When you have a new baby and are a photography nut, it seems as if the universe has aligned in order to give you ample opportunity to take images of your little one. Now all you have to do is find the time and follow these few tips to get the most out of your photo session:
Warm room & white noise
The more comfortable your baby is, the longer your photography session will last, so make sure the room is nice and warm. White noise can also help if they are light sleepers – even if it means turning on the vacuum cleaner.
Use a bean bag chair
These are popular with photographers and can be covered with a soft blanket to support baby and keep him warm. Alternatively you can use pillows or blankets to create a baby nest.
Blankets, costumes, and backgrounds should be neutral, solid colors that work with your baby’s skin tones (light blue, pink, beige, or white usually work best). Patterns and noisy colors can be distracting.
If you can light your “set” with natural light (or lamps) this will save you from using flash, which can startle your baby. Position baby by a large window, if possible. If you need more help with light, consider using a reflector.
Solid, neutral-colored blankets can support baby, keep him warm, and serve as backdrops. If baby is restless you can get a spouse or friend to hold baby under the blankets. If you’re going the neutral route, try some photos with a splash of color as well.
Baskets, luggage, cradles, buckets, etc.
These serve as great props to put baby inside for fun and funky photos. Make sure you have a comfy blanket to line the inside of whatever you choose. Placing a small cushion at the bottom can help build it up so baby isn’t stuck at the bottom : )
Hats, headbands, costumes, and more!
After you have a few curled-up baby shots you may want to add a hat or headband to give it some additional personality. Costumes are popular too – anything that you can put your baby in (such as large hats, bags, etc.) can work well.
Prime lens with wide aperture
If you have a DSLR camera it can pay to invest in a lens with a large aperture (such as a 50mm f/1.8 which runs about $100) as they give you sharp focus on your baby while blurring the surroundings.
Focus on the eyes, most of the time
When you are composing your shot, ensure that the eyes (whether open or closed) are in focus. If both eyes aren’t on the same plane (i.e. one is closer/farther) focus on the one that is closer first.
Hands and feet too!
Don’t forget to get nice and close for gorgeous photos of your baby’s tiny hands and feet!! The same goes for a flower on a headband, cute socks, etc., any of those things you’ll want to remember later!
Finally, newborn photography sessions work best after 6-10 days old. By 10 days old your baby likely has a routine established and is being fed well so they are sleeping longer. Have a few sessions if necessary, and keep practicing until you get some gorgeous shots!