There are hundreds of online videos, classes, groups and conventions dedicated to newborn photography training. I'm here to tell you that in-person training and mentoring with an expert is the number one way to learn how to safely pose a newborn. It isn't even just about the safety. Photographing newborns have a lot of aspects and every one of those aspects needs perfecting through education and practice.
If you are interested in newborn photography, it is preferred that you learn photography first. You should know all the technical of your camera and lenses as well everything there is to know about light. So I would start with regular photography basics class followed by lighting basics class.
One thing you could do is join a Facebook group and learn as a member of a team of newborn photogs who are in the same boat you are! One wonderful resource out there is Kelly Brown Online. It is for Members of her kellybrownonline.com only. Here you can get a monthly membership and learn everything from newborn posing, to lighting, to family shots. She even holds Zoom meetings for her members where everyone can ask her questions and share experiences. I cannot recommend her enough and this is not an affiliate link btw. I am personally a member of her wonderful online school and will continue being a member for years to come.
As you go through training to become a newborn photographer you will start to see that there are many different ways you can photograph a newborn baby. Nude baby photos are those classic newborn photos where the baby is posed on a cloth on a firm surface. Babies can be wrapped on a posing bag or placed into a bowl or bucket full of soft fur and decorations. As you learn, you will find that you favor certain images over others and will slowly develop your own style as you practice.
Speaking of practice, do not charge for newborn photography at the very beginning - you need to get "model calls" scheduled first and practice lots! You will notice that you are getting better with each session. You will also notice how much harder this job is then you originally thought. Hopefully that won't discourage you and you will power through the challenges.
There are a couple of items you must have before you start your education and practice:
- Camera body
- A lens (you need at least a 50mm lens). My advice is to get a zoom lens with variable range such as 24-70mm.
- A strobe light or access to daylight which would be a big window with defused material over it. Strobes are great if you don't have access to daylight in your newborn studio space but there is also a learning curve. You can always use LED light which is a constant light. Whatever you use for your light source - just make sure it is big, soft and beautiful.
- You will need some type of posing table or bean bag with little bean pillows or towels to help with posing.
- You will also need at least one set of backdrop and wraps to wrap your baby in. Wrapping a baby takes a lot of practice and there are ton of different ways of wrapping babies.
- At least one prop with some fur to practice placing a baby in the prop for photos.
Now that you know what items are a must-have, whether you're starting a photography business in a studio or on the go, you'll be better prepared to serve clients who start coming in hoping to schedule a newborn photo session with a professional photographer that you will someday be.
Most of the time I hold the baby's head towards the light, to get the shadow I prefer in my newborn baby photography sessions.