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How to Photograph Your New Baby

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

I bet nine months ago, you never imagined this is what life would be like. I know you didn't imagine welcoming your baby during a pandemic. Maybe you, like many other mamas, missed your baby shower or maternity portrait session. Maybe your mom hasn't met your baby yet, and your postpartum support has been limited to Zoom calls.

This is hard on top of hard.

I know.

I don't want photos of your sweet baby as a newborn to be another thing you give up right now. It goes so quickly, and babies change seemingly overnight. The newborn details are fleeting and once you emerge from the newborn fog, you'll want to have something tangible to look back at, something that will make you say, "I can't believe you were ever so tiny."

So, until you're able to arrange for professional photos, whether that's with me or another photographer, I want you to take photos of your newborn. It doesn't matter what kind of camera you have - a point in shoot, a DSLR, or a camera phone - take photos of your baby.

Here are tips to help you capture this sweet whirlwind of time.

1. Plan to photograph your baby after a feeding. This is usually when babies are happiest, calm, and sleepy.

2. Keep clothing simple for everyone. I recommend avoiding logos and cartoons, and I like to photograph baby in a simple white onesie. It's timeless and let's you see all the sweet newborn details, including baby toes! If you have a special blanket, have that on hand to layer under baby for visual interest and a cozy look.

3. Open blinds or curtains to let in natural light, and turn off all artificial light. Artificial light pulls yellow, so place baby near a natural light source for well lit photos. (Full disclosure: I don't mind a little grain, especially in a black and white edit, so if you like that aesthetic, rock it!)

4. Angles matter! I like to try all sorts of angles, above, from the side, on the same plane as baby. I also try to avoid shoot up the nose and getting lots of nostril; instead, I angle my camera slightly higher than baby's nose so nostrils are barely seen.

5. Don't forget the details. Baby feet, milia (the tiny white bumps), baby fuzz, flaky skin. These details are so uniquely newborn and you'll want reminders of these details when you have a big hunk of infant-almost-toddler cruising around!

BONUS TIP: Pay attention to the details in the environment around you. For example, if I'm photographing baby on the bed and there's a bright red pillow, that's something I'll remove. If the coffee table is in the photo and it's cluttered with various items, I'll temporarily clean off the clutter, take my photos, and then put everything back. In some instances, though, the background details make sense - if it's the bedroom and there's a breast pump, bottle, or other baby items that are a part of the story, I'll leave them in the background. They're not the focus, but they're part of the story, too!

Don't be afraid to shoot more than once! Don't get frustrated or discouraged if the first attempt doesn't give you something you love. The beauty of doing them at home is that if it doesn't work out the first time, you can try again later, or another day.

For tips to taking great photos on your phone, check out this post! If you want to experiment with editing, read this one.

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