Don’t miss out on those first moments!
This is such a hard time for everyone. Trying to navigate this new kind of normal is tough to say the least. It is heartbreaking for me each time I have to turn someone away because I am not allowed to work. Heartbreaking because I know that these first moments are SO important to capture. This guide is not meant to replace professional newborn baby pictures, it is meant to help you capture those memories that at this moment I cannot do for you.
Use whatever camera you have……even your phone!
Before you start, some things to keep in mind…..
First off, know that your newborn baby pictures are not going to look the same as professional photos, and that’s ok! But you are capturing some precious memories, and that is all that matters. Babies are energy-based and will pick up on your anxiety and frustration, so just relax and go with the flow!
Turn up the thermostat so the room is warm, then give your baby a good feed, and be sure to burp them, so they are happy and sleepy! But remember that awake baby images are beautiful too!
Your baby will probably poop or pee if you take photos without a diaper on, so have supplies ready for quick clean ups.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a DSLR – try putting your phone on portrait mode if you have it to get some yummy blur. Make sure your lens is clean! And since you will keep things simple – you don’t need any props.
What to wear
Have the family wear comfortable, simple, neutral-coloured clothing. Stay away from logos, words, and characters on shirts, and neon colours. Newborns photograph best in a simple white onesie, as most newborn clothing are cute, but they don’t fit well! You can add a little hat or headband for variety (but not one so big it takes the focus away from baby!)
Baby is more likely to stay sleepy and content when swaddled tightly. Try a simple swaddle wrap – learn how here!
Try to take your newborn baby pictures in the rooms that get the best gentle window light (not direct sunlight). North/south facing windows are great! If there’s enough window light, turn off your overhead lights.
When positioning baby close to the window, make sure the light is coming from the side or towards the top of the baby’s head.
Always have another adult present to be close to baby while taking photos with siblings. Start with low expectations – they may not cooperate and that’s ok. If they lose patience, try those photos another time.
The safety and comfort of your baby is more important than any photo. Please do not attempt any poses that you see newborn photographers do – we are trained in newborn safety and posing.
Pets and siblings should never be photographed with a newborn without another adult right there to keep an eye (and hand!) on baby. When you are taking photos above baby, always wear the camera strap around your neck.
Listen for baby’s cues. Your little one may start to tell you they have had enough. And pace yourself – you just had a baby and will need rest! If you need to break it up over a few days, thats A-OK!
Take loads of images so you can choose the best of the best. On your phone, VSCO is a great app for editing your newborn images.
- Spread a blanket, swaddle wrap, or sheet on the floor near a window. Best choice: a neutral colour like white, cream or grey, or with an interesting pattern (arrows, stars, polka dots, etc.)
- Position baby with light coming from the side or top of baby’s head. Take photos looking straight down – do not take photos up baby’s nose.
On The Bed
- Use large bed (usually in master bedroom).
- Simple and neutral bedding looks best (tip: use white duvet inner) Lay baby on bottom half of bed, with head towards the side window.
- Get down and take photos at baby’s eye-level.
- Add Mama lying down behind baby for a gorgeous shot! – ask your partner or use a timer for this
- Lay a simple blanket down on your bed or even on the floor.
- Lay your baby down so the window light is coming in on the side (or towards the head of your baby).
- Fold the bottom part of the blanket up, tucking under their chin. You can put something heavy on each side so blanket stays stretched tight.
- Take photo from right overhead, looking straight down.
In the crib
- Lay baby down in crib, head towards the window (move the crib close to the window if needed, and practical)
- Take photos from various angles, e.g: Looking straight down ,Through crib slats, With a parent leaning over crib, hand on baby
Sibling Images with older children
- Let sibling sit down with window light coming from the side, with legs straight out or criss-crossed to create a little pocket.
- Safest places are right on the floor, or propped up against pillows on a bed. An adult should be an arm’s length away at all times. Place baby onto sibling’s lap, so baby’s weight is supported by sibling’s legs. Have them wrap their arms gently around baby. Top of baby’s head should be angled towards the window.
- Take photos from side, from behind looking down, straight on, etc.
Sibling images with younger children
- Safest option for young or rambunctious siblings is not to have them hold baby. Another adult should be right there with baby all the time. Place baby on bed with top of their head towards the window.
- Ask sibling(s) to lie on their tummies behind baby.
- Encourage calm interaction – look at baby, smell baby, touch toes, etc.
Laying down is a great option for the younger kiddos as well. This is my go to pose for younger siblings.
- Spread comfy blanket or rug close to a window.
- Tuck some rolled up receiving blankets underneath to create a place for sibling to rest head.
- Have sibling lie down with top of their head angled towards window.
- Place wrapped baby right up close to sibling, with baby’s head supported by sibling’s arm.
- Ask sibling to place other arm on baby’s tummy or somehow connect.
- Take photo standing over them, looking straight down.
In Daddy’s Hands
- Have dad sit down near a window, so light comes from the side. Dad should hold baby out in front of him, resting on his legs, and baby’s head cupped in his hands.
- Take photos focusing on dad’s big hands holding small baby. Switch it up for photos of baby feet and hands in dad’s hands, and dad’s hands on baby’s body.
- Also capture Dad’s expression as he looks down at his baby.
Parent and Baby
- Place parent sitting or standing so window light comes from the side. Try to always angle top of baby’s head towards window.
- Hold baby in different ways: lying in arms, held face to face, up on shoulder, facing out, etc.
- For each position, take photos from different angles – straight on, from side, from behind over parent’s shoulder, etc.
- Position your family members with window light coming from the side – on a couch, or even on the floor of the nursery. Let them leave a spot for you to sit or stand.
- Use a tripod if you have one, or simply set up your camera/phone against something sturdy, getting the whole family in the frame.
- Activate the timer (10 seconds), and run to get into your assigned position with your family. Smile!
Details (they are important)
- Lie baby down on a simple white or neutral coloured blanket or sheet, close to a window.
- Focus on just one body part at time, and make the whole photo just about that body part.
- Take photos of your baby’s hands and fingers, feet and toes, nose, lips, belly button, and wisps of hair. Don’t forget the little rolls and flaky skin!
You’ve got this Mama!
I know it seems like a lot, but seriously break it down into a few days, tackle each section on a different day. I am here for you with any questions! Seriously, I want to make sure that these moments are captured & celebrated! Meanwhile, lets set up an older newborn for your baby – I promise it will not be too late! Reach out, let’s get you on my schedule! Drop a comment with some of your images that you took using this guide! I can’t wait to see what you create!
Special thanks to those that collaborated with Milk & Honey Photography to put this amazing guide together!
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