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Professional newborn portraits are the best way to create timeless memories of your precious baby. However, newborn photos taken by parents are an amazing way to remember your baby’s daily deliciousness or when a professional photo session is not possible.
Here are some favorite items that you will find useful to create your beautiful DIY newborn pictures:
Background & Swaddle
Background: A plain color background is a safe option as it will keep baby at the center of the images. Depending on the surface you will want to lay your baby on, you might want to layer several blankets to create a soft cushion for baby and a smooth background. Safety tip: remember to never leave your newborn unattended on surfaces from which she could fall.
Swaddle: Newborns often feel secure and look adorable when swaddled. Swaddling also allows you to control baby’s arms and hands if she is awake (and avoids hands in the face). Muslin blankets are a must-have newborn item that you might already own. Muslin gives a more lifestyle feel to your images. If you want to make your baby snuggly, a stretch wrap is your best option. If you are not sure how to swaddle, a neutral color swaddle with velcro is a great option.
Baby’s outfit: A plain white onesie is perfect to create pure and classic newborn portraits. Onesies with snaps on the side are a favorite. They make it easy to (un)dress newborns with their delicate necks. They are great in general and also make it easy to remove the onesie without waking a sleeping baby (useful if you plan on doing naked baby portraits).
Props: The choice of props for newborn portraits is almost infinite. Etsy is a great place to find great pieces: hats, headbands, knitted little toys, and more! Remember: simplicity and neutrals are always a winner and keep your baby the star of your image.
Cameras: When it comes to choosing a camera, the choices are endless! Nowadays phone cameras can create beautiful portraits. If you spend the time and energy to do your own newborn session, you might want to use a real camera. The photo quality is much better and can be printed much bigger (without looking pixelated). Here are two great choices, at different price points. If you are interested in investing in a really great camera to photograph your growing family, the Canon 6D is an absolute marvel.
Lens: The lens choice is as important (if not more) than the body. If you want to couple the camera with an incredibly beautiful and versatile lens, this one is my favorite ever (my go-to newborn studio session lens). It is wonderful to photograph newborns (for example with overhead shoots when you zoom out) or older children at a distance (when you zoom in). It can also create the blurry background/dreamy feel that many people love. If you are looking to invest in an amazing lens to photograph your babies and children, this will allow you to capture breathtaking portraits!
Camera strap: Safety is the first priority when photographing newborns. If you use a DSLR camera, ALWAYS use a camera strap, especially for headshot images. Your camera should come with a strap. If you are looking for a comfortable and practical one, the one below is great.