Newborn Photography Tips

  • Sleeping Baby Poses

Newborn photo shoots work best when the baby is 3 to 9 days old. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but a good guideline to follow. The reasoning is because the newborn
baby sleeps a lot during this period. A sleeping baby makes it easier to get those adorable, precious poses. Babies that are awake are less likely to stay in the position you want to them to be in. They squirm, stretch, flail and more. The space you use to shoot needs to be VERY WARM. You should be sweating.  Use a space heater or even two heaters. Babies love the warmth and heat is especially important when the baby will be naked or scantily clothed.  Another way to keep baby warm and asleep is to put a heating pad on low under the blanket which he/she is laying on. Be very cautious when using a heating pad make sure that it’s covered with a blanket and when you put your hand on it, it should feel just a bit warm. 


  • Lighting Your Shoot

Indirect window lighting is great for newborn shots. Set up in front of the best window light the house provides.  Use whatever part of the house provides the window lighting
best lighting.  A sliding patio door is ideal . If there are no good windows and the weather is nice, you can open a door to let the light in. Buy a couple and learn how to use them. Position one off to the side and then use the other for extra light right on the baby. An inexpensive option is to buy white core boards from Walmart or Target  and position those to reflect light from the sides. You can find these in the school supply section of the store.   There are times when a flash will be helpful.   Buy a speed flash and bounce the flash off the ceiling or walls. Reduce the strength until you get a nice soft, natural looking light. If you don’t have a bouncable flash try bumping up the ISO setting on your camera and increasing the aperture setting – this will mean you won’t need to use the flash at all if there is at least some natural light in the room. The other strategy would be to diffuse the flash a little by putting some tissue over the flash.

  • Improvising a “studio:”

Use a soft, mold-able surface to lay the baby on.  A bean bag works great for this. You can also use large ottoman. Layer the blankets you plan to use over the beanbag1beanbag2bean bag, with water proof mattress pads in between each blanket layer, so if the baby pees, it will stop at the mattress pad and not go down to the next blanket. Have all your blankets laid out so that when you want to change “backdrops” it is as easy as lifting baby and pulling the top blanket up and off (and then tucking heating pad under the blanket below). Try to pull the blankets tight enough so there are no wrinkles and folds.  Put space heaters close enough so that the baby feels the warmth, but not so close you overheat the baby.  Position reflectors or white boards on the sides to reflect more light into your “studio.”

  • Getting a great pose:

One key to many natural baby shots is to get down on their level. Getting down low and getting in close does present some challenges in terms of focal newborn-baby
length,  but it means you end up with shots that feel like you’ve entered the babies world rather than you’re looking down on him from above. Once the space is warm and cozy for the baby and the blanket is warm, lay the baby down. She doen’t need to be a sleep before laying down on the blanket. You can lay an awake baby and get them to sleep while on the bean bag.  Slowly work baby into a pose on his or her belly or back. Don’t worry if it is not the exact pose you are trying to get , just get them into what looks to you to be a sweet shot. Frame your shot and then tilt your camera before you take the shot! Tilting the camera makes all the difference in the world and gives your photos a professional looks because that’s one of the techniques that professional baby photographers use.

Any blankets you use need to have texture. The texture helps hide creases and gives a matte finish, while those with little texture show creases and lines, and Babyalso reflect light. Props can be baskets, headbands, wraps, hats and more. Make sure that they are sweet and subtle. Try not to use things that are going to date your pictures, something that is likely to be a passing “fad.”I love to use wraps because those can be used with the diaper on, allowing for longer posing and more use of your blanket/backdrop. Also, they often provide just enough of that “something special” for your shot.

DO NOT:

      • Use blankets that have a sheen to them;  reflects light on all the creases in the blanket.
      • Shoot up the baby’s nose. Try to shoot head on, from above, from the side, etc. Avoid shots that look up the baby’s nose.
      • Let baby’s head stay buried into the blanket. Pay attention and gently reposition the baby’s head.
      • Tilt camera so far you can’t straighten the photograph. Tilts can make the shot, but they can also ruin the shot

 

 Go Macro

newborn-feet
We all love newborn babies because they are tiny precious people.  As a whole they are cute but they also are made up of many little cute body parts that present a photographer with a ton of
wonderful subject matter – especially if you zoom in on them.If your camera has a macro mode or if you’re lucky enough to have a macro lens,  use it to isolate a single body part (like a hand, an ear, a foot, a mouth etc) and use that as the complete focus of your shot.Doing this accentuates the detail that is often missed in the shots many of us take – and you’ll find they punctuate your full collection of photos beautifully and can even make great feature shots.

Identify Happy Times

smiling newborn
Another challenge with newborns is that they don’t tend to spend a lot of time smiling. In fact they they spend most of their time sleeping, feeding, wetting, pooping, crying. Keep on the look out for those times in your baby’s life when he or she seems most settled and content. They may not smile yet but there are times in a daily routine which are better than others for photos. Bath time might be a great opportunity to get awesome photos of your infant.

Keep Taking Photos

pretty photographer
Babies change every day, especially in the first few months. It’s amazing to watch. However unless you’re looking for the changes you can easily miss them so it’s it’s important to take shots regularly. Many parents take hundreds of shots in the first few days after their baby is born but then don’t take any photos again for weeks. They then realise how much their baby has changed in those weeks and have missed the opportunity to record those changes.
Newborn Photography Made Easy

Post Processing

Many photos you see of babies on the internet are quite amazing in how smooth and perfect look. The reality is that many babies are not quite so “perfect” (however much their parents think they are). Little scratches, sleep in the eyes, snotty noses, dried milk around the mouth, blotchy skin, birth marks and bumps etc. are common for all babies. No matter how careful you are before and after
when taking pictures of your little one, you’re bound to see some areas that need to be cleaned up. Many babies don’t have perfect skin. Sometimes you don’t mind the rash or drool running down the chin, they show your baby as he or she is and there’s nothing wrong with that. However at times they can be a little distracting and for those special shots that you might like to give as gifts you might like to do a little Photoshop retouching. Most post processing editing tools will have some sort of airbrush or retouching tool – learn to use it, even if it’s just to smooth over the main marks and you’ll be amazed by the results. Photoshop is an expensive piece of software but you can get Photoshop Elements, which is actually easier to learn and will do everything you need it to do and more, for a reasonable price. It’s a product you shouldn’t be without if you taking lots of photos.

Also, you might also like to experiment with de-saturating the colors in your shots to a lesser extent than going black and white. Leave a little color in your shots and you’ll end up with pastel like images that again soften the feeling of the shots and give it a very different look and feel.

Well, that’s it. Get busy with you camera and take LOTS of photos. You’ll be glad you did.

Newborn Photography Made Easy

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