Beautiful life moments are still happening during lockdown. I am really missing photographing newborn babies and their families and capturing those first precious memories of this special time. As the current restrictions mean a photographer can’t safely come into your home for a newborn photo shoot, I wanted to help parents capture their own special photographs of their new baby. Here are some simple tips you can follow to take your own gorgeous photographs of your newborn.
The easiest time to photograph your newborn is when they are very sleepy. Choose a time in the day when your baby is very sleepy and full up on milk. When newborn babies are awake, a lot of their movements are erratic and involuntary. Their eyes cannot focus and they sometimes go cross eyed! It is amazing how wriggly even the tiniest baby can be and this makes it difficult to take clear photographs. Choose a time in the day when your baby sleeps easily and is full up on milk.
Heat The Room
It is lovely to capture a newborn baby with their features exposed- which often means they may only be wearing a nappy. To keep your newborn baby content, it is really important to have the room toasty warm. As a guide- if you are still comfortable in a jumper it is way too cold!! A warm baby will be much easier to keep settled while you photograph them and move them around.
The sound sleeper app on my phone is a tool that I use a lot during newborn shoots. White noise, close to your baby can help them settle and keep them relaxed.
Swaddling a baby tight in a blanket is a great way to start a shoot. It will help them to feel warm and secure and you can place them swaddled on your backdrop. You can photograph their beautiful newborn facial features- long eyelashes, button nose and sweet lips while they stay still (and hopefully asleep!). You can then start to slowly release the swaddle slightly, letting out arms and hands.
Light is the most important factor that will make your images look great! Natural light is your best friend. Window light is perfect. Move your baby to the natural light. Don’t be tempted to turn on the ceiling lights and stay away from using a flash. Soft, natural light is what we love and is what January tends to bring. If you are photographing at other times of the year, stay away from harsh sunlight as this does not light us in a flattering way. Side window light will light your baby gently, creating soft shadows and highlights which will look beautiful from different angles.
My advice to posing your newborn- is don’t! Professional newborn photographers are trained on how to pose babies safely. A baby can be easily hurt if you try to pose them into a position. Some poses that you see on professional photographers websites are actually made up of composites- that means photographs have been merged together as the pose was supported by a hand that was later removed in photoshop. Ever seen a baby holding her own head up on her hands? A baby cannot do this naturally and definitely not safely. A photographer has supported poses like this and then edited it to look natural.
The more newborn photoshoots I do, the less I pose. I love the way babies naturally curl up or throw their arms up next to their ears. I think this is more authentic and the memories from these photographs are more natural and real.
You probably already have some beautiful backdrops in your home that will look great in your photographs. Rugs, throws and blankets of different textures and colours work well. Plain backdrops work best as they keep the focus on you baby and won’t clash with patterns on clothes.
Camera Settings and Shooting
Gorgeous newborn photographs can be taken with any camera or phone. If you can adjust settings on your camera, using a wide aperture can help you to focus and capture the details. Using portrait mode will also blur the background keeping your baby the main focus. Taking photographs from different levels and different perspectives will create variety. Getting in really close can help you capture those gorgeous details- tiny toes and curled, tiny fists.
Get In The Photograph
Look at your camera roll on your phone- how many photographs have you got of you with your newborn baby?! Hundreds of baby, 1 or 2 of you? I get it- especially Mum. I know, when you have just had a baby and you are exhausted and sore, the last thing you probably want to do is get in front of the camera. In years to come, the most precious images will be the ones of your newborn baby in your arms. It will take you right back to how it felt to snuggle your baby and how they fitted right against your body, safe and secure. When your little ones are all grown up, they won’t care what you looked like in the photograph. They just care that you are in them as part of the story. Family photographs are rare but mean so much as time goes by. Most cameras have a timer setting which helps you all get into those family photographs.
I can’t wait to get back out to capture these first precious memories for families. I offer natural newborn shoots in your home, which make them unique to you with the backdrop of your home adding to your memories. I am very excited to be offering newborn keepsake films too which really do freeze these precious moments in time in a way no other media can. Please contact me for more information.
For now, keep those tiny precious ones safe by capturing your own memories, until it is safe for us to return to capture them for you x