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One of my close friends is incredibly pregnant right now and she’s worried she may not be able to hire a photographer to come to the hospital with her. Actually, she’s more worried her spouse may not be able to join her in the delivery room. Unfortunately, that’s a reality thousands of parents are dealing with in the midst of this pandemic.
However, mothers are resilient and she’s determined to get those precious newborn photos with or without a professional. The only problem is she has about two weeks to learn how to photograph her newborn.
So, I decided to help. And, I figured since many other parents are in the same predicament, I’ll teach you all how to photograph your newborn too.
Focus on the Lighting
photo by Orbon Alija via iStock
Hospital lighting is harsh. I understand why it’s needed but it puts me on edge and it definitely doesn’t translate to photographs very well.
The first rule of thumb when learning how to photograph your newborn is to use natural light.
Most hospital rooms have windows you can utilize to perfect this. You’ll simply want to angle your newborn so that the sunlight streaming in through the window hits their head first. Make sure your baby has a slight shadow under their nose so that you know they’re at the right angle to the sun (which should be around 45 degrees).
photo by tatyana_tomsickova via iStock
Additionally, turn the lights off in your hospital room as frequently as possible and pull the blinds wide open. This way you’ll be able to catch those special, impromptu moments without rushing to fix the lighting first.
If there are sheer blinds on the windows, even better! They can help soften direct sunlight coming into the room which will minimize shadows and give you more even lighting for your newborn portraits.
Recommended Portrait Reading:
Keep Your Newborn Happy (At All Costs)
photo by chayathonwong via iStock
You’ll never be able to photograph your newborn if they’re hungry. You’ll also never be able to photograph your newborn if they’re anxious. You’ll also never be able to photograph your newborn if they’re cold.
So, make sure your baby is happy and you’ll get better shots. Feed them about 10 minutes before your photoshoot so you’ll have time to burp them and clean up any spit up.
photo by ideabug via iStock
Wrap them in one of the many precious blankets you received at the baby shower or in a baby wrap, and I find it really helpful to download a white noise app on your phone to play during the shoot.
“Sound Sleeper,” is the one I use because it features lullabies, rain, and even the sound of the womb, but you can download whichever one you prefer.
Plus, you’ll need a white noise app when you start trying your hand at newborn photography at home.
Don’t Take Any Risks
photo by DaydreamsGirl via iStock
Don’t take any risks with the baby while you’re trying to photograph your newborn. I’ve seen all sorts of crazy shots that parents take that look really unsafe and I can’t imagine they’re worth it.
Plus, I think newborn photography should be simple and organic. Don’t try to force things; just enjoy your new baby and document those precious moments in the first days of their lives.
If you want to recreate a classic newborn pose (i.e., the baby curled up in a basket), be sure you have plenty of soft supports underneath the baby, particularly its neck and head.
You can use molded foam bumpers to give the baby support and to position on either side of the baby to prevent it from rolling sideways.
Using props can also enhance the look of the shot. Just be sure whatever you use is soft and baby-friendly, like these adorable newborn outfits.
photo by wundervisuals via iStock
Some parents get really crazy, like moms who photograph their babies as they’re being born. I’m not suggesting to photograph your newborn in any way that makes you uncomfortable, but feel free to experiment with your shots.
I think a lot of people are too stringent about following newborn photography tips for parents to a tee, which means your photos of your baby look exactly like everyone else’s photos of their babies.
photo by narik via iStock
This is also a great tip for premature babies or babies with health complications that require them to be in an oxygen chamber or otherwise hooked up to machines. Move around your newborn and experiment with different angles rather than moving your newborn around!
Print Your Photos
photo by Andrew_Howe via iStock
If you took all this time to learn how to photograph your newborn then you need to show the photos off. Print them out and hang them on your walls in your home.
Printed photos of your newborn are also great presents for your parents or in-laws, since they’re no doubt incredibly excited about the addition of a grandchild to their family.
I use CanvasHQ to print my photos because their canvas quality is high, but their prices are low. They’re currently running a 30% off coupon and all of their canvases are money-back guaranteed.
Plus, they’re a small business, so they could really use your help during these trying financial times.
I’ve ordered dozens of prints from CanvasHQ over the years, and I have never been disappointed with the quality, shipping time, or customer service. These guys know how to make a beautiful canvas!
You’ll find that the materials they use are superior to what you can get elsewhere, and the time and care taken to build solid, strong frames means that the canvas is square, tight, and doesn’t bow over time. Truly, if you order a canvas today, it’ll look like a million bucks generations from now.
If that’s not the perfect way to celebrate a newborn, I don’t know what is!