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Things have been rather slow here on the blog lately. Popping a human being out will do that to ya! Our little guy turned 3 weeks old this week though, and I’m starting to sort of get back to life (don’t rush into it I say, because once you do there’s no going back!!)
So one of the most important things to me to do after I have a baby is photograph them! Almost everything can be done later, but you only have one small window to get newborn photographs! So for me that is near the top of the priority list, along with sleep and eat (and an occasional shower if I’m lucky). I am no pro but after 4 children I have learned a few tricks and tips to get better newborn photographs. I put together his birth announcement which I wanted to share with you today:
Instructions to order this announcement:
I can personalize this announcement for you for $5 paid through paypal. If you would like to order this announcement please send up to 2 photos to email@example.com along with the birth stats and I will send you a proof for your review. Girl version featured below. You will receive a 5X7 jpeg digital file that you can then have printed wherever you get your photos printed. I suggest ordering the blank cards through Costco. That will run you about $18 for 25 cards. Just pick “design your own card” and upload the jpeg from me. I can also include more than 2 photos for an additional fee.
I offer my photo editing services for an additional $10 for the two photos if you are interested in that as well. As an example here is a couple before and after of the photos I used in the announcement above:
Newborn Photography Tips
Let me start by making clear that I am not a professional photographer. In fact, I shoot in auto most of the time! So these tips are for your average girl or gal looking to get some nice pictures of their newborn without having to pay a photographer.
- First, and most importantly, you need to photograph your newborn before they are 2 weeks old! There are several reasons for this including the fact that it seems like (for my babies anyway) around 3-4 weeks they start to break out with baby acne. You certainly want to capture them before that happens! They also start to come out of their coma anywhere from 1-2 weeks after birth. Photographing them is SO much easier when they are still in that “newborn coma” as I like to call it. You can move them around and pose them and they will usually just stay asleep! The down side is if you are doing it on your own it can be really overwhelming and exhausting for a mama who just gave birth. Taking these photos took most of it out of me. I ended up doing about 4 different sessions over 4 different days because I got wiped out or fed up or pooped on etc. So if you can enlist the help of your hubby, neighbor, mother in law or friend it will really be useful!
- Lighting is everything! I am sure you already know this, most of your photoshoot should be planned around the lighting. It can be tricky to line up the right lighting, with having time to do a photoshoot, with having the baby happy and fed and asleep. It might take a few tries, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it on the first try. Pay attention to the lighting in your house and start to plan where you want to take the photos. You want to take them when the sunlight in the room is bright, but you don’t want to be able to see the outline of the windows on the floor. Here is an example of a photo where the light caught up to us. I had everything all set up and then by the time the older boys got home from school to take the group shots the sun was too far (see the reflection off of the metal tub? not good).Here’s another shot with the same lighting problem. Notice any other problems? The baby’s head needs to be propped up further, its hiding down behind the blanket too much.
- Be persistent! You don’t get the perfect shot in 20 minutes with 30 pictures. It takes hundreds of pictures and a few hours (not necessarily all at once) to get the shot you want, I was thrilled to capture him smiling in his sleep with great lighting and a good angle (don’t shoot up their noses!) It took LOTS of bad photos to get this one:And I was equally thrilled to capture him looking straight at the camera with this eyes open NOT doing something weird of funky with his arms:
- Plan out your poses. Look through pinterest and find some poses that you like and want to replicate. An easy one to start with when your baby is sleeping is on their tummy with their arms tucked under their head and ankles crossed:make sure their head is propped up and not buried into the blankets, this may require adding some extra padding underneath the blanket they are laying on where their head is. Also, notice those diaper lines? I should have kept him out of his diaper a little while before photographing him to avoid those lines 🙁 Another pose I found on pinterest that I HAD to replicate with my four boys (i LOVE how it turned out, but don’t be fooled by those smiles, everyone wanted to kill me by the end of the shoot):
- Keep it simple. I think newborns are best photographed naked. This takes a little foresight, I would recommend using a crib pad or similar waterproof layer under your blanket. Also if your baby was circumcised you may want to wait until its healed (or not so raw anyway) before trying this. Another option is a plain onsie. If you want to use props, I recommend using simple ones (like the bow tie pictured above). Leave the baby swinging in a blanket in midair poses to the pros. Here’s an example of a few simple props I used
- Bonus tip: Having a few pieces of “equipment” will go a long way to helping your photos look a little more professional. You can spend a lot of money on expensive backgrounds, or you can simply use (as I have in these photos) a textured blanket that you clip to some chairs or counter or crib behind the subject. Textured blankets are preferred over sheets as they tend to show less wrinkles. These are the clamps I use every time I photograph. They also come in handy when my kids are building blanket forts in the family room 😉 Also you will need something soft to prop them up on to put under your textured blanket. Pillows can work, a boppy pillow (what I use) is better, a bean bag is best (here is one for a pretty decent price). If you don’t have a blanket you can use here is an example of one that would turn out well in photos. I usually spend a little money on some kind of prop or equipment each time I do a photoshoot. I figure instead of spending money on a photographer I’ll spend a fraction of the cost on something to help my own photos look a little more professional (and that I can use again).
Of course, if you can support a photographer and hire this out, that is super-duper awesome too!
Good luck taking your own newborn photographs! Just be persistent. I call it the “rule of 100”. For every 100 photos I take I get one that is amazing and about 5 that are ok 😉 You can do it!!