Newborn photography is a hard endeavor. The results look great but behind those great photos were several failures, lots of crying and lots of retakes. Hopefully, there were no broken cameras or other equipment. In all honesty, I’ve always wondered how photographers can put babies in awkward sleeping positions without waking them up. I mean, they look stiff propped up in covered pillows.
Some of us cannot afford the luxury of hiring a professional for newborn photography. But then again, it would also be an imposing challenge to do the shoot ourselves. So, in case you are part of the ‘some’ like me, here are a few tips from professionals that can help with your self-shot newborn photography.
1Take Your Time
There’s no need to hurry when it comes to newborn photography especially if you’re doing it on your own. You have all the time you need – hours, days and weeks. Though it has been said that the best time to do a shoot for your newborn is the first 14 days, you can still take your time.
Don’t be in a hurry. Still, try to make the first 14 days. That’s when babies do nothing but sleep and eat which means more control for you. No pressure, though. There are other tips in case you missed the first two weeks.
2Keep Your Baby Warm
Newborns don’t have the ability to keep themselves warm. And, they’ll surely have a fit if they’re cold so make sure you keep them warm.
According to a professional in newborn photography, she would keep her studio at 85F for baby photo shoots. Also, she warms blankets in the dryer before laying the baby on it. She also mentioned to make sure heater fans are in an appropriate distance to avoid damaging their sensitive skin.
Trying to get a cool shot is totally acceptable. But, always make sure it won’t compromise the safety of your baby. I don’t think I need to tell you that.
For example, this shot looks extremely unstable and unsafe. Anytime during the shoot, the guitar could go off balance and fall. SLR Lounge emphasizes safety which is why during this shoot, the guitar was shot first. The baby on the guitar was actually supported by someone and the two photos were just layered on Photoshop to cover the person.
Safety first! If you want interesting shots like this, research first on how you can make it safer. Ask other photographers for advice. 😊
4Happy Baby Means Happy Tummy
Ever felt a strong urge to sleep after you eat and you’re full? Yes, babies are exactly the same. Try feeding them an hour before you shoot. That way they’d be dozing off by the time you’re done setting up. You’ll have at least a good few hours before they wake up. Also, make sure that their diapers are changed ahead of time to avoid a wet diaper mishap.
According to a professional in newborn photography, the morning is the best time of the day to shoot. Why? Because babies can sleep more soundly during this time. Any parent would know that kids are the most active during the afternoon when they have sugar to burn. It’s the same thing for babies!
So, try to schedule your shoots in the morning if you want a more peaceful session. 😋
6Always Be Ready
Candid shots are precious and super cute! So, have your camera handy or easy to reach throughout the day. You may never know when they’re going to do something cute or totally unpredictable. You’d find that some of the greatest shots are candid.
7Be Calm and Assertive
Babies feel the energy around them. Since they are not able to communicate, they use emotions and energy to communicate their message. They can sense if you’re nervous, impatient or upset. In result, they can also become uneasy because of the energy they get from you.
Help your baby to stay calm by being calm as well. Don’t be impatient or pushy if you can’t get the shot you want. They don’t understand what you want so be extra extra patient! 😉
8Lighting is Key
If you think you have to spend thousand of dollars to get lighting equipment, you’re wrong. There’s one best source of natural lighting and that’s the sun. Now, I’m not saying you have to shoot outside to get the best lighting. You simply have to utilize the natural lighting in your house.
For instance, if your kitchen is naturally bright, do the shoot there. Or near a window where sunlight shines through. Shooting using natural lighting also gives you natural shadows which are of course, really cool!
9Get the right angles
Rather than risking your baby waking up just to change her position, walk around instead. Use the entire 360-degree orbit around where she’s laid. This means there will be a change in lighting and angle which can very well give you the shot you’re looking for.
If you have to lay down, squat or stand on top of a table to get a good angle, by all means, do it! A good photographer knows how to use his entire body just to get a great angle. 😉
10The Great Outdoors
Need a natural background? Use the great outdoors! If you live near a woodland area, you can make use of the natural background and enhance them using editing tools. Again, natural light is best so shooting outdoors isn’t a bad idea at all. Just take precautionary measures beforehand such as mosquito repellent, umbrellas, etc.
Are you ready to get your own shoot going? Are you a bit daunted by the task ahead?
It’s not easy. Believe me. I’ve wished so many times that photography would be easy for me or I would have a natural talent for it. But, like everything else, you need time to learn the ropes. Newborn photography is possible as you can see from the photos here. And, it is possible to do it on your own. One important tip if you’re a noob like me, do a lot of research and explore what your camera can do. Once you understand your machine, you’re a hell of a lot closer to becoming a pro at your art!
Got any newborn photography tips you’d like to share? Hit us up with a comment below!