Newborn Photography: Photographer Shikha Khanna Shares 6 Important Tips

Newborn Photography: Photographer Shikha Khanna Shares 6 Important Tips

7 Oct 2022 | 6 min Read

Manisha Pradhan

Author | 1053 Articles

The birth of a baby is one of the most precious moments in a parent’s life. From the day a baby is born or even before that, we want to capture and preserve every moment of this special journey. Pregnancy and newborn photography have become a very important part of becoming a parent and preserving memories. Mum and photographer Shikha Khanna shares some important tips on newborn photography so that you can capture the memories perfectly.

Shikha Khanna is a portrait photographer who has studied photography at the International College of Professional Photography (ICPP). She was possibly India’s first photographer who specialized in photographing newborn babies, would-be moms, pets, and families when she started 20 years back. Her company is called ‘Kids Say Cheese’ and she photographed more than 1000 Families over the last 20 years and has been teaching photography for the past 10 years and now specializes in teaching iPhone photography.

Shikha likes to work with natural light and shoot people in their environment as she believes that every human face has a beautiful inner light and she likes to capture that light in her photographs. Her current project with 100 moms across the world has been highly appreciated. So for all the mums who love capturing their newborns and toddlers, here are a few tips from the ace photographer.

newborn photography
Shikha Khanna likes to work with natural light and shoot people in their environment

Why She Specialised In Newborn Photography

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a portrait photographer and specialize in baby, child, and family photography. I have captured special moments from over 1,000 prominent families from across India. I love black and white and also work with natural light. I believe every human being has an inner light, and I endeavour to bring that to the surface with my capture.

I am also very passionate about teaching photography and have conducted classes and courses in IILM, JIMS, Inventure Academy, KR Mangalam School, and teachers training, conducted over 20 live workshops, six iPhone workshops, and five self-portrait workshops at the global level.

I conducted 100 live interviews with mothers from all walks of life for a coffee table book named ‘100 Self-Portraits, 100 Dreams’. As a mom who has worked with other moms her entire life, I felt that the voice of the mother is unheard of and that a mother must be honoured for her selfless effort. This gave birth to MUM, or ‘Mothers United Moment’, which in all its essence is a movement for mothers, an initiative to honour the living stories of mothers, and make an impact through the project by inspiring mothers to dream again.

Shikha Khanna has conducted 100 live interviews with mothers from all walks of life for a coffee table book

How did you decide to become a professional photographer and one who specializes in pregnant moms and babies?

I was born in Punjab and grew up in Delhi. I hail from a business-joint family. I graduated from Sri Venkateshwara College, Delhi University, where I discovered my love for photography. I pursued my passion and graduated in 2001 from the International College of Professional Photography (ICPP), in Melbourne, Australia.

I became a portrait photographer at the very young age of 19. I studied photography, and specialized in child and newborn photography, which wasn’t a thing in India, to be an educated photographer because there were no courses, and then to be able to specialize. So I was pretty equipped when it came to newborn photography and how to deal with it. I specialised in newborn photography since I am always very comfortable with children.

All About Newborn Photography

How difficult or easy is it to photograph babies? Can you share a few interesting incidents?

It’s never easy to photograph babies, they have a mind of their own and you need patience and acceptance that they won’t make it easy for you, I learnt that very early on. I was willing to sometimes even wait for long hours if the baby had to be fed or needed space. So for me, the baby was always a priority. It’s never been difficult because I was very clear that the baby had to be in a great mood.

My initial struggle was also with the heavy metal cameras, unlike today where you can take 500 pictures at once and edit them at leisure, we then had to do the shoot with 36 film reels and manual focus.

There are multiple incidences and one of my favourites is with this three-year-old who wanted me out of his sight and the house and wanted nothing to do with me or the pictures. So, I played with him and did fun activities for as long as needed for him to get comfortable with my presence. A few hours later we had fun shooting and this little friend of mine wanted me to stay back for some more.

What are the things one needs to keep in mind while photographing babies?

Hygiene is a must when shooting a newborn, sanitize the space, and Do not have long nails. In case the baby starts crying in the middle of the shoot, give some privacy and space to the mother and the baby. 

You have to be very considerate of the delicate moment when it comes to the mother’s emotions because she’s going through so much, and you have to make sure that it is very comfortable for her. One of the many reasons I believe in natural light photography is because the equipment puts a way much pressure on posing. And I also feel that babies are not pumpkins they must be photographed as their authentic, real selves to capture their emotions. I just feel that children must be understood. Their emotions must be honoured, but at the same time, a mother’s emotions must be honoured too.

Shikha Khanna says it’s never easy to photograph babies as they have a mind of their own

Tips On Newborn Photography

When you have a baby at home, it’s only natural that moms want to capture every little moment. Can you give five tips or dos and dont’s on photographing kids for moms?

1. Always wrap up your babies in plain clothes, in baby colours. Don’t use too many patterns, and try to clear out the background. 

2. A little technical advice for those magical pictures; take the baby or the crib near a window where there is ample natural light, these pictures are much better. Do not use any flashlights.

3. Use music, preferably soft or humming sounds to calm down the baby. 

4. Use iPhones rather than DSLRs if possible.

5. Make sure that everything that you get along with you is sanitized, clean, and hygienic, and you’re safely holding the baby. It is critical to keep the baby’s safety in mind.

6. Don’t scream and shout, maintain calm and silence. Don’t get overexcited. Don’t push the baby to do a certain pose and most importantly, have patience.

Now that you have the tips on newborn photography, capture your memories like a pro!

Image credit: Shikha Khanna



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