In January, a good friend of mine had her second baby, a little girl to complete their family with little boy, William. Lockdown has been so hard for people and it's strange not to be able to visit and get some baby cuddles - she's part of my mum tribe and I'd love to be able to go round and make her a cuppa and do some washing up for her or hold the baby so she can go for a shower. Taking some gifts and cake round at a social distance had to suffice!
In the autumn I took some photos of her family with bump and we were hoping I'd be able to take some newborn photos for them at home, but that will obviously have to wait. It got me thinking though, with so many families unable to have photographers to their home or go to studios for newborn shoots, it's down to parents to get some newborn images. Of course, we take hundreds of photos of our beloved children, but I wanted to give some tips of things to think about to help make your newborn pictures a bit special and not a blurry mess with muslin cloths and wipes in the background.
So here are my top 5 tips, just things to think about really. The key is to have a bit of fun with it - you have the luxury of time (rather than an hour long shoot) to get 'the' dream photo. Keep baby warm (whack the heating up!) and happy too - if they need a cuddle or milk, let them have it and then just try again. Experiment with a digital SLR if you have one, but your phone can be great too, and usually the closest thing to hand!
Find the natural light. Sunlight has us looking our most natural and is the most flattering kind of light. Ideally you'd want a light but cloudy day - direct sunlight can be too harsh and create strong shadows. Put your baby on your bed and face them towards a window or lay them on the floor (with appropriate comfort of blankets etc) next to a patio door or similar. Experiment with different angles to see how the light changes - a profile silhouette can also make for a gorgeous and dramatic image.
Tip No. 2
Get detailed shots - they will grow so quickly and having beautiful images of tiny toes, hands, lips, and nose will be something you love looking back on. These are such unique features to your baby that change in a flash so it's great to have them as a lasting memory. Having a frame of reference, like Mum or Dad's hands, can also make baby look even smaller and really emphasises those cute newborn qualities. If you want to print your images to frame, they can also make a great addition to a montage alongside images of the baby's face.
Tip No. 3
Keep it simple. Nothing too hectic or colourful on the bed sheets or baby's clothing - this can distract from the main event - your baby! Let your beautiful newborn do the talking. If this isn't possible, using black and white is a great way to get rid of any distractions or clashing colours. It can also be lovely to have a keepsake photo of a special toy or blanket knitted by Grandma so keep that in mind when looking at colours on your baby or in the background. The blue eyes of the little girl below are beautifully complemented by the blue in the sheets behind (as luck would have it!) so look at using complimentary colours and tones if anything.
Tip No. 4
Use the rule of thirds for some of your images. Imagine dividing your frame or view with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. This creates four intersecting points and by placing your subject or the most important element of your subject onto one of these points you create a more pleasing composition. It helps guide the eye into the image and puts more emphasis on the subject in question. I often do this with babies and children, placing one of their eyes as the focal point.
Tip No. 5
Play with different angles and perspectives. Once your baby is comfortable and settled in a certain position, move around them to get a variety of images. This can include your detail shots and close ups of their face, versus images of their whole body. Get down to their level or shoot them directly from above. You can get plenty of varied images from just one pose and given time you might get some cute faces out of them too, like a big yawn or a windy smile!
I hope this is in some way useful, or at least gives you some pointers to think about. Take it at a nice gentle pace though (especially if you've just given birth), and always keep your baby happy and safe. Get the whole family involved if you can - Mum, Dad and siblings, as these early snuggly days don't last long. Any questions, just drop me an email and I'll be here ready and waiting to take your newborn photos as soon as I'm allowed! Happy snapping!