I am a big fan of getting professional family photos done each year. I love to have the documentation of how our family is changing and evolving over time. Likewise, documenting your newest arrival is a great way to celebrate their birth and joining of your family. Sometimes though the reality of living within a budget means that shelling out the cash for professional photos just isn’t an option. That’s where taking your own newborn pictures steps in.
The idea can seem overwhelming at first but with the following tips you can get some great keepsake photos of your little one. Ideally, you want to do your pictures within the first 7 to 10 days but that is just a general guideline and whenever you are feeling up to it- go for it! Below are some photos of Jacob that I’ve taken as well as some tips to help you do your own newborn photos. Whether you are shooting on automatic or on manual you can create some beautiful pictures that will become treasures as baby grows.
*I am not a professional photographer or an expert by any means however these are tips that have worked for me.
Plan your set up ahead of time. Take some time to decide on how you want to set your space up. Gather the items you will use and lay items out. Remember to keep baby’s safety and comfort in mind. Using a heat lamp or a small heater to keep the space warm will help keep baby comfortable. If you follow me on Instagram I shared a picture of one of the set-ups I used for some photos. In it you can see the vinyl bean bag that I made (instructions how to make it can be found here. I will use it for a number of photo shoots in the future and it gets used as a place for the kids to sit and read books in between shoots). You can also see the heat lamp we have, the extra blankets and props nearby etc. Below is a second set up.You can use a couch, large pillows, a chair etc. Play around with what you have and find what will work for you. Just keep baby’s safety in mind as you don’t want them rolling or sliding off of something while you are busy trying to capture that perfect picture. You may also want to use absorbent pads if you are planning on doing naked photos.It’s all about the light. In order to get the clearest photos with the least amount of shadows you want to do your photos near a natural light source. Figure out ahead of time which area of your home and at which time would make the best setting for photos. You will want to make sure that baby is not in direct sunlight and place baby’s face slightly closer to the window than their feet. There are lots of tutorials on Youtube and Pinterest on how to find the best light.
Focus on the details. Feet, fingers, ears, hair, lips; all of these little body parts are just so adorable! Babies grow and change so quickly that documenting the small details make great photos and a nice keepsake.
Go with what you get. It took me two hours to get his little one to sleep the first time I tried to take a few pictures. In the meantime, the photo below was taken while he was still partially awake. I would have preferred that he not have his fingers in his mouth but it still looks ok. Use simple props that you have on hand. With newborns simplicity is king. It really doesn’t take much to make a beautiful picture. Below Jacob is wrapped in a simple white cheese cloth and I used a scarf to make the heart around him. I didn’t have to move or maneuver him at all to get this picture which limited the chance of me waking him up. Use simple editing tools. While a Photoshop subscription is on my ongoing wish list I used PicMonkey– a free basic editing website for these photos. Cropping photos, adjusting the colours and the exposure are basic edits you can do to enhance your photos. Another thing I love to do for newborn photos is to make them black and white as I did above. Below are two pictures so you can see the original one and then the edited one.If other people are home enlist their help. Extra hands are a good thing when it comes to try and capture pictures of little ones so if you have anyone around who is willing to help- make use of them!Accept that your photos won’t be perfect. You are not a professional photographer and that means that your pictures won’t be perfect. An angle may be off, the blanket may look wrinkled or the photo may be slightly off focus etc. The best way to counter this is practice. In the meantime though you are documenting your child at that particular stage in life and that is a wonderful keepsake no matter what!