Tips for DIY Newborn portraits by New York City Newborn Baby Photographer
Hiring a professional newborn photographer is always the best option for creating the perfect memories of your little peanut! However, DIY newborn photos are also an amazing way to capture baby’s daily deliciousness or when professional portraits are not an option.
Here are some tips for capturing your baby:
This cannot be emphasized enough! Always make sure that your newborn baby is safe at all times when taking photos. This includes:
- Never leave your newborn unattended on surfaces from which she could fall (like a bed) or never use a prop that could potentially be dangerous (like a glass bowl)
- Always have a ‘spotter’ if you take pictures of baby with siblings and/or pets. We never know how older siblings or fur friends can react, even it is just to play
- Never try ‘elaborate poses’ that seem unnatural or where baby's head and neck are not supported (for example the ‘froggy pose’). These images are created by professionally trained newborn photographers and are usually virtually processed in editing software like Photoshop
- Use a camera strap at all times
Keep it simple: colors, background, props
Your baby is perfect so let his/her newborn features take the center stage. Keep the colors, background, props and poses simple.
For the color palette, neutrals and pastel colors are always a great option. White, beige, ivory, grey, light pink or blue create a classic and timeless look that you will not tire of.
For the background and swaddle, a plain blanket and/or piece of fabric of neutral color is usually a great option, that most new parents already own.
For props, a delicate bow or hat can be a cute option. Add the little things that you will want to remember: the lovely bunny from grandma, the receiving blanket from the godfather, a cute onesie that you dreamed of putting on baby while you were expecting, etc.
Unless you own a flash or studio light (and know how to use it), natural light (aka the sun) is your best ally. Ideally, you want to choose:
- a room with a lot of natural light
- a room with white walls that helps to reflect the light
- a window that has sheer curtains to diffuse the light – it helps create ‘soft light’ and hard shadows
If you cannot combine all the above, the room with the best light wins.
Newborn portrait - Light coming from the left side of baby's head
Position your baby according to the light. If possible, avoid poses when the light comes up the nose, as it is unflattering. Light coming from the top of the head creates a beautiful butterfly shadow under baby’s nose, and light coming from the side will create depth in your portrait.
Newborn portrait - Light coming from the top of baby's head
Choose the right time
If you plan on doing a newborn photoshoot, timing is crucial. As you spend a lot of time taking care of your newborn, fragmenting the different steps can be a good idea. If you can, start by setting up your home ‘studio’. Later, you can do the ‘session’. Make sure to take the pictures when baby is well fed and happy. That will allow you to create peaceful portraits and capture cute newborn expressions. You can choose, edit and print your favorite images at another time. Be respectful of your baby's rhythm (and your own!) to get the best images possible.
Keep the room warm
Room temperature is an important factor when photographing newborns. The little ones get cold easily. Keeping the room warm is key for a happy and comfortable baby, and for beautiful photographs.
As mentioned before, simplicity is key. Natural baby posing makes the best memories: little fists up their head, delicious baby yawns, perfect and tiny feet are the things that you will want to remember the most!
Editing & Printing
If you use your phone, there are many apps for editing your images. I personally like Lumii. If you use a camera, Lightroom is an amazing way to organize your images and is more user friendly than Photoshop. Smartphone images are better if printed small since they have a lower resolution.
If you are interested in a professional photo session, our NYC newborn photography studio is the perfect place to visit. We specialize in pure and classic portraiture and take the utmost care to create the most beautiful images of your baby. Commissioning a professional photographer also allows the whole family to be photographed together, which are ultimately, ends up being the most treasured photos. If you love our style and are interested in click here to book your newborn session.