Welcoming a sweet, squishy baby to your growing family has to be one of life’s most precious moments. In this post, I go over five newborn photography tips on how to capture your little one’s debut with your own camera.
Our second son, Gavin, is roughly a week old… and our hearts are filled with so much joy. He seriously makes our family complete. Lifestyle and portrait photography has always been a passion of mine, so naturally I couldn’t wait to take some shots of our newborn (along with his older brother).
While many parents choose to hire a professional photographer for these sessions, I’m usually pretty excited to capture these moments on my own. I totally understand that it might be a little intimidating to be the one behind the camera… and that’s completely normal. So here are five tips to help make this experience a little less stressful and a lot more fun.
(1) UTILIZE NATURAL LIGHTING & TEXTURES:
I cannot emphasize this enough, always opt for natural light when you have access to it. I took these photographs at our neighborhood park, in a slightly shaded area, around 9:30AM. You want to avoid direct sunlight, so I find that the early morning and late afternoon hours work best for outdoor photography.
Taking your own family portraits does not have to be expensive. I grabbed items we already had laying around the house, so the pictures you see here literally cost absolutely nothing. Don’t be afraid to utilize multiple textures and colors. The basket was leftover from Easter, flowers were from my mother-in-law and the white blanket usually lives on the back of our living room chair. By using what you already have on hand, I feel that it makes the end result completely priceless. For example, I will always think of these newborn moments when I cuddle on the couch with this white chunky blanket to watch a movie.
(2) PLAY WITH DIFFERENT ANGLES & FILTERS:
Instead of staying stationary for each photograph, get up and move around. Take a few pictures up close and then another from farther away. Don’t be afraid to lay down in the grass to catch a non-traditional perspective. You may end up with an entirely different photograph than planned (and absolutely love it).
Personal Note: One of my favorite things about taking my own pictures is having access to “the outtakes”. These are the shots that a professional might not include in your final package. Perhaps the angle is slightly off (pictured above), or one of your children is goofing off (pictured below). No matter what the “issue” is, I personally love having these as a part of my collection.
I also suggest that you play around with filters and see if you prefer the moment in another color. You can completely change the mood of a snapshot by simply switching it to black and white (or sepia). See the example below.
(3) CAPTURE ALL THOSE TINY DETAILS:
The first thing I noticed when our older son, Dylan, came to the hospital to meet Gavin was the size of his hands. I never realized how grown-up our “big boy” had become. During our shoot, I tried to focus on these tiny details so I could preserve them in a time capsule to treasure forever.
Make sure to snap a shot of their tiny toes, pouty little lips, curves of their sweet face and fragile fingers. Trust me, you will treasure these more than you think in the end.
(4) TAKE YOUR TIME & SHOOT MULTIPLE DAYS IF NECESSARY:
Most photographers will tell you that the first 10 days of life are best for photographs. While I somewhat agree with this (mainly because they sleep 20+ hours a day), I also do not want to limit myself to a specific timeframe. Perhaps you had a c-section, like me, and aren’t mobile for the first few days (or week)… and that’s OK. The beauty of taking your own pictures is the freedom of time. Don’t stress out about the clock; I truly believe anytime you set aside in the first month for these types of photos will work out perfectly.
A few other tips for each photography session:
- I find it best to do these after a feeding. This is when your little one is extremely sleepy and “mold-able”.
- Keep your baby warm with a space heater. I personally think that babies photograph best naked, so if you’re shooting indoors I think the heater is a good call. Since we were outdoors, the North Carolina humidity served as my heat source.
- If you are posing your little on on top of a box, boppy pillow or above ground somehow, make sure to have a spotter with you. First and foremost, your baby’s safety is what’s important here.
(5) INCLUDE OLDER SIBLINGS:
While you have your camera out, you might as well take some sibling shots. To be honest, these turned out to be some of my favorites (I’ve already ordered them online to be printed on canvas). Our toddler was very curious and excited about taking pictures with “his baby”, so we took our sibling photos first. I also promised him a scoop of ice cream with gummy bears if he cooperated. It worked wonders. Older siblings might be more flexible, but I still recommend taking brother and sister poses during the beginning of your photo session.
Photographing your newborn (and family) should be a joyous occasion. I hope these tips have encouraged you to grab your camera and capture some memories. They really do “grow up so fast”.
If you would still like to hire someone to capture your little one’s arrival, I’d love to help you with that! Send me an email and we can chat. 🙂
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