12 Tips for Photographing Your Own Newborn
Newborn photography may look easy but I promise it does take practice and a lot of knowledge to perfect. Many of the poses that families love are actually composite images, where you take more than one image and then merge them together in photoshop. This is usually done for safety. These images include where your baby is holding their head up with their hand, any time a baby is hanging in a prop, sometimes when a baby is inside a prop and this list does go on. Please make sure you are safe with your baby, no image is worth risking your baby's safety.
Take your time
You just had a baby, give your body time to rest and recuperate before you jump on in and try to take all the photos your heart desires. You have time on your side. There is no reason to try to rush through and limit your time to 2-4 hours like if you hired a newborn photographer. Don’t be afraid to break it up over several days or even a couple weeks if you would like.
A fed baby is a happy baby
Make sure to take the time to really feed your baby until they are very full (not over-full if you are bottle feeding) but fed into that beautiful milk coma we all think is so cute. When you baby has a full tummy they are happy which will help give you the sleepy baby and the time to take some beautiful photos. It is normal to feed baby in the middle of a session, even a few times. Just go with it.
Keep baby warm
For some of the best results in your session, make sure the room you are in is warm. Mid seventies seems to be a good sweet spot for babies. This will allow you to get wrapped or clothed images as well as naked baby photos if you desire.
A baby's features change by the day. Make sure to get close and take those detail images. Some favorites are fingers, toes and lips. But don’t forget about the belly button, their ears, their hairline and nose. You’ll want to remember all the little details of them.
It’s all about light
You don’t need expensive studio lights to create beautiful images. Look around your home for the most natural light from a window or sliding glass door. The optimal light is at a 45 degree angle from the top of their head. Whatever you do, just don’t let the light come from under their chin. Your baby is not in a scary movie.
Change your angle
Once you find your light, move around your baby, looking for different angles and perspectives. Some of my favorites are when the baby is backlit. This will let you get a better variety without moving your baby too much.
Have a plan
And be prepared to throw it out the window. Having a plan will help you stay calm which will help your baby stay calm. From there, know that your baby runs the show. If they aren’t comfortable in a pose, don’t push it. And know they may not want to do any part of it and that is normal too. Just remember time is on your side. Your baby may need this cluster feeding day, try again tomorrow.
Let them be natural
Posed images in props and things sure are adorable but so are their natural selves. Lifestyle images of my babies are some of my favorites. Take photos of them when they are in their crib and when your spouse is rocking them to sleep. Anything that is in your natural, daily routine.
Don’t be afraid of all the faces
You can get some super adorable images just my lightly posing and letting them be natural. Let them stretch and yawn and pout and sneeze. Keep taking photos. The expressions they make during these movements are super cute and worth remembering.
Include all of your children
You know your children better than anyone. You know when your older children are responsible enough to hold your new baby and your younger children can lay down next to your baby.
Get in the photos
Have your significant other or a friend take a photo with you in front of the camera. You may not feel like you look for best but as the years pass those extra pounds or the sleepy face will not matter. The feeling of you holding your brand new baby is all that will matter.
Print your images. Sharing photos on social media is fun and a great way of sharing your excitement with all of your family and friends, but there is nothing like seeing that image on the wall as your baby grows up or pulling out an album when your baby starts school or goes off to college. Print them for you and print them for your children.