Not only is it a fleeting time that absolutely deserves to be captured, but new moms are often tired, and too overwhelmed to capture their own newborns on camera. That said, not everyone chooses to go that route, and I completely respect that.
I have learned a thing or two about photographing newborns in the last 8+ years. (By the way, here is another list of pictures you won’t want to miss when your newborn is born!)
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10+ tips for taking your own
Before I get into the nuts and bolts of this post, I thought you might find it helpful to know the things I love to use when I am taking pictures of newborns (beyond the actual camera equipment!).
I can honestly say that each one of these things I used for my own newborn babies, even when I was taking more natural, day-to-day pictures, just to make them more interesting, or visually appealing, or because they just plain made my baby happy!
- a sheepskin rug– I have had this exact one for 8 years!
- muslin swaddles– I just love how breathable, and beautiful they are.
- a nice warm room- babies like it warm. Super warm. Maybe that’s why we get along so well!!
- sound machine– can’t even tell you how many people with newborns swear by this, and it is a must have for newborn pictures (you can also get an app on your phone, but if you plan to use it often, it will drain your battery).
- a boppy pillow to put underneath blankets for positioning the baby.
- tons of blankets with all different kinds of textures
Alright, now that you’ve been filled in on all of my favorite things, here are some tips for taking your own newborn pictures. You will see some of these goodies in the post too!
Plan to take those newborn pictures within the first 2 weeks after the baby is born.
I always tell my clients to book before their babies are born. The first two weeks of life, your baby is super sleepy, and much easier to photograph.
Natural light, and plenty of it, is a must!
Look for soft, indirect light.
Turn up the heat, or use a space heater.
I actually do both. I use this space heater, I like it because I can store it easily, and take it to a different room if I need to do that. By the time I am done shooting a newborn session, I am usually sweating bullets, even if it’s the dead of winter.
Patience makes a difference.
My longest sessions are always newborn sessions. I may not be taking pictures the entire time, but I will spend a significant amount of working on making the baby happy, sleepy, warm, etc.
Once I have a nice, sleepy baby, taking the pictures usually goes relatively quickly. Knowing that I may end up spending a significant amount of time working to get to that point, helps me to stay calm and patient.
Skip the baby clothes.
Newborn babies don’t typically fit well into clothing (although, I have had a couple of pretty big babies brought to me for pictures!). Instead, use diaper covers, swaddles, or birthday suits.
Crank up the white noise.
I have used a white noise machine like this one, and white noise apps on my phone. Between the space heater, and the white noise, baby stays nice and calm. I have parents who swear by these even after the photo shoot!
Take time to stop and feed your baby.
It seems like you should be able to plan your photo shoot right after feeding your baby, and not need to feed during your session. It doesn’t always work like that though, and 9 times out of 10 it takes more effort to try not to “top off” your little sweetie than it would to just feed the baby.
Plus, it’s usually right after that second mini feeding that the newbie is milk drunk and passes out. Perfect timing for pictures!
Once you have your baby is nice and sleepy, and you have him positioned, move your body to get different angles.
I can’t tell you how many times I wished I had taken more shots before attempting to move baby. Try different angles, and perspectives in each position.
Use blankets and rugs to add texture to your images while still keeping the focus on the baby.
I don’t tend to use a lot of props when I take newborn pictures. I do, however, use hats, diaper covers, tons of blankets, swaddles– these are my absolute fave, and this faux sheepskin rug— that I LOVE!!
10. Be safe!
So many images we fall in love with of newborns on pinterest are composites. This means someone is actually holding the baby in place, and photoshop is used to merge 2 photos together giving us the impression the baby was in that position all on her own. Many of these “poses” would be very dangerous if there wasn’t a spotter there. Please be careful, and mindful of these things when taking your newborns pictures.
11. Use lightroom to tweak skin tones, or turn your images to black and white.
You may be interested in to know that you don’t have to be a professional to use lightroom or own it. It’s very reasonably priced, and user-friendly. Here are some super awesome things you can use lightroom for, AND some tips for taking incredible black and white pictures.
Got questions for me?? Leave them in the comments. I try to answer all of my comments!
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i need these month to month belly stickers!!
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