A completely unscientific article based entirely on my own opinion. No Pinterest boards were hurt in the creation of this blog post).
Trends are a difficult thing because something like photography is so subjective. The whole point of visiting a photographer is to create images that you will love and enjoy looking at your walls for all the years to come. So if you like something and your photographer says you can’t’ have it because it is out of fashion, then it’s all a bit pointless.
However, I also don’t feel that as a photographer, I can ever stop inventing. I’ve been in this job for 18 years and the photos I take now are completely different to those I was taking before I started. Partly because fashions do change, partly because it would be extremely boring to do one thing for 18 years and partly because some stuff didn’t even really exist when I started.
Newborn photo shoots for example were the stuff of an Anne Geddes fantasy in 2001 and I don’t think cake smashes were even a twinkle in anyone’s eye. I was an ‘early adopter’ on the UK newborn photo shoot scene so I started about 6 or so years ago. We were all feeling our way then and pretty much copying what was going on in the gold old US of A. Many good things come from America but I’m afraid to say that the giant flower headband wasn’t one of them. I’m also ashamed to say that I only quite recently got round to clearing them out of my accessory collection as I couldn’t take the embarrassment any more.
Anyway, oversized floral headwear aside, eventually us UK photographers found our groove, more people joined the market and newborn photography is really quite mainstream these days.
To my mind, people tend to fall in a spot along a spectrum that looks like this.
Now I’m absolutely not dissing any of these positions on the newly invented New Baby Client Scale (henceforth referred to as NBC Scale). They’ve all got pros and cons, they can all produce some lovely baby photos . I can put my hand on my heart and say that I’m happy to work from any point on the NBC Scale – I love detailed set based images and I love the simplicity of a sleeping newborn as nature intended. If turns out that it’s actually not all about me though, and you should have whatever you want. I’m lucky that my studio is pretty versatile so it only takes a second to flip between set and beanbag so you even mix and match.
*** I of course am going to caveat all of this by saying that your session is always going to be baby led. If you’re heart is set on having your baby in a crash helmet and your baby is set on screaming when we try, then that one is out of my hands and a matter to be discussed between you and your child at a later date ***
In terms of trends however, I have noticed that a couple of years ago there were a majority of clients who were positioned down the prop / set end of the NBC Scale (if I keep saying it, it might catch on and I’ve always wanted to invest something ) and in 2018, there was much more of a gentle slide up to the minimalist end.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have props – course you should if you want them. Where I have been using props, they’ve been along a much more natural theme. I love vintage styling personally but this last year has seen more requests for natural elements such as flowers, woods, leaves and buds to be included and these team really well with new babies.
There’s also been a move away from pastels to richer jewel tones and earthy neutrals which make for strikingly beautiful images.
Rainbow colours are also big news and not just to celebrate those rainbow babies although it is wonderful to think that people are feeling freer to talk about that now.
Hand knitted items are probably now topping the charts of what parents are bringing along to be included and not just in a ‘well, great aunt knitted it so we’d better get a picture with it’ way. Some of the blankets I had in the studio last year were stunning and were already much treasured gifts. I guess that might be a mark of how popular it has become to be handy with the crafts (never going to argue with that – I love a bit of knitting and sewing myself).
There was a time when all newborn photography was pretty much naked (aside from aforementioned large floral headpieces). However, swaddling is big this year. Don’t get me wrong, a newborn sleeping in their birthday suits still has an undeniable appeal but swaddling can look amazing and it’s a godsend when a little one is a big fussy at the start of the session as it usually settles them right down.
Anyway, none of these trends matter to new parents nearly as much as they matter to other photographers. You want what you want rightly so and I’m happy to create it for you. All I ask that is, if you hear the term NBC Scale mentioned elsewhere, then you tell them you heard it here first!