Baby photographers (newborn and unborn) make an average of $5,052 per month in the United States. That translates to a yearly income of $60,619, and depending on skill, experience, and portfolio, the top earners in the category can make up to $123,000 a year. Comparing these numbers with those of the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics for photographers in general, who make an average of $38,950, it is high time you get into the baby photography business. If you’re thinking about getting into this type of photography, here are the basics so you can get started.
Composition is First
The composition in a photograph is always the key selling point for the photographer. Indeed, elements like angles, colors, and lighting are the tools a photographer can use to tell a particular story. In this sense, it is paramount to bend and break some rules to get the best out of every shot. Furthermore, unlike working with babies, who set the pace and the ideas, taking pictures of adults and a bump is perfect to settle a narrative from the shooting eye. You’ll be working with adults that can follow simple steps with a brief explanation. Hence, try to arrive at the session with a composition in mind, do some homework, have a meeting with the future mother, and show your clients your ideas. If everyone is on the same page, photoshoots are usually smoother.
Convey an Emotion
Pregnancy is an emotional moment for most women. To begin with, hormones are working full steam and every little aspect of life might suddenly trigger tears or laughter, or both. Thus, as a photographer, you can use this to your benefit in two different ways. First, setting the right atmosphere during the photoshoot by utilizing words that encourage her (or them) to feel the moment’s importance and act accordingly. Second, you can utilize colors that convey the emotion breaking the “all pastel colors” rule. Furthermore, as an example, if you photograph them from below looking up at a beautiful sky holding hands (imagining it’s a couple), you’ll convey an idea of an exciting future that will look fabulous and tell a beautiful story at the same time.
Location and Wardrobe
Speaking of colors and emotions, thinking of the wardrobe and the location is crucial for a great result. This is because those will play a huge part in the composition. Bear in mind that these decisions need to be taken as a team with your client. For example, you can get permission to capture the magical moment in which loved ones are surrounding the mom-to-be while playing games at the baby shower. That could be a great way to display her natural laughter and have an idea of what her tastes and usual wardrobe look like. Utilizing that information as a starting point, you can create perfect pictures at the event.
Mind the Light
Another super important aspect of photoshoots is lighting. Indeed, proper lighting can be the single difference between an awe-inspiring photograph and a regular shot. That being said, don’t go for direct sunlight because that will project shadows to her body and ruin the shot. Instead, try going for a place where natural sunlight can illuminate her body and bump while she’s in the shade. Moreover, be extra careful when choosing outside locations since there will be many natural aspects that can turn a simple photo session into a nightmare such as strong winds or harsh weather. If you can, always try to shoot in a closed space you know so you can choose the perfect lighting for every shot.
What Lenses Should You Use?
Most photographers shoot pregnancy photos with 85mm and 35mm lenses. That being said, getting creative with your choices can lead to great results. For example, you can use longer lenses or even go for a super-wide lens to capture a complete landscape with the mom in the middle. The only caveat in this situation is that if you use a wide lens you have to try by all means to avoid distortion; no mom wants to look bigger than she already does when pregnant. Other creative approaches can include a Lensbaby, a wide-open shot, or a tilt-shift. Again, you can get as creative as you like with lenses as long as they help convey (or highlight) the emotion you thought about when designing the composition.
Photographing expectant mothers and newborns can be stepping into a market that is growing by the day and can help you earn serious money. At the same time, you’ll be helping future mothers create everlasting memories of a unique moment in their lives. Therefore, pushing your talent forward, being creative, doing some research, and reaching good agreements with your client are paramount for success. There isn’t a bigger reward in the life of a photographer than the smile of a soon-to-be mother with the perfect pregnancy photos in her hands.