Every day babies are born. Cute, squishy, tiny, adorable, wrinkly, sleepy babies. And we want pictures of all the sweetness.
Even with the widespread health mandates and stay-home orders, due dates still arrive and little ones are welcomed into the world. And since hospitals and birth centers are closed to outside visitors, I wanted to share some advice and tips on taking your own pictures of your brand-new baby. While these won’t replace a professional photography session, they are still memories-in-hand, and right now that is what matters most.
Firstly, you don’t have to own a big pro-quality camera in order to take pictures of your newborn. Today’s smartphones are pretty amazing and with the right light, angles, and settings can create some beautiful images to match your beautiful memories.
Tip #1- Natural Light
Plan to take these pictures during the day when you’ll be able to use natural light (usually 10am-3pm is best). Ideally, you want to avoid the late afternoon when light may be pouring in as it creates harsh shadows. Next, turn off the overhead light, lamps, and artificial light of any kind. Those types of light create what’s called a “color cast” and can make your baby look either very yellow or very blue, both of which are not good colors for infants.
Tip #2- Be close to the Window
This one goes hand-in-hand with the last tip. Move the bassinet to about 2-3ft away from the window and see how the light looks. You want the head and face to point towards the window so the light to fall gently, creating soft shadows, without being too bright/harsh or too dim. You’ll photograph some of the shots with baby close to your bed in the middle of the room, but for all the individual pictures of baby, plan to be near the window.
Tip #3- Feed Baby first
A fed baby is a happy baby! Plan to take these pictures right after feeding baby. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but baby will be full and content and probably super sleepy, too. This way you can get all the pictures you are wanting at once and get back your own well-deserved rest.
Tip #4- Keep it Simple
When it comes to creating a beautiful image, simplicity is often key. Just as with the artificial lights, bright and bold colors will cast upon your newborn’s skin making them look blue, purple, green, etc. Neutral tones are best: white, cream, gray. Most hospitals use those flannel striped blankets to line the bassinet and they are perfect for the background (flip it over if the stripes are too bold) and have baby in a simple white onesie or diaper-only. These pictures are all about documenting the freshness of your little one, without the distractions of extra “stuff”.
Tip #5- Angles are Important
Position the camera so you’re looking at baby directly or at a slight downward angle. Avoid pointing the camera up baby’s nose (it’s not flattering on anyone!). Don’t be afraid to take a picture, check your screen, make adjustments, and then take the picture again. Other great angles are profile, from above, and wide-shots of the whole room.
Tip #6- Include Yourself
I know the last thing we want after giving birth is to be in front of a camera, but believe me, none of that will matter to this child when they’re all grown up and looking at these photographs one day. Set up the camera with a timer and take a picture of you loving on your sweet baby. One day that may very well be your favorite picture ever taken.
Tip #7- Edit only if needed
After you’ve taken the pictures, sort through and pick out your favorites. With good natural light the images shouldn’t need much tweaking, if at all. But if you do need to brighten an image, just raise the exposure a little and lower the contrast and saturation a tad. Heavily edited and filtered images often have their quality compromised, which can affect printing. Your goal is to have a timeless image that you can pass along from generation to generation, and there isn’t a filter for that.
– The room number with your names
– The birth card with baby’s name and birth stats
– Whiteboard with baby’s name and birth stats
– A wide-angle shot of the entire room
– The hospital bag packed/unpacked
– Baby in bassinet
– Baby holding onto your finger
– Close up of baby’s face
– Close up of baby’s details: closed eyes, hair, fingers, toes
– Bassinet in front of the window
– Holding baby in your arms
– Baby yawning
– Baby’s profile
– Baby in bassinet from above
I hope these tips help you document these special first memories. The images may not be technically perfect, but the memories attached make them absolutely perfect. These days and weeks are going to pass by in a blur and you will want to have these pictures to look back upon. And when things finally go back to normal, I look forward to sitting down and look through each and every beautiful image along with you.
Megan Marlene Photography is a natural light photographer located in Anchorage, Alaska known for her light & airy style and unmatched client experience. She loves families and babies and all things motherhood. If you would like more information about booking a session, please use the contact form or email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org