Proud parents have found many different and creative ways to capture these moments in time. An entire cottage industry has evolved ranging from maternity photography and newborn portraits to family photography. A mold of a footprint, a lock of hair or a carefully preserved umbilical cord are just a few of the ways to save precious memories from a baby’s birth and childhood. As technology has made photography more accessible and less expensive, babies increasingly find themselves dressed up, posed and encouraged to smile for the camera.
Picture-Taking Is Easier Than Ever Nowadays
These days, digital cameras, including professional-grade DSLRs cameras, are more affordable and user-friendly. Camera phones are getting more sophisticated as well. For special occasions like birthdays or other milestones, it may be worth it to splurge for a professional photography session. Some parents cannot resist getting their new bundle of joy photographed with cute props and showing them off to friends and family, which is why newborn photography and kids’ photography are such big businesses.
Clients will find booking a portrait session with a professional newborn photographer varies in cost. Clients are not just paying for photography skills but also for baby whispering skills. These experts are adept at handling, posing and soothing even the most fragile-looking newborn infants. Some photographers also do house calls. Having the photo session in a home rather than a studio can give the pictures an intimate and personal touch. The same goes for maternity shoots and family portraits. It feels more personal at home.
If you decide to forgo a formal photography session for your little one, below are some helpful hacks for taking professional looking newborn photos at home.
Newborn Photography Tips
Take advantage of the first 10 days. Commonly, a newborn photo shoot is booked the first couple of weeks after birth. At this time, new mothers may be reeling from sleep-deprivation and exhaustion, as well as physically recovering from labor and delivery. However, it is helpful to conduct a newborn shoot during the first ten days after birth as babies this young are deep sleepers. It will be easier to pose and calm them. Also, babies grow and change very quickly. In a month, a baby’s images will look very different and may no longer have that adorable squishy and wrinkled newborn look.
Make Sure The Baby Is Safe At All Times
People sometimes go to great lengths to get a good image or picture. However, a baby’s safety and comfort come first. Most professional photographers of newborn babies work with assistants or spotters who are never far from the baby. They make sure the baby is in no danger, especially when props are involved. Protect your baby from falling. Exclude potentially harmful or dirty objects in the picture. Everything must be properly and thoroughly sterilized. Be extra careful when doing tight shots. This often involves holding a heavy camera with an even heavier lens directly above an infant. Make sure the strap is securely fastened around your neck or hands so it does not accidentally drop and hurt the baby.
Baby-Proof The Space
Whether you choose to have the photo shoot in the nursery, the master bedroom or any other room in the house, make sure it is suitable for the baby. Infants are not very good at regulating their temperatures, and they can get cold very easily. Make sure the room is warm enough, especially when photographing a baby in a diaper or in the nude. Have a space heater on hand to keep the baby warm and toasty. A white noise machine or recording will come in handy as well. White noise has a calming effect on babies because it is said to remind them of the sounds inside the womb.
Put The Baby To Sleep
Babies that are ten days old or younger do not do much while awake. Newborn photography typically involves sleeping babies. It is harder to shoot a fussy and irritable baby. The pictures will turn out better if the baby is serenely sleeping.
Feed Your Baby
Newborn babies will cry when they are uncomfortable or hungry. To make sure a photography session goes smoothly and quickly, make sure the baby is well-fed and perfectly content before beginning. Burp the baby, and change the diaper as well. You will get a good number of poses before the baby clamors to be fed again in two to three hours. During breaks to nurse or bottle feed the baby and change the diaper, squeeze in a costume change. Your newborn  will fall back asleep in no time and be ready for the next layout.
For a classic baby portrait, go for a plain black or white background. This is the perfect backdrop for a birthday suit shoot. The baby will be the visual focal point of the picture, and the photographer can experiment with angles and close-ups. A lot of excellent pictures are produced with the barest of sets.
Play Around With Photography Props
If you want something fun and whimsical, opt for props and cute costumes. When done right, this can result in super cute photographs the leave the onlooker smiling. Dress your baby as an iconic character like a superhero or historical figure, or in infant versions of different professions. Place baby in a thoroughly secured flower pot or in a little wagon. This is where the photography team’s creativity and resourcefulness can bloom Be sure all the props used are safe and have been thoroughly sanitized.
Below are some common newborn photography props:
- Blankets and swaddles
- Headbands or headwraps
- Angel wings
- Bean bag
- Wooden Crates
- Miniature beds
- Stuffed animals
- Parents’ wedding rings
Utilize Natural Light
Pick a time of the day when you can utilize natural light for your newborn photo session. It is not a good idea to expose a newborn baby to harsh studio lights. When photographing newborns, natural light is always the best. Natural light refers to the sunlight, but that does not require being outdoors or directly under the sun. Natural lighting can be achieved with a large window, open doors and drapes, the ambient light or available light in any given room. A good photographer will be able to make use of this and adjust the camera settings. It does not mean an entire room has to be well-lit either. Compose a great photograph playing around with how the lights and shadows in the room are shining on the baby at different angles.
Include The Family
While the new baby is the uncontested star of the photo shoot, squeeze in some family portraits if possible. It does not have to be stiff and posed if that is not your cup of tea. Tell the photographer to take some lifestyle shots, which are candid and casual. Parents do not regret capturing a snapshot of their families at this transitory stage. It will be nice to have a snapshot of the family gazing adoringly at the new baby. It will also come in handy for formal birth announcements to friends and family. These are the photographs little ones will cherish as adults.