I learned how to use my camera properly when my youngest son was about 5 months old. This means while I have plenty of photos of the boys while they were infants and babies, they are mostly an assorted bunch of out-of-focus photos with horrible composition. No biggie but now that I am much more into photography I am wishing I had a new baby to take photos of with my improved skills. I just have to live vicariously through my friends and clients!
So today I wanted to share a Five Tips on Photographing Newborns. These are things I would have done if I knew better back then...and what I would do now if I was able to convince Brad to have a fourth baby. Whether you are shooting with a cell phone or a DSLR, these tips are applicable to everyone!
1. Capture all those sweet baby faces...including when they cry!
If you didn't know, babies cry. A lot. So I love taking photos of crying babies and kids. I think their little pouts are just precious! Each of my kids had their own distinct look when they cried. Even now, if I know my kids aren't in pain, then I snap a photo of them crying because it is such a normal characteristic of babies and kids (and thankfully happens much less often as they get older!). So, yes- be sure to capture their first smiles, yawns, and all their sweetness, but don't forget about when they cry too!
2. Photograph all the teeny tiny parts!
While your baby is still itty bitty, photograph their tiny fingers, tiny toes, belly button (with the umbilical cord attached too!), ears, wisps of hair...you get the point. They grow SO fast and I really wish I had all those details captured when my oldest two were born.
3. Document routines.
The one set of pictures I truly wish I had was the measures I had to take to be able to take a shower during the day. When the babies were newborns, I often rolled the bassinet into the bathroom and showered where I could still see them. Yes, even with my third I was worried they would wake up in the middle of my shower and start crying without me knowing! Once they outgrew the bassinet I would have them sit in a bouncy chair with a couple toys. This process continued with each stage...blanket on the floor with toys for tummy time, blanket with pillows when they were on the verge of sitting on their own...until they crawled and all bets were off. For months I constantly had bouncy seats, blankets, and toys across my bathroom floor and I really wish I had taken photos of it all. So whatever your mundane routines are, photograph it! Those little moments are still meaningful!
4. Light makes all the difference.
If possible, try to take a photo with natural light. This means no flash, no overhead lights. However, your camera needs light to take a photo that isn't blurry. So what does that mean? You need to find your natural light sources in your house and use them! If you are planning on taking monthly photos, find a spot near a window for natural lighting. If you are documenting a first time eating solids, seat your baby across from the window at your table. Want simple newborn photos? Find a window and lay the baby on a blanket right next to the window in the light (assuming it isn't SUPER bright direct light). In this picture below, sweet Baby B is laying on a simple blanket on the floor with a widow about 12 inches away. Of course if it is too dark, turn on your lights because a photo with florescent lighting will still be better than no photo at all.
5. Learn how to use your camera!
Hands down, the best thing I did to improve my photos was learn how to shoot in manual mode. It literally changed my photos overnight. As I continued to practice and learn, I figured out how to get my photos in focus consistently (not just by chance!), how to make the photo look prettier than a plain 'ol snapshot, and how to shoot in a candid way (which for me is imperative with three uncooperative boys who don't like to look at the camera!). These are all things I teach in my Mom & Her Camera Workshop! This class is geared toward any mom wanting to take better photos of their families and is not exclusively for newborn photography. Everyone is welcome! I would love for you to join us on the next class (taught in the DFW area). Click the link to be notified when new classes are scheduled. Since these class are small in size, they typically sell out. Don't miss out on getting first dibs on newly scheduled classes. Click HERE!
One last parting tidbit, if you simply aren't into taking your own photos, or want to be sure to document this newborn time before you learn to use your camera properly, then consider a Bringing Home Baby photo session with me! Or perhaps a Documentary Family Session fits your needs. Let's chat and get you on my calendar before it gets booked for the fall!