It’s the first few days since your new bundle of joy has arrived, and you’re excited to take newborn photos. It’s highly likely your loved ones are also dying to take awesome pictures of their own! Before you spend hundreds of dollars on a professional photographer, you might consider DIY newborn photography. Not only will you save money, but your photos will have that personal touch that only new parents can provide.
If you always wondered how others have DIYed their newborn pictures, wonder no more! Check out these handy do-it-yourself tips to get perfect pictures of your baby’s first days. With a little patience and preparation, you can create pictures of newborn babies that look great!
1. Pace Yourself
With all the excitement and joy of a newborn, the adrenaline can sometimes cause you to rush. However, good photography takes a steady hand, sharp eye, and patience, especially when photographing a newborn baby. First, you need to mind your health. After all, your body needs to recover! Give yourself some time to recoup and rest when needed. Your baby won’t lose any cuteness in the short time that you are napping.
Don’t try to do everything at once! Again, when you get started, the excitement will sometimes take over, and you may want to actualize every idea that comes to mind. Resist the urge to become a super-shutterbug! As with most things, photography is a game of quality over quantity. It’s better to get five or six excellent photos in a single session, instead of one-hundred unusable poor shots.
The baby is the last step of setup. Many first-time newborn photographers will get the baby all set correctly and then grab their camera and fix the lighting. By the time they return, the baby is in an entirely different position and mood! Instead, you should get everything in place first, and let your little one be the last step in setting up the perfect picture. This way, you don’t have any surprises before snapping that shutter!
Naptime is “snap time.” When taking newborn pictures, ten days old is the golden time. Newborns are still in that ultra sleepy phase in those first ten days. This sleepiness time is the best time to capture the perfect portrait. Plan your photography session around their sleep patterns.
2. Safety, Safety, Safety
Along with keeping yourself safe and sound as you capture these precious memories, consider your newborn’s safety. Sometimes in the hunt for that perfect pic, some people will take some risks. You, on the other hand, should not. Nothing is worth the security of your child.
If you simply must have that fantastic shot, consider asking a friend to help you. Your friend can help secure the baby, not just from potentially falling but also from things falling on them. Keep simplicity at the forefront when deciding how to do your newborn photo-shoot. This means keeping your expectations realistic.
Remember that your baby is still extremely fragile. It’s easy to break bones, tear ligaments, and injure their tiny muscles. If you want to pose them, do so extremely carefully! Don’t go for elaborate or unnatural baby postures. Instead, keep things simple and natural. Simplicity will make the shots easier for both you and your baby.
3. Get Baby Ready
This tip is specifically dependent on your baby. However, most babies (just like adults) tend to stay calmer when they have full bellies. After a satisfying meal, your baby may want to sleep, which is beneficial for that coveted photo-op. Of course, this might not be true for your baby, and you know them best.
The other related point here is to make sure that their diaper is clean. No-one likes feeling messy or dirty. Besides, an upset baby makes everything harder, including taking good newborn baby pictures.
4. Lighting is Everything
One of the most challenging aspects of taking great photos is good lighting. When engaging in DIY newborn photography, babies typically don’t react well to camera flashes or hot studio lamps. Beyond the adverse effects that artificial light can have on your newborn’s mood, photographers generally agree that natural light is best for photos, especially when trying to take images of a newborn baby.
Find a space with a natural light flow, and be sure that no artificial light is on. You don’t want light coming from directly above or below your infant. Instead, the light should lightly glance at them. You’ll know when it’s right because it will just perfect. Pay particular attention to any facial shadowing on your baby to find that perfect natural light angle. Generally, you want to let a lot of natural light fill the room without “blowing out” the subject. You can use thin curtains to filter any excess light as needed.
5. Prepare Props and Backgrounds for the Photo Shoot
While nothing could steal the spotlight from your beautiful bundle of joy, a prop or two can enhance the scene. The key to cute newborn pictures is preparation, but one accessory often overlooked is the background. Items like laundry, utilities, or office furniture, just don’t fit the atmosphere of “cute and cuddly baby photos.” A few well-placed newborn photography props can be the difference between a keeper, or a helper.
Again, simplicity is key here. Your props needn’t be elaborate; simple bedsheets, pillows, or your baby’s favorite stuffed bear will do wonders!
6. Capture the Tiny Details
When it’s time to take close-ups, an eye for detail can really pay off! While you can use your standard camera lens for these shots, a macro lens can help expose extra detail and make your portrait pop.
What you want to highlight here are your newborn’s unique details: the little features that make them unique. Their face, hands, fingers, toes, any little thing that makes you smile. We know it’s hard to pick just one, so don’t! Take as many as you like.
7. Try a Different Angle
Although you might do this naturally without thinking about it, it’s always good to take several angles of a particular shot or pose. One of the reasons why professional newborn baby photos look so good is because the photographer captures several viewpoints of each pose. Multiple angles allow the photographer to select the best shot from each set.
In addition to selecting the best angles, you never know when you might want to see a pose from a different perspective. The whole point of DIY newborn photography is to capture memories that you can share and look back on to remember these fantastic years. So give yourself plenty of options. Avoid the apparent bad angles, such as directly up their nose – nobody wants to see that! Take your time, and snap the perspectives that make sense.
8. Get Help
While taking photos of your baby is an exciting time, it can be challenging to get that perfect shot. Don’t wear yourself out trying to attain perfection. There’s a reason that professional photographers exist.
DIY newborn photography can be hard work. Don’t be ashamed to for help from your loved ones. You should also ensure to take as many breaks as needed, especially if you are feeling tired. Your photos will suffer if you are tired. Besides, it’s simply not healthy for you!
9. Involve Yourself and Other Family Members
In all the exhilaration of capturing the newest family member, don’t forget to take some group shots with the rest of the family included! These family photos with your newborn can be an excellent way for everyone to remember this extraordinary time.
Include yourself, too! You’d be surprised at how often photographers neglect to include themselves in the shots. Go ahead and get yourself in there. When your baby has grown into adulthood, they will treasure these unique photos with family and friends: you don’t want to miss that! Additionally, these photos can let older siblings know that they are still valued and part of the family, which may not always be apparent.
Some other creative group newborn photo ideas could be shots with all the brothers or sisters lined-up, or matching outfits. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s part of the DIY touch that makes your photos unique.
10. Edit Your Photos
Whether you snapped the perfect pic or not, some corrections and enhancements can be applied digitally. Using modern photo-editing software (some of which are free), touch-ups and filters can create the perfect look. Even modern smartphones usually include photo-enhancement features and filters, which can dramatically change the overall picture.
Even simple changes such as applying gray-scale, color desaturation, or leveling can significantly impact a photo’s presentation. If you’re feeling ambitious, apps like Instagram and Snapchat can help you apply stickers and effects to make something entirely different. With the right effects and filters, you can create a masterpiece that resembles or even rivals a professional baby picture.
DIY newborn photography may take a bit of prep work, but the results are genuinely one-of-a-kind. It’s a labor of love that will show in every single photo. Using personal props, backdrops, and even your own editing style, you can create special memories that the entire family will enjoy.