Is there anything sweeter than a precious, innocent newborn baby? Most new parents enjoy taking pictures of their newborn baby. It is the perfect reason to invest in an easy-to-use camera, and perhaps a few photography classes. Pictures of newborns are timeless and will be cherished for years to come. Whether you are behind the lens yourself, or you are hiring a professional photographer to take pictures, it’s important to take good ones. Today, let’s look at some Top Newborn Photography Tips.
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The First Few Weeks
Professional photographers suggest that the best time to photograph a newborn is during the first two weeks of life. During this time, babies sleep more and are easier to pose. Babies with a full tummy will sleep much more soundly, so try to hold off feeding your baby until right before you are ready to take photos.
Since newborn babies were crunched for space when they were growing in the womb, they are most comfortable when swaddled, with their arms and legs tucked in. Swaddling will help your newborn feel cozy and secure, which in turn will help them fall asleep. It’s important to keep the room nice and toasty warm. The baby will likely sleep more soundly and be more comfortable when the room is around 85 degrees F (especially when the baby has little, or no clothing on). It also helps to warm staging blankets in the dryer prior to placing a newborn on them (be sure to use a low setting so that the blanket isn’t too hot).
The Set Up
Once the baby is sleeping soundly you can easily position them. When posing a newborn for photos, (especially when the baby has no clothing on, or with props such as angel wings and newborn tiara, place them on their belly with their toes tucked up under their bottoms. This position is comfortable for the baby and helps hide their private parts. Always assign someone to watch the baby while the photos are being snapped. The baby’s safety is your highest priority!
Babies Like Noise
Doctors tell us that the sounds in the womb are very loud. This explains why newborns tend to sleep much more soundly when there is white noise in the room. Before your photo shoot, consider investing in a sound therapy machine that creates a calming white noise, such as a gentle wind blowing or rolling sea waves. You can always use the machine in the nursery afterward. Soft music playing in the background works well too. Either way, your goal is to create a calm, comfortable environment for both you, and your newborn. Babies are very perceptive and can pick up on signals that we give off. If you are nervous, your baby will sense it and may not be relaxed and cooperative.
When They Are Tired
Try to keep your baby awake for one to two hours prior to doing a photo shoot. A good way to do this is by giving your newborn a bath. This is a great way to tire baby out a bit, exercise their lungs, and fluff their baby-fine hair (if they have any).
Time of Day
Newborns usually take their best nap early in the day, so try to take your newborn photos first thing in the morning. Remember that natural light is your friend and is always best for photos. Find a room with several windows that allow the light to filter in, as well as light colored walls, (these will help to reflect light).
If your baby becomes upset with a pose, stop. Crying is their only way to tell you that they are not happy with what you are doing. Take time to get them comfortable before you proceed and never, ever, EVER force a pose!
You should plan on spending several hours taking newborn photos. It takes time to get newborns to sleep soundly, comfortably pose them and change their darling outfits (and maybe their diaper!). It also takes time to arrange props for various photographic shots.
Try taking your newborn pictures from various angles, and make sure you get a few pictures from eye level. Snapping images from above is great, however, snap several close-ups that focus on your baby’s sweet face and all the little details (think lips, eyelashes, fingers, etc….). They are only tiny once (and grow quickly), so now is your chance to capture these images.
Safety is always, always top priority! No picture is worth putting your baby at risk of being injured or exposed to sickness. Always wash your hands well before posing your baby and make sure that all of the blankets are laundered after each photo shoot. Remember to have someone standing close by to watch your baby while you take pictures.
Newborns love to snuggle and be swaddled. Using cozy cocoons can be a fun way to get some great photos of your baby. Some cocoons swing like a baby hammock, so remember to stay close yourself, or have someone standing close by in case they start to wiggle or squirm.
Staging is very important when setting up your photo shoot. Use such items as wicker baskets, buckets, boxes, doll beds, vintage pieces, antique furniture, over-sized toys, picnic baskets, wooden boxes, a vintage trunk, suitcases, barrels and more. Whatever props you choose, be sure they are sturdy, free from nails or sharp edges, won’t tip over and are clean.
Blankets and Fabrics
Choose props and fabrics that are soft, have great texture, have a little stretch to them and are washable. Do not use anything that may scratch or irritate a newborn’s skin. Wash everything that may come into direct contact with the baby and be sure to use mild and gentle baby laundry soap made specifically for a newborn.
Covered vinyl puck beanbags are perfect for taking newborn pictures. These beanbags are easy to wash off between sessions. When posing a newborn, feel free to use burps rags, hand towels, wash clothes, receiving blankets or anything that you can roll up underneath a baby. To keep the items from view, place them between the beanbag and the blankets.
Always follow your baby’s cues and never force them into a pose. Enjoy precious memories and a lifetime of love with your child. Relax and have fun taking photos using these Top Newborn Photography Tips.
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