It has been 5 weeks since my last newborn photography session. And I miss it terribly!
I miss the calmness of my white studio, I miss holding those cute babies, I miss laughing with parents. I miss telling beautiful stories! As a newborn photographer, it breaks my heart that I am unable to capture those very fleeting moments of your baby and precious memories of your family.
At first, I was quite disappointed but hey, we are all in the same boat here and there is nothing we can do. We are living in a very crazy time right now where the most important thing is to stay safe and stay sane!
It’s true. The newborn phase is fleeting. Babies change so much in the first 3 weeks and you won’t get that time back.
But you know what? For any mums in this world, that baby will always be her baby. My daughter is 8 and she is my baby! I’m 39 and my dad sometimes still calls me my baby!! I never turned down (and never will) a baby because older than 2 weeks, that’s crazy! I photographed babies of 6 weeks. Babies up of 12 weeks! And yes, these sessions were different but just as beautiful. The love, the emotions, the connection is just the same.
The age of a baby won’t change the fact that you can tell a unique and memorable story, always. And I’m looking forward to that day when I’ll be allowed to pick up my camera again to start telling more incredible stories. Stories that will be more emotional and passionate than ever.
But till then . . . the only thing I can do is staying close to you helping you with some useful tips and advice.
So here my free guide “How to DIY the best Newborn Photos at home”
Firstly, know that your photos are not going to look the same as professional photos, and that’s ok! You are already doing great already as a mum, believe me! So don’t be disappointed if you have a poor result, but try to be grateful that you have a memory. You can always try again the day after 😉
You are capturing some precious memories, and that is all that matters!
Also, the safety and comfort of your baby are more important than any photo. Please do not attempt any poses that you see newborn photographers do – we are trained in newborn safety and posing. Instagram or Pinterest are great places for inspiration but reproducing poses you see there can be dangerous for your baby. Please keep it simple, keep it real.
Pets and siblings should never be photographed with a newborn without another adult right there to keep an eye (and hand!) on the baby. For pets especially photographers work with composite images.
When you are taking photos above baby, always wear the camera strap around your neck. I would suggest keeping your phone securely held too.
Listen for baby’s cues. Your little one may start to tell you they have had enough. And pace yourself – you just had a baby and will need rest!
If you need to break it up over a few days, that’s OK!
Newborn photos at home should be fun! And will challenge you do try something different.
- your beautiful baby, of course!
- your mobile phone or camera if you have
- a white duvet/blanket/bed sheet for your background
- simple white vest for baby and plain muslins
- light – a nice big window works miracles
The most important thing is light
Try to take your photos in the room that has the best gentle window light (not direct sunlight). It can be your bedroom, the living room, the nursery. North facing windows are great! You are lucky that we are in springs now and the weather is amazing so I believe there is plenty of light in any place.
Remember you are after a soft light, not hot patches of light. If you have only windows with direct light use sheer curtains if you have (a white shower curtain will save you). If the sun is out a white bed sheet could work as well, however, it will cut down lots of light.
Also, neutral walls are better than coloured ones that will cast that shade on the baby skin. So pick a room with neutral walls.
When positioning baby close to the window, make sure the light is coming from the side or towards the top of the baby’s head. Avoid photographing your baby with the light hitting up the nose.
Natural Overhead Images
- Spread a blanket, swaddle wrap or sheet on the bed near a window. The best choice would be a neutral colour like white, cream or grey. If you prefer you can have a very soft pattern (polka dot or stars but very light)
- Position baby with light coming from the side or top of the baby’s head.
- Take photos looking straight down – do not take photos up baby’s nose.
- Move around to find different angles
- Take close up as well as full-body images
On the bed
Position your baby on the big bed (usually in the master bedroom). As mentioned before use simple and neutral bedding for the best result.
Lay baby on the bottom half of the bed, with the head towards the side window.
Get down and take photos at baby’s eye-level. Take a few images from here wide with all the bed and then just baby.
Then mum go and lay down behind the baby for a gorgeous shot! Then swap with dad and put a timer to have both of you in the picture.
Mum leans on the bed head, raise your knees and hold your baby facing you. Get dad to take a photo on the side and from the top.
You should get a beautiful series from this simple set up.
In the cot
Lay baby down in the cot (or Moses basket), head towards the window (move the crib close to the window if needed, and practical).
Take photos from various angles, for example:
Looking straight down
Through cot slats
With a parent leaning over the cot, hand on the baby. Same if there is a sibling.
Some details are also cute to document and remember.
Lay baby down on a simple white or neutral coloured blanket or sheet, close to a window.
Focus on just one body part at a time, and make the whole photo just about that body part.
Take photos of your baby’s hands and fingers, feet and toes, nose, lips, belly button, and wisps of hair. Don’t forget the little rolls and flaky skin!
To get the best photos here you should have a macro lens. So, of course, don’t be upset if phones won’t give you the same result. Try your best getting as close as you can and see what happens.
Parent and Baby
Make sure you are in these photos! Have a shower, put some makeup on and please be there!
You can stand in front of a window, you can sit on the sofa or on the bed with your window on your side.
You can breastfeed. You can cuddle, you can kiss your baby. Do what you want but exist in these precious photos! If not at least have your hands in the photos with your baby.
Try different angles: straight on, from the side, from behind over parent’s shoulder and have fun with your partner. Take each other’s photos and then you can put the self-timer and try to be all together.
A few years ago I wrote a post about taking photos with your iPhone and there are some useful tips about composition and general rules to follow. It might be useful too.
Feel free to reach me if you need any help or further advice. You can email me at email@example.com