Photographing Your Newborn
Use these easy tips for photographing your newborn baby
Any baby photographer will tell you that photographing your newborn can be one of the greatest challenges – and yield some of the most beautiful portraits. What many parents don’t realize is that they can create beautiful portraits of their newborn without paying an arm and a leg for professional portraits. No backdrops or expensive lighting? You don’t need them! The tips here are some very carefully guarded secrets of a successful baby photographer who will share with you how to get studio quality results at home.
A silhouette of your baby’s profile makes a beautiful portrait. You can achieve this by backlighting your subject. Use a solid background and place a lamp behind the baby so that your lighting comes from behind him or her. You may have to adjust placement of the light, depending on the brightness of the bulb, but experiment until you get the results that you want. Just take the shot at an angle so that you don’t see the light.
Everyone loves a sleeping baby shot. Place the baby on its stomach and turn its head toward the camera. Position the arm so that the little fist (most newborns keep their hands in fists for the first few weeks) is near the face. You can do many variations of this such as placing Mom’s or Dad’s hand on Baby’s head, using fiberfill (the billowy white stuffing for pillows) and placing it around Baby so that it gives the appearance of clouds and you may even strip Baby down to his or her diaper (you may want to use a diaper cover). Take close up shots of the face and upper body and take full body shots.
Mom and Baby/Dad and Baby
There are many great shots to take with Mom and Baby or Dad and Baby. Let dad hold Baby so that he cups Baby’s bottom with his right hand and places his left hand on Baby’s abdomen, holding Baby close to his own chest/stomach area. Dad can have a shirt on or be shirtless and baby can either be clothed to stripped down to a diaper. This shot shows a beautiful contrast between Dad’s hand and Baby. The shot is taken so that only Baby and Dad’s body shows, Dad’s face does not appear. It is also a very nice black and white or sepia shot. Another nice shot is a profile of Mom or Dad holding Baby up and looking at them smiling or laughing. Still another is Baby looking over Mom’s or Dad’s shoulder. Mom or Dad need to angle the shoulder that has the baby slightly to the camera. This way, when they turn their face to look at baby, you can see more of their face.
Hands and Feet
Baby hands and feet are timeless portraits that you will always treasure. You can do many variations on this. Let Baby hold onto your finger and zoom in close (use the macro setting on your camera – usually has the symbol of a tulip). If you have a wedding ring, use that hand and angle your hand so that your ring shows. Another great shot is to cup Baby’s feet in your hand or hands and take a zoom on that. You can even have one of Mom’s hands and one of Dad’s hands cupping the feet. Also, your feet next to Baby’s feet, taken so that the soles are toward the camera, is beautiful. They are very nice as black and white or Sepia.
You can use many props for your photos. A bean bag chair is great for photographing a newborn because the baby is fully supported and you can get him or her into a somewhat sitting position. You can also use it for a sleeping shot and later, when Baby is a little older and can hold up his or her head better, a tummy shot. You can place Baby in a bassinet or basket and put flowers all around, lay Baby on the bean bag and place flowers around him or her. Stuffed animals also make a nice prop. Place a teddy bear on a bassinet and place sleeping Baby inside the bassinet. Position the teddy bear in such a way that it looks as if he is peeking over the side of the bassinet, watching Baby sleep.
If you happen to catch Baby awake, take some photos from either side. Take close up pictures of his or her face, but make sure that you pull back for at least one full body shot. You can use the bean bag for this or you can use an infant seat covered with a solid color sheet that matches your backdrop. Let Baby hold a tiny stuffed animal or toy. This is a special time in your life and you want to preserve every moment. Don’t be shy with the camera. Take many pictures because that little, tiny bundle of joy will be grown in a heartbeat.