Parents always want to take pictures of their kids, because babies look different every day. They grow and change so quickly that you do not have time to save in memory what the child was like yesterday, as he is completely different today. That’s why newborn baby photography is so popular today. But if you want to take pictures by yourself, you should know that this is a rather time-consuming process that requires some preparation.
At What Age is it Better to Take Pictures of Newborns?
Children grow and change very quickly. Soon, the question “How to take pictures of the baby?” will not be relevant for parents.
The first photo shoot of a newborn is best done before the age of three weeks. Firstly, the baby will never be the same as in this period. And secondly, at this age the baby sleeps a lot, creating almost ideal conditions for the photographer to work.
Getting Ready for Newborn Photography
Many future parents, while preparing to become a mom and dad, buy dozens of cute clothes, and of course, they want to put all of them on the child during the shooting. But you should know that the baby’s most beautiful clothes are his natural look. The only things you can use are accessories that complement the photo.
Also, if you are still waiting for the baby, you can prepare a set of different clothes for a nice photoshoot. You can also use a beautiful, cozy blanket you already have, or you can knit one yourself. It will come in handy while taking care of the baby.
Even before the start of the photo session, you should take care of the baby’s temperature conditions in the room. In a warm room, the baby will feel much more comfortable. Thus, you will have more chances to photograph the baby while he is asleep.
If you have a large window at home through which a lot of light passes, this will be an ideal location. Make sure that the light is not too bright. But if, nevertheless, bright sunny weather is outside the window, cover the window with a translucent white cloth, thus creating a soft, diffusing light. If there is not enough light, use the photo reflector.
If you don’t have the opportunity to shoot near the window, a constant studio light or table lamps will help you. Table lamps can provoke the appearance of harsh shadows and, therefore, high contrast. The light will look a little aggressive against the backdrop of a cute baby. To avoid this contrast, direct one light source at the ceiling, and highlight the shadows with the second one. If you have a reflector, use it.
It is better to avoid a flashlight from a flash. Firstly, children’s eyes are not yet adapted to such a bright light, and secondly, a flash can scare a baby.
To emphasize the softness and airiness of the photo – prepare several plain fabrics. Surely you have a beautiful textured cover, a large crochet flap, or even a fur cover. All of this will work fine. If you want to photograph a beautiful portrait – put pillows under the bedspread, and tighten the part where the head will lie. This way the body will fall into pillows and the head will remain in the frame. Put the hands under the head and a good the portrait is ready.
You can take great pictures if you find a beautiful basket for the baby. Fill the basket almost to the top with something soft, and lay the textured fabric (fur, knitting, etc.)on top, then lay the baby on it. Take the pictures from above. Such a photo can be supplemented with various accessories. For example, if the baby was born in the summer, apples or other fruits can be scattered around the basket, if in the autumn, put a couple of pumpkins nearby. Experiment, fantasize, and try different ideas!
Process of Newborn Photography
Do you want extraordinary pictures, where the baby does not just lie? Be patient and watch video masterclasses from leading children’s photographers. Basically, such newborn photography sessions are accompanied by an assistant. Put the camera on a tripod, or fix it reliably in another way so that the baby is in the frame. Take several frames, holding the baby on one side, then on the other. Later, during post-processing, remove unnecessary details. The static background remains unchanged.
If the Baby is Crying
Photographing a baby is always associated with the risks of not only wet clothes, but also crying. The kid can be frightened by various extraneous sounds, bright light, unfamiliar surroundings, etc. In this case, you need to interrupt the shooting and calm the baby. Take your time. The baby should feel as comfortable as possible. Parents may take the child in their arms, and pat them on the back. Turn on the recording of the heartbeat. This sound is very familiar to the kids, so they quickly calm down.
The baby will soon fall asleep, and you can continue taking pictures.
If the baby has slept enough and wants to communicate, engage the parents, or if you are one of them, invite the second one.
Parents’ clothes should not be too bright and attract more attention than the child, because this is his photoshoot. Joint photos with parents always look very good.
Does the baby have an older brother/sister? Do not miss the opportunity to make a joint photo set. An older baby can go up to the holding dad/mom and kiss his brother/sister on the forehead. Most likely, the older baby still cannot hold the baby on its own, so it is better to place both babies on a horizontal surface and play with poses.
Is the kid hungry? Do not hide the camera if the mother is breastfeeding – this is a great opportunity to capture this shortest episode in the life of a child. Let the mother come closer to the window or sit with the baby on the bed by the window, the photo should turn out to be soft and light like that invisible thread between the mother and the child. Photos of a nursing mother always look natural and at the same time intimate, evoking delightful emotions and pleasant memories
We already wrote about the details, such as bedspreads, clothes, etc. Now let’s talk about the technical side of newborn photography.
So, if you are a parent amateur photographer and have an SLR camera, then you need to know which lens to install. If you have a couple of lenses, choose the fastest one from them. If you have only one lens that came in the kit (18-55mm, 18-105mm, 18-135mm), set the focal length to more than 50mm. Do not photograph the baby at a wide angle, as it can distort the actual size of the baby.
To take a portrait, it is better to set the minimum aperture value for your lens, so you get the sharpest image of the face and a blurred background, but if you photograph the baby from above, as in the example with a basket, increase the aperture value until all the necessary details will not be in the zone of sharpness.
If you are an experienced photographer and have several lenses that you can choose from when going to take a picture of a newborn, be sure to use your best portrait lens. A lens with a focal length of 85mm and even a macro lens such as 100mm or 105mm will be perfect as well. Do not be afraid of the macro. This lens is so sharp that in the photo you can see each eyelash separately – exactly what you need! And the depth of field of macro lenses allows you to correctly place emphasis on the photo. From the auxiliary equipment, a tripod and a reflector can also be useful to you.
Of course, all babies are beautiful from the beginning, but there are nuances that can distract the look from the main thing, these are redness, flaky skin, and other age-related changes. If unnecessary things get into the frame, try replacing them with the background color, or carefully crop. Do not be afraid to twist the frame. Photos with an oblique angle also look very interesting and creative. Dark and faded photos look boring, so if you are not strong in Photoshop, watch a couple of video tutorials, it will take a maximum of 30 minutes, and edit at least the brightness and color.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.