We are so pleased to welcome Kelly Brown to I Heart Faces! This weekend Kelly and Sue Bryce will be featured on CreativeLIVE teaching “Bumps to Babies: Photographing Motherhood”. Kelly offered to share some tips with our I Heart Faces Community that will help a photographer get their newborns to sleep before their photo session begins.
Newborn babies usually alternate between disgruntled crying and peaceful slumber, and you can guess which mood is easier to photograph! Some babies are perfectly happy to model while awake, but sleeping babies are much easier to position and style –– the key is getting them to stay asleep during your photo session.
While getting a baby to nod off can be somewhat of a challenge, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that help babies relax in preparation for being photographed.
Keep the Baby Cozy
Babies are used to being nice and toasty in their mother’s womb, and they’re unable to regulate their own body temperature when fresh out of the oven. Newborns are extra fussy if they’re too hot or cold, while they’re much more inclined to sleep if you keep the temperature in your studio at a balmy 80 degrees.
Put Them To Sleep With a Full Tummy
A hungry baby is a fussy baby, so make sure your mini-model is well fed before the photo session. The good news is that babies are notorious for dozing off at the breast or bottle, so chances are they’ll be zonked out for your shoot if they’ve eaten well.
Burp the Baby
Gassy babies are in no mood to be photographed, so make sure to give them a good burping before beginning your session. Excess gas will keep babies awake and uncomfortable, and you want them to be docile for their moment in the spotlight!
Loosen Their Layers
Changing a newborn’s diaper is quite a process –– one that often ends in tears. Make life simpler by loosening the baby’s diaper in advance so it can be changed without making a fuss. The same can be said for the baby’s blanket –– keep it loosely wrapped so the baby is comfortable and more likely to sleep.
Rock and Sway
Babies are jostled around in the womb, and a gentle rocking often lulls them to sleep. Try swaying them back and forth in your arms –– since they aren’t able to focus their eyes while moving, they’ll likely close them and fall asleep.
Swaddle and Sway
Newborn babies love being swaddled, and they’re especially fond of having their legs constricted. Try wrapping the baby up in a blanket, and then hold him or her upward with the legs curled up and the bottom against your stomach. Sway your arms back and forth, and you should have a sleeping baby on your hands in no time!
Keep the Parents Calm
Babies are extremely tuned-in to their parents’ emotions, and a relaxed parent usually makes for a relaxed baby. Keep mom and dad comfortable, and don’t rush them into feeding or changing their child. Instead, give them time to relax so that you’re photographing their newborn in a stress-free (and hopefully sleepy!) environment.
Turn on Some Sound
Babies are inundated with noise while in the womb. Not only do they hear their mother’s heartbeat, they listen to her digestive system and blood circulation! Plugging in a white noise machine will often help calm a baby down, and frequently lulls them to sleep.
For more tips from Kelly Brown, tune into “Bumps to Babies: Photographing Motherhood” on creativeLIVE August 23rd to August 25th. She’ll be teaching alongside award-winning glamour photographer Sue Bryce. Kelly Brown is a newborn photographer from Brisbane, Australia and founder of Little Pieces Photography.