Tips for Photographing Your Newborn
Getting the perfect birth announcement starts with a perfect picture. Anyone know how hard it is to get a perfect picture of a newborn? Yeah… pretty hard.
Newborn photographers are a godsend, but we can’t all afford them or we don’t have the time to schedule an appointment and wait for the proofs.
But the good news is, if you’re armed with some tools and advice, you can snap some really good photos of your little one that will be worthy of an announcement or baby book cover all on your own!
Here are a couple of tips for getting some newborn shots you’ll love.
Newborn Photography Tips:
What kind of camera to use:
- A DSLR is a great investment. We bought one right after my first child was born because we knew our little digital point and shoot wasn’t going to do her cuteness justice, and we still have that camera 8 years later! It has helped us get some great shots of all 3 of our kids as babies. Even if you can’t afford one, most phones have pretty amazing cameras on them these days, so work with what you have!
When to photograph:
- The best time to photograph a subject is when there is plenty of natural light outside. Mid-morning or mid-afternoon make for perfect lighting.
- Plan to spend a few hours and maybe even a few days capturing the shots you want. Babies moods change rather quickly; they may be sleeping one minute and screaming the next, so you may only be able to get one or two shots or poses in. Be patient!
- Plan on photographing during their sleepiest time. For me, it was those moments when I could pick my newborn up and move him/her like a rag doll, all the while asleep with his/her mouth open (I love that). It also helps if they've just been fed so that they are at their happiest. Be sure and have burp cloths close by to clean up any spit ups!
Where to Photograph:
- Photograph somewhere near a big window so you have lots of natural light. This will give you better exposure and that creamy look that works so well for newborn photos. Photographing in low light will mean dark photos and loss of detail. And never, ever use a flash! It will only create uneven lighting and terrible shadows. If you feel like you need to use a flash, then you need to find a better time of day to shoot or a brighter room!
- Use scenery you already have; the nursery is always a great place to do it and will make for great memories later! Mom and dad’s bed is another great spot. Choose somewhere that is free of clutter. If you photograph on a blanket or rug, opt for one that is white or solid in color instead of patterned; you want all the focus to be on baby. My son’s nursery had beautiful blue walls and I found it to be the perfect backdrop. I just moved all the furniture out of the way so the background would be nothing but the wall.
Tips for a successful newborn photography session:
- It helps to have a space heater in the room to keep the baby warm while you are moving and photographing them (or to shoot during a very warm day).
- Move slowly when positioning your baby and hold him/her tightly with your hands for a few seconds (acting as a swaddle) after you place then in the position you want. This gives them time to settle in to the position and relax. Then snap quickly!
- If you plan on photographing them naked, be prepared for pee and poop, just in case! Keep some diaper rags and wipes close by.
- Don't just take full body shots, but remember to take shots of the details like their little hands and feet!
- If you are using props, have them all ready to go and at hand. When I photographed my son, I was running around grabbing stuff between shots, which made me sweaty and cranky. Plus, he didn't last long enough for me to run and grab everything so I had to split up my photo shoots.
- Have an assistant nearby! It helped to have my husband helping me position my middle child while I fiddled with the props. And with my third, my sister was there to help get sibling shots and make the older two smile and laugh. Two hands are always better than one.
- If you are photographing them with their siblings, have the sibling(s) nearby and ready to jump into the photo. Bribing them with a couple of M&M's never hurts, either... A great newborn shot just takes a little patience, and sometimes, a little luck! The happier baby is, the easier the shoot will go, so just pick a time when they are in a good, sleepy mood and snap away. You can find the perfect announcement to suit your perfect newborn photo in my shop here.
- Don't forget to include yourself and your husband! Pictures of you holding your newborn will be something you treasure forever.