Today we’ve got a tutorial I’ve been wanting to include in our Photography & Memory Keeping section for such a long time!
Capturing a child’s fleeting newborn stage is so important to so many parents out there but trying to get that elusive, perfect pic of a sleeping infant can be beyond frustrating and hiring it out can be prohibitively expensive.
Of course not every type of shot can be achieved by a novice, the photo above of the baby propped up on her hands, for example, is done with special props and shouldn’t be attempted at home for safety reasons. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of beautiful shots you can achieve on your own (and I prefer those to the staged shots anyway).
Here to help is guest poster Andrea with her top six tips on how to get your newborn’s good side.
Having a baby is exciting and fulfilling beyond words. Yet with the joy of a new little person also comes the reality of how expensive they can be. From diapers and formula to car seats and cute outfits, a newborn’s expenses add up quickly!
Like many first-time mothers, when I had my first child two years ago, I went overboard filling our home with way too many baby accessories. I also invested a small fortune on a newborn photo shoot. Unfortunately, the whole experience was a mess and the photos turned out terribly.
Now that I have my second child, I’m making a conscious effort to be smarter about where we spend our money for this little girl. While photos are an important keepsake, enlisting the help of a professional is something I’d rather not do until she’s older and out of the feisty newborn phase.
My husband and I agreed that this time around we would try to take our own photos at home. It turns out that setting up your own newborn photo shoot is pretty simple. With a little bit of creativity and patience, your newborn can look just as adorable as the perfect babies you see on Pinterest.
If you’ve recently welcomed a new member to your family, follow these step-by-step instructions for capturing those fleeting moments that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.
Step 1: Scout Your Location
Spend a few days before your shoot walking around your house at different times of day and noticing how the light changes. Keep your camera close at hand to capture the light throughout the day.
After a day or two, compare your options and choose the time and place that has the brightest, clearest light. You’ll probably have the best luck in the early morning or afternoon near a big window or door.
Step 2: Set Up Your “Studio”
Now it’s time to really tap into your creativity. With your location in mind, you’ll need to create a space that is comfortable for baby while giving you a clean, seamless backdrop.
This could be a beanbag, armchair, or couch draped with fabric, or some combination of various pieces of furniture grouped together. You could also simply lay a piece of fabric on the floor or bed, attaching the excess to a chair or the headboard to create a solid background.
The fabric you choose for a backdrop is key. Using a wrinkled sheet or an old blanket in an unflattering color can make your photos look messy and unpolished. Go through your linen closet and pull a few pieces that are pretty, clean, and softly textured — a fluffy white duvet, a fur throw, or a colorful knit blanket would all work wonderfully.
Step 3: Collect Your Outfit, Props, and Accessories
This is the part we all love: Wardrobe. Pick an outfit and accessories for your little one to wear for her big debut, or keep it au natural with just a cute cloth diaper.
Whatever you choose, be sure to have a few backup options in case an “accident” happens. Also decide if you want to include any props in the photos; favorite toys and family keepsakes work well.
Step 4: Manage Your Model Carefully
I’ll be honest, newborns are fickle photography subjects. Many babies won’t love the idea of being placed alone in the middle of a sheet while you point a camera at them repeatedly.
This is why, first of all, it’s a good idea to coordinate the photo shoot with baby’s nap time. Not only will you avoid dealing with a crying baby, but there’s nothing sweeter than a newborn’s face when they’re quietly dozing.
To ensure that they stay sleeping, keep the temperature in the room is warm, and play soft music or a white noise app to block out any background noise.
Step 5: Strike a Pose
You won’t want to move your baby around much, so try to choose only one or two poses to focus on in the shoot.
Browse Pinterest for inspiration here — you could wrap her in a blanket and prop her up slightly, curl her arms and legs underneath with her head on its side, or simply lay her on her back and let nature run its course.
Step 6: Photo Composition
The key to taking good newborn photos is all about the detail. Close-ups and different angles make for a more interesting composition. Take your time, and try a lot of different perspectives — from directly overhead and sideways to zoomed in on one feature (tiny feet, hands, or face) with the rest slightly out of focus.
Try full-body shots as well as a few only focused on her upper half, her little legs and feet, or just the face in profile. Check your shots throughout the process, see what’s working, and then try some more.
When you’ve finished with your photo shoot, you’ll not only have a lasting reminder of these precious moments, but you’ll have something special to share with family and friends through birth announcements, framed photos, or customized gifts.
Andrea Genevieve Michnik is a mompreneur, serial crafter and blogger living in Austin, Texas. Andrea’s recent holiday season was filled with extra cheer this year, as she welcomed her first daughter into the world. Follow Andrea to discover more creative ideas about how to personalize your family photos with TinyPrints, or find her on Twitter.