Photographing babies can be a very rewarding experience. Yes, they can be unpredictable but capturing their innocence, personality and testing your patience is all part of the fun. However, knowing the right baby poses can be difficult.
Cheltenham wedding and portrait photographer Kelly Weech discusses some of the best baby poses to use during the first two years of a child’s life. This time is marked by constant developments, and she suggests which baby poses will best capture a child’s personality at different ages.
In the first two weeks newborns sleep a lot. This is the perfect time to capture photographs with a sense of purity.
Newborn babies can be very daunting to work with especially if you do not have children yourself. The Anne Geddes posing has become very popular but should not be attempted without proper training.
But there are still lots of opportunities to capture priceless images without being hands on.
This image was taken over mom’s shoulder at just 2 two days old. She was sat down on a bed facing towards natural light and I cropped in very tight to capture those beautiful eyes and relaxed expression.
4 weeks old
This is another key date in a baby’s life for newborn photography. Babies at this age are now a lot more alert and sturdy. But remember their head still needs to be supported.
Take the opportunity of posed group shots to get portraits of the baby and use the parents as the perfect posing cushion. This way you will ensure baby will be comfortable and relaxed in their parent’s arms.
This image was taken using my one of my favourite lenses – a 24-105mm. I love that you can zoom into details from an already perfectly formed shot.
Patience is a virtue for baby photographers at this age. Work out a pose and spend the time it takes waiting for moments such as a nose wiggle or yawn to happen.
These priceless moments make each pose unique to each baby.
This is your last chance to take the popular baby sleeping in hands shots. From about 4 months your baby will become more alert and less tolerable of this sort of thing! What’s more, after four months your baby will also become too heavy this shot.
The shot above is very popular, but to do it safely baby should only ever be raised from a soft, padded surface. I will place the baby over the parent’s arms with the hand supporting the head and the other hand supporting the baby on the back.
Remember sometimes the background may need to be extended to get the composition you want.
Your baby can now sit up supported, which opens up a whole new range of baby poses and photo ideas.
This image was taken on a sofa with pillows to support the baby to sit up. I decided to convert this image to a high key black and white, and I love her expression and wide eyed look.
Don’t forget to get in close and capture the feet and hands while they’re still little – and immobile! From about 6 months many babies start hitting growth spurts and piling on weight.
I got these shots while baby was sat on mom’s lap. I later converted them to black and white to emphasise the lines and textures.
Most babies are now sitting up and are much more interactive with the baby photographer in the room. This can be great fun, as the process becomes much more of a two-way street rather than you positioning and directing the previous shoots.
This image was taken at dinner time. I called his name and he instantly responded with this look.
I love that this photograph is natural and shows the reality of lunch time. I used an 85mm lens combined with natural light to blow out the background, as I wanted all of the viewer’s attention to be on the baby’s expression.
Don’t forget the details
The child’s nursery is the perfect place for a shoot, as it often has a nice colour scheme for simple background.
Usually after 6 months your baby can roll, but not move. As a safety measure we had mom just at the side of this shot to ensure he did not try to roll.
Some people may also refer to this as tummy time, as usually babies enjoy being on their front. Always have mom (or someone equally hilarious) behind you for the best smiles.
Your baby is now getting more active but still needs afternoon naps. These can be a great opportunity to capture some very sweet portraits.
Even older babies get tired, and during this shoot he needed to have a nap so I used props from his bedroom to add my composition for a cute twist.
I got mom to put him down onto his side and returned 5 minutes later when he was in a solid sleep to capture this image.
1 year old
A massive trend in baby photography in America that is now crossing the pond to the UK is what’s called the cake smash. The cake smash is a perfect way to capture a child’s personality in good, old-fashioned messy fun.
These images were taken in a 2 metre by 2 metre space, with a wipe clean floor. We sat her in front of the cake and encouraged her to take a raspberry and then to put her hands into the cake.
Once she realised she was allowed to eat it we were well on our way to a beautiful series of photographs. Mom was stood directly behind me and the baby was reacting to her mums reaction and encouragement.
2 years old
Children won’t react well if you treat them like you would a grown up. As a photographer, you need to go back into the mindset of being a big kid yourself to earn their participation.
Get down to their level and have fun with them. To put it simply, play with them and make everything fun. Run, skip, jump, pull faces, play catch.
When photographing children, if you gain their trust and let them run the show 50% of the time, they will want to do what you ask.
If you’d like to save these poses as a reference for the next time you photograph a baby – whether it’s your own or someone else’s – we’ve stitched them together in a handy cheat sheet form, which you can drag and drop to your desktop.
To see more of her portrait and newborn photography, visit Kelly on Facebook.