7 Steps to Manage a Fussy Toddler during a Newborn Photography

Babies are beautiful subjects to photograph. The pink wrinkled skin, cute nails, and smiling face when they sleep can motivate you to take a dozen photos. As a photographer, you admit that sleeping babies are the best to photograph. The success of a newborn photography session depends on how long and deep the baby sleeps. 


While some can be calm and sleepy, how do you work with crying and fussy babies? Those who cry, make uncontrollable movements and create ugly face looks. If you have never come across one, it is best if you know how you would handle a photo session with such a baby.

Reasons Why a Baby Becomes Fussy During a Photo Shoot

The first common question you should ask yourself is, why do babies cry so much during a photo session? That aids you in coming up with solutions to calm them down long enough for the shoot. The following points are some of the reasons for a baby suddenly crying inconsolably during a shoot: 

  • The baby can be hungry 
  • The environment may be too hot or cold for the baby 
  • Maybe the baby needs a diaper change 
  • The room may be too noisy for the baby to handle 
  • Baby feels insecure and is not comfortable

As a professional newborn photographer, how do you work with such a baby? A crying baby can be nerve-wracking if you don’t manage him or her. You may not be able to make a meaningful shot. 

If you are capturing these photos in a hospital, then you should follow the basics of handling fresh-48 session. Find out more about it here - Tips For Hospital Newborn "fresh 48" Sessions.

To make the environment more comfortable and conducive to work in, use the following 6 steps when working with the baby:

Step #1: Prepare First


Babies are unpredictable. The parents may reassure you how calm, sleepy they become when they feed or how cooperative they can be, but the truth is newborn are an unpredictable subject to handle. It is best if you come prepared for the session. How do you do that?


Come with all the right tools for the session; for example, the props, white music, a heater to control temperatures and collection of poses. Babies can sense tension and commotions. You and your team should be on the right mind, as the session should only have one baby. You are in charge, so be calm enough to control the shoot.


You may find the following posts useful: Planning Your First Baby Photo Shoot? Here’s How 


Step #2: Choose the Right Period


Like mentioned earlier, sleeping babies are the best to manage. They are easy to move around, calm, and bring the best poses when deep asleep. To get that, you must practice the 10-day rule. That is having the newborn photo session within ten days after birth. Why is that?

During this timeframe, they sleep a lot. All they do is merely eat and sleep. So, you have ample time to work with him or her when asleep. The second reason is that they can quickly curl as they did in the womb during the first ten days. Thus, you get excellent poses with a flexible curly baby. That way, you won’t have to force any pose which is uncomfortable enough to make them cry. 

For more information, check our post - When Should Newborn Pictures Be Taken?

Step #3: Keep the Baby and Parents Comfortable


That goes back to the question, “why do babies cry so much during a photo-shoot?” With that in mind, you can solve the issues around the crying. Feed the baby before the session, make sure the room is warm enough for the baby and in between, have a quick diaper change in case the baby is wet. Your priority is having a happy, comfortable baby to bring out excellent natural photos.


You might ask, “what about the parent, how do I make them comfortable?” Do that by being welcoming, serving them a drink, and having a warm conversation with them. You can also include them in calming the baby. After all, it’s not surprising that the baby responds more to a parent. A calm, relaxed parent results to a quiet baby too.

Step #4: Introduce Yourself


It might seem funny to hear that the baby must be familiar with you. You don’t want a situation of the baby suddenly crying inconsolably when he or she sees you. He or she must be comfortable with your touch, smell, voice, and face. How do you make the baby your acquaintance?

You do that by holding the baby close before the shoot. Whisper, cuddle and make friendly faces to the baby. If your hands are cold, use gloves to make the baby warm enough to be comfortable with you. That way, the baby won’t startle when you talk or touch him or her.

Step #5: Be Keen on How You Pose the Newborn


How you handle the baby determines whether he or she will sleep during the whole session, or she will wake up. Like said earlier, it is wise if you come up with simple poses before the photo-shoot. That saves time and circumvent experimenting tricky postures on the baby.


Comfortably pose the baby. The props should be stable enough to hold the baby safely. Babies are comfortable when on their belly, unlike when the hands and legs are free. No matter the pose you choose for the baby, make sure you support the head, neck, and the entire body since it is delicate and fragile. Don’t make sudden moves that startle them.


Not sure how to pose a newborn correctly? We already have a helpful post for you. Check - 7 Tips for Posing your Newborn.

Step #6: Let the Baby Be Free


Sometimes, the reason for a fussy baby is that he or she wants to be free. If the baby is not sleepy, let them be. It will surprise you to notice that close-up photos come out perfect with a baby who is awake. Let the baby be, utilize the time when he or she is awake to capture rare hands, legs, and facial movements. Don’t force a baby to pose in a certain way if he or she does not want to.


Conclusion


If you are looking forward to a newborn photo-shoot, and you are afraid of a fussy baby, first ask yourself, “why do babies cry so much during a photo session?” When you know the reasons, look for solutions to the causes and follow the above steps.If you still find yourself in a situation of the baby suddenly crying inconsolably during the photo-shoot, you can always stop for the day and schedule another session.