Behind the scenes of a Newborn Session

In About, Hints and tips, How To, Newborn, technical by

Behind the scenes of a Newborn Session

Well, I thought I would post something a bit different and show you a bit of what goes on behind the scenes of one of our newborn Sessions…

I think everyone knows that babies don’t always go to sleep on cue and I’ve had several people ask me how I¬†get the babies to sleep. Unfortunately there is no magic answer (otherwise I would have patented it and be selling it to all new parents !) it just takes time and patience. I do let the parents know that this can take time and we site and chat over a tea or coffee until the little one has drifted off….

I make sure that I have spare nappies, baby wipes, muslin cloths and the props that I’m going to use close to hand so that when I have the baby in place I don’t need to move more than a couple of inches to get hold of everything that I need.


Lighting setup for newborn

This photograph shows the main lighting setup that I use. The backdrop is supported by two Manfrotto lighting stands and a Manfrotto extendable support pole. I love this pole because you can make it any length you need with a very easy twist to lock function. Two clamps hold the backdrop in place and it “flows” down over my bean bag. The lighting that I use is the Elinchrom Quadra and the Lastolite Ezybox II Octa. The Quadras work really well because I can turn the power down lower than my other studio lights meaning that I can work with a shallower depth of field.


As you can see the front of the softbox is quite close to where the baby will be… I use the internal baffle as well as the front diffuser to give a very soft light when I’m photographing babies.

The next step is to get the power of the light right. I use a hand held light meter for this and my “flash test teddy” as a model 🙂 I set the light so that I can work at ISO 100 1/160 sec f5.0 although I will vary this slightly during the session. I make sure that I have done this “basic” setup work before the clients arrive but I do check it all again before I start !


I usually shoot on a fixed white balance of “flash” and I also like to work with prime lenses in the studio; for newborns I have found that a 50mm lens works well so I tend to use my 50mm f1.4 Sigma lens of the Canon 5dMk3. When I’m actually working I don’t shoot as wide as this and 90% of the time I like to get the crop more or less right in camera.

With this particular session my clients had bought in some of their babies toys so I used them in some of the shots… I think it is lovely to be able to look back in years to come and see what a much loved teddy bear used to look like !

Anyway, this is one of the photographs from the session…