We all want gorgeous photos of our new squishy bundles to cherish for years and years to come. But it can often be stressful and time-consuming to organise a photographer (not to mention costly!).
If you haven’t budgeted for a professional photographer, why not try taking them at home with your phone? You may be surprised at the quality of photos that phones take these days.
Apply these easy peasy newborn photography tips and you’ll improve your photos instantly. Best of all? You only need a phone, good window light and a happy baby ready to work the camera!
Preparation for Success!
Safety, feeding + awake time
1. Safety first, never leave your baby unattended during the shoot. Start with simple, beautiful poses that can be easily and safely achieved. For example, have baby on their back or on their side.
2. Avoid advanced poses you see on Pinterest! For example, the ‘froggy pose’ where the baby holds their head in their hands up on their elbows.
Photographers often have a trained assistant and the help of Photoshop to make the baby look like they are actually holding their head in their hands without assistance. Babies are unable to do this by themselves.
3. Ensure your baby is fully fed, then afterward leave them unwrapped for awake time for at least 45 minutes before you start the session. Let baby kick around to let off some energy. This will help them settle easily into sleep.
4. Ensure baby is burped to avoid an upset tummy.
Natural window light
5. Use natural sunlight by using a window that has no direct sunlight coming in (think in the shade or on an overcast day). This type of light is soft and beautiful and will result in beautifully exposed images.
6. Take photos during the day when the natural light is bright enough. Do not take them at dawn or dusk.
7. PRO TIP: Place baby’s face approximately 45 degrees to the window light.
**NOTE**: Have baby’s feet facing away from the light so that the light doesn’t beam directly up baby’s nose, otherwise your baby’s sweet face will be lit-up similar to a torchlight under their chin. It’s very unflattering and unnatural looking.
8. Babies feel safe and secure when wrapped (not too tight, but enough to make them feel snug and secure). Wrapping is a MUST especially if the baby is not setting.
If baby does not settle into the wrap after a minute or two, if they can move their arms and hands it often frustrates them until they are completely out of the wrap. You must wrap the baby more firmly to reduce movement with a STRETCHY wrap or piece of fabric to allow grip and to anchor the fabric around the baby.
9. Always ensure there is space away from the baby’s neck so they can easily breathe when wrapping.
10. Try white noise: Babies are used to being inside the womb which is a very close resemblance to the sound of a vacuum cleaner. Your baby will feel at home. This is why white noise is so comforting to babies.
So turn up the noise and watch your baby settle almost instantly. The louder the better – the same volume as a vacuum cleaner is PERFECT.
11. Consider a dummy: If your baby doesn’t use a dummy, I recommend using one if they aren’t settling – if only for the photo session. If all the other settling tools aren’t working, this can often be the last hack that brings all the other techniques together.
12. Have the room at 27 degrees. This will ensure the baby is nice and warm to settle into a sleep. A cold baby will not relax and will squirm all over the place.
Make the most of each pose
13. Use different camera angles: Pull back the camera to get a full-length picture of the baby. Then pull in closer to get half their torso and face. Then pull in closer again and get a close-up shot of their face to fill the frame. Then take Macro shots (close-up shots) of their eyelashes, ears, lips, and feet.
14. The more images you take from one pose the better. When you move baby, they may wake up and be difficult to resettle. This way you can feel good about the images you have taken.
15. Unwrapping baby is a great opportunity to get more variation in your images. Only do this AFTER you’ve taken beautiful sleepy/settled shots of your baby wrapped first. Do not attempt to unwrap for photos when the baby is unsettled. They may become more upset. Tend to their needs first.
16. Unwrapping a content baby, they often wake up and feel the urge to stretch as the wrap is removed. When you unwrap them, be ready with the camera as it’s the perfect opportunity to take action shots of them stretching, yawning and moving around.
Finding a time when you and bub are content, and relaxed can be tricky but it can also be a fun experience and a great way to bond with bubba and polish up your newborn photography skills. And there’s no better subject than an adorable baby to practice on!
What to read next
- 11 Family Photography Tips To Make Pictures Pop
- 12 Stunning Images of Mums Meeting their Babies for the First Time
- 9 Tips to Taking Great Photos of Your Kids
About the author
Jess’s journey first began over 10 years ago when she tried DIY newborn photos of her firstborn. Not only was the experience stressful for her with a crying baby, but the results were also disappointing. This led Jess to study with world-recognised newborn photographers to master the art of newborn photography and has since become known as the baby whisperer herself. You can find her on Instagram and through Jessica Jane Photography.
Jess helps parents all over the world with quick, easy-to-follow training for parents to take gorgeous photos of their baby at home.
If you’d love to deep dive more, she has an amazing Photography Course that was specifically created for busy, tired parents in mind! Check out her free video tutorial here.