I hope you’re all staying healthy (and sane!) during this crazy time. With each passing week, it’s getting harder to know exactly when I will be back in my studio. I miss it, and I miss you! I have had several clients who either had their babies or are expecting very soon. I know they are crushed that they won’t be able to get in for newborn photos right away, and my heart goes out to them. We plan on having their sessions when their babies are a little bit older, but in the meantime I’ve been trying to figure out how I can help now. I’ve come up with a list of some tips and tricks for taking some newborn photos on your own at home:
1). If you want sleepy photos, plan to do these around nap time and prepare ahead of time. Have baby in the outfit you want before they fall asleep, have any blankets ready that you want to use. Since naps aren’t always predictable, you can make sure that you’re ready when the time comes.
2). Turn off all overhead lights and find a large window to photograph your baby near. North facing windows are great, but if you don’t have a north facing window, you can see what the light is like at different times of the day elsewhere. Early morning light is usually softest. I tend to avoid photographing in the middle of the day to avoid harsh shadows. Soft, even lighting is what you should be looking for. Try moving closer or farther from your window and see what looks best. If you have curtain rods hanging up, you can clamp a white sheet to them to diffuse some of the light if needed.
3). If you have a white or neutral colored blanket, use that for your photos. Even a white bed sheet will work in a pinch. You can drape the blankets over a boppy pillow, or make a little nest out of them for your baby to lay in. You can incorporate wraps or swaddling blankets to add more texture, too. Messy wraps are great for this, or you can just drape it over/around baby (see photos below). If you have baby in a white or neutral colored onesie, those work great, too. Or you can have baby in just a diaper if your home is warm enough.
4). The direction of light is important. Have baby’s head closest to the light source (ie – window). If you have their feet closest to the window, you’ll be up-lighting, which is not nearly as flattering.
5). Photograph your baby from a lot of different angles. Baby doesn’t move – you do. Take some photos from straight overhead, some from the side, etc. Play around with it and you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t. You can get several different looks without having to move baby at all.
6). Don’t forget to take some detail photos – ears, nose, toes, fingers. I like to get one of them holding one of the parents fingers just to show how little they are.
7). For sibling photos, having baby sleeping on a bed works great. Have big brother or sister lean in and give baby a kiss, or have them hold the baby on a bed with a parent nearby if your older child is old enough to do so. You can use pillows for added support.
8). For in-hospital/fresh 48 photos, the same principles apply. Bring baby towards that big window in your room, take detail photos and photos from different angles.
I know this time is tough, mamas (and dads!), but you’ve got this. I hope you all stay healthy and happy, and I’ll be here waiting to photograph all these special moments for you once again after this is all over.