Photoshop Skills for Baby Photography

People often ask me what are the hardest images to get during a baby photo session. The answer without doubt is SIBLING PHOTOS! This is especially true where the older brother or sister is under three. As most people know – kids under three are super unpredictable, very independent, and always on the go! Getting them to keep still and cooperate for a newborn photo shoot isn’t always easy!

If you follow my blog posts you might remember an earlier post of mine: Tips for Photographing Siblings. If you haven’t already checked that out be sure to have a read.

But what can photographers do when a sibling really doesn’t want to participate in a photo with their new baby brother or sister? We have another tool up our sleeve. Photoshop.

Using Photoshop to Get the Best Baby Images for Your Clients

Sometimes parents are really concerned if their child is acting up during a photo session. The pressure is on you to get a great sibling photo. How can it be done? Head swaps in Photoshop are your friend. To make this work I try to encourage the child to sit or lay with a favourite toy, or even play their favourite song or show on an iPhone and sit it right next to your lens so they look at the camera. Snap away and hopefully you’ll get a shot you can use to stitch together with another image of the baby.

To do this, simply use the lasso tool in PS to select the head (or perhaps even the whole body of the baby/child) and copy and paste them into another image. Use a layer mask with a soft brush to brush around the edges of the layer to make it blend in realistically.

Here is a recent example. These images are SOOC (Straight out of camera) so please excuse my ugly feet in the shot 😉

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PLUS

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EQUALS

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Learning how to use head-swaps in Photoshop is a win win for everyone. The parents get a beautiful image of their children, and you as the photographer get more variety and images for your clients.

Good luck!

Amy x

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    Is my baby too old for newborn pictures?

    “Is my baby too old for newborn pictures??” I get frantic messages from parents so often saying this exact phrase. Don’t worry! We can get beautiful photographs of your baby no matter how old they are. BUT if you want the sleepy curled up posed newborn photos, then you really need to get in to see a photographer as soon as you can.

    When is the best time for newborn photography?

    If you want the sleeping posed look – ideally you should have your baby photographed at around 1 to 2 weeks after birth (this can be a bit more flexible for premmie babies who usually tend to track to their due date instead of their actual birth date). After this tiny window of opportunity, newborns become more wakeful, less able to curl and stay asleep, and they often have more issues with their skin (baby acne, peeling etc).

    is my baby too old for newborn photography
    Posed sleepy newborn photography is best achieved when your baby is very young – preferably around 1-2 weeks after birth. If you’ve missed this window of opportunity though don’t worry. You can still get beautiful photos of your baby regardless of how old they are.

    I’ve been told my baby is “too old” for a newborn photo shoot. What can I do?

    Some photographers have fairly strict requirements when booking in a baby for a last minute session. I photograph babies at all ages but do have a few suggestions depending on how old your baby is. Here is a rough guide to help!

    2 – 6 weeks old: You can absolutely do a newborn session. The earlier the better! If your baby is approaching the 6 week mark you do need to be aware that they will be more wakeful and less likely to go into the sleepy poses. I do tend to let my clients know that I will do my best to capture some sleepy poses but that it’s likely that their baby will be awake and wrapped for the majority of their session. Click here for more information about my newborn photo sessions.

    7 weeks – 2 months: your baby will be alert and awake and possibly quite fussy at this stage. For babies of this age I do wrapped-only sessions or more lifestyle images with parents and siblings.

    3 – 5 months: this is roughly the age of my 3 month sessions for babies who are not yet sitting. Click here to find out more. As babies approach the 5 month mark I tend to encourage parents to wait until their baby is sitting for a Sitter session as we can get a lot more variety in the images.

    6 – 10 months: at this stage babies usually start to sit confidently on their own. This the THE BEST time for baby photos in their first year (outside of the newborn phase of course) as they are usually very happy and smiley, and they are usually not yet on the move which makes taking photos of them a lot easier! Click here to find out more about my Little Sitter Sessions.

    11 – 13 months: this is around the time that babies really start getting on the move – crawling, cruising, or even walking on their own. They are usually a bundle of energy and constantly on the go which can make getting them to sit still for any length of time for a photo much much harder. At this stage you might be interested in celebrating your baby’s birthday with a Smash & Splash Session – a cake smash or watermelon smash followed by a bubble bath in my mini clawfoot bath. Click here to find out more about my First Birthday Photo Sessions.

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    I hope this all helps! Please remember that your baby is never “TOO OLD” for photographs. You just need to be open to “going with the flow” and capturing your baby at whatever beautiful stage they are at.

    I hope to meet you and your baby soon!

    Amy xx

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      VHS tapes to digital transfer

      Last year I came across a whole stack of my parents’ old VHS tapes. It got me thinking about how precious these little gems from the 80s – 90s are and how sad I would be to lose them! I bought some digital transfer equipment, hooked up my old VHS machine, and have been busy copying over all their old memories to digital. Watching those old memories come to life on my screen has been wonderful and my children have enjoyed seeing their Mum as a dorky teenager!

      What started as a job on my “to do” list has been growing as the word has been spreading around my network of friends and family.

      VHS to Digital File Transfer Service Balmain Sydney Inner West

      If you’ve got some old VHS tapes hanging around that you’d love to have converted to digital mp4 format, just let me know! It’s $20 per tape. The turnaround time is around 1 day with your file uploaded to Dropbox for you to download.

      You are able to drop your VHS tapes off at my Balmain studio (Sydney Inner West) at any time via my secure mail box (I have a soft landing space to keep your tapes safe!). Please just ensure that your tapes are in good condition and that they are labelled with your name and email address.

      VHS tapes are full of precious memories. Be sure to convert these over to digital before they deteriorate too much and you lose those memories forever!

      When your tape has been successfully transferred, you’ll receive an invoice for payment via email and the link to download your file/s via Dropbox when payment is received. Easy!

      Ready to brush the dust off those old tapes?

      Just get in touch with me via the contact page for more information 🙂

      Amy xx

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        Newborn Photography Flow Posing

        One of the best tips I can give newborn photographers is to get into a flow of posing to make the most out of every session. New parents really don’t want to sit in a warm studio when they’d rather be at home relaxing (or catching up on some well needed sleep). Having a structure or flow to your poses – or at least a general idea of how to structure your sessions – can be a great help to make your sessions as time effective as possible.

        Here’s a bit of an idea of how I tend to do my sessions (though knowing me this will change again in a few months!)

        The Sibling Factor

        The biggest factor for me when I’m thinking about how to structure my photo sessions is whether or not there are any older siblings who will be coming along. This is especially important when you have younger children (say 3 and under) who have a short attention span. I tend to have two different flows depending on whether there is an older sibling coming along or not.

        Newborn Photo Sessions Without Older Siblings

        Newborn photo sessions where there aren’t older siblings are definitely that little bit easier. You have more time to focus just on the newborn and the parents without the added complexity of a toddler or older child and their short attention span etc. For sessions where there is only one newborn this is the usual flow – the trick is to make the most out of each set up:

        1. Baby undressed and wrapped in one of my textured wraps
        2. Baby on the bean bag wrapped (and usually awake)
        3. Potato sack pose
        4. If still awake, parent shots (Mum/ Dad on their own with baby)
        5. Family photos of both parents and baby
        6. If baby is getting sleepy at this point then to the beanbag to attempt naked poses (I usually do “Tushie Up” first as it’s my favourite, then follow baby’s lead moving on to “Facing Forward” or “Huck Finn”)
        7. If baby is still awake after the family photos then prop photos while still wrapped. They sometimes want a feed after this if they’re still awake/unsettled so we make time for this now. If they’re having a feed I undress them and pop a nappy cloth under them to keep Mum safe from explosive poos! This allows me to get straight to naked beanbag photos if/when they fall asleep while feeding.
        8. Prop shots (if we haven’t already done these)
        best newborn baby photographer in sydney inner west balmain
        Always make the most of every session. Have a basic flow of how your session will run beforehand to ensure you make the most of yours and your clients’ time at your studio

        Newborn Photo Sessions With Older Siblings

        Where there’s an older sibling I always do the sibling and family images first. This is because older siblings have a limited attention span and I want to capture them at their best before they lose interest in me/get bored sitting around in my studio. As sweet as they are, my aim is to get them photographed and out enjoying their day at the local park or I encourage families to arrange for Dad or another friend or family member to pick them up and take them home.

        Photo sessions where there are older siblings usually go something like this:

        1. Sibling Photo
        2. Family Photo
        3. Parent images (especially important if Dad is taking the sibling home/out so that Dad is no longer required at the session)
        4. Then I tend to follow along from step 2 above (minus the family and parent shots of course).

        I hope that this helps you along on your newborn photography journey! And remember that you should always be ready to be flexible during your session and just do what you can. Be ready to think on your feet to help make the most of each and every moment during the session.

        If you found this helpful, you might also like to read my Blog post Top Tips for a Successful Baby Photo Session

        Best wishes!

        Amy x

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          Tips for Photographing Siblings

          Once of my most requested images by parents of more than one child are sibling photos. When a new baby arrives, parents are typically excited to be able to capture photographs of their children together. Be warned though – depending on the age and personality of your older child/children, sibling photos are probably some of the most difficult images to get. Never fear though! By following some of my tips you have a much better chance of success. Here are my top tips for success when photographing siblings:

          Tip # 1: Always do sibling photos first

          Sibling photos are always the first images I attempt – especially when siblings are aged 3 and under. I find that they’re usually at their best when they’ve just arrived at my studio as they’re still getting familiar with the new environment and boredom hasn’t yet set in. For this reason I like to get the sibling photo done first and then I move on to the family group shots. After these images are done the sibling isn’t required for any more photos during the newborn session. I always encourage my clients to have either Dad or another family member/friend take them out to a local cafe or home for the remainder of the session.

          Tip #2: Build a rapport with them as soon as they walk in the door

          My main focus when I’m meeting new clients is getting to know the older sibling as soon as they come in to my studio. I take the time to get down to their level and try to engage them. Maybe I ask them about their new baby brother or sister, or ask about something they’re interested in. I take the time to get to know their personality – whether they are shy or more outgoing – and use this to gauge how to interact with them for the session and what might work best for photos. You can usually tell quite quickly how mature they are and whether you’re going to have an easy or more difficult time in getting the sibling shots.

          sibling photography tips
          Sibling photos are some of my most requested images!

          Tip #3″: Take your time and be respectful

          Siblings are little people – not robots. We need to show them respect and take our time. Some might be slower to warm up to us, some might not like to take photos, some might be struggling with lots of big emotions. It can be easy for us as adults to forget that these little people are going through a big change to their home life with the addition of a new brother or sister. We need to take our time, be patient with them and show the respect of listening.

          Tip #4: Always do safe sibling images

          As a photographer there are different sibling poses that you may want to do for your clients. You should always err on the side of caution when deciding what images you should attempt – especially when the older sibling is under 3. I always start with an easier pose such as laying down next to each other on a flokati rug and move on to more complex posing only if I feel that the sibling is capable. Always have a parent sitting just out of shot as an additional set of hands should anything go awry.

          Tip #5: Genuine laughs make the best expressions

          There’s nothing worse than a young child who does the “cheese” smile. As photographers what we are wanting are genuine expressions in our images. Talk to your young clients and try to make them laugh. I have been known to tickle, make silly faces and noises – anything to get the shot!

          I hope that some of these tips help you in capturing some beautiful sibling photos!

          Amy xx

          If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy: The Top 5 Myths About Being a Baby Photographer

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            About amy - newborn & baby photographer sydney
            - Academy of newborn photography
            certified photographer

            - Over 8 years experience

            - Current CPR & Infant first aid

            - current whooping cough vaccination

            - multi award-winning
            experience & Safety

            Hi! I'm Amy Tong. I'm a newborn baby photographer in the Sydney Inner West surburb of Balmain, Australia. I'm Mum to 3 little ones, and wife to my best friend of almost 20 years. I've always been creative. A lover of music, art and history. Photography has been an important part of my life since I first picked up a camera as a hobby back in 2008.

             

            I began my career as a professional baby photographer back in 2012 and have had the honour of photographing over 300 babies since then.
            To me, photography allows us to preserve moments in time for future generations. I can't think of any better job in the world. I'd love to hear from you and help you hold on to these special moments too..

            Amy xx

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