If you are a parent to a new baby, or are currently expecting, today’s post is for you! I can only imagine how stressful it is to have a baby during COVID-19 and my heart goes out to all the expecting and new mammas. Having had a baby a year ago, I know all too well how much excitement goes into planning your first family photo.
I want to be here to help you make sweet memories of your little one while they are all new and fresh. While I’m unable to photograph your new addition (at this moment), I wanted to help you create sweet memories of your little one.
I would like to pass along some quick tips to keep in mind when preparing a safe working space at home in order for you to still capture this fleeting moment – with whatever camera you own!
(yes…even your phone!)
One of my biggest tip is to try and accept the time we are in and enjoy your blessing, your baby. If you are new to motherhood, welcome to the hood! Your heart will forever be changed!
Babies are energy-based and will pick up on your anxiety and frustration, so just try to relax and go with the flow! Turn up the thermostat so the room is warm, then give your baby a full feed, and be sure to burp them so they are happy and sleepy! Turn on white some noise during the photo shoot, I normally use a baby shusher, but there are many white noice apps out there that will work magic. I love using essential oil in our home, as a way to diffuse the air and calm our nerves, this might work well for you as well.
No matter what you’re introducing into your baby’s new home, you want to make sure it’s not doing any harm. Since their little bodies are much different (and much more sensitive) than our adult ones, I however recommend checking with your paediatrician first.
If you have a DSLR, use it. If not, then your phone will do! If your phone has portrait mode, use it to get some gorgeous blur. Make sure your lens is clean! There is no need for any props, you can keep it natural and simple.
When choosing outfit for the family try simple yet comfortable neutral-coloured clothing. Stay away from logos, words, and characters on shirts, and neon colours. Your baby is more likely to stay sleepy and content when swaddled tightly. Find a stretchy wrap made of cheesecloth or muslin.
There are many FREE on-line tutorials on how to safely wrap a newborn.
If you don’t have a wrap, newborns photograph well in a simple white onesie. Avoid newborn clothing because although they are gorgeous, they don’t fit well when babies are this tiny! You can find some really cute onesie outfits at Best&Less in tiny baby size that fits newborns really well in those early days.
Let’s talk lighting.
Your aim would be to create soft lighting conditions. Try to take your photos in the rooms that get the best soft window light (not direct sunlight). North/south facing windows are great
It’s all about soft light that falls across your baby, if part of your baby is over exposed (too bright) just touch the area on your phone and it will adjust.
Turn off your overhead lights because those will have yellow / orange light that will create color casts on the skin. When positioning baby close to the window, make sure the light is coming from the side or from the top of baby’s head so that the light creates a shadow under the nose. Ensure that the light never ever fall from the bottom.
If the light is too bright and you do not have any other area to work in, try hang a white cotton sheet against the window to soften the light.
Safety F I R S T.
The safety and comfort of your baby is M O R E important than any photo taken. Please do not attempt any poses that you see newborn photographers do – they are trained in newborn safety and posing.
Pets and siblings should never be photographed with a newborn without another adult right there to keep an eye (and hand!) on baby. When you are taking photos above baby, always wear the camera strap around your neck.
Listen for baby’s cues. Your little one may start to tell you they have had enough. And pace yourself – you just had a baby and will need rest! If you need to break it up over a few days, thats OK! This is what I did with our babies, I focused on one pose/setting per day. I gave myself 7 days to recover after delivery and for the next 7 days I focused on the individual and sibling poses of our babies. It’s best to capture these early memories before day 14, as babies are most sleepiest over this period, but any day after that would also be good. These are guidelines, all babies are different, but remember that any memory if worth the effort!
You can use the floor near a window, front door or the largest bed in the house. Just make sure the area has sufficient natural light filtering through.
When using a bed, there are many poses that can be accomplished. I’ve included some examples of what I’ve done before, so get creative and have some fun!
When using a window space, spread a thick blanket on the floor near a window. Layer the area if needed, the more comfortable & cozy the spot, the more relaxed your baby would be. Position bubs with light coming from the side so baby is parallel to window. Take photos looking straight down. Get moving, it will all contribute to your 10,000 steps a day, LOL. Move around the baby in a circle, to capture the tiny details like their feet and sweet moments like yawns.
When using a bed setting, simple and neutral bedding looks best.
Lay baby on bottom half of bed, with head towards the side window. Have an adult spot the baby while you take the photos. Get down and take photos at baby’s eye-level, then take photos from other angles. Your focus point, should be on the eye/eye-lid closest to the camera.
If you are using a DSLR, make sure you use a camera strap, I prefer a hand-strap for safety purposes.
When doing photos of baby in your arms, place the parent holding the baby sitting or standing so window light comes from the side. Try to always angle top of baby’s head towards window. Hold baby in different ways: lying in your arms, held face to face, up on shoulder, facing out, cuddles on chest, etc.
For family photos, use a tripod if you have one, or simply set up your camera/phone against something sturdy, getting the whole family in the frame. Activate the timer (10 seconds), and run to get into your assigned position with your family. Do not forget to smile, have a laugh and cherish these precious time spend as a new/growing family!
You might require a bit more patients if there is a toddler involved, as they are super energetic and is ready to run in seconds. Do not aim for perfect, just raw family memories. I find that toddlers are more engaged if you ask them to kiss the new baby or ask them to touch their tiny feet. Make it playful and fun!
You can do various family photos, standing in nursery, sitting on the bed or just some raw nursing memories.
Mix up the styles, take various versions smiling at camera, looking at baby, and smiling at each other. I love to get a kissing moment in, because what is love without a gentle touch, hug or a kiss.
Take loads of images so you can choose the best of the best. Remember to take horizontal and vertical images, as these images will be ready for his/her album in months to come.
If you have a DSLR camera, you might have an editing style in place. If not, I’d be happy to guide you where to find preset, that could help you speed up your editing work or help you get the perfect, consistent feel on all your images.
For mobile editing, VSCO is a great app to use for your newborn images. It’s all about personal tasted in the end.
Once you have finished your session, ensure to make a back-up of all the images taken on the day.
Get snap happy and be prepared to fall in love, over and over and over again!
Excited to see all your family photos!
Lots of love, Anél xxxx