Being a baby photographer is an amazing, rewarding job. After all, you’re working with kids (hilarious) and capturing some beautiful moments that families will treasure for the rest of their lives.
*Photo courtesy of pexels
But you can easily spend years — and a lot of money — perfecting your baby portraits and experimenting with important factors like backdrops. If you’ve got the time and money to have a play around then that’s great, but many photographers don’t.
Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a professional looking to diversify, if you need some help setting up your backdrops for baby photography, we’ve got you covered.
Read on for some top tips on creating the ideal backdrop setting.
Backdrop mounting options to consider
Depending on how established you are as a photographer, you may already have some tools for mounting your backdrops.
If not, don’t worry! There are many solutions available for mounting backdrops and making it perfect — you just need to decide on your budget.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have much of a budget to play with, you can actually create your own DIY mounting options. Here are some quick-fix ones that we love:
- Wall hooks: these work well if you’re photographing your subjects in your own studio or home studio. Wall hooks are inexpensive and easy to buy — just make sure that they can easily support the weight of your backdrop, and that your backdrop comes with grommets!
- Heavy-duty clips: if you’re going to a clients house, you can use heavy-duty clips to hold up your backdrop against items of furniture or doors.
However there are various collapsible backdrop stands or support systems that are available for either placing against any wall or standing alone.
These are sturdier and more reliable than DIY options, and you can pick a portable backdrop stand with a travel carrying case for a good price. These are lightweight and easy to set up — perfect for either your studio or client visits.
Be aware of size
Newborn babies won’t be as much of an issue, but bigger babies and toddlers wriggle. Trust us, you’d be surprised how much they move. Having a small backdrop doesn’t give you much room for maneuvering, and it’s always best to be as flexible as possible — especially when you’re working with unpredictable subjects!
Saying that, most photographers tend to use a 8’ x 10’ or 10’ x 10’ foot backdrop if they’re taking headshots or portraits of adults. Some will even go larger if they have space in large, corporate studios.
Of course, you don’t need to go that big for babies. Some suggest a 4’ x 3’ size backdrop for shooting babies, however we’d recommend going a bit larger and choose a 5’ x 6.5’ for newborn to three year old subjects.
Pick the right materials
You can use pretty much anything as a backdrop if you try hard enough. This could be wallpaper, fabrics, muslin or vinyl. All work well as backdrops, and can be rolled for storage in between uses.
If you’re going to be working with babies and small children, you preferably want something that you can clean easily if it gets messy during the shoot. That’s why materials like vinyl make brilliant backdrops for baby photography — the surface can simply be wiped clean with a damp cloth if it gets dirty. Plus they’re non-glare, non-reflective and matte, which makes them great for any type of lighting, and they’re pretty cheap too. You can buy plenty of themed or seasonal vinyl backdrops for whatever your needs.
You can even create your own backdrops if money is an issue — you can buy rolls of paper or fabrics at craft stores and make a backdrop using metal rods to weigh the sheets down to prevent them from curling.
Get inspired and choose props wisely
If you’ve been doing baby photography successfully for a while now, you will have probably built up a decent array of accessories and props to accompany the baby or toddler in the photo.
If you’re just starting out, then it’s best to save your money. Accessories can add up really quickly and they take up a lot of space — not ideal if you don’t have the biggest studio, or run your business from home!
With baby photography, less is definitely more. You’ve got the most natural, beautiful subject matter in front of you — why obscure the baby with excessive accessories? Plus, you may find that your props clash with your backdrop, which makes all of your previous planning a waste of time. Props and accessories can also age a photo, whereas a tasteful backdrop will be timeless.
Don’t be afraid to invest some money once you’ve established what works well and what doesn’t. For example, you’ll probably find that with baby photography (particularly newborn), spending a bit of money on neutral-colored textiles such as soft blankets, cushions and rugs for your baby subjects to lie on will work well.
You can get oodles of inspiration from around the web, too. Whether it’s Pinterest or high-quality stock image sites, there’s no harm in borrowing props and ideas from baby pictures that catch your eye. From the imaginative use of accessories to do-it-yourself backgrounds, you can easily reinterpret these ideas and make them your own.
Most importantly, don’t forget to talk to your clients — if mom and dad have an idea of a concept they want for their baby’s portrait, then go for it. However, remember that basic is beautiful when it comes to baby photos.
That’s a wrap
These are all of the things you need to take into account if you want to create the perfect backdrop setting for your baby photography.Follow these tips and pair them with your own talent, and you’ll end up with some gorgeous baby portraits that your clients will love