I’ve had the pleasure of photographing many newborns over the years, (including my own sons) ranging from posed in a studio to lifestyle in the home. Though it is definitely possible to have a newborn sleep through the entire session, the majority of the time you have to be creative and work with the baby in between feedings and diaper changes! And, in some cases, baby doesn’t want to miss out on anything and remains awake and alert the whole time :-)
The advantage of taking your own newborn pictures at home is that you can extend the pictures over a number of days if it’s just not working out one day. If you find however, that your newborn is waking and fussing every time you move her, read on for a couple of tips to make the most of each pose (or position) and take a series of pictures before repositioning your baby. And, as you see from this session, sleeping-newborn is not the only way to take newborn pictures.
ALL IN THE PREPARATION
I use natural light from a window, no indoor lights! If necessary, pull back curtains and open blinds. Using a lens with a large aperture (a low number) will also enable you to successfully take indoor pictures where it is generally darker. You can use a flat light reflector to fill in the shadows if the area is still low lit. I spent years working with large bean bags, Boppy pillows and padded cushions covered with blankets for newborn set-ups to create a flawless backdrop but I have found that using a full size bed is ideal if there is nearby a window; the height and large area of the bed will give you space to walk around and enough distance from your baby to the bed head to create a blurry background. Move around the bed and look through the viewfinder. Check to see if there is anything out of place or negatively distracting.
The key is to MOVE AROUND! Get these angles:
- from the front
- from above
- from the top of the the head
- from the toes up
- If your partner is around, use their hands to cradle your baby.
If you’re using a prime lens, moving in closer from the different angles will isolate details; eyelashes, ears, creases, even the milia on the nose!
And finally, don’t be afraid to keep a couple of your baby crying! It’s a healthy part of their development :-)
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