If paying for a professional newborn shoot isn’t in your budget right now, you can still capture the moment—just try these DIY tips. Janet Bailey, a photographer who specializes in maternity, newborn and family portraits offers up these strategies for making an at-home photo shoot as easy as possible.
Time it right
Try to take the photos when your baby is five to 10 days old. “At this age, they sleep for long stretches and very deeply, which allows you to pose them without too much disturbance, and her expressions will be more relaxed,” explains Bailey. Make sure your babe has been fed and has settled down for a nap.
Use natural light
Your camera’s flash points directly at the subject and may fill your baby’s face with bright light, obscuring her delicate features, so turn it off and open up the curtains instead. If it seems too bright, try hanging a thin piece of white cloth over the window to diffuse the light.
What really happens during newborn photo shoots
Set the scene
Place your baby on a soft surface in a warm room. If using something like a chair, always have a second person beside her to make sure she won’t roll off. A blanket can be placed over a couch, bed or the floor to create a neutral background. On top of that, you can lay another small textured blanket or throw. Have fun with it. Bailey says that keeping the colours soft and blankets coordinated is a good way to go—let baby’s natural beauty stand out. “Many newborns are naturally inclined to curl up in the fetal position; photographed from the side or from above, this can be very cute,” says Bailey. And don’t forget the details: Shots of her tiny hands and feet are a must!
Dress her up
Simple props, such as knit hats, are adorable. This is also a great chance to show off a special handmade gift.
That’s a wrap
Only continue the session for as long as your baby is comfortable and happy. If she starts fussing and can’t be easily soothed, it’s time to stop.
Remember that the cute poses popular in these newborn shoots—babies snoozing on their tummies, or nestled in cozy blankets—are not actually safe for sleep. These props and positions are just for the photo (and infants should always be supervised).
Above all, says Bailey, enjoy the process. Your baby will only be this tiny for such a short time.