Parents love to snap photos of their kids, but if it’s your first time with a newborn, you may be too nervous (or busy!) to capture those first few weeks of life. But don’t be! You don’t need to be a professional photographer to borrow some newborn photography tips from someone who is. CreativeLive instructor Julia Kelleher has tons of insight for photographers who are looking to shoot newborns — but a lot of her advice can be used for moms who just want to know how to capture their baby’s best side.
Handle with care:
You probably already know this, but it deserves reminding: Your infant subject probably isn’t the only thing you’ve photographed, which means your camera has probably spent some time on kitchen counters, in bags, and generally out in the world getting dirty. “Hand sanitizer is my religion,” says Julia, who recommends keeping some close by. Additionally, if you’ll be touching both the baby and the camera, be sure to give your camera a sanitizing wipe-down before shooting.
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The first few weeks of your baby’s life are some of the best to shoot. They go by so quickly, and there’s so much change to catch. Despite the exhaustion, the hormones, the crazy feeding schedule, and the many questions new moms are facing, taking a little time out to take photos will be so worth it later.
Incorporate the rest of the family:
Your new baby is a beautiful subject, but her relationship with your other family members is also a great thing to capture. Use family time as an opportunity to take photos of her at that precious age, while also taking advantage of having both of your hands free for the first time in weeks.
“Some poses, it’s just a given, Baby has to be sleeping,” says Julia. In fact, newborn photographers often hope for a sleeping infant to capture beautiful, creative shots. Instead of waiting for a time when your little one is awake and engaged, experiment with taking her photo while she’s asleep.
Look for the good light:
Nix the flash when shooting a wee one. Instead, utilize natural light during, say, an afternoon nap. Or, if your baby is awake, move her near a window (but not in direct sunlight) and onto a nice, neutral blanket, to get the light.
Sequence your shots:
Here’s a newborn photography tip to snatch from the pros: Plan your photos ahead of time, and achieve multiple looks. Julia calls it “close, medium, far,” and it allows you to shoot a variety of different photos without moving or disturbing your baby. Start close in on your little one’s face, then move further away and from numerous angles.
Consider (safe) props:
Props can range from a sibling’s hand to a blanket or a soft toy. These are great for establishing scale — when your baby is just a few weeks old, you’ll want to remember just how tiny she was — and can give the baby something to interact with.
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