photographed many “oldborn” babies and I have actually ended up loving oldborn sessions. There are so many positive aspects about them:
Which are the advantages of an “oldborn” session?
- 6 weeks old babies start SMILING! Up to this point smiles are more related to gas. From the 6th week the smiles are REAL and they are a response to a stimulation. During the photoshoot, you can capture some beautiful SMILES which mum and dad will ADORE!
- Babies at this age can focus and love looking at HUMAN FACES more than anything. This means that you can use your own facial expressions to get their attention!
- The ability to FOCUS allows you to achieve an EYE CONTACT between the baby and the camera. Eye contact, in photographs, is everything.
What to bear in mind?
- At this age, babies can get fussy or irritable without new stimulation or activity and may cry when feeling BORED: for this reason, you need to quickly move between set ups as they will not keep the same position for too long.
- Babies start to WAVE THEIR ARMS around more when excited. Whether you manually or automatically focus, the hands in frond of the camera will drive your FOCUS a bit crazy! If you shoot at wide apertures, having the baby’s hands in front of his/her face is surely not ideal for the outcome of the photo. Ask Dad to help in keeping the baby’s hands still. Read more about this below.
- In the first 15 days, babies tend to sleep most of the time, during the photo session. They often are already asleep when they arrive in the studio. At 6 weeks they do not necessarily sleep all the time. So, rather than focusing to cuddling the baby to sleep, start with some set ups which work beautifully when the baby is AWAKE. You might find that, after a while, the baby will fall asleep naturally and easily allowing you to pose him/her beautifully.
In the first 15 days, babies retain naturally most of the curled positions they had in the womb.
Click HERE to see the classic curled newborn (15 days old) poses.
At 6 weeks instead babies start to move their legs and arms much more. They are also much stronger! So, when awake, if you would like to capture them “curled up”, you need to ask mum and dad to help in keeping their hands and legs in place.
Having mum and dad’s hands in the photographs is something I find very precious. Also, having something to compare the babies against will show them in the future how little they were.
At 6 weeks babies start to FOCUS their eyes! This means that you can much easier capturing their little eyes looking straight in camera.
HOW TO CAPTURE THEIR ATTENTION?
Look for high contrasted BLACK & WHITE patterned soft toys. If you don’t have it on hand, grab the black lid of your lens and hold it at the camera level with a white blanket or towel: as a newborn photographer, I know you have plenty of them around! 🙂
Until now, smiles have not have been real smiles! In the very first week of the baby’s life a smile is most likely the result of some GAS: the very early smiles don’t last long and you must be very quick and very lucky to capture them.
At 6 weeks, babies start SMILING, for REAL! 🙂
You can tell they are REAL SMILES as they last longer and they are often a response to a stimulation: a familiar face or sound, and in most cases a familiar smile.
Ask mum and dad to stand BEHIND YOU: literally behind you! No on your left nor on your right: they literally need to be your SHADOWS!
You might find that, much more easily than you had thought, the baby falls asleep, normally after a feed.
Now, how to beautifully POSE a 6 WEEKS OLD BABY?
Normally older babies’ sleep is less deep and doesn ‘t last as long.
This means that, as soon as he/she falls asleep, you need to get the most out of it! 🙂
- START with posing the baby on his/her BACK: there are of course always exceptions, but, based on my experience, by this age, this is a good sleeping position for most of the babies.
Babies have reflexes and these can wake them up, so use a blanket and hold it tightly. I normally ask Dad to help me with this.
Use a wider and a close up lens so that you can capture different photographs: details and half body photos.
You might find that at 6 weeks babies’ lashes are ticker and fuller which results in stunning details MACRO photographs. This is a BONUS in photographing slightly older babies!
Baby ACNE is mostly GONE by now too to the skin is much smoother and involves less editing!
If the baby is still asleep, move it on his/her tummy. You might find that curled positions like the TACO pose are not suitable for most babies anymore, but simple poses like the one below are perfectly comfortable.
Take the NAPPY OFF only at the end of the session for the last photo (I normally choose as last et up the black backdrop and daddy’s hands) so if any accident happens it will be ok!
If you are a parent and you have missed the possibility of capturing your baby’s early days in photos, do not worry!
Any age is perfect for capturing memories.
Click HERE some example of baby photography sessions done from 6 weeks until 5 months of age.