From one Mama to another, let me tell you, that it is so easy to forget how little that newborn that you hold so close right now, actually is, unless you have a visual record somewhere to jog your memory. I feel so strongly about sharing these photography tips because I believe everyone should have a chance to relive that newborn stage over and over again. Although our babies will always be our babies, they will only be a newborn for so long.
Having a newborn is such an amazing journey and can bring on a tonne of different emotions and memories, all which should be documented one way or another, so I wanted to share with you a few tips which could help you to document this important chapter of your life because, I understand, I get it, that paying for a photographer is not always a priority for everyone at first as much as I would hope it could be.
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1 | PLAN
Make sure you plan to do this. Give yourself time. Make sure you are fed and hydrated, then make sure bubs is fed too. If at any stage you find yourself stressing - then stop, because your newborn will sense this and then you're pretty much downhill from there.
There's a reason most newborn photographers prefer to shoot in the morning too and that's because babies are typically more settled then, with things like tummy troubles, overstimulation or colic becoming more prominent as the afternoon progresses on. So with this in mind, plan to begin your photography session after everyone has finished their breakfast and as you are gearing your newborn up for their next nap, for the best results.
2 | TURN THE LIGHTS OFF
If your home is anything like mine, then you may be used to having the lights on pretty much at every hour of the day, but when we're taking photos, these overhead lights just simply do not create very pleasing shadows on the face, often leaving the subject being photographed with dark, lifeless looking eyes. Some lights can even wreck havoc when it comes to skin tones, while some might turn the subjects skin more green, others might do the opposite turning their skin a more magenta colour - and trust me, that's not very fun to play with during any sort of editing!
With all the lights off, go around and have a look at which rooms have the best natural light, that is, the best light coming in through one or two windows. Bedrooms are always a great place to start and I will often use the beds to photograph my clients. Play around with the curtains too and watch how the light fall across the room, and then, how it falls across your newborn.
3 | STYLE
What you dress your newborn baby in for the intended photography session is truely up to you, but I'm guessing that if you're still reading, then you must be some-what interested in my opinion. Sure a cute onesie can work well, but I wouldn't be trying to doll my newborn up to the nines in bunny bonnets and knitted pants with a bunny tail attached on the behind, or a pair of fairy wings and a tutu. This stuff has a time and a place, and while yes it can look darn cute sometimes it's not necessarily going to capture your newborn just as they are - a newborn!
When photographing a newborn you really want to capture and evoke feelings of newness; you want to be reminded of how little and precious and delicate they once were when you look back on these images, therefore a 'less is more' approach can work perfectly. If you do prefer to have a statement item, try making that item be their wrap or the blanket which they are lying on, but at the same time, don't have it stand out so much that it distracts from your newborn.
4 | TAKE THE PHOTO
When you're taking the photo, if you have the ability and understanding and your camera or phone app allows it, you should meter for the highlights - that is, making sure that the brightest part of your newborns skin is properly exposed. In digital photography, if you 'blow' your highlights, they are almost impossible to recover. The shadows are much more forgiving and can be pulled up in editing with less consequence to the quality of the image in question, compared with trying to pull the highlights down.
With your camera, or phone, set to expose for your images properly, start shooting. Press the shutter button and shoot from lots of different angles to discover what you like; shoot near, shoot far - what happens when creating the photograph will be different for everyone too, depending on the focal length. (Another thing I will offer here, if you are using your Phone camera to take your photos, it is better to move your feet rather than zooming in on the phone itself. Later you can crop the images with better success compared to if you had just zoomed in from the beginning.) Try and get in as close as your camera will focus too, and capture those tiny details - the eyelashes, the hair fuzz, nose, lips, knuckles, finger nails and toes, all those body parts that will just change before your eyes!
5 | GET IN THE FRAME
You heard me! Get in that frame Mama! This is something I am most passionate about and feel like I should be writing a whole blog post just on this tip alone (something which I may in fact do one day!), but basically, you are the Mama who carried this living being through all those months of pregnancy, you are the Mama who birthed this living being; whether medical intervention was needed or not, that makes no difference to how much of a Mama you are, you are the Mama who has given up so much freedom to feed and nurse this living being, whether you are using breastmilk or formula, and you are the Mama who will, from now on, forever have this unconditional love like no other for this living being - your newborn baby. Mama, you deserve to be in the frame, and your baby deserves to have as many photos as possible with the both of you together.
So jump in that nursing chair or sit and relax back on your bed. Either have a tripod set up or stack up a bunch of books extra high with your camera balancing on top and set the self timer to go off with just you and your newborn in the frame, or else get your partner or other family member to take the photos if a make shift tripod is not going to work.
Try not to over think it to much either. If you feel like you need something to do with your newborn instead of looking at the camera, then feed them, snuggle them, smell them and kiss them and just remember, you are beautiful, tired eyes, unwashed hair and all. This is your life, here and now and it will be over before you know it, so soak it up Mama!
So there you have it, my 5 top tips for photographing your newborn. I definitely haven't written out every little thing that could help you to take better photos, I feel like that is just way to much information for one blog post, but I do hope there's at least one useful pointer that you can take away today (maybe number 5 perhaps?) and start implementing as you photograph your newborn. If after reading through all this though, you decide to just add it to the to hard basket, because we all know how demanding and full on a newborn can be, or maybe you gave it a shot, but you feel like you're still missing something, then that's what I'm here for. I actually enjoy taking photos and capturing your life as it is right now. Even if you're already 2 or 3 weeks into life with your newborn and you're thinking maybe it's to late - I'm telling you, its not! So contact me today and let's book you in for one of my newborn lifestyle photography sessions.