These are strange times we are living in. Coronavirus has put paid to many of our plans. But one of the most heartbreaking consequences of the lockdown is not being able to introduce your newborn to your wider family. Not yet anyway. From grandparents to aunts, uncles, cousins, to dear friends and all inbetween. They are all desperate to meet your bundle of joy. With that simply not being an option right now, what you can do is send them some lovely photos to coo over. Plus, it now feels more important than ever that you document such a happy time in a world filled with so much sadness. So how do you go about taking newborn photos yourself?
Well, they may never look quite as good as professional newborn images but you don’t have to miss out just because there is a global virus pandemic in full swing! The good news is that we all have a camera, even if it’s just on your phone, and with a few simple tips and tricks you'll be able to capture beautiful images of these precious first few weeks of life. You can take some pretty decent photos of your newborn yourself that you’ll be proud to share with those you love but can’t be with right now.
SO HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE HINTS ON HOW TO TAKE YOUR OWN NEWBORN PHOTOS
1. CRANK UP THE HEATING
First things first, babies like to be warm and snuggly so if you’re planning on photographing them without any clothes on or lightly swaddled, then it’s a good idea to turn up the heating. Even if its quite warm outside. If you're too hot, then it’s probably just perfect for baby.
2. WHITE NOISE
This is a good tip for helping babies sleep at any time really, not just during a newborn photoshoot. We used a white noise machine a lot in those early years, especially during daytime naps. It gently masks over any noises that might ordinarily wake a sleeping baby. Honking cars, kids playing downstairs, the postman ringing the doorbell. Lifesaver! You can buy an inexpensive white noise machine or you can just download on app on your phone. For newborns, the noise is soothing and helps keep them calm and sleepy. And if you want to take semi decent photos of a newborn, they definitely need to be calm!
3. WHAT TO WEAR
You don’t want your photos to date or clash with your decor if you’re planning on printing them (which you should and here’s why), so keep the outfit neutral. Skip the Peppa Pig dress or Thomas the Tank Engine top and choose a plain, neutral onesie or wrap. The idea is to keep the focus on your beautiful baby.
4. CHOOSE YOUR ROOM
It’s probably easiest to take your own newborn photos in your bedroom on the bed, but the most important thing to consider is the light. Choose the lightest, brightest room. You ideally want soft, diffused light, so a room where the sun isn’t streaming straight in and creating harsh shadows is a good bet.
5. TIDY UP
It’s also a good idea to move any thing you don’t want in the photo out of the way. Toys, the alarm clock, that jumper you just took off because the house is so hot. If you’ve got something you can’t move out of shot, perhaps a bit of furniture you don’t really like or an exercise machine in the room, just drape a plain, neutral blanket over it.
Spot the difference...
6. SETTING UP YOUR SHOOT
Lie the baby on a plain, neutral bedspread or blanket. Light grey, white or cream always look lovely. Lay the baby with the top of his or her head pointing towards the window. Babies look better when they are lit from the top rather than from the bottom up. Remember when you used to light up your face using a torch under your chin? We want to avoid that look. Keep an eye out for a little butterfly shaped shadow under their noses. That means you’ve nailed it.
7. GRAB YOUR CAMERA AND FIRE AWAY
Then start taking your own newborn photos. Shoot from above, from the head down the towards the toes, from the side. Try and avoid shots that look straight up baby’s nose though.
Try lying the baby on their back, on their tummy with their little tushy in the air. Just make sure they are comfy at all times. Any sign of distress and just stop. The beauty of doing these photos yourself is that you all the time in the world.
You can also experiment with tilting the camera or phone on an angle to give you a few different variations. The images below were all taken with the baby lying in the same comfy position. All that changed was the angle I took them at.
EDITING YOUR NEWBORN PHOTOS
You can use the native editing tools on your phone or the software that came with your camera. If you use an iPhone, try taking the images in Portrait mode which will give you a nice blurry background which you can adjust afterwards. All you'll probably need to do is increase the brightness a little to get a light and airy look. You can also test out some of the filters and see which effects you like.
If you’re a little more ambitious and have Adobe Lightroom, you could try the Light and Airy preset collection which I recently purchased and love. You install them into your Lightroom mobile app, open the images in said app and then light and airy photos are just a quick click away.
A WORD ABOUT SAFTEY
No photo is worth risking the safety of your baby so please don’t attempt any of the complicated poses you see from newborn photographers. They know what they are doing and more than often than not you’ll find that those images are composites and are only made possible thanks to Photoshop. Keep it simple, keep it safe.