My friend Beth of Bernella Gooseberry Photography, has been posting the most adorable pictures from her newborn photo sessions on Instagram recently. We started talking a bit about working with props during newborn photo shoots, and I thought it would be a great topic to discuss here! So I asked Beth some questions about capturing great newborn photos at home, with or without cute and silly props, and I just loved her helpful answers! Read on to find out how Beth gets those babies to be putty in her hands, safety do’s and dont’s when working with props, the ideal time to schedule a newborn photo session, and more.
Tell me the ideal setting you’d recommend to parents taking pictures at home. Lighting, background, etc.
Ideally, I love to shoot outdoors when the weather is pretty warm. Babies are typically very calm outsides, and they love the warmth. Most of the time, though, I need to be indoors. So, a nice space near a window is great with soft, dreamy light. All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
What are some of your favorite, tried and true props to use in a baby shoot?
Wraps and hats are classic props that never get old. Wraps are great for adding texture, and newborns love to wrapped up like a burrito. If I have a fussy newbie, I usually get out a wrap and they calm right down! And who doesn’t love a baby in a hat? All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
What advice can you recommend to parents of props to use at home when taking pictures?
Many images using props require a photographer that knows what they’re doing, so if a parent asks me what are fun ways for them to use props in snapshots they take…I usually keep it simple; a favorite blanket or toy, or maybe them swaddled up and laying in a rocking chair or glider. Nothing too complicated or potentially dangerous. All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
What are props you recommend avoiding?
Never use glass (i.e. bowls, jars, etc.), or suspend an infant from anything. If you have ever seen this done, more than likely it is a composite (an editing technique that blends two images together to create one final image), and the infant was never really in a glass container to begin with or lifted off of the ground without adult hands constantly on the baby. Always remember that often times what you see in newborn photography is ‘trickery’, and a photographer’s first priority is the baby’s safety & comfort. All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
Any clients every request any wacky or crazy props? If so, what was the funniest/wildest prop you used?
It is difficult to surprise me with wacky prop requests. What a parent may feel silly asking me to use, I almost always LOVE! I’ve been asked to use fireman equipment, a fishing pole, full size dress-up angel wings. I could tell you some crazy stories! All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
How do you get the babies to look so peaceful when posing them for pictures?
I usually ask that parents schedule their newborn’s session within the first 5-10 days of life. They are super squishy and sleepy during this time. I also use space heaters, a small padded heating pad for warming up blankets and pillows, a white noise machine, and some of my own tricks to keep baby peaceful and sleepy. I have had a few little ones that have been curious, and fought sleep for awhile, but I always win in the end. All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
Any photographers of babies and children you admire?
I love so many newborn photographers!! I could go on forever! Some of my favorites are Rachel Vanoven, Joy Prouty of Wildflowers Photography, Summer Lyn, Laura Brett, and Barb Uil from Jinky Art just to name a few. All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
Where else do you get inspiration from?
The blogs of the photographers I love are always full of inspiration. I also draw so much from my own four kids! All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
Thank you so much Beth for taking the time to share some of your very useful tips! I loved hearing how a professional captures these amazing shots, and your unique perspective was very insightful. This picture here is one of my absolute favorites of all time. I love the sweet peacefulness of the sleeping baby amidst the colorful busyness of the background. All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
Even though my little Hayden is no longer a newborn, Beth’s photos inspire me to continue to take fun photos in unexpected ways with him, since before long he will be up and crawling and walking around! These days go all too fast. All images from Bernella Gooseberry Photography
Beth of Bernella Gooseyberry Photography
Beth is a natural light photographer based in the St. Louis, Missouri area. If you’d like to get in touch with Beth to schedule a session, you can reach her through the site’s Facebook page or you can email Beth at email@example.com.