Whether you’ve decided against investing in a professional photographer for a newborn photography session or if it’s just not possible for you right now (Damn you, Coronavirus!), I have put together this short guide to help you take better photographs of your new baby at home – because I’d hate for you to miss the opportunity to capture this precious time in your family’s life. I hope you find it useful!
Pick your location
Choose an area in your home with lots of light. This will hopefully help you to get nice, clear photographs with whatever camera you’re using. A bed near a window will work nicely for this. Avoid choosing a time of day where the sun is shining directly into the bedroom; wait a little longer until the room is nice and bright but there are no patches of bright sunshine that will cause a distraction. Place your baby down on the bed with the top of their head towards the window. This should hopefully create some nice light and shadows on their face. You can also try lighting from the side. Just avoid accidentally lighting up their nose as you move positions.
If you’re using your phone’s camera, try switching it to portrait mode if you have one. This creates an artificial background blur similar to that you will have seen in professional newborn photographs. If your phone doesn’t have this feature, don’t worry.
If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera and aren’t too sure how to use it properly, the Auto setting might produce some good results for you. However, if you would like to take your learning a step further, then switch the main dial until it’s on Aperture Priority mode (You’ll find it under ‘A’ for Nikon, Fuji and Sony and ‘Av’ for Canon). This will give you some small control over your camera settings whilst allowing the camera to do the rest of the hard work for you. Drop your aperture (f-number) to the lowest number it will go to. This will give you the best chance of creating some nice background blur in your photographs however, if you don’t tell your camera where it needs to focus, you may well find that the wrong parts of your photo are blurry! You’ll need to check your camera manual, or Google ‘how to select focus point on (your camera model)’. Once you’ve worked out how to do this, you should be able to set up your photograph how you want it using either your camera’s viewfinder or liveview screen, then move the camera’s focus point onto the part of the photograph you want – typically your baby’s eyes. This will take some practice to get right, so keep trying!
Try and keep the styling simple. We want your photographs to be all about your new baby and not what they’re wearing. If you’re drawn to lighter photographs, try all white or neutral-coloured bedding with a similar babygrow/vest. Or if you prefer a darker style, you can choose darker colours too. Just avoid bold and bright colours and patterns if possible.
Taking the Photographs
Please do NOT try and put your baby into poses that you have seen online. Newborn photographers are trained to safely put your baby into those positions; do not risk your baby’s health by attempting to do so yourself. You’re best just taking natural photographs of your baby in whatever position they are most comfortable – probably laying on their back on the centre of your bed (where they can’t fall off!), or being held.
Note: this will also reduce the likelihood of your photos looking like ‘photography fails’!!
When it comes to actually taking the photographs, simply play around! You’ll find that newborn photographers will generally shoot ‘down the nose’ so their camera will be angled from your baby’s head looking down their body. Take both wide angle (zoomed out) shots as well as going in as close as your camera will let you, to get the detail shots: think eyelashes, their fingers and toes and their little lips and button nose. Try introducing some elements to show a sense of scale; take a photograph of your baby’s tiny hand holding your finger, or with their head in your hands. Here’s some examples of photographs you can try:
I hope you’ve found this useful. Follow me on Facebook and let me know – I would love to see some of your finished photographs!