6 Tips for at home DIY newborn sessions
Hi there! First, let me introduce myself. My name is Kristen, and I am a lifestyle newborn photographer serving the Durham Region and beyond. I love being able to help others capture special moments at home, so this special blog post is about: Do it yourself newborn photography. The newborn days are a special time (yet fleeting), so I know how important it is to capture these moments. I'm sharing 6 tips for photographing your own newborn session. You can even use your iPhone to capture some of these moments!
If you've read any of my previous tips for photography post then this may not be new information. Lighting is an important component of photography. Improper lighting can lead to a list of problems and make editing a nightmare, so focus on using proper light before taking your photographs. A good rule of thumb for nice soft shadows and highlights is to use window light. Place your baby in a way where the light flows from the top of baby's head down their body at about a 45 degree angel. You should see a soft shadow underneath baby's nose. If the window light is too hard, try using a white sheet to reduce the amount of light. If the shadows are too harsh, try bouncing some light back by using a white board. Be sure that the light source isn't directly above or below baby's face.
Keep Baby Safe
This should be an obvious point, but baby's safety is the number one priority while you are taking their photographs. Coming from studio background where I would pose baby, this was always my number one priority. During lifestyle sessions we do not do a lot of posing as my style suits a natural style, however I know how cute it can be seeing babies posed. If you are wanting to pose baby or are working with props, have someone there to help you so they can spot the baby. What I love most is keeping things simple, so one way to capture baby is to use a swaddle or wrap and place baby on a clean background (use bedding/quilt/furry carpet on the ground). You'll be sure to capture some sweet memories of just baby by keeping them warm, happy and safe this way.
Keep Baby Happy
Another tip I have mention several times is keeping baby happy. During these lifestyle sessions we watch for baby's cues and go with the flow. It is hard going into these sessions with a plan, so follow baby's cues and capture images when they are comfortable, content and sleepy. Babies do prefer to be warm, so warm up the area that you wish to photograph, feed baby and have a fresh diaper on. If baby is comfortable and content you'll have an easier time capturing images. Some babies respond well to white noise, some babies like to be swaddled, and some like to be free. In the end, do what makes your baby happy!
Tiny Details & Angels
One thing we all know is that babies do not stay little for very long, so be sure to capturing those tiny details. Their little ears, fingers, toes and cute button noses are all features that I love to try and capture. Capturing these details will remind you of how delicate they once were. To get more out of your shoot (especially if baby is content/sleepy), try taking photos from different angels. You'll be surprised that moving around baby you may discover something new!
It's about you too!
Yes, these sessions are about baby, but they are also about you, your partner and family! Attempting some of these photographs on your own may be difficult, but if you have a friend or if you and your partner are capturing these images, be sure to take photographs of each other with your new little one. Often times I hear "I don't have many photos of me and baby". It is a detail that can easily be forgotten about. If anything, let this be a reminder to take photos with your little one. Don't be afraid to ask a friend or your partner to take these images for you. Think of the lighting tip in the same way - look at the way shadows are casting. Are they creating harsh shadows? Does the light direction look natural? In almost all cases do not light from below and stick with a 40-50 degree angle.
The timing of these newborn sessions help in capturing these moments, so keep this in mind if you are planning on hiring a photographer or doing these yourself. I often recommend scheduling a session when baby is between 5-12 days old. With lifestyle sessions we do have some wiggle room, but if you do plan on posing baby then the timeline is more crucial. Babies tend to be their sleepiest during those days, so you have a better chance of capture those quiet, calm moments before they become more alert.
I hope these 6 tips for photographing your own newborn session helped!
I spent the morning with this featured family to document some of their family moments. I knew walking into this home that I was going to capture a whole lot of love and excitement. The morning was calm and baby Olivia was a dream to photograph. She loved being snuggled and slept through most of the session. I am so thankful for being invited into this home to document their new beginnings!