Skip to main content

Prepare & Pose Newborn for Portrait

Lesson 6 from: Capturing Story in Portrait Photography

Kelly Brown

Prepare & Pose Newborn for Portrait

Lesson 6 from: Capturing Story in Portrait Photography

Kelly Brown

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

6. Prepare & Pose Newborn for Portrait

Kelly preps for the live shoot by checking the props and making sure everything is within easy reach. Gain tips for working with babies, including wrapping and posing.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


The Power of Portrait Photography


Introduction to Newborn Portrait


Find Inspiration for Newborn Portrait


Create The Scene for Newborn Portrait


Prepare & Pose Newborn for Portrait


Shoot: Techniques for Photographing Newborn


Newborn Image Review


Introduction & Find Inspiration For Child Portrait


Create The Scene for Child Portrait


Prepare Set for Child Portrait


Shoot: Capture Child Portrait


Image Review for Child Portrait


Introduction & Inspiration For Teenager Portrait


Create The Scene for Teenager Portrait


Building Set for Teenager Portrait


Shoot: Portrait with Teenager


Shoot: Pose Teenager for Multiple Looks


Image Review for Teenage Portrait


Introduction & Inspiration For Adult Portrait


Creating The Scene for Adult Portrait


Lighting for Adult Portrait


Tell Your Subject's Story


Shoot: Lighting for Double Exposure


Introduction to Senior Portrait


Create Storyboard & The Scene For Senior Portrait


Connect With Client to Create Portrait


Shoot: Lighting for Senior Portrait


Shoot: Be Creative on Set


Image Review for Senior Portrait


Portrait Shoots Recap


Global Adjustments in Camera Raw®


Editing In Photoshop® CC: New Born Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Child Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Adult Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Teenager Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Senior Portrait


Introduction to Entering Print Competitions


Process of Print Competitions


What to Consider For Print Competitions


What Judges Look For Overview


Image Impact


Creativity, Style & Composition in Images


Entering Photography Competitions Q&A


Image Lighting


Image Color Balance


Technical Excellence in Images


Photographic Technique


Storytelling & Subject Matter


Lesson Info

Prepare & Pose Newborn for Portrait

Getting ready for this I want to make sure that I've got everything around me so I'm not having to sort of move around and I do this in my studio. I've, like I mentioned, hot glued my little cranes down. And I'm going to use a wrap to put around the baby to help keep it in to place so that when I have the back come up against these, it's not going to bother the baby. Now it is paper, it's soft, but I do also wanna to make sure that it's not going to irritate the baby in any way and that's why I'm gonna wrap fabric around the baby to not only protect it from that surface which I'm always considering, but to also help keep it in place. And then I've got some spare little cranes down here that if I need to fill in any gaps, I can just place them on top. So yeah, and obviously a camera. But I'm gonna grab some hand sanitizer before I grab this little baby. Ah, thank you, can I keep this over here? Oop, that was a bit too much, it comes out fast. Yeah I am so excited to see this shoot come ...

together. It's gonna be really lovely. Garret, can you pass me one of those paper, not paper towels, one of those towels? Thank you, okay. So whenever I take a baby from a parent, I want to make sure that they feel confident in my abilities. So I never go up and ask them if I can have their baby, I simply gesture, I walk over, I tell them where I'm gonna place my hands and then I just bring the baby in nice and close to me. So I want to eliminate a lot of movement. Is she nice and sleepy? Okay keep her there. I'm gonna come up underneath her little head there, perfect. And did she have a good feed? Oh, good deal. So she's just over nine pound so she's a nice size for this because I've created a really big support there not knowing exactly how big she was so that's good. And you can see my movements are really quite slow whenever it comes to holding a baby. Alright, so when it comes to wrapping her, I'm gonna leave her nappy on. Can you bring this one closer to me? Actually I don't think it's on. There we go. So my knees are my friend in all of my newborn shoots but I've got long legs so if you find that you don't have long legs like me, sitting flat on the little floor with your legs out and with a couple of little towels underneath your legs to give you that support, is usually the best way I find to wrap babies. So I'm just gonna figure out which side, here we go. So I want her to stay nice and sleepy and then I'm gonna keep my hands on her arms because when babies are born, they have one natural fear and that is the fear of falling. So that's where they get that startle reflex from. So I want to make sure that she doesn't feel startled in any way. And like she's not supported. So I'm just trying to get that wrap out without moving her too much. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. When it comes to handling babies, your hands should become an extension of them. So my hands aren't stiff, they're just resting on her. So it's more about the weight of that hand and making sure that it's nice and warm. So what I'm wanna do is I wanna be able to see her arms and legs in this setup. So I want to bring the wrap across her belly and then I'm gonna bring it around her body. So just make sure she's nice and flat here. And then keeping in mind that her head's here and her bottom's here and she's gonna be facing up towards that ceiling so knowing where those little arms and legs are gonna be placed. So I've got my wrap shorter at one end so I'm gonna bring that across her belly. But I just need to bring it down behind her shoulders a bit more. And these are nice, stretchy long wraps so they've got lots of elasticity in them. And the trick to wrapping is making sure that you pull it nice and firm, nice and tight. But obviously not too tight that you're making them feel uncomfortable. Shh. Shh. Shh. Okay, so over that belly. This is gonna help anchor this end down so that as I start to bring it around the outside of her body, just make sure I don't get my shirt in it. It's gonna keep it in place. Okay, just bring that up a bit tighter. I love these little hands. Okay so because I'm gonna be shooting from here down, I wanna make sure that the way that I cross her feet over as well are going to be in the right direction. Because if I have this foot here coming straight up towards the camera, it's going to be a very large, flat surface that'll be distracting in my image. So I wanna make sure that the feet are crossed over in a way that that's not going to happen. So what my plan is, is to have this foot come over the top and what it's going to do is then kind of dangle down. So we'll see how that goes. So now I want to pull this up. Just got a hair. Towards the shoulder, here we go and now I'm gonna come around the body. So using that shoulder as that anchor point. I'll bring these feet up to start with. So down. And with any of these sort of more creative set ups I tend to be more particular about, you know, all the little finer details, making sure that everything is perfect. So I'm giving that a really good pull and you can see how I'm using my chest and my body to keep her little legs in place. And then coming up underneath her head so you can see my hand is supporting the back of her neck there. And bringing that around. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, I know. It's a big story. So I just go around as many times as I can until I sort of start to run out of fabric. What a good baby. Pushing half of that wrap down so that the weight of her body is what's gonna anchor it. So this wrap is about a meter and a half long so it's nice and long which gives me lots of length. So there's white elements to this photograph which means that my exposure is going to have to expose for those highlights so that I don't lose any detail. 'Cause if I was to enter this in to say a competition, then if I overexposed the highlights there were no detail in it, then I would be judged quite poorly for that. So taking in to consideration all of those things as well. Alright, so we've got our will. The idea now is to place her down with her back here so she's basically going to be on her side. Isn't she gorgeous? So I'm making sure I support her little head the whole time. So making sure that none of those little cranes are touching her there. Okay so that looks like it's supposed to start to look which is really good. 'Cause I'm doing this live for the first time. The execution is always slightly different to the idea. And usually I have my fake baby to practice with and I didn't bring her this time thinking oh I'm only photographing one newborn, it'll be fine. But it is always great to test things out like this to see you know that placement and so on. Alright, so in terms of supports, I don't think I need anymore but what I do need to do is just kind of turn her down a little bit more and then I'm gonna bring her face up towards that ceiling. So I'm just gonna slide my hand down this way and then behind her little back. Shh, shh, shh. Little Lorelei is just over three weeks old so she's probably gonna be more aware, more alert of what I'm doing and a bit more sort of sensitive to my touch. I'm just gonna give her a little turn here. There it is. And I'll bring that foot out and I think I'm gonna leave it in. Okay so those little extra cranes, oh they're behind me. I'm just gonna place them sort of in around her back here to fill those sort of shadow places. Now like I said before, it's okay when your ideas don't work. But right now, that feeling of like excitement and giddiness that I'm getting because it's working, and she's sleeping, is quite hard to contain. Garrett knows all about that. Shh. Shh. Okay I'm gonna try not to be too much of a perfectionist here. Alright, so what I'm gonna do now is just bring her little face up and I'm pretty much ready to take this shot. So it's all about perfecting that pose. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. So I'm just bringing her little hands away from her face here. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. Shh. Shh. So using this hand, and it' just the weight of my hand on her there. Shh, shh, shh, shh. I'm gonna see if we can bring her little chin up here. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. And then I want to bring this hand here and behind her fact. Over here, oop. Jade, can I get you to come in? Can I get you to sit just here and keep you hand here for me, just while I position her little head? There we go, just nice and soft. Okay so that way it frees up my hands to be able to bring her little head in to position here. So whenever I'm doing something like this, I always make sure I get my safe shot. And what we might do Garrett is start to bring that light over and turn that on. Okay, coming forward just a bit more. So what I'm looking at here now is the placement of this light. And because we've got you know, like a 3D object there, it's gonna create some shadows. So I wanna use this like a sun where it's gonna come directly down and above to really limit some of those shadows but there's still beautiful shadows. So we're gonna come just in a little bit more there and then turn this light this way just a bit more. And I'm looking at where those shadows are falling now. And remembering that the intensity of the light comes from the center and because I want a lot of light in here to fill those shadows, because I want it to have that beautiful, kind of light, airy feel with still a few shadows to define features, that's probably the perfect place for it. And when you are placing your light, you're not looking at the light on the subject, you're looking at the shadows that show you the direction of that light.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Mind Map & Prep Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Among a sea of wonderful teachers here at CL, Kelly is the cream of the crop. All of her classes are outstanding and this one is no exception. Amazing teacher. Amazing class. Amazing education. If you are hoping to stretch yourself to create deeper more meaningful stories in your images, or are feeling the pull of print competition but need some direction, this is definitely the class for you. Thank you Kelly!

Melissa Soto

Kelly Brown is a true inspiration. She has been my idol in this industry since I began. This class was amazing. I love how honest, authentic and genuine she was. But most importantly I loved her wise direction and teaching style. Kelly brown thank you for this gem. You helped light a fire in me. I’m so excited to start telling amazing stories with the skills I have learned from this class.

Marjorie Stevenson

Just loving this class! Kelly is one of my favorite instructors. She is very good at articulating her ideas and carrying them to an absolutely wonderful end product. Her images are always stunning. I love that she always puts safety first with her models. Thank you Kelly for sharing your creative visions with us.

Student Work