When my oldest daughter was born I felt all of this pressure to create the “perfect” newborn photos. I tried different props and poses. I took a trillion different types of photos and yet none of them felt right. Then one day I just set her down on the blanket next to me. She was loosely swaddled because my arms had been what was holding her tightly, and just just snuggled into the blanket. She was calm and serene as she slept beside me. I saw it. The beauty in this seemingly simple moment.
That was the moment I stopped fighting with how I thought I should photograph a newborn and captured my baby the way I felt was beautiful. I’m reminded often of that time, because that photo hangs as a canvas by my bed. Since then I embraced why I photograph newborns and have refused to use props in my work.
So why don’t I use props for newborn photos?
Reason #1 Babies are perfect just as they are.
From they way they naturally stretch and unfold to the way they curl up against your chest, your baby is perfect in every way.
Reason #2 Using props and awkward poses is stressful for everyone.
In order to pull off many of these props or “fancy” poses, baby has to be completely asleep and moldable. Meanwhile, your baby is happiest in your arms, and you’re happiest when baby is happy. The process of trying to get (and keep) baby asleep can be stressful for everyone involved.
The last thing any photo session should be, especially when we are dealing with a brand new baby, is stressful.
Reason #3 Props and poses detract from your baby.
When you see a photo of a baby posed like a frog, with a crown, surrounded by lilypads, suddenly your focus is on everything else in the frame. While the photographer’s artistry is not in question, my goal is not to turn your baby into a prince but to focus on him. I want everyone looking at your beautiful son and not everything else in the photo.
Reason #4 I believe newborn photography is about capturing your family truthfully.
I believe a baby is most beautiful when surrounded by his parents (and siblings) who love him. I believe that a mother can most relax and love on her baby when she can hold him comfortably, the way she always holds him. The most beautiful way to show off how tiny your baby is is to show him in his father’s arms.
I understand how that time right after you’ve had a baby can make mom feel vulnerable and not “picture ready.” The last thing you may think you want is a “truthful” representation of your family. However, the truth i’m referring to is your love, your home, your family not the fairytale created with props.
In the end, I do not use props because they are not needed to create beautiful photographs of your newborn baby.
See more examples of my work, where no props will be found, at my Newborn Portfolio.