To this day newborn photography remains one of the most challenging and delightful genres of photography for me. But if you've recently given birth, you are likely unable to work with a professional newborn photographer for a photo session with your baby.
Here are some tips that will help you capture these precious early days right in your own home!
Setting Your Scene
In my studio, I have a variety of different setups for a newborn shoot - but in your home, you could create a colorful backdrop using a colored sheet or blanket. Try coordinating or complimenting the colors of your backdrop with hats, headbands, or other accessories for your baby!
You can also use props to theme your photos based on family hobbies – like baseball or catcher's mitt – or something to highlight your profession!
It's always important to consider what baby is resting on in your photos as well. Check your house for fuzzy or plush blankets, or soft and textured pillows.
Using constant light for newborns is essential for making sure we don't disturb the deep sleep we work so hard to achieve in our shoots. You can either use continuous lighting that you may have as part of a portrait setup, or you can set up your shoot in a room that has a good amount of natural light coming from windows.
Keep Baby Comfortable
There are a few things I do in my studio to help keep newborns comfortable throughout a shoot.
Many photography studios are warm – up to 80 degrees – during a newborn session. There is a good reason for this: newborns have not fully developed their thermostats so regulating body temperature is very difficult. Creating a warm atmosphere increases your chances of having a sleeping baby by 90%. When you’re shooting at home, remember to warm up the room first – and keep baby snug and cozy.
There is nothing more calming than noise to a newborn as long as that noise is constant and rhythmic. There are several smartphone apps available for free, such as White Noise App, that will help keep your baby content.
Lenses and Settings
Use a lens that lets you stay close to your newborn so that you can ensure safety. A 25mm F1.8 or 25mm F1.2 PRO lens is a perfect choice for newborn shoots, versus a longer prime – like a 75mm – that you may use to take photos of older family members.
Another tip is to shoot with a wide open aperture – like F1.2 on a 25mm F1.2 PRO – to get a defocused area that gives that dreamy, ethereal effect.
Remember Your Angles
One easy tip is to avoid shooting up baby's nose. Keeping your angle from an eye level or higher perspective is a great place to start!
Be Part of the Moment
While you're capturing memories, try being part of the picture yourself!
Ask a family member to capture some shots with you and your newborn. If that is not an option, try using a tripod or placing your camera on an end table while you trigger the shutter using the OI.Share app and a timer!
Tracie is an award-winning wedding and portrait photographer living in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area.