I get a lot of messages and emails from people who are interested in learning newborn photography. It’s one of the most common questions I’m asked! How do you learn to be a newborn photographer? In 2020 I am SO jealous of the amount of resources out there for people wanting to pursue newborn photography – be it as a profession or a hobby. What I spent thousands and years learning is at the fingertips of most people for a fraction of that cost (and time!). If only these were available back when I was first starting!! Here are some of the most productive things you can do on your journey to learn newborn photography:
ONLINE BABY PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS (MY FAVOURITE!)
When I first started as a newborn photographer, it was long before the advent of the incredible amount of online workshops that there are today! Back in the dark ages (ha!) of around 2011 I ordered a DVD from Wild Spirit Photography (who has since given up photography I believe) in Queensland. It was a collection of DVDs discussing lighting mainly – it was so long ago I barely remember it! Around the same time I also purchased a series of videos by Lana Bell who was a leading newborn photographer in Australia specialising in posed newborn photography. I remember I used to watch those videos over and over trying to figure out exactly what I was supposed to be doing!
Here are my favourite online workshops for baby photography:
CreativeLive is a treasure trove of educational videos from all the top professionals in the world (in pretty much every field from photography to writing to SEO). You can watch videos live for free, or you can purchase videos to keep forever so you can re-watch them again and again. The classes are very cost effective and cover a range of topics from lighting to posing – for all levels of experience. For Newborn Photography, my favourite classes are by fellow Aussie baby photographer Kelly Brown (who is an awesome teacher and all round lovely person).
The Milky Way is another fabulous online resource for newborn and baby photographers. There are classes specifically on posing, editing, and lighting and yearly boot-camps with fresh content from some of the best baby and maternity photographers from all around the world. I learned all the basics of studio lighting here when I made the switch from natural light to studio light and the content is so great and easy to follow. I highly recommend it if you’re wanting to take your baby photography to the next level.
>> DISCOVER THE MILKY WAY ONLINE CLASSES
For me personally, I have always found that I learn best from online workshops as these allow you to watch and re-watch them over and over until things “click” for you, or if you need a refresher after a bit of a break from photographing babies. The best learning is always when you do it yourself so doing online classes allows you to watch and focus on one particular thing and then to practise it and come back to the next thing. They’re also a lot more cost effective than in-person workshops!
IN-PERSON NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS
As much as I love online workshops, in-person workshops can also work really well. I have done quite a few in-person workshops over the years – particularly in my first few years in business. The benefit to in-person workshops is that you get to meet other photographers (I have met some wonderful people at workshops and made life-long friends). Being a photographer can be super isolated, so getting the opportunity to meet like-minded photographers at workshops is a great way to build a support network in the industry.
Which in-person newborn photography workshops should I do?
I’ve done workshops by Erin Elizabeth, Barb Uil, Minna Burgess, Kath V, and Lana Bell and 1:1 mentoring with Kelly Brown. I came away from each of these workshops/days with some great knowledge which I still use years later. You may find like me however, that after you’ve done a few of these that you come away from each one learning less and less. I decided about 5 years ago that I wasn’t going to do any more and I’ve stuck to that. Each class can be upwards of $1000 to attend (plus travel expenses etc) and I find that so much is covered when you’re first learning that it’s hard to retain everything! If you’re wanting to really make leaps and bounds in your baby photography journey, I would opt for online workshops first, and perhaps one or two in-person workshops with a photographer whose work you really admire (and has great reviews! Remember that good photographers aren’t necessarily the best teachers).
I hope that these suggestions really help you on your baby photography journey!