Color and theme planning are essential components of any newborn photography business. However, putting together a beautiful studio set for each newborn photo session can be a daunting task.
Ultimately, these images will be hanging on the family’s wall for years to come, so it is important the images are timeless and beautiful. Each studio set should follow a cohesive theme, so the images tell a story and can be easily hung on a wall or put together in a book. Over the years, we have learned some valuable points on how photographers can make beautiful studio sets.
No secret, matching colors can be the most fun, but also the most challenging. Certain colors may look good in person, but clash on camera and vise versa. Here are a few rules to help you always choose colors that will flow seamlessly.
Rule 1: Do not clash warm and cool tones. While there are a few exceptions to the rule, it’s best to avoid mixing certain colors that may clash on camera or on the babies’ skin. If you want to use a cool toned wrap, pick a cool tone back. Here is a brief list of what cool and warm tones are.
Warm Neutrals: Tan, Cream, Pink, Deep Browns
Warm Colors: Red, Orange, Blush, Yellow
Cool Neutrals: Grey, Light Brown, Off White
Cool Colors: Soft Pinks, Blue, Purple, Green
Here is an example of pairing two warm tones together. A tan neutral and orange wrap.
Rule 2: Even if you are choosing all warm tones, or all cool tones, there is a thing as too many colors.
Rule 3: Monochromatic studio sets are great, and always timeless. Don’t feel pressured to pair green, red and brown for a Christmas themes set. An all red set with a beautiful Christmas headband is timeless and beautiful every time.
Rule 4: Light and Dark can be paired together, but be careful. A dark blue fur may cast on a light skin baby with a white swaddle wrap. Test the colors together, and remember to pair comparable tones and neutrals.
Accessorizing is very important, but like that woman with too many necklaces and rings at the DMV, it can sometimes go awry. Too many accessories can clash and take away from the baby. Matching a large chiffon headband with a large tutu with a bow on the back, probably not a good idea. It’s best to pick one or the other. A little boy with his bum up and a pom hat or a little girl with a subtle pink wrap and detailed chiffon pink tie back is perfect.
The most important thing about accessories is to make sure they accent the baby, not overpower them. Some little girls can look beautiful in a larger headband, where-as other’s will be overpowered by a large halo headband.
Layering can be very important for any photo session, adding a level of sophistication and dimension every photo session needs. Layering pieces are very versatile and can be used several ways; draped over a baby, swaddled around the newborn like a pod, a flowing layer under the baby or as an accent piece.
While layering is important and easy to do, there are a few important key points to remember. Mainly, do not use too many competing textures and patterns. If you are using a layering piece with a great print as an accent piece, it isn’t wise to then put a lace layer over top of it. Just like clashing colors, clashing textures can take away from an otherwise beautiful shot.
4. Think of the baby
Every adult knows the color they don’t look good in, and what color is “their color.” Over and over we see images of little newborns in a studio set that, while stunning, just does not match them. In newborn photography, baby is the center, which means studios should center around them as individuals. It may be a good idea to read up on warm/cool skin tones and what colors best match each tone. It’s also important to think of how light or dark a baby’s skin is before choosing a set. A pale baby most likely shouldn’t be put in a dark green set up.
5. Use Trends but stay timeless
Following trends are important, especially in the days of Pinterest where every other parent is going to walk into your studio with an idea of what they want based on the Pinterest board they created. It is important to remember when working with these parents, you are not shooting prom photos. They don’t want to cringe at the photos in ten years. They should be timeless and effortless. It’s best to pair a new trend for that pop of individuality, with an otherwise timeless set up. As tempting as it is to wrap a baby in a funky pattern and use a trendy patterned backdrop, it is important to think forward on how that will age. Is this backdrop and plaid bowtie going to be the shoulder pads of this studio set?
What are your thoughts about putting together the best studio sets? Do you have a set of rules you generally stick to, or are you more likely to move with the times? Let us know in the comments below. Follow our groupies page on Facebook to be part of the conversation.