How to photograph your Newborn Baby at home (you can even use your phone)

The studio is sadly closed for the time being due to the current pandemic and all sessions have been rescheduled until it is safe to welcome babies and their families back into the studio.


I am desperately sad for all the families who are missing out on so many things right now - baby showers, support from friends and relatives, antenatal classes, mum meet-ups, baby groups, birth choices, naming ceremonies, visits from grandparents - it's absolutely necessary, but none the less heartbreaking.


Many parents who have recently given birth or whose baby is due in the next few weeks or months will also miss the chance to have a professional newborn photo shoot. I can't wait to meet lots of sweet babies and their families again soon, but in the meantime I wanted to provide a resource to help parents take the best possible photographs of their newborn baby at home. Newborns change so fast, so taking a moment to capture all their tiny details at just a week or so old is incredibly important.


So here it is, a brief guide to photographing your newborn at home and with your phone if that's what you have. For safety reasons the images suggested in this guide do not use accessories or props. The kind of fine art newborn photography I offer and which can be seen online requires specific training, safety knowledge and specialist equipment - it is not something to try at home! Instead, I have focused on safe, natural style posing which will ensure that you have some lovely images of your newborn baby and your family.


Don't forget to download a more detailed guide with lots of tips and tricks to help you get the most from your photos in a handy PDF document to keep on your phone.


DOWNLOAD YOUR DETAILED GUIDE HERE


Would like to work with me to create some fine art style images of your newborn within their first 3 weeks via a virtual 1:1 posed session? Session availability is very limited. All the details and how to check availabilty for your baby's due date are here.


Don't forget, we can capture beautiful images of you and your baby at any age. Take a look at our Older Baby and Cake Smash galleries. Now is the perfect time to start planning your little one's first professional portraits once we are all back to normal.


Before you start...


First off, know that your photos are not going to look the same as professional photos, and that's ok! But you are capturing some precious memories at a time when professional shoots aren't an option, and that is all that matters. Babies are energy-based and will pick up on your anxiety and frustration, so just relax and go with the flow!


Turn up the thermostat so the room is warm, then give your baby a good feed, and be sure to burp them, so they are happy and sleepy! But remember that awake baby images are beautiful too!


All the suggestions in this guide can be achieved while keeping your baby's nappy on. It's so much easier (and less messy) that way.


Equipment

Don't worry if you don't have a camera - you will be able to use this guide to take photos with your phone. If you have the option, try putting your phone on portrait mode if you have it to get some yummy blur. Make sure your lens is clean! 

And since you will keep things simple - you don't need any props.


What to wear

Have the family wear comfortable, simple, neutral-coloured clothing. Stay away from logos, words, and characters on shirts, and bright colours. Newborns photograph best in just a nappy or a simple white onesie/ vest. Newborn clothes are cute, but they don't fit well and babies can look swamped. You can add a little hat or headband for variety (but not one so big it takes the focus away from baby!)

Baby is more likely to stay sleepy and content when swaddled tightly. Try a simple swaddle wrap - find out how on the next page!


Light

Try to take your photos in the rooms that get the best gentle window light (not direct sunlight). North/south facing windows are great! If there's enough window light, turn off your overhead lights.

When positioning baby close to the window, make sure the light is coming from the side or towards the top of the baby's head.


Siblings

Always have another adult present to be close to baby while taking photos with siblings. Start with low expectations - they may not cooperate and that's ok. If they lose patience, rather try those photos another time.


Safety

The safety and comfort of your baby is more important than any photo. Please do not attempt any poses that you see newborn photographers do - they are trained in newborn safety and posing.


Pets and siblings should never be photographed with a newborn without another adult right there to keep an eye (and hand!) on baby. When you are taking photos above baby with a camera, always wear the camera strap around your neck.


Listen for baby's cues.  Your little one may start to tell you they have had enough. And pace yourself  - you just had a baby and will need rest! If you need to break it up over a few days, that's OK!


Editing

Take loads of images so you can choose the best of the best. To edit on your phone, try Snapseed or Photoshop Express apps. They let you adjust things like brightness and contrast, crop your photos and do use simple tools to soften baby skin and remove marks.


Here are some examples of the sorts of poses you could try with your baby at home.


Natural Overhead Images

Laying baby down and shooting from above is a simple but effective way to pose your baby for photos. Choose a plain backdrop or one with a sweet pattern like stars or polk-a-dots, but nothing too big or bright as that will take the focus away from your baby. This pose is great for when baby is asleep or awake and perfect for capturing lots of cute expressions, yawns and stretches. Add a blanket for a 'tucked in' look and for hide their nappy.


On the Bed

Your large bed in the master bedroom is the perfect setting for some relaxed newborn photos. It's safe, soft and comfortable for your baby. Place baby on the bed alone to show just how tiny they are or use it to capture sibling and family images (use a mini tripod and timer for these).


Older Siblings (4+ years)

If you baby has an older sibling you will want to capture some special photos of them together. Siblings who are old enough to safely hold their little brother or sister (usually 4 years and up) can sit cross legged with baby in their lap. This is the perfect position for kisses and cuddles too! If there are two or more siblings they can be added in, with everyone cuddling in towards the baby. Safety is always a top consideration with siblings so have an additional adult close by and position on a soft rug on the floor or on a large bed.


Older Siblings (any age but especially under 4 years)

Siblings under 4 years of age are safest photographed lying down and cuddling their new sibling. Again always be sure to have an adult on hand in case they decide to get up suddenly. This also work well with more than one sibling or even twins!


In Daddy's Hands

You will always want to remember just how tiny your baby was in those first few weeks! A great way to capture this is to place baby in daddy's hands for comparison. This works with details such as a tiny fist holding daddy's finger too! Be sure to take some photos showing daddy's expression when interacting with your baby too.


Parent and Baby

Make sure that as a new mum, you get in the picture too. It's very easy for mums to always be the ones holding the camera and never appearing in the photos! Hold and interact with your baby while angled towards a window (avoiding direct sunlight) and ask daddy or someone else to snap away.


Tummy time

Babies look very different lying on their tummies! I think it's because we are so used to them sleeping on their backs (very important for safety) and being on their backs in car seats etc. For something a little different, place baby down on their tummy in the same position that they would be in lying against your chest. cover with a blanket to hide their nappy and make them look cosy. Then experiment with different angles or try including your partner's hands in the photo. Remember to never leave your baby unattended while sleeping in this position.


Don't Forget the Details

Some of my favourite newborn photos are of the details. Little things that will soon change but you will never want to forget. Capture them while you can! While your baby is lying on a rug or the bed, take a moment to photograph each little detail - feet, hands, hair, face, belly button, skin wrinkles.Personally I love to edit these shots in black and white and display them together.


I hope these tips will be helpful you as new parents who cannot have a professional newborn session at the moment. If you are considering taking newborn photos at home don't forget to download our detailed pdf guide with lots of extra guidance, tips and tricks to help you.


DOWNLOAD YOUR DETAILED GUIDE HERE


Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions and I will be happy to help. Your photos may not be perfect, but they are a record of your perfect, unique newborn during this amazing time and you will treasure them always.

Rachel Burnside is a Newborn & Baby Photographer serving the following areas in and around Salisbury in the UK;

Salisbury ︳Wiltshire ︳Romsey ︳Tidworth ︳Bulford

Andover ︳Amesbury ︳Swindon ︳Stockbridge ︳Dorset ︳Shaftesbury ︳Gillingham ︳Marlborough ︳Wilton

Contact: info@rachelburnside.co.uk

Telephone  01722 322667

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@rachelburnsidephotography

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