While it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking a gorgeous sleeping baby will make an easy subject to shoot, if your budget doesn’t permit you to employ the services of a professional, there are several tips and tricks to help ensure you and your precious baby have the best possible experience during your DIY newborn photography shoot.
Plan your session accordingly. It can take up to 4 to 5 hours to capture a handful of shots by the time you factor in feeding time, nappy changes and settling. Also, aim to schedule your shoot within baby’s first 2 weeks – while she’s still pretty sleepy. It gets harder if you keep postponing the session, as your baby starts getting more alert (and less cooperative) beyond 2 weeks of age.
Use appropriate lighting
It’s very important to get your lighting correct, otherwise the whole shoot can go for a toss. Do whatever it takes to educate yourself on the angles and lights required at the session. Watching YouTube videos, reading newborn photography blogs, talking to an expert or perusing Pinterest, are all good places to start.
A general thumb rule says that newborn baby shots should be taken under plenty of natural sunlight as the light helps in giving a soft focus on baby’s skin. Always make use of window light and avoid the harsh sunrays as it can damage baby’s delicate and also cast unneeded shadows in the images.
Professional photographers use a standard lens of 50mm with a high ISO and a wide aperture. Keep the shutter speed in auto mode and make use of external flash with a diffuser to fill dark spots, if any. Moreover, when you position your baby, make sure that you place the top of her head toward the light. This will help in giving a fantastic depth to the image.
Use continuous shooting mode
Remember you are about to take pictures of a newborn baby who has just started to get used to the “newness” of everything. Babies are unpredictable and photographing them is no easy job. You cannot direct and position them in the same way you can adults.
With babies it’s all about positioning. Newborn babies are highly “moldable” and you can play around with their positions to create remarkable effects. Timing is crucial. So, don’t wait for the right shots to happen. Instead, keep the camera shooting mode continuous, so that you don’t miss out any good positions of your baby.
Involve siblings, if any!
The primary reason for having a newborn baby photo shoot is to make it memorable for the entire family, therefore why not include the siblings in the pictures to spice things up a bit? It is highly advisable to not force upon the sibling to pose or act in any particular way. The key here is to let them be – let the siblings be eating, talking or just looking at their newborn sibling.
The other trick is to distract them with something to play with like balloons or kites. They will have no idea that they are being photographed and, that way, you will get a good photo of them with your newborn.
Advice for you: Take sibling shots right in the beginning of the photo session so that they are set free for the remaining hours. Most of the siblings do not carry patience to sit through the end of the session.
Try black and white
Black and white images can create extraordinary images – images that represent eternality.
If you are shooting in black and white keep aperture priority mode on and opt for a soft and blurred background. It is preferable to use spot metering mode and meter it on baby’s face.
Keep all the props handy
Ask any experienced newborn baby photographer and they will tell you how imperative it is to have that extra lens in the kit, have an extra memory card as backup and to have a helper to take care of the positioning of the baby.
Firstly, you need a good working camera. A standard lens of around 50mm should suffice. To get sharper shots, you should choose a lens with f/1.8 or lower, as it will fetch you faster shutter speeds. Always go for high ISOs.
Props such as books, kites, balloons or any toys should help in creating dramatic effects in the images. For your newborn baby, you can use a headband or a hat to create some cute moments at the session. Props of this sort can really bring the picture alive.
Safety is critical when it comes to a DIY newborn photography shoot. Regardless of what equipment you use and what images you take, do not compromise on the safety of your baby.
Babies help you to create some of the most breathtaking shots in your history of photography. But, it is not at all simple! You have to be well prepared and stay alert all the while in the session.
Hopefully, these mentioned DIY photography tips and tricks should help you to capture some great images of your newborn baby.
About the Author:
Isabella White is a newborn, kids and maternity photographer at Pitter Patter Portraits. She is also an aspiring writer. She loves to write about anything related to kids, babies, newborn photography tips and tricks, family and maternity portraits ideas etc.