20 Dec best 6 tips for photographing babies
Kelly Brown of Little Pieces Photography is a baby and newborn Canon Master photographer. Here Kelly shares her photographic experience and gives some expert tips on how to turn your own family snaps into beautiful memories.
I started my photography career after the birth of my first baby. I owned a Canon EOS 300 SLR camera and I couldn’t stop taking photos of my own first born. After many bad photographs, my husband Robert suggested I should study photography. I did and I was hooked. I think my passion for photography also came from my grandfather. He knew the importance of documenting the lives of his family through photos.
In 2004, I started my own business, Little Pieces Photography. I started it off with a collection of gift cards I created with photographs of flowers that I had taken. I sold them at local markets in the Blue Mountains and to boutique gift stores. From this, I moved on to taking family portraits and weddings. A lot of friends and women I knew were having babies and began asking me to capture and photograph their babies. So in 2006, I began photographing newborns too and I loved everything about it. It wasn’t until 2009 that I decided to solely focus my business on newborn photography. I haven’t looked back since. Being able to document a birth is truly amazing! I like to photograph newborns in the first two weeks when they are still nice and fresh and sleepy. My favourite time to photograph is around 10am.
Running my business from home means I can structure my working hours around my children’s lives so I don’t miss a minute.
I have photographed quite a few births, but sadly due to my husband working away from time to time, I’m not able to be on call all the time. However, two years ago my husband joined me in the business, which means he’s now home full-time. He looks after all of the bookkeeping and does a lot of the running around, which I’m so grateful for. This has really allowed me to focus on my career and to travel and teach while being a mother.
It feels like a dream to be awarded Canon Master status. To be acknowledged like this for my work is so amazing. For me, being a Canon Master is the pinnacle – it’s something I never thought could be possible. It’s truly an honour.
My style has changed over the last 10 years photographing newborns. I used to love working with bright colours and props, but now I’m drawn to more organic natural tones and textures.
I love teaching and have been very fortunate to travel the world as an educator. During my classes, photographers learn a lot of technical aspects of photography from camera settings and lighting, through to composition and most importantly, how to work with newborns safely. They also teach a lot of business strategies and how to price and market their businesses.
Being able to share someone’s story with an image and create images that I know will be hanging on walls for generations inspires and drives my creative endeavours.
Kelly encourages parents to use props that have special meanings, whether it’s that all-important security blanket or that much-loved teddy bear.
Other baby photography props include:
- Chunky knitted blankets and scarves — perfect for introducing colour and texture
- Wraps — small babies love to be wrapped up as it makes them feel safe and secure
- Faux fur posing rugs — great when used with wooden crates or baskets
- Baby hats and headbands
- Rattles and cuddly toys
- Balloons and flowers.
Kelly Brown shares her 6 top tips for photographing newborns:
1. Take photos in the morning, as babies are usually happier at the beginning of the day.
2. To capture those sleepy peaceful moments, make sure your baby is warm, well fed and feels secure.
3. Come in nice and close to capture all those perfect little baby features – their hands, tiny feet and beautiful faces.
4. Turn off your flash; it can be very unflattering to your baby.
5. Don’t forget to look at what’s going on in the background. Busy backgrounds can be distracting. Keep it nice and simple.
In my quest to capture the little pieces of life, in 2015 I photographed 139 newborn babies, mentored 23 photographers and held 19 newborn posing classes across 12 countries. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love and capture moments that’ll be treasured by families for generations.
Multi-award winning baby and newborn photographer Kelly Brown lives in Queensland with her husband Robert and their children. Interview: Jenna Templeton / Photography: Kelly Brown