Take Your Own Great Newborn Photos
Taking great pictures of your newborn baby can easily be done in the comforts of your own home and at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional photographer. With a bit a patience and a few guidelines you're well on your way to taking fantastic photos of your baby and having fun getting creative while you're at it!
I'm a self-taught photographer who now knows how to take great photos of a newborn baby. We had paid a professional photographer to take our photos for us in the past but it's something that gets pretty costly by the time your photos get professionally edited. I took all of our son's newborn photos in our home. Before this, I had never taken a photo of a newborn baby. I think I did a pretty good job for my first time.
There are 3 key elements that will help you take great photos of your newborn baby: a good camera, proper lighting (no fancy equipment necessary) and props. You'll find that these elements will come in handy for all of your photos. Of course, if you want to take great photos you're going to need a pretty good camera. It doesn't necessarily have to be an expensive one like the professionals use, but at least a medium to higher grade camera. But now that you're a parent, one of the best investments you can make is buying a good camera.
Alternatively, you can buy a great smartphone that takes professional photos. Phones these days are getting better and better with the quality of their photos. And you can probably get one at a good price if you sign a contract with your provider. I got my smartphone for $150 because I signed a 2 year contract. I have no problem signing a contract because I've been with the same provider for years. And it sure beats the price tag of a $1,000 professional camera. There are also great editing apps you can download to your phone. The editing apps I use are Fotor and Photo Editor Pro. I know many people like to use VSCO.
Lighting - The easiest lighting for a novice photographer to work with is natural sunlight. Daytime photos are always going to be your best photos for anything you're shooting. Just remember when shooting outdoors, to take your photos before 11:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m. Not when the sun is directly above you. When shooting indoors and for something like this, turn off all indoor lights and set up in the brightest room in the house across from a well-lit window. If interior lights are on, you will get a yellow tinge to your photos. However, you can edit this later in warmth settings.
Props can really make your pictures go from average to extraordinary. You'll need a FULLY stuffed bean bag (tighten with elastic) and a couple of textured neutral-coloured throws. Layer the blankets to create a smooth surface. The bean bag is important because your baby will sink in and the blanket will hug their body, giving your photos a softer touch. You can easily get a bean bag for $20. And if you don't want to spend a lot of money on an expensive chenille throw, you can always find great pieces of faux fur from the fabric store at great prices (that's where I got mine). Use a pee pad or a towel to protect your beanbag from getting soiled as your baby will not have his diaper on during his session.
You'll also want to use those textured blankets for your backdrop. Hang off of a chair, couch or book shelf with clips. I purchased my photography clips online for $20. Knitted outfits are my favourite as you can see. But it may not be yours. Maybe you'd prefer something more simple. Check online for baby photos and try to remake your favourite shots. Floral headbands look so beautiful on baby girls and are really easy to make. Go to your local craft store and get decorative elastic and craft flowers.
In the picture below you'll notice we have very large windows in our home but it's not necessary as long as it's a sunny day and lots of natural sun is coming in from your window.
A few tips and tricks - Best time to take your newborn's photos is 1 week-2 weeks old. It's important that your baby have a full tummy and be sleepy. You want them to hopefully be asleep for most of their photos. Put on quiet music in the background or use something that makes white noise so that your baby is very relaxed.
You'll probably want to have your baby in as little clothes as possible so make sure that it's not too cold for her or she won't stay asleep. A space heater is great to have on during your photo session, but keep in mind, not to have it on too hot or too close to your baby (or blanket for that matter). And be sure to unfasten her diaper a few minutes before taking her photos to get rid of any creases it might have left on her body. If you're going to get really creative with your shots, always make sure she is comfortable and safe.
To make a wood background go to your local wood supplier and get thin tongue & groove wood strips and stain them. You can also easily find backdrop rolls that are inexpensive online.
In this photo I used a bail of hay but knew that it would be uncomfortable for my son to lie on so I placed a small piece of faux-fur underneath him. I found it actually ended up doing double duty, by adding more texture to my photo.
When shooting your photos, try different angles. Sometimes shooting from a bird's eye view can make the prettiest shots. And editing photos now-a-days is a cinch. There are so many great free editing software available out there (I love PicMonkey and Picasa). My favourite editing tools are soften, brighten, contrast and vignette.
Unedited Photo clipped on chairs
A few of these photos were taken on our dining room table in my son's baby seat.
Baby's First Christmas