Bringing a new baby into your family is one of life’s most amazing and wonderful moments! The newborn days are so precious, yet so fleeting. As parents, we can appreciate how quickly these days go by and how important it is to capture all of the sweet details of our new babies, while they are still little. If capturing this time in your baby's life is important to you hire a professional to photograph your baby. If your are an aspiring momarazzi and are excited at the prospect of capturing your baby’s first days yourself. I am going to share with you some tips for createing beautiful images of your baby
1. Don’t Rush!
The benefit of photographing your own newborn is that time is on your side. Unlike shooting a newborn session for a client and having a 3-4 hour window in which to work and create a varied gallery, you have days to work with. Remember that you just had a baby! Do not rush and try to do everything in one day. Shoot for a short period of time using just one or two setups. Remember you always have tomorrow. You know your baby best so you have the advantage of taking advantage of the most sleepy time for your baby. Keep everything low stress. If you pace yourself, you can capture an amazing variety of images of your sweet new baby.
2. Lighting is everything!
One of the most common mistakes I see in newborn photography from pros and amateurs alike is improper lighting. There are so many photos of “up-lit babies” online it’s crazy. (up lighting is when the light comes from below your subjects chin, this is a NO NO) One of the things that can make or break a photo is your lighting. Seeing a person who is lit from below is very unnatural looking. It is known as “ghoul lighting” because it is often seen in horror movies or to depict something frightening. You do not need any fancy studio equipment to get this right. Almost all of the photos I take are done in front of one of my living room windows utilizing natural light. A good rule of thumb for nice soft shadows and highlights is to have your baby angled such that the light flows from the top of baby’s head on down their body at approximately a 45 degree angle. Look for a soft shadow underneath baby’s nose to verify that you have this right. Feel free to experiment don't be afraid of making mistakes that is how you learn. Have fun playing with different angles and perspectives, but do not, I repeat, do NOT up-light your baby!
3. Sooth your baby!
There are a few simple things you can do that will ensure a happy baby and a productive photo session. The first is to keep your shooting area warm – really warm. I use a small space heater. Or crank up the thermostat in your house while you are shooting. 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for newborns. Keep in mind you may feel sweaty. In addition to having a warm shooting area, white noise does wonders for keeping baby asleep. I downloaded an app to my iPhone called ‘Sound Sleeper‘ I plug my phone into a set of speakers and play it loudly! The third trick probably goes without saying – but make sure baby has a nice, full belly and is not hungry during your shoot. In addition to these three things, I have found that most babies are much more cooperative in the morning hours than in the afternoon and evening hours. Try to do your shooting during that first long nap after they wake up in the morning.
4. Be safe!
This goes without saying, but please make sure your baby’s safety is the number 1 priority while you are taking his or her photos. If you are trying a more difficult pose or working with props, have someone there to help you and to spot baby. Babies have a startle reflex that can launch a baby right off a prop. If you need help from someone, make sure that you ask for it. The image below is a composite of 3 images. There was a hand on the baby at all times.
5. Tiny details.
Don’t forget to document all of those sweet little details that make your baby unique! That little upturned nose, her rosebud lips, his crinkly little chin, those tiny toes and fingers – these are all things that you will not want to forget as your baby grows. Don’t forget to to get noses, lips, eyelashes, ears, toes, fingers, belly buttons, hair, fuzzy shoulders – those details will change so fast as your baby grows and this is a wonderful way to preserve those memories.
6. Angles composition.
Instead of changing your setup or re-position your baby, try getting up and walking around your baby to see what unique angles you can photograph. Walk behind your baby and shoot some pictures from different perspectives. This way you get the most out of one pose.
7. Include your older children.
Some of the sweetest and most endearing photos you can take of your new baby will be the ones you get with his or her older siblings. Older children may be able to hold their new brother or sister, while simple laying down poses are perfect for younger children. Studies have shown that having portraits of your children on the walls boost their self esteem. Including them will make your children feel special and involved as well, which is important when there is a new baby in the house getting a lot of attention!
8. Get in the picture!
It can be intimidating having photos taken of yourself, but please get a few pictures of yourself with your new baby. No one cares that you still need to lose your pregnancy weight, just do it. If you have photoshop there is always liquefie. Trust me your baby will only fit in your arms this way for a few days. This will be a priceless treasure for your new baby as he or she grows up.
9. Print those pictures!
Do not leave all of your beautiful newborn photos sitting on your hard drive. Print those babies out! I myself have been making an effort at printing my own images. Do not wait to design the perfect wall display, or to choose the perfect picture. Digital image are not archival! It is so important to print your photos.
Remember to take it slow, You just had a new baby. These days go by so fast – before you know it, they’ll be heading off to school, It goes by in the blink of an eye!