Newborn Photography – Home Photos Hints and Tips
Newborn and Family Photographer Home Photos Hints and Tips
We are smack bang in the middle of a crazy situation at the moment. That means some of you won’t get your planned Newborn Photography session. Don’t let lockdown take away the chance of having wonderful photos and memories of your precious newborn who has arrived in this strange situation. I am Liz, a newborn and family photographer near Cambridge. I want to help you get the best photos of your newborn that you can do at home with very little props and with your own camera phone or camera if you have one. You will create some wonderful photos that you can share with your family who aren’t able to come and visit you at this time.
These photos are best taken when you have a warm, clean, well-fed baby at around 6-10 days old. You don’t have to have an undressed baby, but if you do, then perhaps wait until the cord has fallen off. If you don’t catch your baby before they head into their first growth spurt at about 12 days, then don’t worry, you can do these after then or when they have fallen into a deep sleep after a feed.
You will need
- Have your set- up ready
- A warm room, around 25 degrees, especially if you want some unclothed baby photos
- Have someone to help, we call it a spotter, just in case the baby decides to move. Safety comes first at all times.
- Have a plain, white or neutral colour blanket for swaddling
- Have a soft toy or snuggly blanket ready to include in one of the photos. This helps to show how tiny your little bundle is.
- Camera – a DSLR if you have one, Holiday point and shoot or even your phone.
- A plain white, or neutral blanket or even your duvet without its cover for baby to lay on.
- A large beanbag, large footstool, end of your couch if it is detachable or my favourite your large bed.
- Good window light
Camera and Light
You can use your phone as they are so advanced now, but hey do have limitations or you can use your holiday camera. If you have a DSLR then try and keep your depth of field to about f3.5. Your ISO will depend on how much light you have coming in and try to keep your shutter speed high enough that you won’t get any motion blur.
The best light will be first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon. Never try and use the midday light, it is far too harsh. Keep out of harsh light. if you look on your floor and see where the light falls, avoid the bright patches, you want to be in the shaded area. You don’t want any bright patches falling on the baby or the blanket you will be using.
Top tip – stand by the window, if someone cant see what colour your eyes are the light is too bright. Move away from the window until your eye colour is visible and there is even light over your face, your skin tones will be lovely and even. The side nearest the window will be slightly brighter than the other. but that’s what we are looking for. If your light is still too bright you can diffuse the light by hanging up a net or voile curtain at the window if you have one.
Using your beanbag or footstool or my personal favourite your own bed you will need to place this near the window in the soft light. Cover with a couple of blankets and top with your final cover of choice. This will make a lovely soft cosy cover for your baby to lie on. Safety always comes first. You need plenty of space around your baby and someone to be on hand while you are taking the photos, incase baby moves suddenly. We call this a spotter, often Dad is a great spotter.
If you are going to take some photos of your baby unclothed or in just a nappy then make sure you place them onto a warm blanket. A good way of doing this is to use a war, hot water bottle, not boiling water. Place it on the blanket for a few minutes before you put baby on there. Always check the temperature of the blanket with your wrist before lying them down.
Most babies do love to be swaddled, they feel safe, warm and swaddling can calm an unsettled baby. You don’t need any fancy wraps as I use in my newborn photography sessions. You can use a square baby blanket or shawl. A family shawl makes great photos.
- In a warm room have your blanket open out flat. Fold it in half diagonally to make a triangle, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Undress your baby and place them in the middle of the blanket so the edge is at the top of their shoulders.
- Place one arm by their side and pull the corner of the blanket firmly across the baby making sure their arm stays down,
- Roll baby to one side and tuck the blanket under your baby, making sure it is flat and comfortable.
- Bring the other arm down against the baby’s body and bring the other side of the blanket firmly over the baby’s body and tucking underneath.
- You should still be able to get 2 fingers under the neck and stretch the blanket, this makes sure it is not too tight.
- You now have the perfect swaddle
Place your swaddled baby safely into the centre of your beanbag or well away from the edge of the bed with their face towards the light.
Top tip – don’t stand at the bottom of your baby so that you photograph straight up the nose. come around the side and slightly above. Your angle should be more down the nose.
no.1 – Headshot. Turn your baby’s head slightly so the face is towards the light. Remember not to stand in your light when you are taking the photo. This is a great photo to get closer details of eyes, nose and lips. Your baby should fill 1/3 of the frame. Head and shoulders. Rember stand above your by and don’t shoot up the nose, Get close!
no 2 – Get closer! get in really close to getting finer details like eyelashes, ears, lips.
no.3 – Full body shot. stand back and take a photo of your baby full length. You can always add a toy or gift. This helps to show how small your little one is compared to the toy. Keep the toy simple and not too bright or colourful. These photos are about your baby not the toys or gifts. Place the toy to the opposite side of the light. Remember those angles – not up the nose and slightly above.
no.4 – Hands and Feet. Don’t forget to photograph hands, feet, birthmarks, eyelashes. I just adore baby feet. It may not be a photograph that you have big on a wall but pop it in a cute little frame on your bedside table and it’s the first thing you will see when you wake up and the last thing you see when you go to sleep. Light the area that you are photographing, so you may need to move baby slightly. Unwrap baby’s feet and use the blanket to prop them up a bit. Get in close and fill the screen with feet and blanket. They can be side by side, one on top, whatever you want
no.5 – You with Baby. Keep the baby where they are facing the light. Place one hand under your baby’s head and the other on their chest. Get your head in close, temple to temple and close your eyes. Alternatively, you could kiss the baby on the temple. Get in close to take the photo.
no.6 – Unswaddle. Slowly undo the blanket letting baby wriggle and stretch. You will get some wonderful expressions, arms will stretch out up above their head. Just keep taking photos, don’t miss these moments just remember to keep the head into the lights, so you may have to turn baby slightly and don’t photograph up the nose.
If you have taken some wonderful photos of your baby and want me to edit them for you, please contact me, I’d be more than happy to do so. If you are struggling to get it right then also get in touch and we can do a video call to help you.
If you have had a newborn during this lockdown period and have not been able to book a newborn photography session then I would like to offer you a baby session with me with a 50% discount. There are a limited number of spaces available and are not available for those already booked with me. To find out more details of these limited sessions, please contact me here
Find out more about my newborn and family photography here
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