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What do you need to start a newborn photography business? | Answers from a 12 year Edmonton Newborn Photographer

What do you need to start a newborn photography business? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

I’m happy to tell you that running a newborn photography business has been one of the most rewarding career’s. The emotional and personal attachments that develop with each family that walks into the studio is beyond words. I absolutely love seeing these gorgeous babies come back for each milestone and then eventually are walking and running through the studio doors. So what made my dream possible and how did I take my studio from my living room into a beautiful store front? Let me walk you through the steps!

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Where can newborn photographer’s start working? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

Well you don’t actually need a studio space! I started right out of my living room. I used the bay windows in my living room that provided natural light and I sewed myself a bean bag. I went to the fabric store and bought blankets from HomeSense or Ikea 

I tried to find baskets and bowls at antique stores and whenever I went places I was always looking for something that I could fit a baby in. Granted 12 years ago there was a lot less newborn prop vendors around there was not a lot on amazon or aliexpress either!

I left a love seat in my living room and cleared out all of the other furniture so that I had a dedicated space. It was very simple, basic and humble. When necessary I also drove to clients homes and did the newborn sessions in their living rooms. I live in Alberta, Canada and because we have long winters and unpredictable weather I found the need to switch to studio lighting.

Switching my natural window lighting to strobe lighting | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

First I took a local lighting course and learned about speedlights. I only wish that I had been more educated because I was never planning on being a wedding photographer and speedlights die so quickly!!! So don’t make the same mistake that I did. Cordless is awesome if its meant for studio work and can last a long time, but these speedlights also were powerful enough to handle hours of shooting time either. I also had no idea what sort of softbox or umbrella I needed and bought ones that were cheap and too small. So I ended up selling those and losing a lot of money because when you buy new you never make your money back.

Well it definitely was a complete guess and I really had no idea what to buy, so I tried to do some research because I had a very small budget and purchased an Alienbee 400 from Paul C Buff. I actually tethered my camera to my alienbee for years (using a cord rather then wireless) because I really had no idea what to buy. I also bought a 64″ Octobox which by the way was huge, bulky and top heavy. It produced beautiful results and I honestly regret not playing with it more.

I then ended up doing a mentoring course with another photographer and she recommended I get the 86″ white plm from Paul C Buff. So I did. It was beautiful but spilled light absolutely everywhere. I was getting very little consistency with my lighting and finding that I wasn’t getting enough shadows and I really had no idea what to look for. I had bought a lighting course online and they talked about the butterfly shadow. But honestly I didn’t or couldn’t really see the butterfly shadow. I was frustrated with the flat lighting but also not really understanding that it was flat, because again I couldn’t see the shadows.

Fast forward a few years and I mentored with another girl who practiced the Rembrandt lighting method. Now this was exactly what I was looking forward in regards to the beautiful deep shadows and stunning portraits. They caught my eye and I finally understood what the heck I was doing. Don’t get me wrong, it took several sessions to really nail it and a lot of model calls to practice this new lighting technique.

After several years I actually created a tutorial on how to properly light newborn babies for newborn photography and you can find that tutorial here: 

This lighting tutorial can actually be used not only on newborn babies but any type of portrait photography and will really give you that “edge” on other photographers that are completely clueless when it comes to lighting their subjects.

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What computer do you need for newborn photography editing? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

Let’s be frank for a minute. Most computers can’t handle Photoshop. How do I know this? Because I tried soooo many different types of computers before finally making the switch to Apple. Yes, I first bought an iMac 27″ and used that for about 5 years then switched over to a Macbook Pro laptop. I loved it, I bought it used for $1000 and edited on that for 4 years before upgrading and buying a larger Macbook Pro. The Macbook Pro’s are just built better for photoshop, it’s almost like they were specifically designed for photographers and videographers.

Since switching to a Mac, my computers hardly ever crash, (maybe once a year) and are fast regardless if I have Photoshop open or not. So yes, it’s worth saving up for to buy a computer you can use for a really long time rather then cheaper PC computers that crap out every year. I also find that I don’t have to calibrate the screens with my Macbooks and can match them to my print products perfectly.

What software should a newborn photographer use to edit newborn skin? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

Photoshop has an amazing membership for photographers that is only $9.99 USD called the “creative cloud”.

Scroll down the page and choose this option! It’s all you need as a solo professional photographer without team members.

Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud

Do newborn photographers need lightroom? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

No you do not need lightroom as a newborn photographer. Lightroom is an amazing and heavy duty program for large scale wedding and commercial photographers. Alot of wedding photographers do all of their main editing in lightroom and rarely use photoshop. So because of the size of the program, if you are a newborn portrait photographer there is no reason to bog down your computer running both Lightroom and Photoshop. So what do you use? Well when you go to your creative cloud you can download “Bridge” & “ACR” that are free with your membership and work seamlessly with Photoshop.

What is Bridge? Bridge is a “sorting and organizing” program that allows you to View, Cull, Create Collections & Batch Sync Presets. That’s why it’s called Bridge. Because it’s the bridge between your raw images and ACR.

What is ACR? ACR stands for Adobe Camera Raw. This is where you can handle you raw files that are digital negatives. ACR Is like your dark room where you develop the settings and make adjustments to your white balance, exposure, noise, sharpness, and any sort of creative adjustments you want to add.

What is a Preset? Presets are settings saved and sold made by a variety of photographers or yourself. These are .XMP files that you see after you’ve made adjustments in Lightroom or ACR. They are a memory of the adjustments and can be batched to all other raw files so that you can create consistency in your work! These are NOT for Photoshop! 

I sell presets and have a few different packs available for your newborn work. These presets work on out door and indoor with natural lighting as well. Check out my newest preset pack True Love

You can find more at

What is an Action? An action is a recording that is made of steps in Photoshop that complete a certain amount of editing steps. So some actions will do a complete overhaul of your image, where other actions need hand adjustments to still be done. This means that you would be painting on to areas of the face and skin that need adjusting etc.

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As you can see in the image above, this image had full retouching in Photoshop, smoothing out the hair, skin and lighting and fixing the backdrop where it was needed. Photoshop is an essential tool for portrait photographers. Learning this skill is necessary in your business. Yes you can outsource if you find the right fit, and that is a great way to lighten the load in this career.

What camera do I need as a newborn photographer? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

You definitely need a full frame camera whether its a DSLR or a Mirrorless. Canon camera’s are excellent choices for those that are new to photography because they are very easy to understand and navigate. I’d recommend getting a mirrorless because DSLR’s will eventually be very out dated. You want something that is current and not going extinct as you are just getting started! Make sure when testing camera’s that you avoid getting a crop sensor. This will not allow you to be close enough to the newborn when posing them and this can cause a safety risk.

You don’t need a top of the line body, as long as it’s full frame!

What lens do I need as a newborn photographer? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

I would recommend that if you follow my advice and get a full frame camera you really only need a 50 mm lens. Especially if you are tall:) If you are fairly short then I’d recommend getting a 35mm! What’s important is that you are still in arms reach of the baby at all times while posing.

What else is needed when starting a newborn photography business? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

Well of course I always recommend education. Education will help you develop your skills quickly and efficiently so that you can make the most of your career choices and start building a sustainable and profitable business. There are many choices for education out there, but a lot will overwhelm you and leave you questioning everything. I have a few different course options for those that are wanting to expand their newborn photography education. First is the beginner’s course that breaks up all the poses into individual posing tutorials. This will not only give you a workflow, but allow you to rewatch only the poses you are struggling with. There are 2 editing tutorials included and you can find the details for this course here, It’s called the “Essential Poses For Beginners” but of course feel free to check everything out at

Now if you’ve been doing newborn photography for a while but you just want more incite on how to do newborn sessions, or what you should do when you get a fussy baby, a grumpy wild toddler or a very straight faced dad to work with then I’ve got you covered. This is where my monthly membership “Passion For Posing” comes into play. This membership has 20 newborn lives to watch and rewatch from start to finish. I literally share greeting the parents, taking baby out of car seat all the way until parents leave. Nothing is missing, you get to watch it all! And because these newborn lives were done during my online mentoring program “Hush Baby” then you will notice I explain each process that I do during every single newborn live. This is a very detailed workshop, but you get to literally watch 20 workshops in a row! Grab that membership here for only $45 regular. If you want to buy a lifetime membership to it, you can do that too! Follow the same link: Passion for posing

Ok now maybe you love to learn online but you really need that extra helping hand, because sometimes you have questions that have gone unanswered for far too long. Well, guess what!? I’ve got the most amazing online newborn photography mentoring program called “Newborn Posing Photography Academy” and this includes weekly zooms too!

What exactly does mentoring include? Well it’s basically as hands on as I can do virtually. You have 6 months to take everything from the learning modules and apply it to build a real foundation for your business and then get started on taking your posing skills to the next level. You’ll have 24/7 facebook messenger access to my private account (seriously?!?) and weekly zooms to cover either live editing (your images) and group chats to help you learn something you need for your business. Topics can range from marketing, pricing, IPS, clients, websites, seo etc.

But, the good news is that not only do you have a dedicated website with modules to give you everything you need to learn in one place, you also get access to all my courses free! You also get all of my newborn presets and actions too:)

And yes, I do monthly payments for my students. You actually have the option to split your monthly payments into 6 or 8 months long! Pretty amazing right? And yes, they are 0% interest!!!

Now I’ve got one last gift for you! You can grab my Free Business Checklist for Newborn Photographers 

and feel free to ask me any questions you may have inside the MomTog Educate Facebook group 🙂

Have a great day and I can’t wait to see your glow up!!!

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