November 4th, 2016
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 little 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. In the past, we had paid a professional photographer to take our photos for us but it's something that gets pretty costly by the time your photos are 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. And I'm very happy with how my pictures turned out.
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 these useful for any photos you take. Of course, if you want to take great photos you're going to need a pretty good camera. But it doesn't necessarily have to be an expensive one like the professionals use. Just a medium to higher grade camera.
My recommendation would be to get a mobile phone that takes great pics. I love my LG G5. It takes the best photos! I take all of my photos on it and can't remember the last time I used my Nikon. You can probably get a great camera smartphone inexpensively 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 my $1,000 Nikon. There are other great camera phones out there that take fantastic photos & editing apps you can download to your phone. The editing apps I use are Fotor and Photo Editor Pro.
Lighting - The easiest lighting for a novice photographer to work with is natural sunlight. 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.
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.
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.
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 under your blankets to protect your beanbag from getting soiled.
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.
Knitted outfits can easily be found online or maybe you are or know someone that sews.
A few tips and tricks - The best time to do your newborn's photo session is 4 days-2 weeks old. It's important for your little one to have a full tummy and be sleepy. You want him to hopefully be asleep for most of his photos. Put on quiet music in the background or use something that makes white noise so that he's 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 as a prop, 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, sharpen, contrast and vignette.
A few of these photos were taken on our dining room table in my son's newborn chair.
Unedited photo where I used the back of a chair to clip my material
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