DIY Newborn Photography

So many of us have been affected by COVID-19. My heart and prayers go out to you!

I recently had to turn down a newborn session and I felt so torn about it. Part of me really wanted to go and document this time for them (for a brief second). But I believe that would be irresponsible for me as a photographer, an American, a mom and a Grandmother.

This new mom said something to me about being disappointed about not getting photos in the early days of their newborns life. And then she said that she would take some with her phone.

My response?

YES!!!

DO IT!!!

These are crazy days like we have never experienced and they are a part of our story! They NEED to be documented.

I told this momma that I would put together some tips and send them over to her. Then I thought I would share them here. Here you go!

1.   Lighting 

The most important element is light. My favorite source of light is simply a window. Avoid direct sunlight, however. If sunlight is shining through the window, you may want to wait until a different time of day. I like to place the baby at a 45 degree angle with the window. You can use a white poster board, foam board or even a sheet to bounce light from the window to light up the shadows.

In this photo, the baby kept turning towards the light. I loved how it lit up his face, but I should have used a reflector to light up the shadows. But hey, with newborns, you just have to go with it sometimes. They certainly call the shots! 

2.   Comfort

If you do want those naked baby photos, you’re going to need to crank up the heat. And when I say crank up the heat, I’m talking 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Personally, I typically have parents turn up their heater to 75 degrees and I bring along a space heater that I have pointing towards the baby at all times. (Don’t put the heat too close!). I always figure that if I am sweating, then the baby is warm enough! In the photo below, we were able to get this shot because the room was plenty warm and she did not even wake up!

3.   Posing Tools

Once you have a warm room and some nice window light, the basic setup for newborn photos is really simple: grab cushions off your couch, a bean bag, chairs from your kitchen, and a boppy or other pillow, then cover it all with a pretty textured throw that doesn’t show wrinkles.

4.   Props

My favorite props are things that you can, most likely, find around your house!

Fuzzy blankets- great texture makes great photos plus keeps the baby warm which keeps them more comfy.

Chair or sofa

Baskets

Crates

Throw rugs

Hardwood floors

Use your bed with lots of pretty pillows in the background

5.   Be Patient!

You are at the mercy of the baby when it comes to newborn photography and you need to embrace that fact and be patient.  Make sure the baby is fed, dry and completely asleep before attempting to pose baby. I have spent up to 3 hours trying to get those posed photos of babies! 

Pro tip: Wait until the baby is sound asleep and in position before taking off the diaper. It lessens your chance of being peed or pooped on. If you want naked baby shots, be prepared for pee and poop- 100% of babies will do this in a session!

I use layers of  changing pads under the baby to protect pillows and furniture and to keep babies comfortable. When one gets soiled, I pull it out and have a dry one underneath and ready to go!

5.   Perspective

The most common thing to photograph on a baby is the face. Just make sure you’re not shooting up the baby’s nose. The dark (and usually red), unattractive nostrils will end up dominating the shot.

Make sure the baby’s head is composed higher than the body. You don’t want it to look like the baby is falling down hill! The images below demonstrate tilt nicely. 

5.   Don’t Forget the Details and also Mom and Dad

You want to capture and remember those sweet little mouths, their hair, eyes, ears and even the umbilical cord. Use the macro feature on your phone to get close ups of these. They do a pretty good job.

Also remember to get photos of mom and dad holding baby. In my opinion, these are the most important!

This is just a short list to get you started capturing some beautiful photos of your new baby. I would love to answer any questions you may have and I definately want to see your images!

God bless you and your little one!!!

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