I am taking a quick pause from sharing recent sessions to share something else that I am really passionate about – outdoor newborn photography. I recently joined an online group full of outdoor newborn photographers and it has me so inspired to shoot outdoors again! Since I live in Massachusetts, there is a very small window of opportunity when I am able to safely take newborns outside as a part of their session. I typically do outdoor sessions between late June and early September (and sometimes later if we get a fluke warm day, which sometimes happens in New England!) I thought I would share some of my tips and tricks for a successful outdoor session and the important things to keep in mind if you want to take a newborn outside.
1. Temperature is key. As I mentioned above, there are only a few months out of the year that I can take newborns outside because it needs to be warm enough to keep baby safe and comfortable. Newborns cannot regulate their own body temperature, so I don’t like to take them outdoors unless it’s at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Personally, I find the ideal ambient temperature range to be 80-85. If it’s too hot, you risk the baby overheating. If there’s a bit of a breeze you can cover baby with a light blanket or wrap to help keep them warm.
2. Avoid direct sunlight. I typically photograph newborns in the morning around 10am. While this is perfect timing for an indoor session, it’s not as ideal for taking pictures outside. By the time I’m ready for outdoor images it’s usually been a few hours so it’s closer to noon time, which means the sun is at its highest point in the sky. This not only creates unflattering lighting for your subject, but also means you could expose baby to harmful UVA/UVB rays if they are out in the direct sunlight. The best way to avoid the harsh sun is to look for an open, shaded area. If you’re setting up under a tree, make sure you can find a spot where the lighting isn’t dappled as it can be distracting from your cute little subject 🙂
If you’re shooting on the beach, this scenario becomes a lot more difficult because there is no shade. In this instance I opt to shoot much later in the day, about an hour and a half before sunset, so you get that beautiful, soft golden light.
3. Know your surroundings. This one might seem like a no brainer, but it’s essential that you inspect any outdoor area carefully for critters, insects, or other potential hazards before you set up your prop and place baby inside. Mosquitoes can be really nasty in the summer time especially on warm, humid days. I try to avoid heavily wooded areas if possible (especially if we’ve just had a rain storm – then the bugs are out in full force!). I always do a once over to make sure there aren’t any creepy crawlies in or around my prop, as well. Insect repellent isn’t safe to use on newborns, so I use an essential oil based blend (Burts Bees) on myself (since I’ll be close to baby) and around the prop to help keep the bugs at bay.
4. Always have a spotter. I love being able to step back and get a full shot of baby surrounded by nature, BUT I always make sure to have a spotter close by. This is important for any session, not just one that is happening outdoors. Have baby’s mom, dad, or an assistant (if you have one) sit next to the prop with a hand on baby until you have your shot set up. I have had to clone my spotter’s arms/legs/hands out of an image before, but that 5 minutes of extra photoshop work is absolutely worth knowing that my little subject is 100% safe 🙂
I can’t wait to be able to bring some newborns outside this summer! If you already have a newborn session booked for June, July, or August, outdoor images can be included as a part of your session if weather permits 🙂